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.