Welcome to the website of Elk and Ruby Publishing House. We specialize in publishing high-quality Russian chess books translated into English. All books are translated and edited by native English speakers with a keen interest in chess.

We were founded in early 2017 and have so far published 10 great chess books from excellent authors, listed below. We have more exciting books in the pipeline and expect to publish more books in 2018.

All of our books are available on Amazon and some are also available on the Forward Chess mobile app for Apple and Android. We do not sell through book shops.

We can be contacted at info@elkandruby.ru and on twitter @ilan_ruby


Our authors and books


Genna Sosonko

Genna Sosonko (born 1943, Troitsk, Russia) is a Soviet-born Dutch Grandmaster who is widely recognized as the number one writer on the history of Soviet chess.

Playing career

Once ranked among the world’s top twenty chess players, Genna acted as second to ex-Word Champion Mikhail Tal and to ex-World Championship Challenger Victor Korchnoi during world championship candidates matches. He emigrated from the Soviet Union to the Netherlands in 1972, where he continues to live.

He won the Dutch Championship in 1973 and 1978 (jointly). His tournament record includes 1st at the Barcelona Zonal Tournament 1975, 1st at Lugano 1976, 1st at Wijk aan Zee 1977, 5th at Tilburg 1982, 3rd at Amsterdam 1980, 4th at Tilburg 1982, 1st at Wijk aan Zee 1981, 3rd at Tilburg 1982 and 4th at Haninge 1988. He also drew a match with Jan Timman (+1 =0 −1) in 1984.

Genna played for the Dutch team at the Chess Olympiads eleven times, in 1974-84, and 1988-96. He won two individual medals: gold at Haifa 1976 and bronze at Nice 1974, and two team medals: silver at Haifa 1976 and bronze at Thessaloniki 1988.

FIDE, the World Chess Federation, awarded Sosonko the International Master (IM) title in 1974, the GM title in 1976 and the FIDE Senior Trainer title in 2004.

Literary career

Sosonko has authored six non-technical chess books in English centering heavily on his chess life in the Soviet Union and his relationships with and memories of both leading Soviet players and lesser-known characters in chess history.

Evil-Doer: Half a Century with Viktor Korchnoi (2018)


Viktor Korchnoi was one of the leading grandmasters of the 20th century, coming within one game of winning the world championship in 1978. His battles with Karpov for the world crown were among the most important chess matches ever played. A man with a unique – and in many ways tragic – life and career, Korchnoi’s defection to the West in 1976 was a major event in Cold War politics. 
Grandmaster Genna Sosonko was Korchnoi’s coach and second during tournaments and candidates matches in 1970-71 and then a close friend of Korchnoi for decades. Indeed, Sosonko’s emigration to the West in 1972, which is described in detail in this memoir, had a key impact on Korchnoi’s decision to defect four years later. They would meet up at tournaments and at home and discuss chess, politics, and just about everything else. Their conversations constitute an important part of this book, in which Sosonko tackles difficult questions about Korchnoi’s personality and places much of his often challenging behavior into its historical context. This book, like Sosonko’s previous masterpiece The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein, contains no games but focuses on Korchnoi’s life, from his early childhood to his final years. Further, it includes many previously unpublished photos from the private collections of Sosonko and the Korchnoi family.

Available exclusively on Amazon. ISBN 978-5-9500433-8-3

The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein (2017)

First published in Russian in 2014 and written by Genna Sosonko – widely recognized as the number one writer on the history of Soviet chess – this is a truly unique book about the life and destiny of the great chess player David Bronstein (1924-2006).

Emerging from a challenging background – he narrowly escaped the holocaust in WWII, during which he starved, and his father spent seven years in a gulag – Bronstein faced Botvinnik in the world championship match in 1951 and nearly defeated him. But this ‘nearly’ inflicted a wound on David so deep that it would not heal for the rest of his life.

Sosonko knew Bronstein well. Their conversations – many of which have made it into this book – not only portray the thoughts and character of one of history’s most original grandmasters but also take us back to a time unlike any other in world history. This is not a biography in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, Sosonko’s fascinating book asks eternal questions which don’t have neat and simple answers.

With a foreword to the English edition by Garry Kasparov.

Available exclusively on Amazon. ISBN 978-5-9500433-1-4.



Valentin Kirillov

Valentin Kirillov (1938-2017) was a Latvian chess master, coach, and journalist. He took part in numerous Latvian and Baltic states championships, as well as the 1967 USSR championship in Kharkov, the USSR team championships, international tournaments in Hungary, Poland, Finland, France, and the Czech Republic, and the German team championships, playing for Godesburg (Bonn) and Brakel (Dortmund).

Mikhail Tal’s second (1968-1976), coach and captain of Latvia’s national teams at Soviet championships, Deputy Director of the Latvian Chess Club, head coach of the Latvian Republic and of the Latvian members of the USSR National Team. Executive Secretary and Executive Director of the Latvian Chess Federation. He worked as a chess coach in several countries abroad.

Kirillov wrote and edited chess columns for various Soviet and Latvian publications. He authored a seven-volume treatise considered to be the definitive Russian-language work analyzing Tal’s games, among other books.

Team Tal: An Inside Story (2017)


First published in Russian in 2016, this book of memoirs describes key events from Tal’s life, portrays his mentors and opponents, and reveals previously unknown facts and funny stories about the Magician of Riga.

A real collectors’ item for all true Tal fans, it provides color on Janis Kruzkops, who was Tal’s first coach and who died tragically young, Tal’s mentor Alexander Koblencs, and the chess masters to whom Tal was close, including Genna Sosonko, Aivars Gipslis, Janis Klovans, Alvis Vitolins, the young Alexei Shirov, and Kirillov himself, as well as the mysterious doctor Joseph Geikhman. It also traces the efforts of the Latvian chess community to preserve and build on Tal’s memory after his death, in particular with the attempt to establish a Tal museum and hold regular tournaments in his honour.

With a foreword to the English edition by Alexei Shirov.

Available exclusively on Amazon. ISBN 978-5-9500433-0-7.



Sergei Tkachenko 

Sergei Tkachenko (born in 1963, near Odessa, Ukraine) is a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017. He has won the studies section of the Ukrainian Chess Composition Championship six times and has won prizes, many of them for first place, in over 100 international chess composition tournaments.

Sergei coaches the Ukrainian chess composition team. He is also the press secretary of the Chess Composition Committee of the Ukrainian Chess Federation.

Sergei is an award-winning author who has written 18 chess books (in Russian), including compositions and on historical themes. He is deputy chief editor of a Ukrainian chess composition magazine called Problemist of Ukraine and has a regular studies column on the ChessPro website. Sergei is a member of the Ukrainian Union of Journalists. He is a historian and archivist, a mechanical engineering graduate, and additionally spent five years studying theater production.

Alekhine's Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution (2018)


Sergei Tkachenko has written a fascinating account of Alexander Alekhine’s time spent in Odessa during World War I, the Russian Revolution and Civil War, as well as of the impact of Odessa on his later life. Sergei, an Odessa native and ex-world chess composition champion, has carried out original research drawing from Odessa, Voronezh, Cheka and KGB archives among others, as well as local newspapers from the time. His research, together with a review of Russian-language secondary materials, has dug up lots of new information and analysis on Alekhine, including on his trips to Odessa and their reasons, his service during World War I, his interrogations by the Cheka and his ties to the White Movement. Sergei portrays Alekhine’s Odessa relatives and the Odessite chess masters against whom he played a number of friendly and simultaneous games during his three trips to the Ukrainian city. 

Sergei provides a detailed description of chess in Odessa from the beginning of the nineteenth century and through the upheavals of the early twentieth century, including the city’s leading chess organizers, the main and university chess clubs, and even high society’s chess-themed ballroom parties. He goes on to describe the chaos under Bolshevik rule during the Civil War, during which Alekhine was arrested by the Reds and very nearly executed. The author reviews the backdrop to Alekhine’s arrest and investigates the circumstances of his last-minute release. His heart-rending account of terror by the Cheka brings home to the reader how near the chess world was to losing its greatest player of the first half of the twentieth century. 

This book then goes on to review the strong Odessa links with key events surrounding Alekhine later – his exile, failing marriages, plans for a match with Botvinnik, murky death and eventual burial ten years later. 

Alekhine’s Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution includes 24 complete games (some handicapped) with annotations from Alekhine, Sergei Tkachenko and Sergei Voronkov (co-author with David Bronstein of Secret Notes), as well as five puzzles and one fragment. Alekhine played in 22 of these games and the fragment and set three of the puzzles. 

Furthermore, the book contains around 100 photos, mostly of Alekhine’s Odessa contemporaries among chess masters and politicians, as well as of the places he frequented in Odessa and key publication clippings and memorabilia. 

With an introduction to the English edition by Boris Gelfand.

Available on Amazon. ISBN 978-5-9500433-3-8. Also available on the Forward Chess app for Android and Apple 


One Pawn Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies (2017)


Learn great traps, turn losses into draws and draws into wins! 

Sergei Tkachenko has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just one pawn in the finale, yet manages to win or draw.

With the exception of three studies, there are no more than six moves in any solution, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams.

Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single pawn in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the pawn's resourcefulness.

Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union. 

Available on Amazon, ISBN 978-5-9500433-4-5. Also available on the Forward Chess app for Android and Apple 


One Knight Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies (2017)


Learn great traps, turn losses into draws and draws into wins! 

Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just one knight in the finale, yet manages to win or draw. 

There are no more than six moves in most solutions, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams. Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single knight in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the knight’s resourcefulness.

Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union or ex-Soviet countries. Several are Sergei’s own compositions.

This is the second book in a series of endgame studies by Sergei Tkachenko to be published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

Available on Amazon, ISBN 978-5-9500433-5-2. Also available on the Forward Chess app for Android and Apple


One Bishop Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies (2017)


Learn great traps, turn losses into draws and draws into wins! 

Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just one bishop in the finale, yet manages to win or draw. 

There are no more than six moves in any solution, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams. Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single bishop in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the bishop’s resourcefulness.

Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union or ex-Soviet countries. Several are Sergei’s own compositions.

This is the third book in a series of endgame studies by Sergei Tkachenko to be published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

Available on Amazon. ISBN 978-5-9500433-6-9. Also available on the Forward Chess app for Android and Apple

One Rook Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies (2017)


Learn great traps, turn losses into draws and draws into wins! 

Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just one rook in the finale, yet manages to win or draw. 

There are no more than six moves in almost all solutions, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams. Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single rook in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the rook’s resourcefulness. 

Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union or ex-Soviet countries. Several are Sergei’s own compositions. 

This is the fourth book in a series of endgame studies by Sergei Tkachenko to be published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

Available on Amazon. ISBN 978-5-9500433-7-6. Also available on the Forward Chess app for Android and Apple


The Queen Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies (2018)

Learn great traps, turn losses into draws and draws into wins! 

Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just the queen in the finale, yet manages to win or draw. 

There are no more than six moves in almost all solutions, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams. Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single queen in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the queen’s resourcefulness. 

Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union or ex-Soviet countries. Several are Sergei’s own compositions. 

This is the fifth book in a series of endgame studies by Sergei Tkachenko to be published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

Available on Amazon. ISBN 978-5-6040710-0-7

The King Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies (2018)


Learn great traps, turn losses into draws! 

Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just one king in the finale, yet manages to draw. 

There are no more than six moves in almost all solutions, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams. Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving the king in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the king's resourcefulness. 

Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union or ex-Soviet countries. Several are Sergei’s own compositions. 

This is the sixth book in a series of endgame studies by Sergei Tkachenko to be published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

Available on Amazon. ISBN 978-5-6040710-1-4