Shopworn - The Kgb Plays Chess

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Boris Gulko, Yuri Felshtinsky
176 pages
Publication date
November 15, 2010
Notation type
NL - Notationless
Book binding type

The KGB Plays Chess is a unique book. For the first time it opens to us some of the most secret pages of the history of chess. The battles about which you will read in this book are not between chess masters sitting at the chess board, but between the powerful Soviet secret police, known as the KGB, on the one hand, and several brave individuals, on the other. Their names are famous in the chess world: Viktor Kortschnoi, Boris Spasski, Boris Gulko and Garry Kasparov became subjects of constant pressure, blackmail and persecution in the USSR. Their victories at the chess board were achieved despite this victimization.

Unlike in other books, this story has two perspectives. The victim and the persecutor, the hunted and the hunter, all describe in their own words the very same events. One side is represented by the famous Russian chess players Viktor Kortschnoi and Boris Gulko. For many years they fought against a powerful system, and at the end they were triumphant. The Soviet Union collapsed and they got what they were fighting for: their freedom.

Former KGB Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Popov, who left Russia in 1996 and now lives in Canada, was one of those who had worked all his life for the KGB and was responsible for the sport sector of the USSR. It is only now for the first time that he has decided to tell the reader his story of the KGB's involvement in Soviet Sports. This is his first book, and it is not only full of sensations, but it also dares to name names of secret KGB agents previously known only as famous chess masters, sportsmen or sport officials. Just a few short years ago a book like this would have been unimaginable. Read this book. It is not only about chess. It is about glorious victory of the great chess masters over the forces of darkness.

About the Author(s)

Boris Gulko
Having grown in Moscow. Gulko graduated from Moscow State University. In 1975, Gulko became an international master and a professional chess player, and in 1976, a grandmaster. Gulko was USSR chess champion in 1977 and twice champion of Moscow. For seven years, from 1979 to 1986, Gulko was a "refusenik." After a difficult struggle, which included three hunger strikes and a month of daily demonstrations and arrests, Gulko and his family emigrated to the United States. Gulko won the US chess championship in 1994 and 1999.

Born in 1947 in Moscow, from 1972-1991 Popov worked in the KGB, ultimately attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His work in the KGB included overseeing various aspects of Soviet sports, including chess. In 1996, he immigrated to Canada, where he lives at the present time.

Yuri Felshtinsky
Yuri Felshtinsky was born in Moscow in 1956. In 1978, he immigrated to the United States and received a Ph.D. in history in 1988. Felshtinsky has compiled, edited, and annotated several dozen volumes of archival documents in Russian history. His books include The Bolsheviks and the Left SRs (1985); Towards a History of Our Isolation (1988); The Failure of the World Revolution (1991); Lenin and His Comrades (2010); Blowing up Russia (with Alexander Litvinenko, 2007); The Corporation: Russia and the KGB in the Age of President Putin (with Vladimir Pribylovsky, 2008).

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