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Chess (Penguin Mini Modern Classics)
 
 

Chess (Penguin Mini Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Stefan Zweig
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

'... a human being, an intellectual human being who constantly bends the entire force of his mind on the ridiculous task of forcing a wooden king into the corner of a wooden board, and does it without going mad!'



A group of passengers on a cruise ship challenge the world chess champion to a match. At first, they crumble, until they are helped by whispered advice from a stranger in the crowd - a man who will risk everything to win. Stefan Zweig's acclaimed novella Chess is a disturbing, intensely dramatic depiction of obsession and the price of genius.

About the Author

Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in Vienna to a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family. Recognition as a writer came early for Zweig; by the age of forty, he had already won literary fame. In 1934, with Nazism entrenched, Zweig left Austria for England, and became a British citizen in 1940. In 1941 he and his second wife went to Brazil, where they committed suicide. Zweig's best-known works of fiction are Beware of Pity (1939) and The Royal Game (1944), but his most outstanding accomplishments were his many biographies, which were based on psychological interpretation.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 664 KB
  • Print Length: 84 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B000SEUHJ2
  • Publisher: Penguin (15 Feb 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004MYFQ8Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,840 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) was an Austrian writer who, at the height of his fame in the 1920s and 30s, was one of the most famous authors in the world. Zweig was born into a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family in Vienna, where he attended school and university before continuing his studies on Berlin. A devotee of Hugo von Hoffmanstahl, he had published his first book of poetry by the age of 19. After taking a pacifist stance during the First World War he travelled widely and became an international bestseller with a string of hugely popular novellas including Letter from an Unknown Woman, Amok and Fear. He also developed friendships with great writers, thinkers and artists of the day, including Romain Rolland, Rainer Maria Rilke, Arturo Toscanini and, perhaps most importantly, Sigmund Freud, whose philosophy had a great influence on Zweig's work.

In 1934, with the rise of Nazism, he moved to London. There he began proceedings for the divorce of his first wife Frederika, whom he had left for his secretary Lotte Altmann, a young German-Jewish refugee. In London he also wrote his only novel - his most famous and arguably greatest work, Beware of Pity - before moving to Bath, where, with the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he and Lotte took British citizenship. With the German occupation of France in 1940, Zweig, a committed pacifist and advocate of European integration, was devastated. "Europe is finished, our world destroyed," he wrote. Zweig and Lotte married and left Europe for New York, before finally settling in Petrópolis, Brazil, where in 1942 the couple were found dead in an apparent double suicide.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping novella by a master storyteller 1 Mar 2006
By H. Eaton VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This is a little gem of a book. I was intrigued the moment I read the blurb and I wasn't disappointed. This is a compelling story told by a master storyteller. The book was written in 1942 while the author was in exile in Brazil. It was completed just days before he committed suicide.
The story centres around an eccentric character who, despite lack of any discernible intellectual prowess, turns out to be a master chess player. On board a ship to Buenos Aires he is challenged to a game by some of the passengers who are curious about his character. All opponents are duly overcome until a mysterious man steps forward to prompt one of the players and it becomes clear that his grasp of the game is enough to defeat the grandmaster. We are then taken into the back story of this character and the secret behind his abilities at the chess board. To say that this is a page turner is a serious understatement. I challenge anyone not to finish it in one go.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable book with psychological impact 18 May 2009
Format:Paperback
Few novellas impress me, but this is a masterpiece of psychological drama. From the outset I was hooked.I wanted to know more about this mysterious chess player, who he is and why he is going to Buenos Aires, but I was also thoroughly gripped by his back story, his predicament, his arrogance, his strategies, his decisions, his slow descent into madness and the reactions of those around him. This is also a mystery story and one that is powerfully told. So much is packed into just 75 pages. I don't think I have ever read anything like it for sheer impact.
This is a classic of German literature but there is nothing that matches it in English either. Unforgettable.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Your move 10 Sep 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
A cracking little tale in the form of a novella, this takes as its subject obsession - with chess. Passengers embark on a passenger steamer leaving New York for Buenos Aires. Aboard is the world chess champion Czentovic, a man of little culture whose talent for the game is the only one he has. When he is persuaded by money to take on a game with other passengers one among them proves more than equal to the task. But why, and how, has this pale distracted individual learned the game to the point where he is unbeatable?

The story behind his amazing facility is a dark fable of foul deeds. This very short novella (76 pp), is startling in its revelations and is a wicked tale very well-told.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand Master 20 Feb 2011
By Oracle VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
You don't have to be a fan of chess to enjoy this addictive little novella. Zweig's tale of the passengers of a cruise ship who challenge a chess grand master to a match is about much more than just a board game. It's a powerful exploration of genius and of the workings of the human mind. Zweig expertly builds tension and I was compelled to read on to find out the outcome of the match.

This edition was published as part of the Mini Modern Classics series celebrating Penguin Modern Classics' 50th anniversary and after this I'm keen to read more both of this and the other shorts in Penguin's collection. This is a great introduction to Zweig for those, like me, who had previously not read this twentieth century master.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark, gripping book 22 April 2007
Format:Paperback
I first read Chess: A Novel, in High School and I have loved it ever since. It is extremely difficult to put it down as it delves so much into the human psyche and the power to survive, the need to focus on something, anything, to still find a purpose in life. What makes this book even more interesting is that, if my memories are right, this book was written before the end of the second world war, but also that Stefan Zweig committed suicide not long after writing this book. It is quite small and quickly read, so if you fancy an excellent quick read which will really make you think, don't look any further.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece 25 July 2011
Format:Paperback
This novella is Stefan Zweig at his very best. It is short but powerful and I doubt if anyone could fail to read it through in one sitting.

The story is simple yet compelling: two characters locked in a fierce battle, perfectly matched but entirely opposite in all respects and neither willing to yield in conflict. The short back story to each character brings them both to the table but only one can be victorious.

Clearly, more can be read into this novella than a mere chess match.

A great introduction to Stefan Zweig's genius.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book you will never put down... 29 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent interplay between fanaticism and indifference. The bipolarity of the characters, and the chess pieces, serves to elucidate a perennial condition of humanity: reaching for divinity, or stooping to animality. Animality wins in the end, but does it know it has won?

The way this interplay is interwoven with not just the Chess game, but the characters themselves - their past, their desires, and how those desires are driven by their past - makes the novella not just lunch time entertainment, but a work of reflection and joyful toil. I read the pages in an hour and a half, but I will never stop reading its revelations in my day to day life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By M.J.C.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had enjoyed Stefan Zweig's Beware of Pity which is an impressive book with convincing and interesting subtle (mostly) characters, a great plot and surprising message (of the title) So I leapt on the chance to read Chess for our book club. Chess is only a novella but even so seemed to me simplistic to the point of silliness, dated and snobbish in a pre-war way. So for me its a big Yes to Beware of Pity and a big NO to Chess. Might try another of his books, but Ive lost confidence in Stefan Zweig.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Just about right
I've been instructed, Big Brother style, by Amazon to leave feedback about the packaging.
Hard to think of much to say, but I'll try. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Dylan35
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
no comment
Published 1 month ago by Stanley K. Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyed the book, fast delivery, all I could want.
Published 2 months ago by David Alan Samuels
5.0 out of 5 stars A great short story
A great short story of imprisonment, obsession, ego and Chess
Published 2 months ago by R. Bagley
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb short story
An excellent mini story - with a fascinating sub text of human psychology under stress. And a great advert for the game of chess. Well worth a read
Published 3 months ago by PK
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is one of the most famous in German ...
This book is one of the most famous in German literature. Anything by Stephan Zweig is recommendable. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Baumgarten, Christian Und Jean
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting short story
A study into the fragility of a mind pushed to its limits.
Published 4 months ago by Ms. R. D. Cook
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced, intriguing little book
Full of thrill, once over it leaves you wanting more, as your eagerness and the suspence the author has created are both still high.
A delightful read, written very cleverly.
Published 6 months ago by roberta profeta
4.0 out of 5 stars Chess
Excellently written,and translated, novella, profound character studies and page turning plot. My first experience of Stefan Zweig, nowo reading his only novel. Great stuff.
Published 7 months ago by Paul Mack
4.0 out of 5 stars Stefan Zweig's swan song
Stefan Zweig wrote this novella at what turned out to be the end of his life--it was published posthumously in 1943, the year after he committed suicide. Read more
Published 7 months ago by A reader in England
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