Read Satranç by Stefan Zweig Ayça Sabuncuoğlu Online

satran

Rastlantı sonucu eline geçidiği bir kitapla satrancın inceliklerini öğrenerek bu oyunu bir tutkuya dönüştüren ve giderek bu tutkusu yüzünden beyin hummasına yakalanan Dr. B.'nin öyküsüdür görünüşte Satranç. Ama derinlerde bir veda mektubudur aslında.Stefan Zweig'ın Brezilya'da sürgündeyken yazdığı ve Şubat 1942'deki intiharından birkaç ay önce tamamladığı Satranç, Avrupa kRastlantı sonucu eline geçidiği bir kitapla satrancın inceliklerini öğrenerek bu oyunu bir tutkuya dönüştüren ve giderek bu tutkusu yüzünden beyin hummasına yakalanan Dr. B.'nin öyküsüdür görünüşte Satranç. Ama derinlerde bir veda mektubudur aslında.Stefan Zweig'ın Brezilya'da sürgündeyken yazdığı ve Şubat 1942'deki intiharından birkaç ay önce tamamladığı Satranç, Avrupa kültürünün nasyonal sosyalist tehlike altında yok oluşuna işaret eder.Avrupa kültürüne elveda derken yaşama da veda etmeyi seçen Zweig'ın son yapıtı Satranç, gerilimli kurgusu ve kahramanın ruhsal gelgitlerinin işlendiği dokusuyla, kısa ama her bakımdan etkileyici olağanüstü bir uzun öyküdür....

Title : Satranç
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9789755103556
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 72 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Satranç Reviews

  • MohammedAli
    2018-12-31 10:59

    كيف تعرف أنّك بصدد قراءة عمل عبقري ؟بالنسبة لي صراحة هو تلك النوعية من الأعمال التّي تفاجئك، التّي تخبطك، التّي تلطمك، تصفعك، تضربك .. لا أدري كيف أصف حقيقة أو ماهية هذا الشعور، و لكن أظن أنّ أغلبكم قد جرّبه.تختار قصّة ما أو رواية أو حتّى كتاب و تبدأ في القراءة و كحال البدايات دائما ما يكون هناك نوع طفيف من الملل .. و أحيانا يصاحب هذا الملل نوع من الندم على هذا الإختيار، و هنا أنا أتحدث عن شعور ضئيل جدا و لكنّه موجود، ثم فجأة و من دون سابق إنذار تجد نفسك تجري بين السطور متعلقا و منغمسا بمعاني الكلمات، متأملا في سيرورة الأحداث، تجد نفسك و قد قرأت عدّة صفحات دون شعور .. لأنك تلاحمت و انغمست، بل و سافرت داخل هذه التركيبة من الكلمات .. و هذا هو العمل العبقري الذّي لم و لن يرتبط بعدد الصفحات أبدا . و قصّتنا هذه تنتمي إلى هذا النوع من الإبداع .سأكتفي بهذا القدر .. و لن أذكر شيئا بخصوص هذه القصّة، و سأكتفي أيضا بترشيحها لعشاق الأعمال العميقة الغريبة و الجذابة .

  • Glenn Russell
    2019-01-08 06:02

    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.

  • Alejandro
    2019-01-18 05:51

    e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6An interesting short story that it's one of the most famous works by the writer Stefan Zweig that even sadly was published after his suicide.d4 Bg4When a story is presented in another language, some elements are lost in the translation, and I think that while Chess Story is a pretty good title, its original title was "The Royal Game" that I think it gives to the story an air of refinement, class and elegance.dxe5 Bxf3Besides my interest to try this author, I was intrigued about this short story that evidently was about the game of kings, chess. I am not a good player of chess and I remember how an uncle of mine that he was the one who taught me, he always beat me, every single game, and only once I was able to beat him, I was still a little kid but I clearly remember still how I ran around the house celebrating my victory over my "teacher".Qxf3 dxe5 6. Bc4 Nf6And interesting enough, I remember (this time not so many long ago) when I was on vacations in a jungle lodge along with my then girlfriend and meanwhile we were waiting for a lodge's boat for a river tour, quite early in the morning, we were on the lodge's game room and there was a chessboard. She asked me if I was interested to play meanwhile the boat would be ready. We play, she lost, and we never play chess anymore in the trip. Qb3 Qe7There is an odd effect when we lose on a chess game. I think that anybody thinks that the victor is smarter than the loser. Even, there is the odd custom to think that any chessplayer, and even more a grandmaster must be a really intelligent person. If someone is really good at poker, people can consider him/her like a "wiseguy" and/or a "street smart", but in chess? Oh, they must be intelligent!Nc3I remember a trivia about the movies of "X-Men" that the production team had to look for a chess teacher for Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen, since they needed to do some scenes playing chess,... adn they didn't know how to play chess!!! I couldn't believe it! Two old BRITISH actors whom seemed so wise that didn't know how to play chess. Again, the common preconception of society that intelligent people should know how to play chess. Curiously enough, they didn't need to do any complicated moves and nevertheless they looked for a Chess Grandmaster to teach them!c6It was amusing how this short story reminded me about three TV episodes from the Star Trek franchise: "Let that be your Last Battlefield" (The Original Series, 1969), where you have the last two surviving aliens after a terrible war between two races of a planet where ones had "black" on the left side of the body and "white" on the right side, and the others just the opposite positions of the same colors. "Peak Performance" (The Next Generation, 1989), where a Federation strategist master, who is quite arrogant, sure of himself on his tactics' knowledge, puts on test in war games to the Enterprise-D's crew. And finally "Chain of Command" Parts 1 & 2 (The Next Generation, 1992), where Captain Picard is captured and submitted to a cruel interrogation. Since Chess Story was originally published on 1942, I wouldn't be surprised that the writers of those episodes took inspiration from several elements of this short story to develop their own scripts.Bg5 b5It's quite interesting that the narrator of this story, while he is present and even he interacts with the main characters, one doesn't know what is his name and even he is not really pivotal on the evolution of the events.Nxb5And commenting about that, it's quite odd to pick "protagonist" and "antagonist" in this story. Sure, you can hasten on calling Czentovic as the "antagonist" and Dr. B as the "protagonist". However, is that simple? Both has complicated issues, both has conflictive personalities depending the situation. Surely, you can sympathize easier with Dr. B's past but... is Czentovic really guilty of how he is now? Or his own past is also kinda exculpatory of his current personality?cxb5Maybe Czentovic and Dr. B are playing in "black & white" boards but hardly they can be seen in so pragmatic absolutes, instead they have a lot of shades of gray.Bxb5+ Nbd7. 0-0-0Something that impacted me on the reading of this crafty short story is that both main characters, Czentovic and Dr. B, they share an equal sad trait... both lost the joy of playing chess. Sure, both are masters on the royal game, but honestly, neither of them are enjoying to play it anymore. Rd8. Rxd7 Rxd7I couldn't dare to know for real what Stefan Zweig wanted to tell to his readers but at least to me, I got an important lesson: You shouldn't never to get so obsessive while doing what you do for love, reaching a level where you don't enjoy anymore of doing it.Rd1Everybody has passions but when you get obssesed about it, you lose the joy of doing it. The most important thing is to keep enjoying whatever you do for the fun of doing it.Qe6Life is too short. Enjoy whatever you do. And even something that it's considered as a hobby, an activity of relaxation, can be perverted if you don't enjoy anymore while doing it.Bxd7+ Nxd7Commenting about something else, I can't avoid to tell how much amusent provoked me when the priest, who took care of Czentovic, exclaimed: "Balaam's ass!" Honestly, I don't what a priest usually says when he is shocked or when he needs to curse, but reading that exclamation was priceless. So funny!Qb8+I am truly glad of having read this short story and I hope to read some more material by this author in the future.Nxb8 17. Rd8#Checkmate! 'Nuff said!

  • s.p
    2019-01-22 11:04

    ‘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.’Chess, the ‘Royal Game’, ‘regally eschews the tyranny of chance and awards its palms of victory only to the intellect, or rather to a certain type of intellectual gift.’ Stefan Zweig plunges the reader into this cold, calculating world through a simple premise of a chess match between the reigning world champion and a mysterious doctor who reveals an incredible knowledge of the game’s strategy despite his claims that he hasn’t touched a chessboard for over twenty years. In a mere 80 pages, Zweig’s Chess Story, reaches an emotional and psychological depth that leaves the reader shivering with horror through a haunting allegory of Nazi Germany where human lives are mere wooden pieces to be strategically moved and sacrificed by an indifferent hand.Zweig’s grasp on human nature is chillingly accurate, and the few characters presented come alive through such simple descriptions of their psychology, made easily accessible through having a psychologist serve as the narrator. Czentovic, the reigning world chess champion, quickly develops into a lifelike monomaniac through the brief summary of his life. This apathetic, uneducated youth miraculously develops a keen intellect for chess, being described as ‘Balaam’s ass’ when his talents are revealed, and quickly defeats chess masters across the world which ‘transformed his original lack of self-confidence into a cold pride that for the most part he did not trouble to hide.’ Zweig presents us with a highly unlikeable adversary, a wealthy, self-important man who looks upon all those around him as if they ‘were lifeless wooden pieces’ despite his vulgar manners and ‘boundless ignorance’ towards anything intellectual aside from chess (there is a wonderful aside where the narrators fried remarks ‘isn’t it damn easy to think you’re a great man if you aren’t troubled by the slightest notion that Rembrandt, Beethoven, Dante, or Napoleon even existed?’). We can all put a face to this character, we’ve all encountered someone vain and offensive who, despite our disdain, will always be able to sneer down upon us because we are no match to the one talent they hold most dear. While aboard a steamship, the passengers arrange a chess match with the great Czentovic, him versus all others, in which he crushed them in the first game without hiding his arrogance of being the superior. Enter our hero, Dr. B, an immediately likeable, shy and nervous man with an immense intellect that bestows a method for forcing a draw with the great chess master. For the majority of the novella, the reader must face the horrors of Dr. B’s pas to understand where his talents grew, somehow blossoming in the cracks of soul-crushing interment in the Gestapo headquarters. Often relaying the story in the second-person, the use of ‘you’ brings the reader into maddening solitude of Dr. B, enduring his pain along with him, and even the most calloused of readers must come away with a residue of unbearable horrors and madness forever coating their consciousness. Zweig, having fled his home in Austria in fear of the Nazis, forces the reader to witness and endure a fate worse than the sickening dehumanization and deathly labor of a concentration camp, but to share in his solitude, emphasized in frightening proportions by Dr. B’s torment that is ‘a force more sophisticated than crude beating of physical torture: the most exquisite isolation imaginable’.The allegory presented in the novella is sickening enough to rot any heart. We have Germany ruled by an inhumane, obdurate hand, cold and calculating in each move it makes, and we have the artistic mind going mad in solitude. Creativity and art is trampled by the sinister, calculating powers that march forward seeking victory, unshaken by the countless lives that must be sacrificed to achieve it. Chess, however, is a game of two sides, black and white, and Zweig pushes his allegory even further to represent this duality. As in the ‘blind’ games played in Dr. B’s head, Germany undergoes schizophrenia of sorts, declaring war on itself by seeking to exterminate those within, be it for their religious or political views. While chess becomes a solace to Dr. B, it can also be observed as a metaphor of National Socialism – what had roots as something empowering, something to cling to in order to rise up from the depth of depression (ie. his solitude or the state of Germany post-WWI), can become something fierce, violent and destructive as history has revealed and as is seen in the mania that grips our hero in this tale. Zweig displays a mastery over his writing much as his characters do over chess. While the subject matter is sure to weigh heavy on the mind¹, the writing comes across effortlessly and pleasingly, almost as if it were intended to purvey an uplifting, humorous tale. I had a laugh as Zweig probed my own literary pretentions, casting Czentovic’s vain disinterest and quick removal from the vicinity of a chess match between two ‘third-rate’ players as being ‘as naturally as any of us might toss aside a bad detective novel in a bookstore without even opening it, he walked away from our table and out of the smoking room.’ The language flows and manages to embrace the reader through its simplicity, although it drags along a heavy burden with it. There was one aspect of the narrative that specifically caught my attention, and as I am still just a blind child testing the waters of literature, I would like to present to those of you whom I look up to this query of mine. Zweig often has his narrator connect the dots for the reader, such as when Czentovic states that he allowed the draw to happen, saying ‘I deliberately gave him a chance’, a few lines later the narrator asserts that ‘as we all knew, Czentovic had certainly not magnanimously given our unknown benefactor a chance, and this remark was nothing more than a simple-minded excuse for his own failure.’ Now, most readers would have been able to draw this conclusion themselves, and it seems a bit insulting that Zweig would feel he has to baby the reader (this happens multiple times in the first thirty pages), however, as the narrator is not Zweig, or even anyone purporting to be a writer, but instead a psychologist, does that excuse the overly explanatory nature of the writing? The narrator, being a psychologist, would want the reader to understand because, as he states, he wants to be able to analyze the mind of a monomaniac and this method ensures the reader is keeping up. Or, on the other hand (chess is black and white, might as well make room for a battle of wits here), is this method something to be a bit disappointed with? Perhaps I am spoiled having read so much Faulkner in my teens and finding enjoyment in authors that leave much to the reader to piece together. I would be very interested to see what my goodread friends think of this technique, as I want to excuse Zweig because he is keeping to a proper voice, yet I dislike it when authors explain things. For years I’ve deplored Ayn Rand for not letting so much as a scoff emit from a character without explaining the implications of the scoff.Chess Story is a tiny powerhouse of depth. The conclusion had me pacing back and forth in the snow smoking a cigarette to calm the ever-increasing beating of my heart. It is horrific, it is harrowing, it is pure brilliance floating from the page. Despite it’s small size, this is not a novella to be taken lightly, as it will leave a dark cloud over your thoughts once the final page has found its way into your heart. Zweig is a master of the human psychology, and a master and condensing such potent messages into a tiny novella. The clash between an uncaring, calculating intellect and the manic but human mind of a hero will grip you until the end, which comes both mercifully soon (this book is easily read in an hour), yet far too soon. The allegory is ripe and shakes you to the core.4.5/5¹ The fact that Zweig eliminated his own map shortly after completion of Chess Story will come as no surprise, for the darkness this story wallows in is something that an optimistic mind wouldn’t dare approach. As Nietzsche said: ‘ if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you’. When I was at the edge of my teenage years, a former English teacher and close friend of mine warned me of wallowing in the darkness of literature and philosophy, telling me ‘the longer you flirt with darkness, the more it seeps into your soul’, which, while being a spin on the Nietzsche quote, has never left the back of my mind. From that I learned to climb out from the depths and appreciate things that satisfy a lighter side of myself, the white side of the chessboard, without spending all my time feeding the darker side. Without such guidance I wouldn't be here to write this today.‘But is it not already an insult to call chess anything so narrow as a game? Is it not also a science, an art, a unique yoking of opposites, ancient and yet eternally new, mechanically constituted and 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, 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? Where does it begin, where does it end?’

  • Helen Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος Vernus Portitor Arcanus Ταμετούρο Αμούν Arnum
    2019-01-18 05:09

    "άλλο δε ζητώ παρα να μου δοθει ετούτη η χάρη, να μιλησω απλά..."Παρά την μικρή του έκταση είναι ένα πολύ γεμάτο και διεισδυτικό βιβλιο. Μας ταξιδευει μέχρι τα όρια της ανθρώπινης αντοχής όταν καποιο άτομο έχει εγκλειστεί στο τίποτα του εαυτου του και έχει αγγίξει τη φρίκη της κοινωνικής απομόνωσης. Με κεντρικό θέμα την σκακιστική δεξιότητα που μπορεί να θριαμβεύει σχεδόν το ίδιο σε ένα φτωχό,άξεστο και αμόρφωτο άτομο όσο και σε έναν άλλο πνευματικά καλλιεργημένο,κοινωνικά καταξιωμένο αλλά και διαταραγμένο ψυχικά.Ο τρόπος αφήγησης εντυπωσιακός και η αγωνία δεν σταματάει μέχρι την τελευταία σελίδα. Με μεγάλη μαεστρία ο συγγραφέας σκιαγραφεί προσωπικότητες και ιδιοσυγκρασίες προσώπων εντελώς ανόμοιων σε όλες τις εκφάνσεις της ζωής τους, οι οποίοι καταλήγουν να παίζουν και να παρακολουθούν παρτίδες παιχνιδιών του μυαλού τους. Όλη η σκακιστική ψυχολογική αναμέτρηση γίνεται μέσα σε ένα πλοίο απο Νέα Υόρκη προς Λατινική Αμερική όπου οι Ευρωπαίοι επιβάτες θύματα του ναζισμού προσπαθούν να ξεφύγουν απο τη βαναυσότητα του πολέμου. Το βιβλιο διαβάζεται απολαυστικά ακόμη κι απο αυτούς που δεν έχουν και ιδιαίτερη σχέση με το σκάκι. Άλλωστε το κεντρικό θέμα δεν ειναι αυτό. Αλλα η ανθρώπινη αναμέτρηση με τα θεριά του πολέμου, της φρίκης του εγκλεισμού, και της αναγκαστικής εμμονής ως μόνη ελπίδα διαφυγής προς την ελευθερία. "Τα γόνατά μου άρχισαν να τρέμουν: ένα ΒΙΒΛΙΟ! Τέσσερις μήνες είχα να πιάσω βιβλίο στα χέρια μου και στην ιδέα και μόνο πως θα μπορούσα να δω λέξεις αραδιασμένες τη μια μετά την άλλη, γραμμές ολόκληρες, σελίδες, φύλλα, στην ιδέα και μόνο ότι θα μπορούσα να διαβάσω νέες, αλλιώτικες σκέψεις, σκέψεις άλλων ανθρώπων, να τις παρακολουθήσω νοερά και να ξεχαστώ, ένιωσα μεθυσμένος και ταυτόχρονα ναρκωμένος."Καλή ανάγνωση.Πολλούς ασπασμούς!

  • Kalliope
    2019-01-14 07:58

    This book is about the workings of the mind.But before I go into that, let me start by saying that to me the name of Stefan Zweig evokes a feeling of nostalgia. Of course, this is foremost due to the title of his famous memoirs, and because we know that he belonged to a world that was disappearing. And probably because he realized this he decided to depart from it.But for me it creates an additional longing. It makes me yearn for a world in which I did not yet exist, a world that followed Zweig’s. In particular the beginning of this novel, which starts out in a ship travelling from New York to Buenos Aires, at a time when these two cities, together with Shanghai, were the most cosmopolitan centers in the world, made me think of a few decades later when my parents were young and left their country and boarded on ships that would take them to New York and to Buenos Aires and other places.Nostalgia is also part of our fantasy.Zweig’s novella is a meditation on the nature of the mind: how it creates its own reality, how it lives thanks to sensations and perceptions, but also on how it can get trapped and fall prey to circular thinking.His story makes you think about the heart of imagination, what is the feeling of anticipation and how an inner mental projection can elicit joy. Zweig presents how curiosity provides a pleasure that the mind needs, but if this curiosity is not tamed it can also enslave the mind. Similarly, surprise is conceived as sudden state that gives fresh air to the mind. For the reader it is easy to identify those mental phenomena, because Zweig focuses on the effects that an object, which is both simple and complex, can provide. Such delicious and nourishing food for the mind is brought about by a book.Through Zweig’s writing we observe the process of thinking and learning and problem solving, and how these constitute the gymnastics of the brain. The mind needs to explore its limits and exert itself. It needs to surmount obstacles and for this some degree of discipline is required. Understanding, creativity, the power of the brain when it concentrates on a single task, the agility and flexibility that it is capable of-- all of these aspects parade through this tale.We also see that if the mind’s nature is abstract it, however, also has to be able to project outside itself. It needs to record what is in the world and absorb it, and if its space and universe is limited, its locked up habitat will be disastrous. This is what Zweig calls materielle Exterritorialisierung.By studying what happens to the mind when it is put in a vacuum, in isolation, when it is on a diet of sensory stimuli, which is its vital source of energy, Zweig creates a situation of despair, a monotony that would only sound like a single tone with no rhythm. He presents us the mental existence of Nothingness, in which one can only enslave himself (Der Sklave des Nichts).Because related to sensory input and the capability to project onto larger space, for the mind, in spite of its cogito abilities it is essential to be able to deal with one of the most abstract concepts: it needs to measure time. If one is deprived of a system of proportions, time just does not exist: it conflates. And the mind is in the void.It is then that consciousness can split, because the mind has turned against itself, and dichotomies and paradoxes and impossibilities relish in this new schizophrenic self. The poisonous obsessions possess the psyche. Anxiety and patience confront each other like opposing players in a chess game.Either Nonsense or a new Self emerges.And of course, all of the above is developed through a gripping plot.

  • Florencia
    2019-01-20 05:55

    ...nothing on earth exerts such pressure on the human soul as a void. (19)Black. White. Which is it? Which one is our nature? We can be good, we can be cruel. We praise ourselves saying being human entails being good. We have daily proofs that is not necessary the case. If we are meant to be good and we are not, our mind have lost the battle against a deviation. Or against our true nature. Now that is a depressing thought.I had this book on my to-read shelf for months. And I wasn't going to read it this soon. A Goodreads group crossed my path and here I am. I am so glad it did. I was missing a brilliant, perceptive observer of the human condition. Zweig had a keen eye to deal with the psychological aspects of human beings with the simplicity that characterizes great writers. Humble erudition is what makes me love an author. Complicated writing and pretentious words are fine if they are used properly; otherwise, everything is forgettable. I don't only need to know that you know; let me learn too. Black. White. The mind has to choose. A million possibilities lying in a black and white board with sixty-four little squares dividing A from B. Day from night. Good from evil. A dichotomy present in every human life. It is there, inside, waiting for a decision. You are thinking: Which path should I take?Time. Time is needed to decide. And often it is not enough.Keep the pressure on, advance instead of defending! (14)Zweig seems to be the kind of author that share the characters' psyches without hesitation. That help us understand more. Even while writing about how the mind is supposed to work, with the complexity that such a task entails. But he succeeded and with a beautiful, simple and refreshing prose. You feel what he wrote. He tended to repeat keywords in order to emphasize a particular situation, thought, feeling, etc.; that embellishes the sentence with a unique melody.The novella starts with a recount of Mirko Czentovic's story, the world chess champion. A young man whose ignorance was universal in all fields, but played chess like no one in the world and was now visiting my dear Buenos Aires. As soon as Mirko had done his chores around the house, he sat stolidly in the living-room with that vacant gaze seen in sheep out at pasture, paying not the least attention to what was going on around him. (5)That was described as apathy. To be able to switch off the inner processes that often haunt us, just for a minute, in order to subtract yourself from reality and dwell in reverie... Or nothing. To think nothing. To want nothing. To put the restless soul in a lethargic state without knowing what is going on around us. Well...Anyway, the boy learnt to play chess only by looking at some men playing it. (Hard to imagine, and I am not saying it because I tried that when I was younger. But why on earth would I question that fact in literature? Strangest things have happened.) Czentovic was a grotesque, simple-minded boy lost in the world of the mind. A boy that in a relatively short period of time, after tasting the bittersweet elixir of money and fame, became a cold, ostentatiously proud person. Unfortunately, several times I had the unpleasant experience of seeing how a simple person that came from a humble background could turn into an arrogant figure after achieving some material success.Arrogance and confidence are two different things. And that relies on the fact that despite his annoying pride, Czentovic was still insecure. He never talked to well-educated people because he feared he would say something stupid. Behind that self-absorbed body language, an overwhelming insecurity was hidden.There is psychological material in everyone, even in the apparently simplest man of all.Black. White. A steppenwolf inside. Which nature will defeat the other? Does our opinion matter? And, which one are we? A. B. Both. The reckless combination of light and darkness. Always obsessively looking for a referent. An answer. A cure. The permanence of sanity.You were left irredeemably alone with yourself, your body, and the four or five silent objects, table, bed, window, washbasin... There was nothing to do, nothing to hear, nothing to see, you were surrounded everywhere, all the time, by the void, that entirely spaceless, timeless vacuum. You walked up and down, and your thoughts went up and down with you, up and down, again and again. But even thoughts, insubstantial as they may seem, need something to fix on, or they begin to rotate and circle aimlessly around themselves; they can’t tolerate a vacuum either. You kept waiting for something from morning to evening, and nothing happened. You waited again, and yet again. Nothing happened. You waited, waited, waited, you thought, you thought, you thought until your head was aching. Nothing happened. You were left alone. Alone. Alone. (19)This novella was a delight to read. All the characters amused me or disgusted me with the same intensity. Zweig described them so vividly. His writing reflects the characters' mood with perfection. I could almost hear the sneer coming from McConnor's rage after losing his first game. I could almost see Czentovic's cold and defying eyes while playing his insensitive game. Or Dr B. predicting all the possible moves with ecstatic frenzy. I suddenly became another eager witness in the middle of a growing excitement. I could also feel the oppression of his soul while he was narrating his confinement in an empty room. I read and absorbed it all. His despair, his tedium, sorrow and fear. I was to retch and retch on my own thoughts until they choked me... (21)In conclusion, intriguing plot, interesting characters, situations described so vividly that you can almost touch them and a magnificent, accessible writing with the power to dazzle you until the end. Yes and a thousand times “yes”. Another writer to admire. Black. White. And we are in the middle, surrounded by many combinations, many possibilities, paths and decisions. Two sides of us coexisting in one body. Perhaps, two people writing these rambling thoughts. Thoughts and more thoughts. Questioning, torturing, haunting.We are in the middle. No king has been defeated, yet Life ironically cries "Checkmate!".May 14, 14* Also on my blog.** Photo credit: Photo 1 via schachzweig.dePhoto 2 via DataTracks

  • Agir(آگِر)
    2019-01-05 05:08

    بعضی وقت ها تک تک خط های کتابی را درک می کنیم ولی دریغ از فهمیدن خط اصلی کتاب یعنی آن چیزی که نویسنده را واداشته تا چنین کتابی را بنویسدچیزی که می خواهد به ما بگویدنمی توانستم باور کنم که کسی بتواند تمام وجود و روح و روانش را در دایره ی این بازی محدود کنداینجاست که باید بری سراغ نویسنده و اوضاع اجتماعی و دنیایی که او در آن زندگی کرده استمخصوصا چنین کتابی که روز بعد از اتمام آن، استیفن تسوایگ و لوته(همسرش) محلول کشنده ورونال را سر کشیدندکتاب شطرنج را در کشوی میزکارش پیدا کردند و سال بعد در استکهلم به زبان اصلی چاپ و منتشر شد: آنچه تسوایک در این کتاب می خواهد به ما بگویدتسوایک مردی بود که بندرت نظراتش را در مورد سیاست و اتفاقات دنیا صریحا بیان می کرداو با همان شیوه خودش در این کتاب می خواهد تفاوت دو جهان را نشان بدهد: جهانی که خودش و روشنفکران در آن زندگی می کردند با جهانی واقعیو برای نشان دادن جهانش، شطرنج مصداق خوبی استتنها شطرنج است که شانس و تصادف و تقلب به هیچ شکل در آن راه ندارد، و پیروزی در این صحنه به هوشمندی یا نوعی هوشمندی، وابسته استاما این جهان با جهان واقعی خیلی فرق دارد. جهانی که در آن هیتلرها و فاشیست ها کوره های آدم سوزی راه می اندازند و خیلی راحت انسان ها را قتل عام می کنندتسوایگ در کتاب "جهان دیروز" می‌نویسد: من و دوستان جوانم فکر و ذکری جز ادبیات نداشتیم، هیچ متوجه نبودیم که تحولات سیاسی خطرناکی در پیرامون ما روی می‌ دهد. کتاب‌ها و نقش‌ های زیبا نگاه ما را پر کرده بود، در حالی که زندگی در زشتی و پلیدی فرو می‌رفت:در این کتاب این اندیشه را چنین بیان می کندتجسم این قضیه برای من دشوار بود که یک انسان تمام و وجود و هستی اش را در شصت و چهار خانه ی سیاه و سفید صفحه شظرنج خلاصه و محدود کند. یک انسان چگونه می تواند در چنین محدوده ای بماند و فکر و ذکرش این باشد که چگونه مهره های سی و دوگانه را در خانه های سیاه و سفید پس و پیش ببرد و بازی را چگونه و از کجا شروع کند؟همین باعث می شود در درونش وارد نبردی سهمگین بشود : تسوایگ در برابر تسوایگدر این بازی من هم سیاه بودم و هم سفید. سیاه که من بودم با سفید می جنگید، که آن هم من بودم و هرکدام از این دو می خواستند پیروز شوند. و هروقت که یکی از این دو حریف پیروز می شد، نمی دانستم چه احساسی باید داشته باشم. چون قسمتی از مغز من بر قسمت دیگری پیروز شده بودانسان دیگری در من بود که می خواست از حق خود دفاع کند اما نمی توانست، و ناچار به ضدیت با انسان دیگری که در من بود، می پرداخت و مرا دچار شیدایی و بی قراری می کردتسوایگ چنان روح ظریفی داشته که طاقت دیدن خشونت های نازی ها را نداشته ابتدا به لندن و سپس به آمریکا می رودو بعد آنجا را ترک می کند علتش شاید این باشد که این دو کشور هم وارد جنگ می شوند و یا خواهند شد و او می خواهد از چنین دنیای واقعی فرار کند و و به دنیایی که دوستش دارد پناه ببرد و همین است که سر از آمریکای جنوبی و بزریل در می آورداما بعد مدتی از آنجا هم خسته می شود چون از کشور و از آرمان های اصلیش دور افتاده:او در آخرین نامه اش چنین می نویسدکاری برای انجام دادن نبود، نه برای شنیدن، نه برای دیدن، خلأ همه جا را فرا گرفته بود...خلئی کاملاً بی‌حجم و بی زمانطی سالهای دراز دربدری و آوارگی خسته شده و دیگر توان ادامه به زندگی ندارم:حرف آخربه زندگی تسوایگ و خودکشی اش باید با دقت بیشتری پرداخته شوداینکه نباید در دنیایی رویایی فرو رفت و قدرت فاشیست ها و نژادپرست ها و افراطی ها را دست کم گرفت..و گرنه دوباره تاریخ تکرار خواهد شدرومن رولان می گوید: نویسنده باید با اسلحه قلم خود در برابر زورگویان و جنگ طلبان بایستدنمونه چنین نویسنده ای «توماس مان» آلمانی بود که با تمام احترامی که برای تسوایگ قائل بود انزجارش از خودکشی او را پنهان نکرداو هرگز نمی‌بایست این پیروزی را به نازی ها ارزانی می داشت، و اگر نفرت و انزجارش از آن‌ ها بیشتر از این بود، هیچ‌ گاه به چنین عملی دست نمی زد:خلاصه از کتاب در این خلاصه علت برداشت هایی که داشته ام را آورده ام و همچنین مقایسه شخصیت ها(view spoiler)[در آغاز کتاب با چنتُوویک جوانی بی سواد و کند ذهن و بی ادب آشنا می شویم که استعداد نابی در شطرنج دارد و در آینده قهرمان جهان می شوداین آدم بی شباهت به هیتلر نیست که در سخنرانی ها نبوغ فوق العاده ای داشت و همه را تحت تاثیر قرار می دادبعد با آقای "ب" آشنا می شویم که مردی اتریشی و زندانی نازی ها بوده است و از لحاظی به خود نویسنده شباهت دارداو را که مرد باسواد است، شکنجه روحی می دهند تا رازهایی را که می داند اعتراف کنددر اینجا از شکنجه خبری نبود، و کسی با ما کاری نداشت، اما می خواستند فکر و روح ما را زیر فشار بگذارند که تحمل آزارهای فکری و روحی از شکنجه های جسمی دشوارتر است. در اتاق من شکنجه ی تنهایی پایان ناپذیر بود. در اطراف من چیزی نبود جز میز و تختخواب و کاغذ دیواری و غیر از خودم هیچ انسانی نمی دیدم. حتی یک مداد نداشتم که چیزی بنویسم. هیچ بود و هیچ نبود و هیچ. بی تردید یک نابغه بزرگ شیطان صفت، چنین شیوه ای را برای عذاب دادن کشف کرده بود. همه چیز ثابت است و تغییرناپذیرچهار ماه را با این همه عذاب گذراندم. در یک چهارم ثانیه می گویند: «چهارماه». اما آن چهارماه برای من یک عمر بوداما او به یک کتاب دست می یابد یا در اصل آن را می دزددیک کتاب!.. زانوهایم به لرزه افتادند... یک کتاب!... چهارماه بود که دست من به کتاب نرسیده بود و کتابی رو ورق نزده بودمو آن کتابی نیست جز کتاب شطرنجبازی که هیچگاه تازگی اش را از دست نمی دهد و چه بهتر از این برای چنین محبوسیاصل و ریشه ی شطرنج در تاریکی قرن ها محو شده است، با این وصف شطرنج هرگز تازگی و جاذبه خود را از دست ندادهبازی در یک صفحه بسیار محدود و در یک فضای بسته و محدود هندسی انجام می گیرد اما هربار بازی به شکل تازه ای پیش می رود و شکل دیگری پیدا می کند. مدام ترکیب مهره ها و تناسب آن ها با همدیگر تغییر می یابد و تا پیش از پایان بازی همه ی مهره ها بی آرام و سرگردانند و تکلیف خود را نمی داننداین بازی به اقوام ملل و به هر قرن و دورانی تعلق دارد. کسی نمی داند کدامیک از خدایان آن را به زمین آورده تا دلتنگی ها و بی حوصلگی ها را بزداید و روح و فکر آدمی را صیقل بدهداو که از دست نازی ها رهایی می یابد به آرژانتین می رود(همانند تسوایگ که به آمریکای جنوبی می رود) و در کشتی با قهرمان شطرنج جهان چنتوویک مسابقه می دهدمن می خواهم ببینم که آیا تصورات و خیالات من می تواند با واقعیت هماهنگی داشته باشد؟ او قهرمان جهان را شکست می دهد بدین معنا که نازی ها شاید در جنگ برنده می شوند ولی اصول "ناسیونال سوسیالیسم" آنهادر برابر قوانین انسانی و دموکراسی محکوم به شکست استولی در بازی بعدی ناگهان بر می خروشد که چرا شاه در جای خودش نیستشاه باید در خانه "اف 7" باشد، در جای خودش نیست. بی تردید همه اشتباه می کنید!.. این شطرنج همه جایش غلط است..این بازی درست نیستاین همان خشم اوست که چرا شطرنج واقعی نیست چرا شاه حریف که مهره های سفید دارد در خانه سیاه نیستچون در واقعیت هیتلر و نازی ها سرزمین او را تصرف کرده اند و نه در خانه های خودشان بلکه در خانه های سیاه هستندپنداری شطرنج اندیشه ای است که ما را به جایی نمی برد. نوعی ریاضیات است که معادله ای را به اثبات نمی رساند. هنری است که اثری به وجود نمی آورد. نوعی معماری و ساخت و ساز است که مواد و مصالحی ندارد، اما از هر کتاب و بنایی پایدارتر استدر آخر آقای ب برای همیشه بازی شطرنج کنار می گذارد ..و تسوایک هم آخرین کتابش را به پایان می برد (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Manny
    2018-12-28 11:51

    The chessplayer and the non-chessplayer will read this classic novella in different ways. The non-chessplayer sees it as a tragedy where the noble but unworldly Dr. B is defeated by the oafish but practical Czentovic. Chess is used to symbolize the pure world of the mind, where Dr. B should triumph due to his superior intellectual powers, but discovers that his opponent's ruthlessness and greed are stronger. Czentovic cannot win fairly, but is perfectly happy to cheat.The chessplayer would like to read the story this way, but can't; unfortunately, he knows that chess is not the way it is depicted in Zweig's fable. In real life, Dr. B would not stand a chance against Czentovic. Chess is a practical skill, which cannot be acquired in the way described here.This, to the chessplayer, is the real tragedy. Chess should be the noble game of the story, and even appears to be so for the uninitiated. It is only after a great deal of work has been invested trying to master it that its true nature becomes clear.Tragedy indeed...

  • Garima
    2018-12-26 07:13

    If you want to experience the wonders of a powerful novella without compromising much on time front but at the same instant ready for a deep emotional involvement which would accelerate your heartbeat, if not at a fatal but abnormal rate then Chess Story is for you. A gripping work of fiction with unique characters and an impeccable narration that would not only make the fascination about the game of chess come alive but also convey the dynamics of human mind during the most testing times which proves that the struggle to find compassion and reason amidst oppression, competition and obsession becomes inevitable for survival. Highly Recommended with an easy Five/5 Stars.

  • Gaurav
    2019-01-19 12:12

    ChessStefan ZweigBefore the start of review, let me put across a warning to all probable readers of this novella that this book has two active beings- one is the reader of course but other one is the author himself, he keeps on following you or rather your moves right to end of the book or the game more appropriately. It may sound strange- so it is and Zweig is but only pleasantly, more you will come to know through the course of this review. Chess, the ‘Royal Game’ is not just a book it’s a game of life. The book has written like the game itself wherein it occurs to the reader every move is maneuvered by author after response of the reader. As you progresses through the book your mental faculty expects a few switches as per the developments in the narrative but, it come across as if the author is playing an active role in it and somehow he manages to gauge your expectations, and then changes his moves to tease the reader for further assimilating the new developments and expect some new adaptations however the author manages to win this intriguing tussle. The reader has been thrown across some pleasant tricks throughout the plot however overall it’s an enriching experience altogether. As Chess, the ‘Royal Game’- the game of genius- works upon intellect of human being by walking over chance. The book is not just about ‘the game’ rather is a treatise of human life- as most of the books by Zweig are. It’s a story of survival of human being through different patches of life when circumstances are not friendly to him, he is thrown in space less void where he doesn’t have any distractions to keeps his mental muscles moving and away from madness. Eventually, after winning it through game of life, he got a distraction to evade his space less void but he becomes so beguiled by this distraction that it turns out to be an obsession. Zweig’s grasp on human psychology is immaculately accurate, and the characters are infused with life with bone chilling depiction of their nature without any hesitation, the reader may feel as if he is actually seeing them going through various patches of grief and agony. Czentovic grows up as a human being who has total apathy towards world, nothing seems to interest him, he does nothing until he is requested to do so, doesn’t enjoy company of other children. He is totally aloof towards his surroundings. However, gradually develops interest towards ‘the royal game’ but his interest was quite uncharacteristic of a human being. Even though he lacks the imaginative power to chalk out different possibilities in the game as grandmasters normally use to do but that couldn’t hamper his stupendous rise in the royal game. He develops into a dogged character who has son sense of ridiculous towards world but his character lacks emotions which is so core to being of a man. Gradually, the curiosity (aroused due to uncharacteristic nature of Czentovic) of the reader transforms into sort of indifference, which is somewhere deep ridden in your consciousness that you realizes it only through the end of book. The mental faculty of Czentovic never helped him to envisage even a single game, every game he just attempts on the board.As soon as the reader starting to feel somewhat oblivious towards character of world champion, the author makes a masterstroke- he throws an outstandingly intriguing character- Dr.B- across the reader; who gets awestruck by the genius of Dr.B as he helps McConnor to manage to pull off an upset against Czentovic. Now the reader has again taken aback by the stupendous genius of Dr.B who immediately beomes hero of the story. However, inquisitiveness of the reader takes lead off all his/ her emotions, the reader is thrown to deep horror stories of Nazi camps. The space less void which is as good as vacuum, where Dr.b was confined, sends chills across the spine of the reader. The solitary confinement in a complete vacuum, a room hermetically cut off from outside world, as intended to create pressure not from without, through violence and the cold, but from within, and to open lips of people eventually. There the reader meets the horrifying reality of Nazi confinements wherein one was left irredeemably alone with oneself in soundless depths. One may have thoughts with oneself but even thoughts, however insubstantial may be seem, need something as a reference to fix upon, or they begin to rotate and circle aimlessly around themselves; even they fail to tolerate vacuum, so lifeless were those confinements. There the identity of human beings was reduced to be just subjects for Nazi forces; the consciousness of man was made devoid of every sense of existence in those timeless, space less voids wherein you don’t have anyone to explain that how that terrifying void gnaws at you, mocks your existence and destroys you into utter nothingness. And we stare coldly at godless world of Nietzsche and the famous phrase- nihilo ex nihilo- comes to life. Eventually, Dr. B somehow manages to get a reference (a book about chess tournament games) to put his thoughts around it but he goes to the extent that he develops a kind of madness about it.No sooner had the thought entered my mind than it worked like strong poison; suddenly there was a roaring in my ears and my heart began to hammer, my hands turned cold as ice and wouldn’t obey me.First all at once I had an occupation- a pointless, aimless one if you like, but an occupation that annihilated the void around me. In those one hundred and fifty tournament matches, I had wonderful weapon against the oppressive monotony of my own space and time. My delight in playing turned to a lust for playing, my lust for playing into a compulsion to play, a mania, a frenetic fury that filled not only my waking hours but also came to invade my sleep One stumbles upon two interesting characters somewhat similar in nature- in principal maybe- yet so contrastingly different. On the one hand, you have Czentovic who doesn’t gain priori knowledge towards the game- the life- but attempts the game- the life- as it comes to him. While on the other hand we have, Dr. B who has imagined and worked out all possible outcomes in ‘the game’ of life but in the process he becomes obsessed with this idea to such extent of madness that ‘the game’-the life- itself becomes oblivious to him. But one aspect is common among both characters- lust, madness and obsession. Perhaps, that’s how ‘the game’-the life- is you may plan out all possible (outcomes possible which may seem to you) outcomes but still you might not be able to crack it since ‘the game’ has actually to be played on board and may be unpredictable more often than not. Here, as the reader may have developed a sense of sympathy and emotional connect with the character Dr. B, the author- as he seems to be active throughout the book- makes another marvelous move and ripped off you with all your assumptions but the reader left in a surprising wonder which left him/ her stunned or rather numbed. And suddenly your feelings start to retort towards disgust and apathy, and it’s ‘checkmate’ by the author. Zweig always flabbergasts me with his amazing control over the prose- he psychological acumen is breath-taking somewhat like that of Kawabata and seems to have put so much depth in characters in so few words, his mastery over his writing here is as much as his characters do over chess. One may feel envious of the ability of Zweig to be able write as if he was not making an endeavor at all. His prose comes across the reader so effortlessly and pleasantly that it doesn’t occur to reader that it a tale of human psychology- treatise on survival- and not a comic tale. It’s just utter brilliance flowing through 80 odd pages. For though the size of the book may be small but the depth it has would certainly stir your mental faculty and would strike straight into your heart.Highly recommended, esp. for someone who loves to plunge into deep abyss of human psychology! 4.5/5

  • Duane
    2019-01-04 08:04

    One gets the sense that Zweig was projecting his inner turmoil, his insanity, into the character of Dr B. This projection was much too real, too disturbing to be fiction. Dr B's mental frailty was brought on by mental torture, total isolation, at the hands of Germany's Gestapo. Zweig's was troubled by the isolation from his country (Austria), his people, his culture. Dr B found his relief in the game of Chess, Zweig found his in writing. Quite a powerful story to be packed into 84 pages. 4.5 stars.

  • Ahmed Ibrahim
    2018-12-27 04:00

    رواية عكست ما يختلج بداخل زفايج بصورة بشعة، ونهايتها مؤلمة لأقصى حد. لو صمد اللاعب المجهول لبعض الوقت لهزم خصمه ومات الملك، لو لم يقع زفايج في هوة اليأس لشهد موت الملك.ظل اللاعب المجهول يعاني مما لاقاه على يد ظباط الجستابو فلم يستطع أن يتحرر من الحدود الذي حصروه فيها، ظل محصورًا داخل رقعة الشطرنج يحاول الإمساك بزمام نفسه لكن دون جدوى. أما أشهر وأفضل لاعب شطرنج في العالم كان جاهلًا بكل شيء إلا بالشطرنج.. اكتشفوا موهبته صغيرًا ثم ما لبث أن أصبح أفضل لاعب شطرنج بالعالم.لو نظرنا للحالة التي كان عليها اللاعب المجهول في ظل الحبس تحت سلطة الجستابو، نجدها نفس الحالة التي كان عليها عند اللعب مع لاعب الشطرنج الشهير، ومحققين الجستابو يُعجبون بطريقته في الهرب من الفخاخ والأسئلة التي يسألونها له، وهكذا لاعب الشطرنج يبدي إعجابًا من طريقته في اللعب.. لكنه ما يلبث أن يُجن دائمًا، أو بمعنى أصح نرى أن العقل وحده لا يكفي للمقاومة.نحن الآن في وضعنا هذا نلوم لاعب الشطرنج لأننا لم نعش مأساته، نقول ماذا لو فعل كذا، وماذا لو لم يفعل كذا، لكن ما يعتمل في نفسه يصعب إدراكه.. نفس الأمر مع زفايج، في وقته لم توحي الأحداث سوى بمزيد من المآسي، يهوديته كانت عبئًا كبيرًا عليه.. وأتت هذه الرواية بمثابة تعليل لانتحاره.رواية إنسانية مميزة، بمثابة مرآة على ما دار في داخل زفايج في هذه الآونة.

  • Raya راية
    2019-01-04 08:59

    "أو ليس من الهيّن أن رجلاً يحسب نفسه عظيماً إذا كان هذا الإنسان يجهل أن الدنيا قد عرفت رمبرانت وبيتهوفن ودانتي؟" قد تحتوي المراجعة كشفاً لبعض لأحداث الروايةكانت معرفتي الأولى بستيفان زفايغ في صفحات كتابه "ماري أنطوانيت"، تلك السيرة التي جعلتني أنبهر بكل التفصيلات التي أوردها وأسلوب السرد المتماسك المدهش والغني، فكانت بحق وجبة دسمة تمنّيت لو لم تنتهِ أبداً. وقد قرأت اسم رواية "لاعب الشطرنج" هنا على هذا الموقع، وكانت اكتشافاً جديداً لزفايغ. تدور الرواية الصغيرة حول لعبة الشطرنج، التي لم أعرف كيف ألعبها يوماً. حول البطل القروي الذي أبهر العالم منذ صغره بنبوغه في الشطرنج، رغم خلّفيته الاجتماعية المتواضعة، وقد نقول جهله وبلادته في أي عمل آخر، فأصبح العالم لديه عبارة عن رقعة شطرنج وأحجارها، وقد قاده هذا الصعود المتواصل إلى الغرور وعبادة المال. والشخص الآخر "السيد ب" الغامض، الذي سرد علينا قصّته، وكيف تبدّلت أحواله من محامٍ إلى معتقل في غرفة فندق لا يُكلّم أحداً ولا يسمع صوتاً حتى شارف على الانهيار، وفي لحظة ما، وقع على كتاب عن لعبة الشطرنج، وقضى بقية أيام اعتقاله يلعبها مع نفسهويضع الخطط حتى أُصيب بلوثة في دماغه! وتشاء الأقدار أن يلتق الرجلان في اللعب. وهنا في هذا الجزء من القصة، وكأن إعصاراً أو صداماً يحدث بين عقلين وإرادتين وشخصيتين مخلفتين!إبدع زفايغ في وصف الشخصيتين وفي تصوير خلٌفيتهما الاجتماعية وتطوّر الشخصيات. خصوصاً بما يتعلّق بعقل كُلّ منهما! وأظن بأن الرواية تُسلّط الضوء على قدرات الدماغ البشري بالدرجة الأولى. والظروف التاريخية التي كُتبت فيها، حيث كانت ألمانيا النازية في أوج قوّتها وصدام بين الديمقراطية والأنظمة الفاشية. وكيف أن السجن الانفرادي خارج الزمان والمكان يقود الإنسان إلى الجنون، وأن الاعتقال والتعذيب والأعمال الشاقة مع مجموعة لهو أفضل من الوحدة المطبقة!رواية مذهلة، تُشعرك بالشبع والامتلاء، فعلاً وكأنني أتدثّر بالعديد من الأغطية الدافئة! وكأنني بعدها اكتفيت من القراءة!...

  • فهد الفهد
    2019-01-08 05:14

    لاعب الشطرنج أحببت هذا النمساوي المنكوب منذ قرأت له (حذار من الشفقة)، ثم أكثر عندما قرأت له مذكراته (عالم الأمس)، وها هي روايته القصيرة هذه التي كتبها في أيامه الأخيرة تزيد هذه المحبة عندما تروي لنا هذه القصة الممتعة والمؤلمة، يأتي جانب الإمتاع في شق الرواية الأول، الراوي الذي يحاول اكتشاف وفهم لاعب شطرنج عالمي يرافقه على باخرة تغادر العالم القديم إلى العالم الجديد، هذا اللاعب الغريب والفذ الذي يرفض أن يسمح لأحد بالاقتراب منه، ويلاعب الجميع باستخفاف وغرور مستفز، الشق المؤلم للرواية يبدأ عندما يظهر لاعب شطرنج ثانٍ على السفينة، رجل محمل بقصة طويلة احتجزه فيها النازيون في غرفة لشهور طويلة، كاد يفقد فيها عقله لولا كتاب صغير في قواعد الشطرنج تعلم من خلاله اللعبة وقوانينها وأشهر نقلاتها. يبدو لي أن اللاعب الأول ببروده وانغلاقه وممارساته الاستفزازية ليس إلا رمز للأنظمة الشرسة التي تنتصر بسحق الآخرين وتحطيمهم، فيما يرمز اللاعب الثاني للإنسان البسيط، محاولاته الإفلات، الفرار من كل الشرور والنجاة بروحه وإن تحطم بدنه. رواية عظيمة وملهمة.

  • BlackOxford
    2018-12-31 03:52

    We Are Never AloneWith astounding concision in a short story about chess, Zweig outlines a profound psychological theory: that a human being’s greatest resource - the ability to reflect upon himself and his actions - is also his greatest vulnerability. Experience alone, without the capacity to reflect upon it, provides rigid rules for responding to situations which never quite repeat themselves. Reflective ability creates the ability to cope with entirely novel conditions through the power to re-shape the rules, to imagine alternative experiences. By standing, as it were, outside ourselves, we are able to create a context for ourselves, and consequently meaning.On the other hand this reflective ability implies a “self fragmentation into the white ego and the black ego” and the potential for an “induced schizophrenia” or, more generally, for debilitating mental illness. Pushed to an extreme of sensual deprivation, Zweig suggests, we may be able to save ourselves from insanity through imagination. But this route to salvation is dangerously close to a different kind of insanity. We are tempted to move from an absence of meaning to an obsessive singular meaning which dominates the self that creates it.The implication of course is that neuroses are purposeful, even heroic responses to difficult circumstances. Having used these neuroses successfully, they threaten to become habitual. And it is at that point we need some sort of friendly helping hand to avoid disaster. Not quite Freudian therefore, but very Viennese.Postscript: An interesting recent philosophical piece on the same general idea may be found in Sloman and Fernbach’s The Knowledge Illusion: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  • Dolors
    2019-01-04 09:07

    A chessboard with sixty-four squares hidden in the folds of a checkered pattern bedspread represents much more than a mere pastime in Zweig’s short novella. The dichotomy of black and white pieces of divided consciousness locked inside a man struggling to keep sanity over mental torture. Chess moves, chess problems, imaginary games played in frenzied compulsion, both ruin and salvation of someone who has been deprived of the warmth of humanity, become the only means of creating meaning out of the complete nothingness that soaks the dimensionless and timeless walls of a dark cell. “My awful situation was forcing me to at least try to divide myself into a Black Me and a White Me in order not to be crushed by the horrendous nothingness around me. “ (59) Mr. B is introduced by a nameless narrator as a Jewish lawyer who embodies the cultivated Austrian heritage and its flourishing Enlightenment before World War II. Captured by the Gestapo, he is condemned to the most sophisticated form of isolation for months on end and psychologically abused during ruthless interrogations in order to extract important information related to his previous professional practice. An anthology of a hundred and fifty master games for chess is the only object Mr. B can get hold of during the long period of his incarceration and imagining those moves in his mind turns out to be the only distraction from the vacuum that surrounds him. The diversion transforms into pleasure and the pleasure transforms into mania and soon enough Mr. B’s chess moves come so natural to him that they epitomize the definition of his sole existence. Black and White pieces and a checkered board dissolve into Mr.B’s flesh and blood and the game of chess shapes his whole being. He plays to exist, he plays to survive, he plays with his soul. “Like all headstrong types, Czentovic had no sense of the ridiculous; ever since his triumph in the world tournament, he considered himself the most important man in the world.” (11) Worldwide Chess Champion Mr. Czentovic is a hollow automaton whose only virtue is an uncanny gift to play chess. Devoid of emotion, humility and visual imagination, this self-absorbed simpleton sees the “royal game” as a conduit to wealth and popularity. He plays unwaveringly with vanity and contempt in unnerving slowness and controlled fashion, victory and money to nurture his cold pride are his only motivations.Nothingness is all Mr. Czentovic is made of and his opaque psyche doesn’t need to elucidate any other meaning than to prove his own supremacy over mankind. Maybe an allegory for the disturbing undercurrents molding the Nazi ideology of the time. Maybe a symbol to depict the dark forces that seized Vienna and destroyed its flourishing cultural heritage.A battle between opposed understandings of the world ensues on the chessboard. Two men carrying the weight of different backgrounds on their shoulders, one in monochromatic black and the other in schizophrenic colorfulness, struggle against their pasts and impending futures and play the game of chess with antagonistic purposes. One plays to exist, the other to annihilate.A metaphorical chessboard where wooden pieces draw a map of connections among the countries before the tragedy of World War II exploded, destroying the cultural tradition that delineated Zweig’s faith in art as the ultimate expression of everything that was good in humankind. Both suffering in exile, both mourning a golden past, both sinking into despair under the weight of history, both struggling to create meaning within themselves in spite of having been robbed even of their identity, both Mr.B and Zweig play the game of chess under the constant checkmate of despondency.A handful might have the courage of never losing hope, but many others fail in the attempt like Zweig did. I am made myself of many grayish contradictions, but whenever I feel the call of “Black” dejection I remember a sagacious friend of mine who once told me to follow the path of wisdom, even if its ways be hard and steep. To follow that path you must believe in the “White” thread of hope and keep searching for it even if you don’t see it today. Keep searching for it, he repeated to me, because it exists. So in the continuum of life, I try to pay homage to my friend's advice and keep searching with renewed energy, singing the Song of Good Hope.

  • Agnieszka
    2018-12-24 10:57

    I always considered chess the most boring game in the world. Two people sitting opposite each other, and between them chessboard with these funny figures that players move after few minutes cogitation. It seemed as exciting as snail racing. Apparently I was wrong.Chess Storycentres around two extraordinary men, being opposites in every term, personality, background, approaching to life. A chance meeting on an ocean liner gives them possibility to chess duel. It’s a great psychological study, display of haughtiness and prudence, madness and cold calculation. A duel of minds and characters, clash of giants. Truly royal’s game. And I find it hard not to think, knowing that shortly after writing this story Zweig was already dead , that then he played his last game. He sat alone, staring at the chessboard and .... resigned. Maybe he just did not want to know how it all would end ?

  • Sohaib Ibn hossain
    2019-01-06 07:44

    رواية جميلة و رائعة وووووو و تحمل معان كبيرة جدا في أعماقها رغم قصرها و محدودية أبطالها😍😍

  • بثينة العيسى
    2018-12-30 06:08

    زلزال في الرأس.

  • Kostas Papadatos
    2018-12-26 09:45

    Αυτό το βιβλίο το λάτρεψα. Ο Τσβάιχ μέσα σε 120 σελίδες κατάφερε να δημιουργήσει ένα πραγματικό αριστούργημα. Ένα έργο το οποίο γράφτηκε κατά τη διάρκεια του Β’ Παγκοσμίου πολέμου, με θέμα, την αλαζονεία της ανθρώπινης φύσης, την μονομανία και την ψυχική φθορά, στον αγώνα του ανθρώπου για επιβίωση. Όλα αυτά με φόντο το ασπρόμαυρο σκηνικό μιας σκακιέρας. Ανήκει στην λίστα με τα αγαπημένα μου πλέον.Υ.Γ. Δε μπορώ θα το πω. Το ξύλινο ανθρωπάκι στο εξώφυλλο, πιάνει αυτό που νομίζω;

  • StevenGodin
    2019-01-06 07:52

    My my, how times do change, they don't make um like this anymore. As for time, what a way to spend an hour. Exceptional!Stefan Zweig’s final achievement, and what an 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. As a big fan of Zweig, this happened to be the first book of his that I actually read, not realizing at the time it was his last written.All the other characters, apart from the chess champion, are more nuanced, have feelings and imagination. I cannot help but see a very clear analogy to Liberalism and Fascism, and the despair of Zweig upon witnessing it helplessly. In the final matches the reader can identify so much of what preceded WWII: apathy vs ambition; disdain vs fear; vanity vs humility. Isn't the chess board a proxy for Europe itself? It's short, for me too short, but it does work so well, easily one of the best novella I have had the pleasure of reading. Superb.

  • Nikoleta
    2019-01-03 04:05

    Την Σκακιστική νουβέλα την είχα παρεξηγήσει. Έχω διαβάσει τόσα σχόλια που περιγράφουν το θέμα της με τόσο στομφώδεις, πομπώδεις σχολιασμούς, με τόσες αναλύσεις για φιλοσοφικές προεκτάσεις, που με είχαν τρομοκρατήσει. Φανταζόμουν ότι είναι ένα πολύ βαρύ ανάγνωσμα, δύσκολο και βαρετό. Καμία σχέση, πιο έξω δεν θα μπορούσα να πέσω. Αφού έχει χιλιοαναλυθεί η θέση αυτού του βιβλίου στην παγκόσμια λογοτεχνία, εγώ θα μιλήσω καταρχήν, για την αφήγηση. Είναι σε απλή και άμεση γλώσσα, κυλάει γρήγορα και πραγματικά η πλοκή μου ήταν πολύ ευχάριστη. Το ψυχογράφημα των ηρώων είναι εξαιρετικό. Όσον αφορά το θέμα θα πω μόνο το εξής, είναι φανερό ότι ο Τσβάιχ χρησιμοποιεί το σκάκι ως μέσο για να μιλήσει για άλλα παγκόσμια, πανανθρώπινα θέματα και κυρίως για την ανθρώπινη ψυχολογία.Αλλά Θεέ μου, πόσο απόλαυσα το σκάκι. Και πραγματικά πιστέψτε με αν παίζετε, αυτή την νουβέλα θα την απολαύσετε διπλά. Αυτή την εμμονή της νίκης, να ξεφωνίσεις «Ματ» στον αντίπαλο (και πάντα με χαιρεκακία καθώς πορώνει), αυτό τον θόρυβο που κάνει το μυαλό του αντιπάλου, καθώς σκέφτεται που ξεκουφαίνει… αυτή η αναμονή της επόμενης κίνησης…! Εκπληκτικό! Θα το ξαναδιαβάσω οσονούπω!

  • İntellecta
    2019-01-14 04:51

    Stefan Zweig created an extraordinary, exciting, thought provoking novel in a typical, virtuosic self-writing style.

  • Jason
    2019-01-02 09:54

    If I didn’t have some weird neurotic rule against short stories and novellas qualifying for space on my “thrill me chill me fulfill me” shelf, this book would have totally gotten five stars from me. It really is that good.Last week I saw The Grand Budapest Hotel and even though I was majorly disappointed, there was a blurb at the end about how the movie was based on the writings of Stefan Zweig, whom I had heard of but didn’t know a great deal about. Then someone (I forget who) told me that Wes Anderson is a fan of Zweig in general, and that many of his works have been influenced by him in some way—not just Grand Budapest.So I read Chess Story, because...Amazon sale! And I thought it was great. It begins with an idiot savant named Czentovic who becomes a world chess champion despite his inability to maintain a grade school–level conversation with anyone. Czentovic is on a cruise ship to Brazil for reasons I don’t remember exactly but while he’s there he makes the acquaintance of a presumed “layman” who demonstrates surprising chess skill against him. Upon further inquiry by another passenger on the ship (who also happens to be the story’s narrator), the layman reveals his background, which is both fascinating and highly disturbing. This revelation sets the stage for a glorious mental breakdown that had me riveted which if I have to remind you again that this is a story about chess and how can that possibly be riveting, well that just speaks to the vibrancy of Zweig’s writing.After having read Chess Story, I can’t say that I see any obvious connection to Wes Anderson’s characters, nor is any Wes Anderson plotline recognizable in it, but maybe such a connection can be found in other Zweig novels. HOW THE HELL SHOULD I KNOW? But irrespective of this, Chess Story is a perfect little piece of literature.

  • Brina
    2019-01-08 10:52

    Chess Story or the Royal Game is Stephan Zweig's autobiographical short story detailing how he used chess as a way to escape boredom while imprisoned by the Nazis. A mere 84 pages in length, Chess Story is the last book Zweig wrote before he and his wife committed suicide. In its pages, he details his relationship with the royal game of chess. We first meet grand champion Czentovic when he is orphaned at age 14 and living in a parsonage. A reclusive teen, he uses chess to get ahead and eventually becomes a world champion. We find him here on a boat voyage traveling to a tournament. Quickly, the other passengers on the boat learn of his presence and challenge him to a simultaneous match for a fee of $250 a round. Although pricey, the players lead by the Scottish McConnor agree perhaps so one day they can tell their grandchildren that they once faced the chess world champion. The game begins and it is obvious that Czentovic is worlds ahead of his opponents. He could easily beat all of them in two moves until the mysterious Dr.B and starts directing the game. We then learn of his imprisonment and how he played chess without a board nonstop for four months until he developed chess fever. He is urged to face Czentovic and declares one and only one game will he play. Zweig created the character of Dr B to mirror himself. He details the imprisonment and how one could go mad from nothingness. Zweig himself committed suicide before this novella's publication perhaps due to a similar madness that befell his protagonist. A tedious yet short read, Chess Story appears on many modern classics lists. With well fleshed out characters, it is an interesting read that can be finished in a little over an hour. It is upsetting that Zweig did not live to write more novels, because they probably would have been just as interesting as Chess Story.

  • Aubrey
    2019-01-07 03:47

    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 of 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 accomplished 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!If I were kind, Reader, I would leave you with only this quote, and let you discover this piece of literature on your own with a minimum of preconceptions. If I were cruel, I would do the same.I am not used to novellas. I am not used to speeding up at twenty pages, reaching a breakneck pace at forty, and before the one hundred mark is reached running right off the rails, thoughts not yet having caught up to and corralled the words leaving shreds of my mind in their wake. It is frightening, Reader, to lift your gaze from the last pages of a wisp of a book and finding your heart beating at a madcap dash beneath your breast. And yet, I would not have missed the thrill for the world.What is worse, Reader? The Void, or the Object? The lack of a single point to focus on, or the focusing on a single point forevermore? The wandering ship bereft of a single beacon to direct it on its course, or the pyre luring immortal souls into eternal immolation? A healthy Mind cannot stand either, but the latter makes for a lengthier disintegration.And if the point is a game? A game requires two participants, and the Mind is only one. It knows this, and it will pace and it will fret. For it is either the game, or the Void. But how does a Mind combat itself? By splitting, of course. And then the switch. One reality, than the other, until practice makes perfect and the game shrinks into an infitesimal moment in an infinity of time and the spinning Ouroboros of thought is well satiated.But this holds only so long as true Reality is kept far away from this abstract field of purely mental exertion. For Reality is so slow, and the Mind is so hungry. For it, there is no longer any Time to waste.Chess does have its blessings. Thirty-two pieces, a concrete structure, and so many rules of play! Much like this writing of ours, with its twenty-six letters and smattering of punctuation marks and tried and true methodologies. Both require a certain level of obsession and mental meiosis and disconnection from reality, but hey, it's better than having nothing. Right?

  • Megan Baxter
    2018-12-28 09:06

    The emotional wallop of this book is far out of proportion to its size. At 84 pages, I read it in less than an hour. But that hour was filled with pain and hurt and hope and human persistence and human degradation and it hurt to read. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Richard Derus
    2018-12-31 06:54

    Rating: 3.5* of fiveThe Publisher Says: 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.My Review: Lumpenproletarian chess prodigy Czentovic, a boorish and unsympathetic figure, meets noble Jewish Dr. B. on a cruise. The good doctor is escaping the Nazis after a horrific torture-by-isolation. Czentovic is off to new triumphs as the world's greatest living chess master. Dr. B. survived his horrible isolation by reading and re-reading and memorizing and repeatedly playing in his mind great chess games from a book he stole from one of his torturers. The stage is set...the grisly Grand Master meets the gruesomely treated noble spirit in a chess battle for the ages, and is defeated. The doctor retires from the scene, completely unmanned by reliving his horrible confinement through his victory over the taciturn, unintelligent idiot savant Czentovic.Zweig committed suicide after completing this book. I see why. It's the least optimistic, most hopeless, depressing, and horrifyingly bleak thing I've read in years. Four hankies won't do to stanch the helpless, hopeless weeping induced by reading the book, and a pistol is too heavy to hold in fingers gone too numb to clench even slightly.It's one long flashback. The "action" of the chess match takes on an almost lurid and pornographic tinge after the grim tale Dr. B. tells of his time with the Nazis. It's dreadful. It's downbeat. It stinks of freshly-opened coffins and crematory ovens. If there is a redeeming value in having read it, it's that one need never, ever, ever touch it again, and I ASSURE you I will not.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • George
    2019-01-01 11:47

    Με αφορμή την (σχετικά ενδιαφέρουσα) ταινία για τον Τσβάιχ που είδα πρόσφατα, είπα να ξαναδιαβάσω την τελευταία του νουβέλα. Πολλά έργα, λογοτεχνικά και εικαστικά (εδώ και αιώνες), έχουν εμπνευστεί από το σκάκι και αρκετά το έχουν ως κεντρικό θέμα τους. Ξεκινώντας από την απλή περιέργεια ή τον, αυθόρμητο ή καλλιεργημένο, θαυμασμό προς το παιχνίδι της ευφυίας, ο Τσβάιχ στήνει ένα δραματουργικό σκηνικό: τι γυρεύουν σ’ ένα πλοίο που πλέει προς τη Λατινική Αμερική (δικό του καταφύγιο επί χιτλερικής Γερμανίας) ένας παγκόσμιος πρωταθλητής του σκακιού, ευέξαπτοι και πείσμονες ταξιδιώτες, κι ανάμεσά τους ένας μυστηριώδης άγνωστος –και φυσικά ο αφηγητής; Μέσα από την κλιμάκωση της δράσης, από την καταγραμμένη ιστορία του πρωταθλητή και τις παρτίδες σκακιού, αλλά και κυρίως μέσα από την πρωτοφανέρωτη αφήγηση του αγνώστου, κορυφώνεται η αγωνία όχι μόνο για την έκβαση της κάθε παρτίδας, αλλά για το είδος της ανθρώπινης εμπλοκής σ’ ένα παιχνίδι, που δοξάζοντας την ανθρώπινη ευφυία μοιάζει και να την αποπροσωποιεί.Τι σημαίνει το σκάκι; Είναι αποτέλεσμα της άσκησης του μυαλού ή επιβεβαίωση μιας ιδιοφυίας που ξεπροβάλλει ανεξάρτητα από την τυπική γνώση; Δοκιμασία των ορίων της; Διαστολή των ορίων και αντοχή μιας ζωής, που αλλιώς οδηγείται (σε συνθήκες πολέμου και αιχμαλωσίας) στην τρέλα; Αλλά και ποια είναι τα όρια της «τρέλας» και της ζωής; Τι μπορεί να μας κάνει μια παρτίδα σκάκι; Όταν δεν είναι απλώς μια παρτίδα σκάκι; Τα 64 ασπρόμαυρα τετράγωνα και οι κινήσεις εντός τους είναι εγκλεισμός ή μπορούν να χαρίσουν, απρόσμενα, την ελευθερία του πνεύματος μέσα σε ένα αυταρχικό καθεστώς και στους τοίχους ενός κελιού; Κομψοτέχνημα το κείμενο του Τσβάιχ, παίζει με τις οριακές καταστάσεις του ανθρώπου. Ακόμη κι αν όλες οι πιθανές κινήσεις στη σκακιέρα μπορούν να προβλεφθούν, νικητές και ηττημένοι μοιάζουν πιόνια σ’ ένα ευρύτερο θέατρο –αυτό που ο άνθρωπος Τσβάιχ αρνήθηκε τελεσίδικα λίγο μετά το γράψιμο αυτής της νουβέλας.