Hardback, 382 pages, 2021 Elk and Ruby
Peter Romanovsky (1892-1964) was Soviet chess champion in 1923(outright) and 1927 (jointly with Bogatyrchuk). According toChessmetrics he was ranked 12th in the world in 1925. Romanovsky wasalso one of Soviet chess’s greatest teachers, standing at the veryfoundation of the Soviet Chess School. His pupils included Averbakh,Zak, Alatortsev, Lisitsin and many others, and he provided muchguidance to Botvinnik in his early career. Author of 16 books,Romanovsky stood for active, fighting and objective chess where therequirements of the position took precedence over positional rules ofthumb.
The first half of this book comprises a detailed biography written bychess historian and world chess composition champion Sergei Tkachenko.Tkachenko tells the incredible story of a man who spent nearly a yearas a captive in Germany at the start of WWI after participating in theMannheim chess events of 1914, endured the hardships of Civil War andNEP Russia, won two Soviet championships and lived through the horrorsof the Siege of Leningrad in 1941-42, suffering unspeakable familytragedy as he did so. Romanovsky narrowly escaped an early death onthree separate occasions.
The second half of this book comprises Romanovsky’s own chessautobiography first published in 1954 in Russian, including 72 of hisbest games. His instructive annotations have been updated withcomputer analysis by IM Grigory Bogdanovich, an accomplished historianwho published a biography of Bogoljubov in 2020.
Because Romanovsky wrote this book after his career was over, itsannotations are considerably more honest than those found in booksthat collate the annotations of great players made while their careerwas in full swing. Indeed, in several games Romanovsky comments howhis views of certain positions changed over the years as heaccumulated greater knowledge and experience.
This book is also a textbook on attacking and positional play. Mostgames are classified by themes, including Attack on the Castled andNon-Castled King, Counterattack, Attack on the Center, and QueensideAttack. Moreover, it contains discussions on central control, thebishop pair advantage, pawn storms, simplification strategy, exchangesacrifices, king safety, and other key topics.
His opponents include Alekhine, Botvinnik, Bogoljubov, Averbakh,Flohr, Levenfish, Kotov, and many other stars.
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