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Schachnovelle [Ebook] ➠ Schachnovelle By Stefan Zweig – Czentowic champion d'échecs arrogant esprit borné à outrance inculte et étonnamment stupide occupe le premier plan jusu'à l'entrée en scène de Monsieur B Dès lors ue cet aristocrate autrichien Czentowic champion d'échecs arrogant esprit borné à outrance inculte et étonnamment stupide occupe le premier plan jusu'à l'entrée en scène de Monsieur B Dès lors ue cet aristocrate autrichien s'intéresse à la partie livrée entre le champion et les passagers amateurs la direction du texte basculePar un effet de symétrie la narration se transforme en un face à face tendu entre un esprit brillant et rapide à l'intelligence abstraite et un cerveau au pragmatisme brutal incapable de projection véritable Mise en scène percutante de la résurrection de la folie cette nouvelle oscille entre ouverture et enfermement.

10 thoughts on “Schachnovelle

  1. Glenn Russell Glenn Russell says:

    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 uotes from the novel SZ’s moves as white paired with my comments countermoves as blackRuminating 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 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 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 contemplativemeditative 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 DrB silence and solitude is euated 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 uite mechanically; yet gradually a pleasurable aesthetic understanding awoke within me I grasped the fine points the perils and rigors of attack and defense the techniue 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 lifeDuring the chess game of Czentovic vs DrB 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 uickly 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 NazisThe 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 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

  2. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    ”My pleasure in playing became a desire to play a mania a frenzy which permeated not only my waking hours but gradually my sleep too Chess was all I could think about chess moves chess problems were the only form my thoughts could take; sometimes I awoke with a sweaty brow and understood that I must have unconsciously gone on playing even while I slept and if I dreamt of people all they did was move like the bishop or the rook or hopscotch like the knight” We never are formally introduced to Dr B We meet him during a chess match aboard a ship bound for South America when our narrator and some acuaintances of his are taking on a grand champion Mirko Czentovic They are being beaten handily until Dr B steps forward out of pity or probably likely being pushed by his own mania for the game I’m not a fan of chess or any game for that matter I’ve played some hands of poker without becoming too jittery but for the most part participating in games I’m told it is an essential part of being social is not my cup of tea I will be sitting there moving domino tiles about or fiddling with scrabble suares or waiting to move the Scottie dog I won’t play at all unless it is understood I’m always the Scottie to Park Place or Ventnor Avenue and be wistfully moping for some intersection to come along so I can return to reading my books Which is a nice segway into what really began this obsession for Dr B It was a book Incarcerated by the Nazis battered mentally and physically with no relief from the boredom and anxiety between bouts of interrogation he gets an opportunity to steal a book He takes the book ”My knees began to shake a BOOK For four months 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” Of course he is disappointed it is a chess book He would give an appendage for a novel by one of the great ones A book he can escape into and take a mental vacation somewhere far far away from his present circumstances Needless to say chess proves to be eually if not diverting for his feverish brain I do understand the concept of playing chess in your sleep I often catch myself reading in my sleep I wake up the next morning and realize I’m as mentally fatigued as when I went to bed because I am reading page after page all night long As far as I know I don’t retain anything from these hours of reading but maybe it is locked away in my brain somewhere waiting for a good thump on the head to spill it out into useful memory Stefan Zweig and his wife LotteStefan Zweig was one of the most widely internationally read authors at his death in 1942 He wrote these long complex sentences and paragraphs but with puffs of air beneath them I just read and kept reading It was impossible to stop It was as if I had a stiff headwind behind me that pushed me along I didn’t intend to read this book in one sitting but his writing certainly compelled me to continue reading After all one can’t stop in the middle of a waxed slippery slide Zweig was understandably soul sad at what was happening in Germany and across Europe It was simply too much for him to live with He and his wife had a suicide pact and died together He was a monumental loss to literature Take it from me I’m the last person to want to read a book about chess but the compelling elements of understanding the mind of Dr B make the chess merely a backdrop for the real game being played for the sanctity of his sanity Simply Brilliant If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

  3. Alejandro Alejandro says:

    e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6 An 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 Bg4 When 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 Bxf3 Besides 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 xf3 dxe5 6 Bc4 Nf6 And 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 uite 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 any in the trip b3 e7 There 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 a grandmaster must be a really intelligent person If someone is really good at poker people can consider himher like a wiseguy andor a street smart but in chess? Oh they must be intelligent Nc3 I 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 c6 It 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 uite 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 b5 It's uite 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 Nxb5 And commenting about that it's uite 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? cxb5 Maybe 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 0 Something that impacted me on the reading of this crafty short story is that both main characters Czentovic and Dr B they share an eual 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 any Rd8 Rxd7 Rxd7 I 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 any of doing it Rd1 Everybody 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 e6 Life 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 any while doing it Bxd7 Nxd7 Commenting 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 b8 I am truly glad of having read this short story and I hope to read some material by this author in the future Nxb8 17 Rd8# Checkmate 'Nuff said

  4. s.penkevich s.penkevich says:

    ‘ The 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 uickly 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 uickly 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 headuarters 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 sophisticated than crude beating of physical torture the most exuisite 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 uick 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 uery 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 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 techniue 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 core455¹ 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 it seeps into your soul’ which while being a spin on the Nietzsche uote 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 uniue 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?’

  5. BlackOxford BlackOxford says:

    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 uite 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 conseuently meaningOn 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 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 itThe 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 uite Freudian therefore but very ViennesePostscript An interesting recent philosophical piece on the same general idea may be found in Sloman and Fernbach’s The Knowledge Illusion

  6. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    Schachnovelle Le jaueur d'echecs Chess Story The Royal Game Stefan Zweig The Royal Game is a novella by Austrian author Stefan Zweig first published in 1941 just before the author's death by suicide In some editions the title is used for a collection that also includes Amok Burning Secret Fear and Letter From an Unknown Woman Driven to mental anguish as the result of total isolation by the National Socialists Dr B a monarchist hiding valuable assets of the nobility from the new regime maintains his sanity only through the theft of a book of past masters' chess games which he plays endlessly voraciously learning each one until they overwhelm his imagination to such an extent that he becomes consumed by chess After absorbing every single move of any variation in the book and having nothing to explore Dr B begins to play the game against himself developing the ability to separate his psyche into two personas I White and I Black This psychological conflict causes him to ultimately suffer a breakdown after which he eventually awakens in a sanatorium Being saved by a sympathetic physician who attests his insanity to keep him from being imprisoned again by the Nazis he is finally set free After happening to be on the same cruise liner as a group of chess enthusiasts and the world chess champion Czentovic he incidentally stumbles across their game against the champion Mirko Czentovic was a peasant prodigy possessing no obvious redeeming ualities besides his gift for chess Dr B helps the chess enthusiasts in managing to draw their game in an almost hopeless position After this effort they persuade him to play alone against Czentovic In a stunning demonstration of his imaginative and combinational powers Dr B sensationally beats the world champion Czentovic immediately suggests a return game to restore his honour But this time having sensed that Dr B played uite fast and hardly took time to think he tries to irritate his opponent by taking several minutes before making a move thereby putting psychological pressure on Dr B who gets and impatient as the game proceeds His greatest power turns out to be his greatest weakness he devolves into rehearsing imagined matches against himself repeatedly and manically Czentovic's deliberation and placidness drive Dr B to distraction and ultimately to insanity culminating in an incorrect statement after which Dr B awakens from his frenzyتاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و هفتم ماه مارس سال 1974 میلادیک‍ت‍اب‌ شطرنج باز اثر اشتفان تسوایک، نخستین بار در س‍ال‍ه‍ای‌ 1325 هجری خورشیدی، و نیز در سال 1334 هجری خورشیدی ب‍ا ت‍رج‍م‍ه‌ ن‍ی‍رس‍ع‍ی‍دی‌؛ت‍وس‍ط انتشارات اب‍ن‌س‍ی‍ن‍ا، در 75 ص م‍ن‍ت‍ش‍ر ش‍ده‌ اس‍ت‌؛ و در سال 1395 هجری خورشیدی، انتشارات علمی فرهنگی این اثر را دوباره در 110 ص چاپ کرده استبا این که بیش از چهل سال از خواندن این داستان میگذرد، هر بار ببینم کسی شطرنج بگسترده، یاد داستان آقای ب میافتم، و این داستان، به نظرم شاهکاریست خواندنی در رمان شطرنج‌باز می‌بینیم که آقای ب، پس از آنکه کتاب خودآموز شطرنج را می‌رباید، برای کاستن از زجر و عذاب تنهایی و سکوت، در سلول انفرادی، به شطرنج پناه می‌برد، و زیر و بم‌ها و ریزه‌ کاری‌های آن را فرامی‌گیرد، چنان مفتون و مجذوب این «بازی شاهانه» می‌شود که احساس می‌کند در سرزمین دیگری که برای او ناشناخته است، گام بگذاشته است تسوایک در آن زمان، به مانند شاهِ بازیِ شطرنج، که در تنگنای بازی گیر کرده باشد، و راه پس و پیش نداشته باشد، حس می‌کرد که در زندگی، به چنین تله‌ ای افتاده است، و همه راه‌ها به روی او بسته شده است در این رمان، آقای ب، انسان هوشمند و متفکری است، که در سیاهگوشه ی تنهایی، بازی شطرنج را از روی کتاب آموخته است، و پس از آزادی از زندان با «چنتو ویک» که قهرمان بزرگ، و بی‌رقیب شطرنج جهان است، رودررو می‌نشیند، و به نبرد می‌پردازد چنتو ویک جوانی ست روستایی، و خام و خشن، که حتی یک نامه ی چند سطری را، نمی‌تواند درست و بی‌غلط بنویسد، و در عین حال، در بازی شطرنج بی‌همتاست او می‌تواند نمادی از نازی‌های پیروزمند باشد، که به ارزش‌های فرهنگی، بی‌ اعتنا بودند و آقای ب، شاید نمونه ی دیگری از خود نویسنده ی کتاب باشد آقای ب، از صحنه ی نبرد برنده بیرون می‌آید، اما عهد می‌کند، که دیگر دست به مهره‌ های شطرنج نزند و شاید اگر تسوایک چنین تعهدی را می‌پذیرفت، و از نویسندگی دست برمی‌داشت، زنده می‌ماند اما او نمی‌توانست فکر نکند، و مقاله و داستان و رمان ننویسد، و می‌خواست وجدان شفاف و روشن دوره و زمانه خود باشد ا شربیانی

  7. Kalliope Kalliope says:

    This book is about the workings of the mindBut 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 itBut 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 placesNostalgia is also part of our fantasyZweig’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 thinkingHis 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 bookThrough 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 reuired 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 taleWe 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 ExterritorialisierungBy 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 NichtsBecause 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 voidIt 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 gameEither Nonsense or a new Self emergesAnd of course all of the above is developed through a gripping plot

  8. İntellecta İntellecta says:

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

  9. Candi Candi says:

    “He would cast a single seemingly cursory glance at the board before each move looking past us as indifferently as if we ourselves were lifeless wooden pieces”This novella is my introduction to Austrian writer Stefan Zweig He’s not entirely unknown to me however as I’ve seen numerous reviews of his work and have been interested in reading him myself for uite some time It’s important to understand a bit of his background before reading this story Zweig was born in Austria and then fled to England with his wife in 1935 just prior to the Nazi takeover of his homeland Five years later he retreated from there to Brazil only to then commit suicide along with his wife in 1942 Chess Story is an allegorical work in addition to being semi autobiographical as well We are introduced to Mirko Czentovic the world chess champion on board a passenger steamer bound for Buenos Aires The date is post World War II Czentovic’s greatest triumph is his mastery over the chess board but he cannot claim any other intellectual or artistic talents It would be easy to liken him to his countryman Adolf Hitler and it’s not difficult to guess this is exactly what Zweig had in mind “For the instant he stood up from the chessboard where he was without peer Czentovic became an irredeemably grotesue almost comic figure; despite his solemn black suit his splendid cravat with its somewhat showy pearl stickpin and his painstakingly manicured fingernails his behavior and manners remained those of the simple country boy who had once swept out the parson’s room in the village 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”On board the ship there are a few chess enthusiasts but certainly not one that is a match for Czentovic This doesn’t stop them from challenging him to a game which Czentovic agrees to for a price Not only that he will play the lot simultaneously An uneven match perhaps but not for a man with Czentovic’s extreme arrogance Now I’m not a chess player I’ve never even watched a single game It doesn’t matter one bit whether or not you are a fan The gripping psychological suspense begins when a mysterious stranger steps in to join the game Simply known as Mr B we are in the dark about his background until our narrator learns his story and relays it to the reader If he’s not a chess champion himself then how did he become so highly accomplished in the art of the game? Has Czentovic finally met a worthy opponent? “Peaceable idle passengers though we were we had suddenly been seized by a wild ambitious bellicosity tantalized and aroused by the thought that the palm might be wrested from the champion right here on this ship in the middle of the ocean a feat that would then be telegraphed around the globe”The tension truly ramps up to a frantic pitch as Mr B’s story is unraveled I’ll let the next reader discover the details but it’s a story charged with extreme isolation mental anguish and the will to survive and preserve one’s sanity Mr B must serve as a self portrait of Zweig himself and the despair he felt at his growing sense of isolation as he was forced to flee further and further from his place of birth The chess board serves as the battlefields of Europe where black was pit against white Fascism and Nazism versus Liberalism and Democracy It’s a stroke of genius condensed into a short story under the guise of a mental pursuit I’m even inclined than ever to continue my exploration of Stefan Zweig “But there’s no way to describe to gauge to delineate not for someone else not for yourself how long time lasts in dimensionlessness in timelessness and you can’t explain to anyone how it eats at you and destroys you”

  10. Manny Manny says:

    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 cheatThe 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 acuired in the way described hereThis 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 clearTragedy indeed

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