Published: June 2017
The more a man restricts himself the closer he is, conversely, to infinity'
On a cruiseship bound for Buenos Aires in 1941, a group of eager passengers challenge the world chess champion to a match. He accepts. He will beat anyone, he says. At first, the challenger crumbles before the mind of the master. But then, a soft-spoken voice from the crowd begins to whisper nervous suggestions. Perfect moves, brilliant predictions. The speaker has not played a game for more than twenty years, he says. He is wholly unknown. But somehow, he is also entirely formidable.
Stefan Zweig's acclaimed novella Chess is a disturbing, intensely dramatic depiction of the cost of obsession, set in a world of Mitteleuropean civilization traumatised by tyranny.