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Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes
The autobiography of an insider when chess was a vital factor in the USSR
One of the most fascinating episodes in chess history is the rise and domination of Soviet chess. It would be hard to find a better qualified authority on this period than Yuri Averbakh, who was part of the successes in the international arena and witnessed the struggles for power behind the scenes.
Averbakh won the USSR championship in 1954 ahead of aces like Kortchnoi, Petrosian and Geller and was a successful grandmaster for several decades.
In this personal memoir he looks back on his days as an active player, but also on his experiences as a quintessential insider when chess was considered a vital ingredient of life in the Soviet Union.
Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes describes the machinations of the notorious 'Sports Committee' and offers surprising personal views on Soviet players like Botvinnik, Smyslov, Kortchnoi, Petrosian, Tal and Spassky.
Averbakh recalls his dealings with Max Euwe and Bobby Fischer, writes touching portraits of some almost-forgotten masters and offers sharp analyses of 20th century chess politics.
A unique, revealing and at times unsettling story - essential reading for anyone interested in the history of chess and the Soviet Union.
Yuri Averbakh (1922) is a distinguished Russian chess grandmaster who has enjoyed a long and varied career. He has been a top player, a journalist, an editor, an arbiter, a trainer and a long-time member of the board of the Soviet chess federation.
Averbakh won the USSR championship in 1954 and was a leading Soviet grandmaster for two decades. In this personal memoir he looks back on his days as an active player, but also on his experiences as a quintessential insider when chess was considered a vital ingredient of life in the Soviet Union.
Yuri Averbakh, who used to be known as the most powerful man in Soviet chess, is currently the oldest living chess grandmaster in the world.