Tuesday 28 November 2023

Book Review: Chess Story (alt title is The Royal Game) by Stefan Zweig

Chess Story

Chess Story by Stefan Zweig
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not a writer that was known to me and I've forgotten how it got onto my TBR list.
The narrator is aboard a passenger ship heading to Buenos Aires when he realises a Chess Champion and child prodigy, Mirko Czentovic, is as well. He organises amateur games with the aim of drawing the champion out of his detachment, and with the aid of a fee paid by a chess loving traveling businessman, he succeeds in doing so. As the passenger lose game after game , another man, Dr B, lends them some advice. This changes their game. This man's back story explains his incarceration by the Gestapo in WW2 and why he now no longer plays himself and why now he is persuaded to take on the champion.
You do not have to understand chess in great detail to enjoy this novel as it is the nature of the game and the psychological aspects of gameplay that are critical as Dr B's madness boils up until he has to withdraw from the game.

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