Chess, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


'...a human being, an intellectual human being who constantly bends the entire force of his mind on the ridiculous task of forcing a wooden king into the corner of a wooden board, and does it without going mad'.

A group of passengers on a cruise ship challenge the world chess champion to a match.

At first, they crumble, until they are helped by whispered advice from a stranger in the crowd - a man who will risk everything to win.

Stefan Zweig's acclaimed novella "Chess" is a disturbing, intensely dramatic depiction of obsession and the price of genius.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780141196305


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This is short. Very short: I read it in about an hour. Yet Zweig packs the story with detail without revealing too much, and keeps the suspense flowing right until the end. The story is set on a liner, making a journey from New York to Buenos Aires, and runs at a fast pace from the start. The protraits of the two main characters are sketched in detail building up to the climactic encounter between them at the end of the book. These two character sketches are no mere interludes, though, and form in many ways the meat of the work, particularly the second, in which the enigmatically named Dr. B recounts his history to the narrator. The tension and psychological dramas built up in this way provide the impetus for the final scene and a brilliant ending for the work as a whole

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