CDN$ 14.48
  • List Price: CDN$ 15.95
  • You Save: CDN$ 1.47 (9%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
Only 4 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Chess Story has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Chess Story Paperback – Dec 9 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 14.48
CDN$ 5.53 CDN$ 3.43

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
click to open popover


Frequently Bought Together

  • Chess Story
  • +
  • The Post-Office Girl
  • +
  • Beware of Pity
Total price: CDN$ 45.08
Buy the selected items together

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics (Dec 9 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590171691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590171691
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 0.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #98,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

Review

"[Zweig is a] writer who understands perfectly the life he is describing, and who has great analytic gifts . . . . He has achieved the very considerable feat of inventing, in his description of the game of chess, a metaphor for the terribly grim game he is playing with his Nazi tormentors . . . the case history here is no longer that of individuals; it is the case history of Europe." —Stephen Spender, The New York Review of Books

"Always [Zweig] remains essentially the same, revealing in all . . . mediums his subtlety of style, his profound psychological knowledge and his inherent humaneness." —Barthold Fles, The New Republic

"Zweig possesses a dogged psychological curiosity, a brutal frankness, a supreme impartiality . . . [a] concentration of talents." —Herbert Gorman, The New York Times Book Review

"His writing reveals his sympathy for fellow human beings." —Ruth Franklin, London Review of Books

About the Author

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942), novelist, biographer, poet, and translator, was born in Vienna into a wealthy Austrian Jewish family. During the 1930s, he was one of the best-selling writers in Europe, and was among the most translated German-language writers before the Second World War. With the rise of Nazism, he moved from Salzburg to London (taking British citizenship), to New York, and finally to Brazil, where he committed suicide with his wife. New York Review Books has published Zweig’s novels The Post-Office Girl and Beware of Pity as well as the novella Chess Story.

Peter Gay is Director of the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. He wrote Schnitzler’s Century: The Making of Middle-Class Culture, 1815–1914.


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

By Friederike Knabe TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 5 2008
Format: Paperback
"Chess Story" (Original "Schachnovelle", previously published in English as "The Royal Game"), was Stefan Zweig's final work prior to his tragic death. It is a poignant, finely tuned psychological drama that will long linger in the reader's mind.

Chess Story centres around two extraordinary chess players. One is the world champion, Mirko Czentovic, who travels across the world for tournaments. The other is the enigmatic Dr. B., who claims not to have seen a chessboard in more than twenty years. The two are opposites in terms of personality, background and in their paths bringing them to a chance meeting on an ocean liner en route from New York to Buenos Aires. The narrator, who exhibits traits of an aspiring psychologist "passionately interested in monomaniacs", finds his first subject in the twenty-one year old chess prodigy, who otherwise exhibits poor education, intellect, and crude social behaviour. To satisfy his curiosity he instigates a game of chess between Czentovic and a group of "amateur chess lovers". Dr. B. watching the game in passing, is suddenly drawn into it, advising the hapless amateurs so that they reach a draw. His manifest expertise at the game as well as his strange conduct intrigues the narrator as much as the reader.

Using language that is sparse yet precise in detail, the first-person observer, although commenting on the game, is more fascinated by his subjects' personality and psyche. The narrator's inquisitiveness, heightened by Dr. B.'s unusual behaviour, leads him to follow his subject as he hurriedly flees the game room. Out on deck, Dr. B. eventually shares his personal story and recounts the recent harrowing events that forced him abruptly into exile from his native Austria. The narrator becomes at the same time listener and astute analyst. Dr.
Read more ›
3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An amazing short novello which contrasts two top chess players who learned the game in completely opposite ways. It is written in Stefan Zweig's brilliant style which uses the first person narrative, like his other novels. You do not need to be a chess player to enjoy this psychological examination of the human condition.
One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well received, thank you
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa3c421a4) out of 5 stars 48 reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3e1c7a4) out of 5 stars Salvation and Curse Feb. 17 2008
By Friederike Knabe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Chess Story" (Original "Schachnovelle", previously published in English as "The Royal Game"), was Stefan Zweig's final work prior to his tragic death. It is a poignant, finely tuned psychological drama that will long linger in the reader's mind.

Chess Story centres around two extraordinary chess players. One is the world champion, Mirko Czentovic, who travels across the world for tournaments. The other is the enigmatic Dr. B., who claims not to have seen a chessboard in more than twenty years. The two are opposites in terms of personality, background and in their paths bringing them to a chance meeting on an ocean liner en route from New York to Buenos Aires. The narrator, who exhibits traits of an aspiring psychologist "passionately interested in monomaniacs", finds his first subject in the twenty-one year old chess prodigy, who otherwise exhibits poor education, intellect, and crude social behaviour. To satisfy his curiosity he instigates a game of chess between Czentovic and a group of "amateur chess lovers". Dr. B. watching the game in passing, is suddenly drawn into it, advising the hapless amateurs so that they reach a draw. His manifest expertise at the game as well as his strange conduct intrigues the narrator as much as the reader.

Using language that is sparse yet precise in detail, the first-person observer, although commenting on the game, is more fascinated by his subjects' personality and psyche. The narrator's inquisitiveness, heightened by Dr. B.'s unusual behaviour, leads him to follow his subject as he hurriedly flees the game room. Out on deck, Dr. B. eventually shares his personal story and recounts the recent harrowing events that forced him abruptly into exile from his native Austria. The narrator becomes at the same time listener and astute analyst. Dr. B.'s account reveals why chess for him has been both a salvation and a danger to his survival: his "involvement" with chess had gone beyond what a person can endure without dangerous consequences for the rest of his life.

Zweig's ability to build emotional tension and drama while keeping his choice of words neutral and objective is superb. The fluidity of language is maintained in the English translation. The story's impact is deepened by Zweig giving the narrator the dual role of audience and commentator. The intensity of the author's fascination with diametrically opposed characters and the clash of cultures they represent is evident throughout the novel. Certain parallels between Dr. B. and Zweig himself come easily to mind. Chess Story conveys a premonition of events occurring in the author's own life. Zweig, a well known and widely read Austrian author of biographies, essays and fiction in the first half of the twentieth century, left behind a remarkable opus of work. He fled Austria in 1935 anticipating the political upheaval in his country resulting from the rise of Nazism in Germany. Shortly after completing the novella in 1942, written during the previous three years, the author and his wife committed suicide while in exile in Brazil. Even after more than sixty years Chess Story remains pertinent today, both in its historical context and its primary subject matter. Peter Gay's informative introduction adds to the understanding of the story's context. [Friederike Knabe]
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3b15c78) out of 5 stars No escape from pain July 7 2008
By Arona K Henderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As summarized by another reviewer, the story takes place on a cruise ship en route from New York to Buenos Aires in 1941. The world chess champion, Mirko Czentovic, is on board. Czentovic is a chess prodigy who is singularly ungifted in other areas of the intellect and social graces. Also on board is Dr. B, a former solicitor for the Austrian imperial family who is traveling to South America as a refugee from the Nazi regime.
At the outset, considering Czentovic's isolated and emotionally deprived childhood, I was prepared to allow him his arrogance and conceit. Acknowledged, he was a master at chess and his boorish behavior could be excused. When Dr. B becomes peripherally involved in the chess match and exhibits a mastery of moves, it becomes clear that this man has somehow or other been absorbed into the exalted realm of chess. As his story unfolds, the reader enters the world of isolation and solitary that Dr. B endured at the hands of his Nazi tormenters. Zweig is so masterful at the depiction of the incarceration and the man's mental salvation through the game of chess that we as readers are carried along so forcibly that we leave the confines of our homes for the world of Dr. B. Every emotion he experienced, every racing of his pulse, every fearful moment, his ultimate dissociation of his personality and his breakdown are experienced by the reader. The descriptions are powerful and cause a visceral reaction that is astonishing. As I was reading, I started to note a racing pulse and sweating and a sense of uncontrollable foreboding. As the story raced to its conclusion, I had the urge to shout, "Halt! Don't play again!" I wept when I set the book down. The tears were for Dr. B, all of the victims of the Nazi carnage and perhaps also a reaction to what came to pass, the suicide of the author. This gem of a small book explores and disturbs the human psyche like no other.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3c367c8) out of 5 stars Chess poisoning Oct. 18 2010
By H. Schneider - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This long story is called a `novella' in the original version. It is one of Zweig's most famous works, and rightly so. I am not Zweig's hottest fan, but this text is blameless.
Chess provides the frame for the story, but the core is something else: the fight for survival and sanity under psychological torture.
The hero of the story is Dr.B, from a well known Austrian family connected to church and court circles. Dr.B had worked as a lawyer dealing in asset management, which meant in the 1930s: hiding wealth from the rapacious claws of the Nazis. After the Nazis take over Austria, Dr.B is among the first arrestees, but he is not submitted to camp treatment. Rather he is put under a kind of luxurious isolation torture and also patiently and time-consumingly interrogated about the whereabouts of his clients' assets.
Luckily he finds a book with 150 chess cases, which keeps him sane for some months. After he has replayed all the 150 matches countless times, he dives deeper and deeper into chess and finally submits to a mental breakdown, following months of playing chess in his mind against himself.
He becomes useless to his captors and is let go. He emigrates.

The story finds him on a steamer from NY to Buenos Aires, where he meets our narrator. Now we are into present tense chess. The star on the ship is the current chess world champion, a youngish and boorish man from Hungary. A wealthy chess amateur from the US is willing to pay the champion for games on board. Dr.B accidentally stumbles into the scene and interferes in a match. He shocks the champion and surprises the others. He accepts the challenge to play `just one' match against the champion, the next day.
In the meantime he tells his story to the narrator, and we also learn that he is under medical instruction not to play chess any more, for the sake of his mental health. Imagine something like Chess-aholics Anonymous.
A perfect story. The chess matches on the ship are a suitable frame for the captivity and interrogation scenes. The language is simple and tense, very suitable for the purpose.

(Personally I can relate to the poisoning, if obviously not under the same harsh conditions. As a student I tried to use chess for relaxation during exam times, but that was a disastrous idea. I gave it up and started playing darts.)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3fee1e0) out of 5 stars A Thrilling Read Feb. 17 2013
By Erez Davidi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This wonderful short novel takes place aboard a ship heading to South America in post WWII. On the ship, there is the chess world champion Mirko Czentovic, who is challenged by an amateur chess player to a match. After a few losses, a spectator, who goes by the name of Dr. B. and hasn't played chess in more than 20 years, comes to the help of the amateur and is able to draw the game. This surprise result raises the question as to how Dr. B. was able to draw a game with the world chess champion. The battle of the giants between Mirko Czentovic and the mysterious Dr. B. is scheduled for the next day.

As with Zweig's other novels, this is a thrilling psychological read in which Zweig explores the wild emotions of the human mind.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3ad3a2c) out of 5 stars Is Victory Worth It? July 13 2015
By R Parreira - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Two opposite characters. One is a peasant with no family, the other, a rich Austrian aristocrat. One is almost illiterate, the other a well educated man, one of the most famous lawyers in Vienna. One dominates chess, the other is dominated by the game, the "nullifier of nullities". Black and white. Opposite sides of the board. The boiling prewar European scenario generates both of them, and they are destined to meet on board of a ship that will take both to South America for very different reasons. Confrontation is inevitable. Pragmatism against idealism. Only one will end up victorious. The only one with a clear grasp of reality and how we should adapt and behave even in the most unfavorable situations. But is victory worth it?

Look for similar items by category


Feedback