The Cold War transformed the cloistered world of chess. As Daniel Johnson explains in this gripping account, for the Soviet Union, chess was more than just a game: it was war by another means. Under the Bolsheviks, the game had become the national sport, taught in schools as a form of intellectual and military training. Those with talent were moulded into champions from a young age and Soviet players, such as Mikhail Botvinnik and Tigran Petrosian, dominated international competitions throughout the Cold War years. White King and Red Queen illuminates the lives and times of the players and matches at the forefront of this confrontation, from the famous 1972 encounter between American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer and Soviet champion Boris Spassky; to the struggle between anti-Communist Viktor Korchnoi and loyal Kremlin supporter Anatoly Karpov; to the emergence of Garry Kasparov, the last Soviet world champion. Daniel Johnson's book offers a dramatic new perspective on the post-war struggle for supremacy between the superpowers.
Daniel Johnson is a former literary editor for The Times, and a former foreign correspondent, columnist and associate editor for the Daily Telegraph. He writes the weekly Letter from London column for the New York Sun and is Editor of Standpoint magazine. Daniel Johnson is a strong chess amateur, and once drew an exhibition game with Garry Kasparov. White King and Red Queen is his first book.