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tambori 19 ( +1 | -1 )
the best chess novels... The best chess novels, in my humble opinion are 1)"The royal game" (published also as "the chess novel") by Stefan ZWEIG, and 2)"The variant of Lunebourg" by Paolo MAURENSIG...
tonlesu 38 ( +1 | -1 )
The Royal Game Classic! Is it possible for a rude, ill-bred, insensitive dim-wit to become a world chess champion? Can such a blockhead become a Blackburne? Centovic is the boorish champion in the story. Is it possible for such a stupid man to have this one area of intellectual brilliance? I'm reminded of the Hoffman movie where he is a genius with numbers and statistics but probably needs help in putting on his underwear.
tonlesu 6 ( +1 | -1 )
ps The author, Stephen Zweig, utilized the Luzhin Defense.
clemens 70 ( +1 | -1 )
tonlesu, you seem to be under a misconception as to what the "Luzhin Defense" actually is. Luzhin, the main character in Nabokovs novel, sees his life as an enormous game of chess. He sees dangerous threats in everything that happens around him, and his ultimate goal is to find a "defense" to all those menacing actions he can hardly understand. THIS (or ambiguosly also the "normal" chess defense Luzhin devised earlier to counter his nemesis Turretti) is the Luzhin Defense -- the act of suicide merely corresponds to the resignation of the game when Luzhin realizes his defense has ultimately failed.

Okay, so I'm probably splitting hairs :)
tonlesu 118 ( +1 | -1 )
I'm not by any means a literary critic and tend to shy away from discussions about a novel I dont fully understand but, I do feel Luzhin's defense and suicide are one and the same. I have the 1964 popular library edition of The Defense. It has a foreword by Nabakov in which he says "...Luzhin's suicide or rather sui-mate..." Now is not sui-mate a chess move (or series of chess moves) ? Is not Luzhin's Defense a chess move (or series of moves) ? And is it not logical to assume they can be one and the same since Nabakov thinks suicide and sui-mate are interchangeable. Suicide=Luzhin's Defense.

Nabakov also says Luzhin rhymes with illusion. That is a very apt description of Luzhin's life. The constant travelling from one town to another---the only way he can tell one city from another is by the different colored tiles on the bathroom floors. That is a very sad state of affairs. This guy's life is so illusory, we don't even learn his name until the last words of the last page where he goes into the bathroom, locks the door and jumps out the window " The door was burst in. Aleksandr Ivanovich, Aleksandr Ivanovich roared several voices. But there was no Aleksandr Ivanovich"
tambori 39 ( +1 | -1 )
wait till..... if you are fashinated by the "Royal Game" of Zweig, or by Luzin in the "Defence" of Nabocov...then you MUST read the "Variant of Lunebourg"...there you will find a chess novel of another level...I was truly fashinated...Heroes and criminals, chess madmen and genious figures haunted by fate, chess history, politics...A parade of lunacy, epic chess, and justice through pain...
tonlesu 32 ( +1 | -1 )
The Luneburg variation I started the book, got about a third of the way through and then put it aside. Perhaps I'll finish it someday. To be perfectly honest, I didn't much like "The Defense" either. A true chess lover will enjoy "The Royal Game" or "The Chessplayers' by Keyes. "Searching for Bobby Fischer" is also a good read.
clemens 97 ( +1 | -1 )
My edition also contains the foreword you mentioned; however, it contains some pages of further interpretation where it is explicitly mentioned that Nabokov liked to set his reader on wrong tracks by intentionally misleading hints in the foreword; according to the author of the interpretational text, the purpose of this practice was to deceive superficial recipients.

The clearest hint at my version of the interpretation, however, can be found on page 290 (German edition):
"Der einzige Ausweg", sagte er. "Ich muss die Partie aufgeben."
Which, roughly translated, means:
"The only way out," he said. "I have to resign the game."
This happens immediately before Luzhin enters the bathroom to commit suicide. I think there can be no doubt that the act of killing himself corresponds to resignation.

By the way, now that I have taken up my copy, I can also correct my previous error: Luzhin's nemesis is actually called Turati. My mistake.
tonlesu 95 ( +1 | -1 )
Well My edition is the english translation from the russian by Nabakov himself. And since english was his first language, I'm sure every word was precisely and exactly correct. My edition does not say "I have to resign the game." It says "The only way out," he said. "I have to give up the game." Now one could get a whole new meaning from that sentence. Since his doctor wanted him to give up chess and I think his wife did too ( his mother in-law called him a chess moron) perhaps he was referring to chess itself.

In any event, I think his response to the pressures of life, and his life seemed to be heading for the inevitable checkmate, was the Luzhin defense. It really wasn't that bad a defense. It erased all of his health issues. It erased the pain from giving up his beloved chess. It got rid of a nagging mother-in-law. I've seen guys die for a lot less. A couple years back GM Lembit Oll stepped out of a fourth floor window because of woman troubles. Yep! the old Luzhin defense is good for what ails ya.
clemens 65 ( +1 | -1 )
As I said, it was only a rough translation, but you are right, the phrase "to give up the game" is an ambiguous one. (The German edition decidedly uses the word "Partie" which refers to ONE game of chess, not THE game of chess, but that is only of importance if it was based off the Russian version, which, to my best knowledge, it isn't.) Therefore, it seems we are unable to resolve our differences without the help of a person with sound knowledge of the Russian language as well as a copy of the original Russian version of "Saschtschita Lushina". :)

In any case, I thank you for an interesting exchange of viewpoints. You see, I am just a culturally deprived young man craving dicussions like this one to make me think.....
tonlesu 29 ( +1 | -1 )
But sir

surely you're not suggesting thar Nabakov did not have a sound knowledge of the Russian language and a copy of the original version. Sir. he wrote it in Russian! He was born and raised in Russia.

When he says "I have to give up the game", you can take it to the bank that that is exactly what he meant.
pawntificator 56 ( +1 | -1 )
Now I'm confused I haven't read the book yet. I didn't even know it was a book. But I just saw the movie the other day, and in the movie, he knew he had the won game. Luzhin realized he could force mate on his opponent in a few more moves. But he gave up the game of chess for his wife(well, they weren't married yet) and himself, because he was going crazy. Or he already was crazy. And then his old mentor drove him over the edge and he jumped out the window. But from what I read of this thread, the book sounds a little different. Did he win the world championship in the book? Or was he going to lose?
white_disc 26 ( +1 | -1 )
What about Chess related comics / manga ? Other than Hikaru No Go (Japanese Manga / comic), is there any comic series or manga series about a World Champion's rise from the gutters to the top in the chess world ?

Would be interested to take a look to get some inspiration ;)

Thanks :)