Genna Sosonko – Genna Remembers

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Genna Sosonko – Genna Remembers


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Genna Remembers

Half a century ago I left a country whose red color dominated a large portion of the world map. One way or another, the fate of almost every single person described in this book is forever linked with that now non-existent empire. Many of them ended up beyond its borders too. Cultures and traditions, and certainly not least of all a Soviet mentality, couldn’t have just left them without a trace. Having been transplanted into a different environment, they had to play the role of themselves, apart from certain corrections with regard to the tastes and customs of a new society.

Nevertheless, every one of them, both those who left the Soviet Union and those who stayed behind, were forever linked by one common united phenomenon: they all belonged to the Soviet school of chess.  Genna Sosonko

–  258 pages available in paperback 

–    ISBN 9789464201178 

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Genna Sosonko – Genna Remembers

The system was built as a gigantic chess pyramid, at the base of which were school championships,

which were closely followed by district ones. Later, there were city championships, regions, republics,

and finally – the ultimate cherry on top – the national event itself. The Championships of the Soviet

Union were in no way inferior to the strongest international tournaments, and collections of the

games played there came out as separate publications in the West.


That huge brotherhood of chess contained its very own hierarchy within. Among the millions and

multitudes of parishioners – fans of the game – there were the priests – Candidate Masters. Highly

respected were the cardinals – Masters. As for Grandmasters, well…they were true gods. Every

person in the USSR knew their names, and those names sounded with just as much adoration and

admiration as those of the nation’s other darlings – the country’s best hockey players. In those days,

the coming of the American genius only served to strengthen the interest and attention of society

towards chess, never mind the fact that by that point it had already been fully saturated by it.

Genna Sosonko – Genna Remembers

The presence of tons of spectators at a chess tournament in Moscow as shown in the series ‘The

Queen’s Gambit’ is in no way an exaggeration; truly shown was the golden age of chess. Under the

constant eye and control of the government, chess in the USSR was closely interwoven with politics,

much like everything else in that vanished country. Concurrently, the closed and isolated society in

which it was born only served to enable its development, creating its very own type of culture – the

giant world of Soviet chess.

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