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The Chess Machine by Robert Löhr

The Chess Machine (2005)

by Robert Löhr

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Different and fascinating! ( )
  tabascofromgudreads | Apr 19, 2014 |
I bought the book based on the cover alone and never realised that it's by a german author. I hadn't heard of kempelen either. The story itself was interesting, but i missed kempelen's motive for deceiving people so thoroughly although he was a scientist, and what drove him to kill.
  verenka | Sep 27, 2011 |
Robert Löhr's The Chess Machine (translated from the German by Andrea Bell and published by Penguin in 2007) is a fictionalized version of the story of the Mechanical Turk, a historical hoax produced by Wolfgang von Kempelen and exhibited around Europe in the final decades of the 18th century (and extant until 1854, when it was destroyed in a Philadelphia fire). While we don't know too much at all about the original operator of the Turk, Löhr has given us a character in the person of Tibor, an Italian dwarf plucked from jail by Kempelen and effectively held hostage as the Turk's inner workings.

Tibor, von Kempelen, and the erstwhile assistant Jakob soon discover that their secret is going to be a tough one to keep hidden, and that the steps they have to take to keep the Turk in operation might be troubling ones.

I enjoyed this book; the story held my interest, the writing was excellent, and the way Löhr manages to turn the narrative itself into a very complicated chess match was very well done.

http://philobiblos.blogspot.com/2010/10/book-review-chess-machine.html ( )
  JBD1 | Oct 4, 2010 |
*Inventing Madness*

Like the device this story is about, this book is like an intricate mechanism that has cogwheels turning the pages, springs to keep the reader in the lurch, pullies that tug the reader along without pause. It has many gears for continuous movement from start to finish. The Chess Machine offers the reader a lighthearted fun frolic through Europe in the late 1700s as we learn the story that is based on the true life invention of the Mechanical Turk. The Turk was an automaton chess playing machine invented by Wolfgang Kempelen who created this mechanical marvel and took Europe by storm taking it on the road to entertain the wealthy and the royal. This is a creative novel with a plot and story different than the norm and offers the reader many hours of pure reading enjoyment. We have great characters, a creative story, good writing and many well thought out side plots that twist and turn. There are few slow spots but basically the story moves along at a good pace, never predictable and has a few surprises that come at you rather sudden to leave you stunned. There is great character development for a few of the key players and the author blends sincere human emotions with constant conflicting morals and values to allow them to come alive on paper. I thoroughly enjoyed the ingenuity of this novel and felt it a breath of fresh air to read something out of the ordinary. This is a very visual story, very colorful with vivid historical costumed scenes and lavish backdrops. Because of that I think it would make a splendid film as well. This is truly a wonderful debut novel and I eagerly await another book from the author. ( )
  vernefan | Dec 5, 2009 |
In the late 18th century, a fabulous new scientific oddity was the toast of Europe. The Turk, a chess-playing automaton built by Wolfgang von Kempelen, was defeating chess masters across Europe. It was a true marvel of the times -- a machine, built after the fashion of a Turkish ruler, that was capable of thought. Built for the amusement of Empress Maria Theresa of Hungary, it played chess, the game of kings, against rulers and commoners alike. In 1808, it played its most famous foe, Napoleon Bonaparte. The Turk was eventually retired, sold, and was destroyed in a fire at Peale's Chinese Museum in Philadelphia in 1854. But what was the secret behind this machine that dazzled royalty and astounded the court machinicians? Robert Lohr devises a tale for The Turk full of intrigue and heartbreak in his novel, The Chess Machine.

My full review is here.
  LisaLynne | Jul 29, 2009 |
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Yet none of these ideas is developed to a point where it drives either plot or character; they are merely an arcane embellishment to a pacy historical thriller.
Istorijska pustolovina o legendarnom pokušaju obmane koja oduzima dah.

Od venecijanske tamnice do carskog dvora u Beču, od plemićkih palata do uličica jevrejske četvrti – uzbudljiv istorijski i pustolovni roman o najčuvenijoj prevari 18. veka.

Kada je godine 1770. dvorski savetnik Volfgang fon Kempelen na habzburškom dvoru predstavio svoju mašinu koja igra šah, čovek-mašina važio je za najveličanstveniju tekovinu veka. Ali u unutrašnjosti mašine, zapravo, krio se jedan patuljak – i taj čovečji mozak pokazao se ujedno kao umirući i, na kraju, smrtan. Od tada, senzacija koja je predstavljena u Presburgu ubrzo postaje najomiljeniji eksponat u Ugarskom carstvu. Ono što habzburški dvor proglašava za najveći pronalazak veka, nije ništa drugo do sjajna obmana: mozak automata je čovek – Tibor, Italijan patuljastog rasta, upravlja iz utrobe automata „Turčinom koji igra šah“. Čovek-mašina postaje meta špijunaže, crkvene hajke i plemićkih spletkarenja – i Tibor mora da nadraste samog sebe da ne bi propao zajedno sa šahovskom mašinom.
added by Sensei-CRS | editknjigainfo.com

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Löhrprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Miralles de Imperial, LluísTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bell, AntheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Del Monte, AndréTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michahelles, KristinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miralles de Imperial, LluísTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nordang, AstridTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Virkkunen, RiittaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weerdt-Schellekens, Henriëtte vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On the way from Vienna to Paris with his family Wolfgang von Kempelen stopped in Neuchâtel, where on 11 March 1783, at the inn on the marketplace, he presented his legendary chess machine, an android in Turkish robes that could play chess.
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Þegar Wolfgang von Kempelen kynnir til sögunnar ótrúlega uppfinningu sína í Vín árið 1770 verður uppi fótur og fit: þetta er skákvél í mannsmynd. Að baki býr þó ekki hugvit Kempelens eins og flestir trúa, heldur snilligáfa ítalska dvergsins Tibors sem stjórnar vélinni innan frá – því í raun er þetta stórbrotna og umtalaða tækniundur ekki annað en meiri háttar sjónhverfing og tál.Kempelen fer með fylgdarliði sínu vítt um Evrópu til að sýna skákmenni sitt og hvarvetna undrast menn fyrirbærið og dást að því. En þegar fögur tælandi hefðarkona lætur lífið á voveiflegan hátt í návist Skáktyrkjans vakna illar grunsemdir og tortryggni í garð uppfinningamannsins.Hvert er hið myrka leyndarmál að baki vélinni og af hvaða rótum er vald hennar runnið?Skáktyrkinn eftir Robert Löhr er margslungin söguleg skáldsaga og fjallar á áhrifamikinn hátt um þjóðsagnakennda uppfinningu og þann vef blekkinga, öfundar, hneykslismála og losta sem spinnst í kringum hana við hirðina í Vínarborg í lok 18. aldar.
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Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen dazzles the public with the "creation" of an automated chess-playing machine that is secretly operated from within by an outcast Italian dwarf, until the mysterious death of a seductive countess places the machine under suspicion.… (more)

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