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The Soviet Chess Primer by Ilya Maizelis


Ilya Maizelis’s masterpiece is the definitive introduction to the game of chess. It has inspired generations of Russians to take up the game, including arguably the two greatest players of all time, the 12th and 13th World Champions.

In the original Russian, this landmark work is simply called “Chess” – no other explanation was considered necessary. The Soviet Chess Primer is a modern English translation of Maizelis’s witty introduction to the royal game.

This new edition of a timeless classic includes an original foreword from the 2nd World Champion, Emanuel Lasker, as well as an introduction from the most celebrated chess trainer of modern times, Mark Dvoretsky.

Praise for the original Russian edition:
“A remarkable book, from which I learnt to play chess” – Garry Kasparov
“A wonderful book which I studied myself” – Anatoly Karpov

ISBN 978-1-907982-99-6 - 400 pages - Published 10 December 2014


"Most Quality Chess titles are original works, but from time to time the company puts out translations of older classics not available in English. This book, which was first published in the mid-1930s, has been continuously in print since then, appearing in several updated editions.

The title might suggest it is for beginners, but that is not the case. It does start off with some basic positions, but quickly moves on to much more advanced material including chapters on positional play and techniques of calculation."

IM John Donaldson, Chess Today

"Maizelis’ book is fascinating, especially for the reader interested in chess culture and history, but it is not a primer by any stretch of the imagination. Despite my reservations about the title, The Soviet Chess Primer is a fine book and its acclaim is deserved."

John Hartmann, Chess LIfe

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