Anthony Saidy was born in 1937 in Los Angeles, son of screenwriter and Broadway musical playwright Fred Saidy. He was to enter and complete a career as a public-health physician.
But after learning chess at age 11, the royal game became his life-long passion, carrying him to the American Open title twice and international competition in 20 countries. Chess Canada called his first book, The Battle of Chess Ideas, “fuel for the soul.” (Its latest version, The March of Chess Ideas, is now available as an e-book from epluschess.com.) Saidy was instrumental in getting the mercurial Bobby Fischer to Iceland in 1972 to contest “The Match of the Century” vs. Boris Spassky and Saidy figured prominently in the 2011 HBO doc film Bobby Fischer Against the World.
Chess brought Saidy to the Soviet Union four times. He toured five republics, closely encountering people of all walks of life in intimate settings. On returning home, he could not but immerse himself in the tumultuous history of that country, and the theory of Marxism.
1983, a Dialectical Novel is the result. It came to the author whole over a 48-hour period in 1973. The next year was spent putting it down on paper. Then it was proposed to publishers using a Russian alias. Despite acclaim from Pulitzer-Prize winner Harrison Salisbury, the American who knew Russia best, it gained no traction. Some found it, no doubt, too hot to handle.
The title’s homage to Prophet Orwell is not the first. Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik had penned the daring Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984? British novelist Anthony Burgess would weigh in with 1985. Burgess represents the right wing of the Orwell Fan Club; Saidy, the left, where George Orwell was. Anthony Saidy is the author of several chess books, including The Battle of Chess Ideas, and The World of Chess (with Norman Lessing). He is a retired medical doctor. It was in Saidy’s house near New York City that Bobby Fischer secluded himself prior to departing for Reykjavík to play in the World Chess Championship 1972.