|Coffee and a good book|
I have to admit, that I'm going through a phase of reading novels with a chess theme. Before The Rook I read Stefan Zweig's "The Royal Game" which is also known as "Chess Story", or just "Chess". As a chess player it was a fascinating little book portraying 2 extreme types of chess player. Zweig painted a bleak portrait of a professional World Champion, a man with no intellect outside of chess, and no imagination. Being a professional entails that the result and the prize is more important than the game itself. Challenging this is the talented amateur, driven to the extremes of sanity through constant thoughts about chess. This player imagines games in his head, splits his mind in two to play games against himself without a board and shows his emotions openly during the games. This small novel, or novella, is a lightweight read, but thought provoking. The major themes that run through the book deal with mental characteristics and the different outlooks of amateurism vs professionalism which are also portrayed in the different intellectual qualities of the 2 players. The background stories of the 2 main chess players allow us to sympathise with only one.
|Stefan Zweig's "Chess Story"|