Original title: Le Sacrifice du Roi
Fifty years later, this novel reveals one of the best-kept secrets of the 20th century: behind the fall of Bobby Fischer, crowned king of chess in 1972, while the Cold War was raging.
The world chess champion title – a symbol of intellectual excellence – turned into one of the stakes during the Cold War. In the shadow of their respective secret services, two nations clashed, not on 64 squares, but through machinations targeting the reigning champion, the American Bobby Fischer, considered the greatest player of all time. This book reveals the heinous ploy put into place by the Kremlin to defeat the man who had humiliated the Soviet Union in 1972 by snatching the supreme title away from Boris Spassky. In 1975, that state-led conspiracy led Fischer to abandon his title without even facing Anatoly Karpov. A match at which simply sitting down opposite his challenger would have earned him $5 million, a colossal sum at the time.
Had Bobby Fischer lost his taste for life? Had he lost his mind? Was he afraid of Anatoly Karpov? The truth is far more frightening. It will have taken nearly 50 years to resolve the mystery, and an entire life of determination, knowledge and lucky coincidences for the author to be able to deliver this gripping tale. The parabolic trajectory of a boy from Brooklyn who became an international idol in the world of chess. Who spent time in the spotlight before slipping back into the shadows. In this irresistible page-turner and emotional novel, the author leads us from the chess boards of Central Park to the orphanages and psychiatric wards of the Soviet Union, from the halls of the Kremlin to behind the scenes at the most important chess championships on the planet, all the way through to the wildest game of them all, which has remained shrouded from view until now.
They say that behind every great man is a great woman. That goes for the man’s fall, too. Recruited by a mysterious Kremlin cell that included both Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov and whose existence is revealed in this book for the first time, Olga is the embodiment of Russian genius at its apogee. She would bring the greatest chess player the planet had ever known to his knees by challenging him on the chessboard of life. This book describes the king of chess’s sacrifice for his queen. The titanic battle between those two heroic figures shook the world as we knew it. Through that battle, the author gives the chess world its honor back, and rehabilitates its deposed king, the fallen idol of his own childhood and of all chess players in the world.
Approx. 140,000 words.
- Audiovisual rights have been optioned by a major Hollywood studio.
- English sample available