Alexander Alexandrovich Kotov 12 August 1931-81 was a Soviet chess grandmaster and author. He was a Soviet champion, a two-time world title Candidate, and a prolific chess author. Kotov served in high posts in the Soviet Chess Federation and most of his books were written during the period of Cold War between the US and the USSR. Therefore, his works tended to be rather critical of (and occasionally somewhat dismissive toward) American players. Russian players, on the other hand, were presented and described in a particularly favorable light.|
His trilogy of books Think Like a Grandmaster, Play Like a Grandmaster, and Train Like a Grandmaster, are his best known, with Think Like a Grandmaster, which was translated from the Russian by Bernard Cafferty, and published by Batsford in 1971 being particularly famous. The book is not concerned with advising where pieces should be placed on the board, or tactical motifs, but rather with the method of thinking that should be employed during a game. Kotov's advice to identify candidate moves and methodically examine them to build up an "analysis tree" remains well known today.