This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Schachnovelle (German Edition) by Stefan…

Schachnovelle (German Edition) (original 1942; edition 1997)

by Stefan Zweig

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,783753,189 (4.12)311
Title:Schachnovelle (German Edition)
Authors:Stefan Zweig
Info:Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag (1997), Edition: 40th, Paperback, 110 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:schach, dampfer, passagierdampfer, gestapo, gefängnis, deutschsprachige literatur

Work details

Chess Story by Stefan Zweig (1942)

  1. 30
    The Master of Go by Yasunari Kawabata (hippietrail)
  2. 30
    The Defense by Vladimir Nabokov (Arvoitus)
    Arvoitus: Because it's another work about chess and madness. The very difference is the status of the game player, chess is his life. You can also look at this novel as a political one.
  3. 10
    The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky (fuzzy_patters)
  4. 00
    The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth (chwiggy)
  5. 00
    Detective Story by Imre Kertész (caitlinlizzy)
  6. 00
    The King of Chess by Ah Cheng (sriq)
  7. 01
    The Luneburg Variation by Paolo Maurensig (rvdm61)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 311 mentions

English (51)  French (7)  Dutch (5)  Italian (3)  Spanish (3)  Catalan (2)  Danish (2)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
In questa breve novella Zweig ci trascina in un vortice di angoscia, disperazione e di solitudine descritte così bene da potersi immedesimare nel protagonista.
Durante un viaggio in nave un campione di scacchi molto famoso (ma rozzo e ignorante) viene sfidato da alcuni amatori che ovviamente perdono la partita. Qualcosa però cambia quando un misterioso personaggio, il sig. B, suggerisce delle mosse che permettono di pareggiare la partita con il grande campione.
Presi dall'entusiasmo propongono per il giorno successivo una sfida tra i due fenomeni degli scacchi. Il sig. B, però, nasconde un angosciante segreto che confiderà al narratore della storia: è stato prigioniero dei nazisti e ha subito numerose torture.
Mentre si legge il racconto del sig. B è difficile non immedesimarsi nell'angoscia delle quattro pareti della cella che sono uguali ogni giorno per mesi e che diventano una prigione fisica ma soprattutto mentale.
( )
  Feseven78 | Apr 17, 2019 |
Zweig’in Brezilya’da kendini öldürmeden önce yazdığı son kitap... aynı bedende siyah ve beyazın oyunu ve Buenos Aires’s giden bir gemi... Yazar Dr B’ye hatırlanmaması gereken anılarda dolaşmasının tehlikesini hatırlatabiliyorken, kendini alıkoyamıyor... ( )
  soontobefree | Mar 11, 2019 |
Well written story about man obsessed with chess. Previously saw a play based on this book, and that made the story more vivid for me. ( )
  suesbooks | Dec 8, 2018 |
(Original Review from the German and English editions, 2002-06-01)

My lichens rating has gone down the proverbial toilet. I went from 1800 to 1600. Been losing simple games. I hate it when I get ahead and then lose. The other day I even managed to fuck up w text book draw with opposite bishops. I think of myself as a club level Karjakin but Sergey appears in my dreams and asks me to stop sullying his good name.

All players go thru the game yips from time to time, they suck while they're happening but just go with the current flow, don't get irritated and down on yourself; they will pass. I'd avoid playing rated hustlers too; I lost near 300 FIDE points back in '10, it was my first experience of the yips, know better now for sure. I seriously feel for the top dudes and dudettes, their yips are so public.

I’m sure Sergey would be proud of me; he's a real player who loves chess. He ain't one of the players I think have reached undeserved heights; defense is a great offence in the right hands; he has real game.

'Why not just play tic-tac-toe against Karjakin,' says I? (Karjakin anwers: 'Because you know I'd kick your arse. Why don’t you play against me??')

'Karjakin, my middle game in noughts and crosses ('tic tac toe??' please!) is unbeatable! You’ll never see my moves coming...' (Karjakin: 'Because it lacks the required intellectual challenge or permutations of chess. However I can see why you consider it to be so difficult and a real intellectual challenge.')

'Yes, but have you played against the computer Deep Noughts and Crosses? Until then you will remain the uncrowned King...') (Karjakin: I beat WOPR, obvs, and continued to beat its successors right through the 90s; but yeah, I confess, I've not beaten any of the "deep" series...')

'I’ll give you a hint Karjakin. Whoever goes first wins if they select the corners. Surely most kids learn this while they're still in "elementary school" '. (Karjakin: 'Not true. But if you start from the corner there is only one move for your opponent to avoid a forced loss: unfortunately it is the obvious one. Whereas if you start from the middle there are four forced wins and four probable draws depending on your opponent’s response, so I prefer to start from the corner because it increases my odds.'

'At this stage tic-tac-toe is more likely to produce a winner than chess,' I keep on fighting. (Karjakin: 'and there lies the reason for the death of chess. FIDE should be sued for not changing things (i.e. the rules in some format) many years back. Even football which is prehistoric in terms of changing rules has done it a few times for the betterment of the game.'

'Sue FIDE for what? Millions of people have tried tweaking the rules of chess. None of them have gained popularity because they are inferior to the current version. Typically because they introduce an element of luck. If you want randomness watch the Risk World Championship.' (Karjakin: 'I like to intimidate my opponents during midgame by throwing in a "B". Their resolve crumbles when they see the word "BOO" in front of them. We should play sometime. I won’t play tic-tac-toe because it's a solved game with a tiny state space. Its real name isn't Tic-Tac-Toe, btw. It's Zero-X. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn82s7KAHvo)' ( )
  antao | Nov 20, 2018 |

I detect strong parallels between reading a novel and the game of chess: there is the author sitting on one side, playing white, the reader on the other side, playing black; instead of the chess board and chess pieces there is the novel; the author’s opening chapter is the chess player’s opening, the middle of the novel is, of course, the middle game, and the closing chapter is the end game. If both author and reader expand their literary horizons and deepen their appreciation of life’s mysteries, then both can declare ‘checkmate’.

Stefan Zweig’s ‘Chess Story’ published by New York Review Books (NYRB) is 84 pages of literary counterpart to a master chess game of Capablanca or Kasparov, a novel where the first-person narrator, an Austrian, just so happens to be on board a passenger steamer with a world chess champion by the name of Czentovic and also, as it turns out, a fellow Austrian referred to as Dr. B, a man who tells the tale of how he came to play chess whilst a prisoner of the Gestapo. If you tend to find novels by such giants as Proust, Joyce or Mann a bit intimidating but still would like to do a careful cover-to-cover read of a masterpiece, this is your book. A special thanks to Joel Rotenberg for translating from the German to a most accessible and clear English. And keeping in the spirit of a game of chess, below are several quotes from the novel (SZ’s moves as white) paired with my comments (countermoves as black):

Ruminating on what it takes to be a chess master, the narrator notes: “All my life I have been passionately interested in monomaniacs of any kind, people carried away by a single idea. The more one limits oneself, the closer one is to the infinite; these people, as unworldly as they seem, burrow like termites into their own particular material to construct, in miniature, a strange and utterly individual image of the world.” ---------- Zweig’s novel takes place during the time of Nazi Germany and, of course, Hitler is considered one of the modern world’s most notorious monomaniacs, combining gobbledygook notions of biology, race, history and national identity into his version of an unyielding jackboot philosophy of culture, a philosophy carried out in deadly practice by thousands of loyal Nazis, monomania crushing the lives of millions under its ideological hammer. Parallels between Czentovic and the Führer abound.

“They did nothing – other than subjecting us to complete nothingness. For, as is well known, nothing on earth puts more pressure on the human mind than nothing. . . . you were hopelessly alone with yourself, with your body, and with these four or five mute objects, table, bed, window, washbasin; you lived like a diver in a diving bell in the black sea of silence. . . .“ --------- Confined to a hotel room by the Gestapo, cut off from the outside world, Dr. B begins to go stir-crazy in a world of silence and solitude, a conundrum touching on a major dilemma in the modern West – the loss of the contemplative/meditative dimension in life. Silence and solitude could provide fertile ground for personal spiritual growth if one has the proper training; but, alas, for most people, similar to Dr.B, silence and solitude is equated with a blank, a total nothingness.

“I had not held a book in my hands, and there was something intoxicating and at the same time stupefying in the mere thought of a book, in which you could see words one after another, lines, paragraphs, pages, a book in which you could read, follow, take into your mind the new, different, diverting thoughts of another person.” ---------- Ah, isolation in silence and solitude heightens Dr. B’s appreciation for what many of us might take for granted – the wonder of all the various levels of splendor in the simple pleasure of reading a book. When we look closely, such simple pleasure contains infinite richness.

“At first I played the games through quite mechanically; yet gradually a pleasurable, aesthetic understanding awoke within me. I grasped the fine points, the perils and rigors of attack and defense, the technique of thinking ahead, planning moves and countermoves, and soon I was able to recognize the personality and style of each of the chess masters as unmistakably as one knows a poet from only a few of his lines . . . “ ---------- How about that! Beyond the bare mechanical lies the juice of the aesthetic dimension, that is, an experience of beauty, in this case, the beauty of chess’s underlying structure on multiple levels: each move, creative tactics and overarching strategy, especially the beauty of signature moves, tactics and strategies of individual chess masters.

“My white self had no sooner made a move than my black self feverishly pushed forward .“ ---------- On the level of chess, the white pieces vs. the black pieces; on the level of psychotherapy, we could consider two different aspects of the subconscious: White Self vs. Black Self. Sidebar: Too bad Dr. B’s chess book didn’t contain chess problems constructed for one player!

“When I was taken to be examined by a physician, in my derangement I had suddenly broken free, thrown myself at the window in the corridor and shattered the glass, cutting my hand – you can still see the deep scar here.” ---------- At one point, Dr. B notes how chess is a game of pure mental calculation, “a game of pure reasoning with no element of chance.” Ironically, through pure chance, Dr. B survives throwing himself at a window, since, in his derangement, he could easily have lost his life when the glass shattered. So, in this sense, life is not a game of chess – chance plays such a major part in everybody’s life.

During the chess game of Czentovic vs. Dr.B, the narrator observes: “Suddenly there was something new between the two of them: a dangerous tension, a passionate hatred. They were no longer opponents testing their ability in a spirit of play, but enemies resolved to annihilate each other. Czentovic delayed for a long time before making the first move. It was clear to me that this was intentional.” ---------- Oh, how a game can so easily and quickly degenerate into a power play of egos bent on complete obliteration of the other; how easily life can be brought down to the mindset of the Nazis.

The narrator continues to watch; he detects a profound change come over the ordinarily serene Dr. B: “All the symptoms of abnormal excitation were clearly apparent; I saw the perspiration appear on his brow while the scar on his hand became redder and stood out more sharply than before.” ----------- Perhaps the author is reminding us that in our countering Nazi mentality we are continually prone to become no less brutal and one-minded then a Nazi.

( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zweig, Stefanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, AntheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fleckhaus, WillyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gay, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montis, SilviaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pein-Schmidt, UschiContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Radvan, FlorianEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rogal, StefanContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steiner, AnneEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Unseld, SiegfriedAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ursula MonsenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
On the great passenger steamer, due to depart New York for Buenos Aires at midnight, there was the usual last-minute bustle and commotion.
All my life I have been passionately interested in monomaniacs of any kind, people carried away by a single idea. The more one limits oneself, the closer one is to the infinite; these people, as unworldly as they seem, burrow like termites into their own particular material to construct, in miniature, a strange and utterly individual image of the world.
But is it not already an insult to call chess anything so narrow as a game? Is it not also a science, an art, hovering between these categories like Muhammad's coffin between heaven and earth, a unique yoking of opposites, ancient and yet eternally new, mechanically constituted an yet an activity of the imagination alone, limited to a fixed geometric area but unlimited in its permutations, constantly evolving and yet sterile, a cogitation producing nothing, a mathematics calculating nothing, an art without an artwork, an architecture without substance and yet demonstrably more durable in its essence and actual form than all books and works, the only game that belongs to all peoples and all eras, while no one knows what god put it on earth to deaden boredom, sharpen the mind, and fortify the spirit?
Yet how difficult, how impossible it is to imagine the life of an intellectually active person who reduces the world to a shuttle between black and white, who seeks fulfillment in a mere to-and-fro, forward-and-back or thirty-two pieces, someone for whom a new opening that allows the knight to be advanced instead of the pawn is in itself a great accomplishment and a meager little piece of immortality in a corner of a chess book - someone, someone with a brain in his head, who, without going mad continues over and over for ten, twenty, thirty, forty years to devote all the force of his thought to the ridiculous end of cornering a wooden king on a wooden board!
But even thoughts, insubstantial as they seem, need a footing, or they begin to spin, to run in frenzied circles; they can't bear nothingness either.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
From the publisher-
Chess Story, also known as The Royal Game, is the Austrian master Stefan Zweig's final achievement, completed in Brazilian exile and sent off to his American publisher only days before his suicide in 1942. It is the only story in which Zweig looks at Nazism, and he does so with characteristic emphasis on the psychological.

Travelers by ship from New York to Buenos Aires find that on board with them is the world champion of chess, an arrogant and unfriendly man. They come together to try their skills against him and are soundly defeated. Then a mysterious passenger steps forward to advise them and their fortunes change. How he came to possess his extraordinary grasp of the game of chess and at what cost lie at the heart of Zweig's story.

This new translation of Chess Story brings out the work's unusual mixture of high suspense and poignant reflection.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

ResumenExpress.com presenta y analiza en esta guia de lectura Novela de ajedrez, ultimo relato del celebre escritor Stefan Zweig, que narra la pasion y la locura que desata el ajedrez en dos de sus personajes. Zweig abordara con maestria el tema de los totalitarismos, ya que su relato y la emocionante partida de ajedrez de sus personajes estaran impregnados de alusiones al ascenso de los totalitarismos en Europa en los anos treinta y cuarenta. ?Ya no tienes que leer y resumir todo el libro, nosotros lo hemos hecho por ti! Esta guia incluye: - Un resumen completo del libro - Un estudio de los personajes - Las claves de lectura - Pistas para la reflexion ?Por que elegir ResumenExpress.com? Para aprender de forma rapida. Porque nuestras publicaciones estan escritas con un estilo claro y conciso que te ayudara a ganar tiempo y a entender las obras sin esfuerzo. Disponibles en formato impreso y digital, te acompanaran en tu aventura literaria.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.12)
0.5 1
1 2
1.5 4
2 20
2.5 5
3 113
3.5 67
4 358
4.5 73
5 284

NYRB Classics

An edition of this book was published by NYRB Classics.

» Publisher information page

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 136,467,927 books! | Top bar: Always visible