|GM Lev Alburt|
In 1979, while playing at a club championship in West Germany, GM Lev Alburt drove to the police station. In fluent but accented German, he announced he wanted to defect to the United States. “I loved Russia, the people, my family… the life was very good for a chessplayer, but I hated the regime,” explains Lev, “I could have defected a few years before… I was holding out hope that the regime would improve or collapse.” Lev was 32 and couldn’t spend his life waiting. After weeks of tests and interviews at the American Embassy, he booked a plane to New York City, and has lived there ever since.
In America Lev played chess actively for a decade, winning three U.S. Championship titles. During this time an opportunity to embark upon a new long-term career in writing and publishing was presented to him. Fairfield Hoban, editor of Chess Life Magazine at the time, suggested that Lev write articles—in English. “I’m grateful that he convinced me that translating my bad English into good English was easier than translating great Russian into good English.”
Almost thirty years later Lev needs those English skills. He writes a popular monthly column for Chess Life, “Back to the Basics,” in which he comments on the thinking processes and games of American amateurs. He’s also a prolific chess publisher and co-author, with more than 20 books to his credit. He’s proud of two recent opening books, White Openings Explained and the Pirc Alert, as well as Endgames- Just the Facts!, which won the 2000 Chess Journalist of America Book of the Year award. See and index of all Alburt's book on USCF Sales.