Main
Date: 09 Feb 2009 10:49:09
From: Offramp
Subject: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jan/31/ten-best-chess-games

"Ten of the best chess games

* John Mullan
* The Guardian, Saturday 31 January 2009
* Article history

The Book of the Duchess by Chaucer

In Chaucer's narrative poem, a melancholy poet falls asleep over a
book and dreams of wandering in a forest where he meets a mysterious
black knight. The sad knight tells of a game of chess he has played
against Fortune and lost. The dreamer realises the chess game is a
metaphor for life, and that the knight has lost a real white queen.

A Game at Chess by Thomas Middleton

In this 1620s crowd-pleaser, all the characters are chess pieces. It
was an allegorical assault on the Spanish court and its English
sympathisers. The behaviour of the characters mimics the moves in a
chess game. The most dangerous person is the Black Knight (the
scheming Spanish ambassador in London).

The Tempest by William Shakespeare

The earliest evidence that chess might be a sexy affair. The courting
lovers, Ferdinand and Miranda, are "discovered" behind a curtain,
playing chess. "Sweet lord, you play me false," Miranda accuses
Ferdinand (teasingly?), and he reassures her, "No, my dearst love, I
would not for the world." They are brainy as well as vivacious.

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

The whole book is a fantasy born of a chess game. In a list of
dramatis personae, Carroll explains which characters corresponded to
which pieces, and gives the position as the story commences. He sums
up his narrative as a chess problem: "White pawn (Alice) to play and
win in 11 moves."

The Royal Game by Stefan Zweig

One of the passengers on a ship is the world chess champion. Another,
Dr B, tells the narrator of his incarceration by the Nazis, during
which he tried to stay sane by playing mental chess against himself,
dividing his mind into two contesting characters. With this training,
he easily beats the world champion. In a return match, the champion
plays as slowly as he can, driving Dr B to distraction and madness.

The Waste Land by TS Eliot

"And we shall play a game of chess, / Pressing lidless eyes and
waiting for a knock upon the door." The second section of Eliots poem
has this melancholy contest at its heart. By calling the section "A
Game of Chess" he seemed to be forging a metaphor for the silent
contest of an unhappy married life.

The Defence by Vladimir Nabokov

The novel's protagonist is Aleksandr Luzhin, a chess prodigy for whom
the game becomes a tormenting obsession. His crisis comes in his match
against the Italian grandmaster Turati, who stands between him and a
challenge to the world champion. As the match unfolds, his carefully
planned defence fails and he has a mental breakdown.

From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming

The evil genius of this James Bond novel is Kronsteen, whom we first
encounter a few moves from victory in the final of the Moscow chess
championship. "To him all people were chess pieces." He is called to
an emergency meeting of Smersh, where Bond's destruction is planned,
but first insists on finishing the endgame.

Murphy by Samuel Beckett

Beckett's protagonist is a nurse in a mental hospital where he plays
chess with one of the patients. Their final game begins with Murphy's
innocent advance of his king's pawn: "This was Murphy's first mistake,
and the primary cause of his subsequent downfall." When he concedes,
it is indeed the prelude to his death.

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling

To get to the stone, Harry and his mates must become pieces on a giant
chessboard. "What do we do?" asks Harry. It's obvious, isn't it?" says
Ron. "We've got to play our way across the room." Ron is a top player,
and wins with a daring knight sacrifice. (He is the knight.)"

This totally hackneyed list was added to a week later in the letters:
"In your list of Ten of the best chess games in books (31 January) you
omit the most convincing - The Squares of the City by John Brunner
(published in 1965). In an afterword he complains that Through the
Looking Glass doesn't make sense as a chess game. His book is
accurately based on a game played in Havana between Steinitz and
Chigorin in 1892, although it remains unfinished in the book, as one
of the "pieces" discovers what is going on.
Chris Evans
Earby, Lancashire"

I have not heard of that last one at all. Anyone read it?






 
Date: 13 Feb 2009 10:19:47
From: madams
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
Offramp wrote:

> The Tempest by William Shakespeare
>
> The earliest evidence that chess might be a sexy affair. The courting
> lovers, Ferdinand and Miranda, are "discovered" behind a curtain,
> playing chess. "Sweet lord, you play me false," Miranda accuses
> Ferdinand (teasingly?), and he reassures her, "No, my dearst love, I
> would not for the world, if thou wouldst just lift thy skirts on thy reeking parts my > throbbert is greased with best pig-fat and ready to plug in thy bottom-hole sweet
> fudgeling."

BL











> Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
>
> The whole book is a fantasy born of a chess game. In a list of
> dramatis personae, Carroll explains which characters corresponded to
> which pieces, and gives the position as the story commences. He sums
> up his narrative as a chess problem: "White pawn (Alice) to play and
> win in 11 moves."
>
> The Royal Game by Stefan Zweig
>
> One of the passengers on a ship is the world chess champion. Another,
> Dr B, tells the narrator of his incarceration by the Nazis, during
> which he tried to stay sane by playing mental chess against himself,
> dividing his mind into two contesting characters. With this training,
> he easily beats the world champion. In a return match, the champion
> plays as slowly as he can, driving Dr B to distraction and madness.
>
> The Waste Land by TS Eliot
>
> "And we shall play a game of chess, / Pressing lidless eyes and
> waiting for a knock upon the door." The second section of Eliots poem
> has this melancholy contest at its heart. By calling the section "A
> Game of Chess" he seemed to be forging a metaphor for the silent
> contest of an unhappy married life.
>
> The Defence by Vladimir Nabokov
>
> The novel's protagonist is Aleksandr Luzhin, a chess prodigy for whom
> the game becomes a tormenting obsession. His crisis comes in his match
> against the Italian grandmaster Turati, who stands between him and a
> challenge to the world champion. As the match unfolds, his carefully
> planned defence fails and he has a mental breakdown.
>
> From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
>
> The evil genius of this James Bond novel is Kronsteen, whom we first
> encounter a few moves from victory in the final of the Moscow chess
> championship. "To him all people were chess pieces." He is called to
> an emergency meeting of Smersh, where Bond's destruction is planned,
> but first insists on finishing the endgame.
>
> Murphy by Samuel Beckett
>
> Beckett's protagonist is a nurse in a mental hospital where he plays
> chess with one of the patients. Their final game begins with Murphy's
> innocent advance of his king's pawn: "This was Murphy's first mistake,
> and the primary cause of his subsequent downfall." When he concedes,
> it is indeed the prelude to his death.
>
> Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling
>
> To get to the stone, Harry and his mates must become pieces on a giant
> chessboard. "What do we do?" asks Harry. It's obvious, isn't it?" says
> Ron. "We've got to play our way across the room." Ron is a top player,
> and wins with a daring knight sacrifice. (He is the knight.)"
>
> This totally hackneyed list was added to a week later in the letters:
> "In your list of Ten of the best chess games in books (31 January) you
> omit the most convincing - The Squares of the City by John Brunner
> (published in 1965). In an afterword he complains that Through the
> Looking Glass doesn't make sense as a chess game. His book is
> accurately based on a game played in Havana between Steinitz and
> Chigorin in 1892, although it remains unfinished in the book, as one
> of the "pieces" discovers what is going on.
> Chris Evans
> Earby, Lancashire"
>
> I have not heard of that last one at all. Anyone read it?


 
Date: 11 Feb 2009 15:19:34
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)

In my ChessCafe reviews there was not much fiction, but one novel,
"The L=FCneburg Variation," bears mentioning in this thread:

http://www.chesscafe.com/text/novels.txt

On Feb 9, 1:49=A0pm, Offramp <alaneobr...@gmail.com > wrote:
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jan/31/ten-best-chess-games
>
> "Ten of the best chess games
>
> =A0 =A0 * John Mullan
> =A0 =A0 * The Guardian, Saturday 31 January 2009
> =A0 =A0 * Article history
>
> The Book of the Duchess by Chaucer
>
> In Chaucer's narrative poem, a melancholy poet falls asleep over a
> book and dreams of wandering in a forest where he meets a mysterious
> black knight. The sad knight tells of a game of chess he has played
> against Fortune and lost. The dreamer realises the chess game is a
> metaphor for life, and that the knight has lost a real white queen.
>
> A Game at Chess by Thomas Middleton
>
> In this 1620s crowd-pleaser, all the characters are chess pieces. It
> was an allegorical assault on the Spanish court and its English
> sympathisers. The behaviour of the characters mimics the moves in a
> chess game. The most dangerous person is the Black Knight (the
> scheming Spanish ambassador in London).
>
> The Tempest by William Shakespeare
>
> The earliest evidence that chess might be a sexy affair. The courting
> lovers, Ferdinand and Miranda, are "discovered" behind a curtain,
> playing chess. "Sweet lord, you play me false," Miranda accuses
> Ferdinand (teasingly?), and he reassures her, "No, my dearst love, I
> would not for the world." They are brainy as well as vivacious.
>
> Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
>
> The whole book is a fantasy born of a chess game. In a list of
> dramatis personae, Carroll explains which characters corresponded to
> which pieces, and gives the position as the story commences. He sums
> up his narrative as a chess problem: "White pawn (Alice) to play and
> win in 11 moves."
>
> The Royal Game by Stefan Zweig
>
> One of the passengers on a ship is the world chess champion. Another,
> Dr B, tells the narrator of his incarceration by the Nazis, during
> which he tried to stay sane by playing mental chess against himself,
> dividing his mind into two contesting characters. With this training,
> he easily beats the world champion. In a return match, the champion
> plays as slowly as he can, driving Dr B to distraction and madness.
>
> The Waste Land by TS Eliot
>
> "And we shall play a game of chess, / Pressing lidless eyes and
> waiting for a knock upon the door." The second section of Eliots poem
> has this melancholy contest at its heart. By calling the section "A
> Game of Chess" he seemed to be forging a metaphor for the silent
> contest of an unhappy married life.
>
> The Defence by Vladimir Nabokov
>
> The novel's protagonist is Aleksandr Luzhin, a chess prodigy for whom
> the game becomes a tormenting obsession. His crisis comes in his match
> against the Italian grandmaster Turati, who stands between him and a
> challenge to the world champion. As the match unfolds, his carefully
> planned defence fails and he has a mental breakdown.
>
> From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
>
> The evil genius of this James Bond novel is Kronsteen, whom we first
> encounter a few moves from victory in the final of the Moscow chess
> championship. "To him all people were chess pieces." He is called to
> an emergency meeting of Smersh, where Bond's destruction is planned,
> but first insists on finishing the endgame.
>
> Murphy by Samuel Beckett
>
> Beckett's protagonist is a nurse in a mental hospital where he plays
> chess with one of the patients. Their final game begins with Murphy's
> innocent advance of his king's pawn: "This was Murphy's first mistake,
> and the primary cause of his subsequent downfall." When he concedes,
> it is indeed the prelude to his death.
>
> Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling
>
> To get to the stone, Harry and his mates must become pieces on a giant
> chessboard. "What do we do?" asks Harry. It's obvious, isn't it?" says
> Ron. "We've got to play our way across the room." Ron is a top player,
> and wins with a daring knight sacrifice. (He is the knight.)"
>
> This totally hackneyed list was added to a week later in the letters:
> "In your list of Ten of the best chess games in books (31 January) you
> omit the most convincing - The Squares of the City by John Brunner
> (published in 1965). In an afterword he complains that Through the
> Looking Glass doesn't make sense as a chess game. His book is
> accurately based on a game played in Havana between Steinitz and
> Chigorin in 1892, although it remains unfinished in the book, as one
> of the "pieces" discovers what is going on.
> Chris Evans
> Earby, Lancashire"
>
> I have not heard of that last one at all. Anyone read it?



 
Date: 11 Feb 2009 13:59:15
From: chessparrot
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
On Feb 10, 11:40=A0pm, onech...@comcast.net wrote:
> On Feb 9, 4:58=A0pm, William Hyde <wthyde1...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > On Feb 9, 4:26=A0pm, onech...@comcast.net wrote:
>
> > > On Feb 9, 3:26=A0pm, William Hyde <wthyde1...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > > Have you heard of this one?
>
> > > The Chess Garden
> > > Brooks Hansen
>
> > > subititled:
>
> > > The Twilight Letters of Gustav Uyterhoeven
>
> > I've never read this, sounds like one I should read, though.
>
> from a footnote:
>
> Its one of those, not of these times, writings - after his
> experiences:
>
> *The doctor noted at the time that his Swedenborgianism held much in
> common with the two interests which had distracted him the first time
> he'd lived in London -- chess and opium. All were equally
> 'marginalising,' and their votaries displayed "the same barely
> restrained giddiness when revealed to one another, at the almost
> certain prospect of mutual indulgence for hours on end."
>
> The difference was that "those with an appetite for chess and opium
> were pale and invalid, whereas Swedenborgians a;; strike one as red-in-
> the-cheek, healthy and healthy-minded."
>
> **A heavy book using chess as more than metaphor - heavy in its
> content and context - you might wind up in the Freidrich Wilhelm
> Institut in Berlin, eg, with Mueller or Virchow, 1856.
>
> In fact it takes some 160 pages to get to the Boer War, and thence 7
> letters in a chapter "Eugene's Rook." Only at page 390 do you have
> 'The Founding of the Chess Garden - 1868-1884'
>
> The book has not so much to do with chess, as chess becomes to it a
> metaphor [albeit, a physical metaphor, a cosmogoria] to resolve the
> life.
>
> You and me and saints will read it. It was a Channukah present for
> someone - now maybe a birthday present if I finish it enough ;(
>
> > I forgot to mention "The Flanders Panel", a mystery which largely
> > depends on the retro-analysis of a chess position in an old painting.
> > The analysis is supposed to indicate who murdered a nobleman of the
> > low countries circa 1450, but it turns out to have modern
> > implications, too.
>
> Former writer here, and USCF board member Tim Hanke [who was to become
> Sgt Hanke in the war] wrote me that he read it was a bust retrograde
> analysis. I asked him his source, though he couldn't remember that or
> assess the bust. I haven't been able to bust it.
>
> Cordially, Phil Innes
>
>
>
> > William Hyde- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

I don't know anyone who knows more about chess novels than Stewart
Reuben, he has frequently written on the subject in CHESS and BCM. I
am still to read 'Zugswang' by Ronan Bennett, though I own a copy.
'Hafner's Love of the Draw' - sorry, forgotten the author, is a novel
about Schlechter which I enjoyed some years ago, should be still
around. 'The Queen's Gambit' by Walter Tevis is clearly written by a
non-player but the text away from chess description is very OK. There
is a recent novel featuring Tartakower which I am yet to unearth..


 
Date: 10 Feb 2009 15:40:27
From:
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
On Feb 9, 4:58=A0pm, William Hyde <wthyde1...@gmail.com > wrote:
> On Feb 9, 4:26=A0pm, onech...@comcast.net wrote:
>
> > On Feb 9, 3:26=A0pm, William Hyde <wthyde1...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Have you heard of this one?
>
> > The Chess Garden
> > Brooks Hansen
>
> > subititled:
>
> > The Twilight Letters of Gustav Uyterhoeven
>
> I've never read this, sounds like one I should read, though.

from a footnote:

Its one of those, not of these times, writings - after his
experiences:

*The doctor noted at the time that his Swedenborgianism held much in
common with the two interests which had distracted him the first time
he'd lived in London -- chess and opium. All were equally
'marginalising,' and their votaries displayed "the same barely
restrained giddiness when revealed to one another, at the almost
certain prospect of mutual indulgence for hours on end."

The difference was that "those with an appetite for chess and opium
were pale and invalid, whereas Swedenborgians a;; strike one as red-in-
the-cheek, healthy and healthy-minded."

**A heavy book using chess as more than metaphor - heavy in its
content and context - you might wind up in the Freidrich Wilhelm
Institut in Berlin, eg, with Mueller or Virchow, 1856.

In fact it takes some 160 pages to get to the Boer War, and thence 7
letters in a chapter "Eugene's Rook." Only at page 390 do you have
'The Founding of the Chess Garden - 1868-1884'

The book has not so much to do with chess, as chess becomes to it a
metaphor [albeit, a physical metaphor, a cosmogoria] to resolve the
life.

You and me and saints will read it. It was a Channukah present for
someone - now maybe a birthday present if I finish it enough ;(

> I forgot to mention "The Flanders Panel", a mystery which largely
> depends on the retro-analysis of a chess position in an old painting.
> The analysis is supposed to indicate who murdered a nobleman of the
> low countries circa 1450, but it turns out to have modern
> implications, too.


Former writer here, and USCF board member Tim Hanke [who was to become
Sgt Hanke in the war] wrote me that he read it was a bust retrograde
analysis. I asked him his source, though he couldn't remember that or
assess the bust. I haven't been able to bust it.

Cordially, Phil Innes

> William Hyde



 
Date: 10 Feb 2009 10:49:56
From: William Hyde
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
On Feb 9, 5:27=A0pm, Taylor Kingston <tkings...@chittenden.com > wrote:
> On Feb 9, 4:26=A0pm, WilliamHyde<wthyde1...@gmail.com> wrote:

> > My memory must have failed me. =A0I recall a story where there was a
> > "Balt" who remained unnamed, though the protagonist later deduced that
> > it must be Morphy.
>
> =A0 Again, that sounds like "Midnight by the Morphy Watch," but the Balt
> was Nimzovich, not Morphy:

Sorry, carelessness on my part. Of course it was Nimzovich, for a
start Morphy wouldn't have been described as a Balt.

> > I didn't recall his speaking. =A0Nimzo is also present in "Catch that
> > Zepplin!"

> Don't know that one

It's not basically about chess, IIRC Nimzovich, then world champion,
is giving an exhibition on a trans-Atlantic Zepplin but that's just to
set a scene. The story is set in an alternate world in which the
Armistice talks of 1918 failed, so the war dragged on well into 1919,
when the Allies crossed the Rhine. The significance of this is that
the "stab in the back" theory gained no traction in postwar Germany,
and WWII didn't happen. I believe it won a Hugo award, and/or the
Nebula.

>
. My favorite chess-themed short story is
> probably "Von Goom's Gambit" by Victor Contoski. Read it when it first
> came out in a 1966 Chess Review.

Read it in hospital in 1968 in an SF anthology (one of Judith
Merrill's, perhaps). It's not a good idea to laugh when the incision
is still fresh.

Heck of a good magazine, that Chess Review.

William Hyde



 
Date: 10 Feb 2009 00:37:22
From: Offramp
Subject: Re: The chess-motif in books, plays, poetry, the odd novel - film
Georges Perec's novel La Vie Mode d'Emploi is based on a building of
10 rooms on 10 floors. The order of chapters follows a reentrant
knight's tour of this 10x10 board, which David Bellos, Perec's
biographer, erroneously thinks is a unique solution (he is obviously
not a chess player, as we know that there are millions of such
solutions).
It's a very good book, I think it won the Goncourt prize. It also has
one chess diagram: I think it was the move before Rad1 in the
Anderssen Dufresne game.


 
Date: 10 Feb 2009 16:45:55
From: madams
Subject: Re: The chess-motif in books, plays, poetry, the odd novel - film etc. (was;totbcg[in])..
William Hyde wrote:
>
> On Feb 9, 4:26 pm, onech...@comcast.net wrote:
> > On Feb 9, 3:26 pm, William Hyde <wthyde1...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Have you heard of this one?
> >
> > The Chess Garden
> > Brooks Hansen
> >
> > subititled:
> >
> > The Twilight Letters of Gustav Uyterhoeven
>
> I've never read this, sounds like one I should read, though.
>
> I forgot to mention "The Flanders Panel", a mystery which largely
> depends on the retro-analysis of a chess position in an old painting.
> The analysis is supposed to indicate who murdered a nobleman of the
> low countries circa 1450, but it turns out to have modern
> implications, too.
>
> William Hyde

=============================

Hmmm, _all_ very interesting..

The op caused me to consider J.L.Borges (an old fav.) - thus we get:

The False Artaxerxes: Borges and the Dream of Chess, by John T. Irwin ©
1993 The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Want the full article?
Login to access JSTOR, or check our access options. You may have access
for free through an institution.

1) http://www.jstor.org/pss/469414

Also..

2)
http://middlestage.blogspot.com/2005/05/chess-with-jorge-luis-borges.html

& just because..

3)
http://middlestage.blogspot.com/2006/04/alberto-manguel-with-borges.html

In their grave corner, the players
Deploy the slow pieces. And the chessboard
Detains them until dawn in its severe
Compass in which two colors hate each other.

Within it the shapes give off a magic
Strength: Homeric tower, and nimble
Horse, a fighting queen, a backward king,
A bishop on the bias, and aggressive pawns.

When the players have departed, and
When time has consumed them utterly,
The ritual will not have ended.

That war first flamed out in the east
Whose amphitheatre is now the world.
And like the other, this game is infinite.

II

Slight king, oblique bishop, and a queen
Blood-lusting; upright tower, crafty pawn –
Over the black and white of their path
They foray and deliver armed battle.

They do not know it is the artful hand
Of the player that rules their fate,
They do not know that an adamant rigor
Subdues their free will and their span.

But the player likewise is a prisoner
(The maxim is Omar’s) on another board
Of dead-black nights and of white days.

God moves the player and he, the piece.
What god behind God originates the scheme
Of dust and time and dream and agony?

[From Dreamtigers, by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Harold Morland]

..........

a]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cristinayhugo_jpg.jpg


b]http://www.perez-reverte.com/FlandersPanel/reviews.asp


m.


 
Date: 09 Feb 2009 14:27:30
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
On Feb 9, 4:26=A0pm, William Hyde <wthyde1...@gmail.com > wrote:
> On Feb 9, 4:18=A0pm, Taylor Kingston <tkings...@chittenden.com> wrote:
>
> > On Feb 9, 3:26=A0pm, William Hyde <wthyde1...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > > Fritz Leiber, who did play tournament chess in the US (expert rated i=
n
> > > the 1950s, I believe), wrote a number of stories in which chess is
> > > central - "64 square madhouse" and =A0"Midnight by the Morphy Watch" =
for
> > > example. =A0IIRC chess also features in his late novel "Our Lady of
> > > Darkness" and in other stories. =A0Nimzovich is mentioned in a few of
> > > his stories, and is present but unnamed in "Midnight ....". =A0
>
> > =A0 Bill, Nimzovich is very definitely named in "Midnight by the Morphy
> > Watch."
>
> My memory must have failed me. =A0I recall a story where there was a
> "Balt" who remained unnamed, though the protagonist later deduced that
> it must be Morphy.

Again, that sounds like "Midnight by the Morphy Watch," but the Balt
was Nimzovich, not Morphy:

"Ritter departed without comment. He had got the final clue he'd
been seeking to the identity of the old Balt and likewise the fourth
and most shadowy form that had begun to haunt his mental chessoard.
"Casually standing on his head, saying 'It threatens to catch your
interest' =97 why, it had to be Aron Nmzovich, most hyper-eccentirc
player of them all and Father of Hypermodern Chess."

> I didn't recall his speaking. =A0Nimzo is also present in "Catch that
> Zepplin!"

Don't know that one. My favorite chess-themed short story is
probably "Von Goom's Gambit" by Victor Contoski. Read it when it first
came out in a 1966 Chess Review.


 
Date: 09 Feb 2009 14:15:39
From: jeremy.p.spinrad@vanderbilt.edu
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
On Feb 9, 2:19=A0pm, Taylor Kingston <tkings...@chittenden.com > wrote:
> On Feb 9, 2:00=A0pm, Offramp <alaneobr...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > On Feb 9, 6:49=A0pm, Offramp <alaneobr...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > >http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jan/31/ten-best-chess-games
>
> > > "Ten of the best chess games
>
> > > =A0 =A0 * John Mullan
> > > =A0 =A0 * The Guardian, Saturday 31 January 2009
> > > =A0 =A0 * Article history
>
> > > The Book of the Duchess by Chaucer
>
> > > In Chaucer's narrative poem, a melancholy poet falls asleep over a
> > > book and dreams of wandering in a forest where he meets a mysterious
> > > black knight. The sad knight tells of a game of chess he has played
> > > against Fortune and lost. The dreamer realises the chess game is a
> > > metaphor for life, and that the knight has lost a real white queen.
>
> > > A Game at Chess by Thomas Middleton
>
> > > In this 1620s crowd-pleaser, all the characters are chess pieces. It
> > > was an allegorical assault on the Spanish court and its English
> > > sympathisers. The behaviour of the characters mimics the moves in a
> > > chess game. The most dangerous person is the Black Knight (the
> > > scheming Spanish ambassador in London).
>
> > > The Tempest by William Shakespeare
>
> > > The earliest evidence that chess might be a sexy affair. The courting
> > > lovers, Ferdinand and Miranda, are "discovered" behind a curtain,
> > > playing chess. "Sweet lord, you play me false," Miranda accuses
> > > Ferdinand (teasingly?), and he reassures her, "No, my dearst love, I
> > > would not for the world." They are brainy as well as vivacious.
>
> > > Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
>
> > > The whole book is a fantasy born of a chess game. In a list of
> > > dramatis personae, Carroll explains which characters corresponded to
> > > which pieces, and gives the position as the story commences. He sums
> > > up his narrative as a chess problem: "White pawn (Alice) to play and
> > > win in 11 moves."
>
> > > The Royal Game by Stefan Zweig
>
> > > One of the passengers on a ship is the world chess champion. Another,
> > > Dr B, tells the narrator of his incarceration by the Nazis, during
> > > which he tried to stay sane by playing mental chess against himself,
> > > dividing his mind into two contesting characters. With this training,
> > > he easily beats the world champion. In a return match, the champion
> > > plays as slowly as he can, driving Dr B to distraction and madness.
>
> > > The Waste Land by TS Eliot
>
> > > "And we shall play a game of chess, / Pressing lidless eyes and
> > > waiting for a knock upon the door." The second section of Eliots poem
> > > has this melancholy contest at its heart. By calling the section "A
> > > Game of Chess" he seemed to be forging a metaphor for the silent
> > > contest of an unhappy married life.
>
> > > The Defence by Vladimir Nabokov
>
> > > The novel's protagonist is Aleksandr Luzhin, a chess prodigy for whom
> > > the game becomes a tormenting obsession. His crisis comes in his matc=
h
> > > against the Italian grandmaster Turati, who stands between him and a
> > > challenge to the world champion. As the match unfolds, his carefully
> > > planned defence fails and he has a mental breakdown.
>
> > > From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
>
> > > The evil genius of this James Bond novel is Kronsteen, whom we first
> > > encounter a few moves from victory in the final of the Moscow chess
> > > championship. "To him all people were chess pieces." He is called to
> > > an emergency meeting of Smersh, where Bond's destruction is planned,
> > > but first insists on finishing the endgame.
>
> > > Murphy by Samuel Beckett
>
> > > Beckett's protagonist is a nurse in a mental hospital where he plays
> > > chess with one of the patients. Their final game begins with Murphy's
> > > innocent advance of his king's pawn: "This was Murphy's first mistake=
,
> > > and the primary cause of his subsequent downfall." When he concedes,
> > > it is indeed the prelude to his death.
>
> > > Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling
>
> > > To get to the stone, Harry and his mates must become pieces on a gian=
t
> > > chessboard. "What do we do?" asks Harry. It's obvious, isn't it?" say=
s
> > > Ron. "We've got to play our way across the room." Ron is a top player=
,
> > > and wins with a daring knight sacrifice. (He is the knight.)"
>
> > > This totally hackneyed list was added to a week later in the letters:
> > > "In your list of Ten of the best chess games in books (31 January) yo=
u
> > > omit the most convincing - The Squares of the City by John Brunner
> > > (published in 1965). In an afterword he complains that Through the
> > > Looking Glass doesn't make sense as a chess game. His book is
> > > accurately based on a game played in Havana between Steinitz and
> > > Chigorin in 1892, although it remains unfinished in the book, as one
> > > of the "pieces" discovers what is going on.
> > > Chris Evans
> > > Earby, Lancashire"
>
> > > I have not heard of that last one at all. Anyone read it?
>
> > I have the book now. Here is the introduction:
>
> > The Squares of the City
> > John Brunner
>
> > Copyright =A9 1965 by John Brunner
> > ISBN 0-345-27739-2
> > e-book ver. 1.0
>
> =A0 I have a good many of Brunner's novels, novellas and short stories,
> acquired mostly from used-book stores over the years. HIs novel "Stand
> on Zanzibar" is a masterpiece. But I have never come across "Squares
> of the City." Is it a novel published by itself, or is it in a short
> story anthology?
>
>
>
> > INTRODUCTION
>
> > The story told by John Brunner in The Squares of the City held me
> > spellbound from beginning to end. It had a special attraction for me
> > because all the people in the book are chess-mad, and chess is my
> > favorite pastime. But even the reader who knows nothing about the game
> > will be thoroughly fascinated by this story in which the two chief
> > political antagonists in a South American country attempt to direct
> > the actions of their followers by using the unconscious but powerful
> > influence of "subliminal perception," a technique which may well
> > threaten all our futures.
> > Under its baleful persuasion, members of the two hostile parties
> > commit all sorts of crimes as they unknowingly carry out the actions
> > suggested to them by a confidant of their leaders who is an expert in
> > subliminal perception and who is the Director of the television
> > network that controls The City. Only gradually does one realize that
> > The City is a chessboard=97its chief inhabitants taking actions that ar=
e
> > the counterparts of moves in a vicious game of chess being played out
> > by their leaders.
> > The author has added an ingenious twist to his story which will be
> > particularly intriguing to chess fans. The game in which his
> > characters move as living pieces has not been artificially designed by
> > him to suit the progress of his plot. It had actually been played,
> > move for move, some seventy years ago in a match for the world
> > championship between the title holder, the American master William
> > Steinitz, and the Russian master Mikhail Ivanovich Tchigorin.
> > =97Edward Lasker, M.E., E.E.
>
> > What, by the wat, are ME and EE?- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

I enjoyed Squares of the City (it was a stand-alone novel). However,
it is unfortunate that it came up in this context, since knowing there
is a chess game is a bit of a spoiler.

Malzberg has a story which revolves around a chess games, as two
antagonists play chess for the fate of the universe; you see the play
move by move. There is a twist which I do not care to give away, but
it is enough to say there is a reason that the game played is not of
as high quality as other chess games in fiction.

And let us not forget humor - Woody allen's chess game(s) in a
wonderful short story involving taking back a move in correspondence
chess.

When I read it, I found 64 Square Madhouse to be a wonderful story; I
would be curious to know whether it still holds up now that we have
seen computers in chess tournaments. The fictionalized portrayals of
reactions of only slightly hidden actual GMs was very nice.

Jerry Spinrad

Jerry Spinrad


 
Date: 09 Feb 2009 13:58:28
From: William Hyde
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
On Feb 9, 4:26=A0pm, onech...@comcast.net wrote:
> On Feb 9, 3:26=A0pm, William Hyde <wthyde1...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Have you heard of this one?
>
> The Chess Garden
> Brooks Hansen
>
> subititled:
>
> The Twilight Letters of Gustav Uyterhoeven

I've never read this, sounds like one I should read, though.

I forgot to mention "The Flanders Panel", a mystery which largely
depends on the retro-analysis of a chess position in an old painting.
The analysis is supposed to indicate who murdered a nobleman of the
low countries circa 1450, but it turns out to have modern
implications, too.

William Hyde


 
Date: 09 Feb 2009 13:26:37
From: William Hyde
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
On Feb 9, 4:18=A0pm, Taylor Kingston <tkings...@chittenden.com > wrote:
> On Feb 9, 3:26=A0pm, William Hyde <wthyde1...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> > Fritz Leiber, who did play tournament chess in the US (expert rated in
> > the 1950s, I believe), wrote a number of stories in which chess is
> > central - "64 square madhouse" and =A0"Midnight by the Morphy Watch" fo=
r
> > example. =A0IIRC chess also features in his late novel "Our Lady of
> > Darkness" and in other stories. =A0Nimzovich is mentioned in a few of
> > his stories, and is present but unnamed in "Midnight ....". =A0
>
> =A0 Bill, Nimzovich is very definitely named in "Midnight by the Morphy
> Watch."

My memory must have failed me. I recall a story where there was a
"Balt" who remained unnamed, though the protagonist later deduced that
it must be Morphy.
I didn't recall his speaking. Nimzo is also present in "Catch that
Zepplin!"

William Hyde


 
Date: 09 Feb 2009 13:26:26
From:
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
On Feb 9, 3:26=A0pm, William Hyde <wthyde1...@gmail.com > wrote:
> On Feb 9, 2:00=A0pm, Offramp <alaneobr...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > On Feb 9, 6:49=A0pm, Offramp <alaneobr...@gmail.com> wrote:
> "
>
> > > I have not heard of that last one at all. Anyone read it?
>
> I liked it a lot when I read it as a =A0teenager. =A0But it was quite
> early in Brunner's career (written in 1960 when he would have been in
> his early 20s). =A0Rereading it some years ago, I spotted a few things I
> didn't like, but the story still held my interest. =A0I wish he'd
> written that book about ten years later.
>
> Fritz Leiber, who did play tournament chess in the US (expert rated in
> the 1950s, I believe), wrote a number of stories in which chess is
> central - "64 square madhouse" and =A0"Midnight by the Morphy Watch" for
> example. =A0IIRC chess also features in his late novel "Our Lady of
> Darkness" and in other stories. =A0Nimzovich is mentioned in a few of
> his stories, and is present but unnamed in "Midnight ....". =A0Charles L
> Harness, who never wrote enough despite living to be 100, wrote "The
> Chessplayers", featuring a rat which has been taught to play chess
> though, as the =A0title implies, the story is really about the humans.
>
> > =97Edward Lasker, M.E., E.E.
>
> > What, by the wat, are ME and EE?
>
> He earned a degree in mechanical and electrical engineering in
> Berlin. =A0Though I think that his IM title would be more appropriate
> here.
>
> William Hyde

Have you heard of this one?

The Chess Garden
Brooks Hansen

subititled:

The Twilight Letters of Gustav Uyterhoeven

The story is biography, set 1900, from Dayton Ohio to the British Boer-
war concentration camps in South Africa. History and allegory both.

Though I personally do not like allegorical writing of any stripe, yet
that is merely the publishers blurb, and not warranted by this effort
which leads back to the chess garden, a place where ideas give way to
vision, and reason encounters faith, [the place] where fact and
fiction are finally reconciled.

Interesting book - very rare indeed.

Cordially, Phil Innes




 
Date: 09 Feb 2009 13:18:15
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
On Feb 9, 3:26=A0pm, William Hyde <wthyde1...@gmail.com > wrote:
>
> Fritz Leiber, who did play tournament chess in the US (expert rated in
> the 1950s, I believe), wrote a number of stories in which chess is
> central - "64 square madhouse" and =A0"Midnight by the Morphy Watch" for
> example. =A0IIRC chess also features in his late novel "Our Lady of
> Darkness" and in other stories. =A0Nimzovich is mentioned in a few of
> his stories, and is present but unnamed in "Midnight ....". =A0

Bill, Nimzovich is very definitely named in "Midnight by the Morphy
Watch." He even has a line or two:

"Ritter forgot no moment of that night, for he did not sleep at all.
The glowing board in his mind was an unquenchable beacon, and all-
demanding mandala ... He contested two matches with himself, then one
each with Morphy, Steinitz, Alekhine and Nimzovich, winning the first
two, drawing the third, and losing the last by a half-point. Nimzovich
was the only one to speak, saying, 'I am both dead and alive, as I'm
sure you know. Please don't smoke, or threaten to.'"

I notice that Leiber made a minor technical error in that paragraph,
not that it detracts much at all from the story. It's impossible to
lose a match by a half-point. A tournament, yes, but in a two-player
match the difference in the score is always a whole number.



 
Date: 09 Feb 2009 12:26:58
From: William Hyde
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
On Feb 9, 2:00=A0pm, Offramp <alaneobr...@gmail.com > wrote:
> On Feb 9, 6:49=A0pm, Offramp <alaneobr...@gmail.com> wrote:
"
>
> > I have not heard of that last one at all. Anyone read it?

I liked it a lot when I read it as a teenager. But it was quite
early in Brunner's career (written in 1960 when he would have been in
his early 20s). Rereading it some years ago, I spotted a few things I
didn't like, but the story still held my interest. I wish he'd
written that book about ten years later.

Fritz Leiber, who did play tournament chess in the US (expert rated in
the 1950s, I believe), wrote a number of stories in which chess is
central - "64 square madhouse" and "Midnight by the Morphy Watch" for
example. IIRC chess also features in his late novel "Our Lady of
Darkness" and in other stories. Nimzovich is mentioned in a few of
his stories, and is present but unnamed in "Midnight ....". Charles L
Harness, who never wrote enough despite living to be 100, wrote "The
Chessplayers", featuring a rat which has been taught to play chess
though, as the title implies, the story is really about the humans.

> =97Edward Lasker, M.E., E.E.
>
> What, by the wat, are ME and EE?

He earned a degree in mechanical and electrical engineering in
Berlin. Though I think that his IM title would be more appropriate
here.

William Hyde



 
Date: 09 Feb 2009 12:19:59
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
On Feb 9, 2:00=A0pm, Offramp <alaneobr...@gmail.com > wrote:
> On Feb 9, 6:49=A0pm, Offramp <alaneobr...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> >http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jan/31/ten-best-chess-games
>
> > "Ten of the best chess games
>
> > =A0 =A0 * John Mullan
> > =A0 =A0 * The Guardian, Saturday 31 January 2009
> > =A0 =A0 * Article history
>
> > The Book of the Duchess by Chaucer
>
> > In Chaucer's narrative poem, a melancholy poet falls asleep over a
> > book and dreams of wandering in a forest where he meets a mysterious
> > black knight. The sad knight tells of a game of chess he has played
> > against Fortune and lost. The dreamer realises the chess game is a
> > metaphor for life, and that the knight has lost a real white queen.
>
> > A Game at Chess by Thomas Middleton
>
> > In this 1620s crowd-pleaser, all the characters are chess pieces. It
> > was an allegorical assault on the Spanish court and its English
> > sympathisers. The behaviour of the characters mimics the moves in a
> > chess game. The most dangerous person is the Black Knight (the
> > scheming Spanish ambassador in London).
>
> > The Tempest by William Shakespeare
>
> > The earliest evidence that chess might be a sexy affair. The courting
> > lovers, Ferdinand and Miranda, are "discovered" behind a curtain,
> > playing chess. "Sweet lord, you play me false," Miranda accuses
> > Ferdinand (teasingly?), and he reassures her, "No, my dearst love, I
> > would not for the world." They are brainy as well as vivacious.
>
> > Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
>
> > The whole book is a fantasy born of a chess game. In a list of
> > dramatis personae, Carroll explains which characters corresponded to
> > which pieces, and gives the position as the story commences. He sums
> > up his narrative as a chess problem: "White pawn (Alice) to play and
> > win in 11 moves."
>
> > The Royal Game by Stefan Zweig
>
> > One of the passengers on a ship is the world chess champion. Another,
> > Dr B, tells the narrator of his incarceration by the Nazis, during
> > which he tried to stay sane by playing mental chess against himself,
> > dividing his mind into two contesting characters. With this training,
> > he easily beats the world champion. In a return match, the champion
> > plays as slowly as he can, driving Dr B to distraction and madness.
>
> > The Waste Land by TS Eliot
>
> > "And we shall play a game of chess, / Pressing lidless eyes and
> > waiting for a knock upon the door." The second section of Eliots poem
> > has this melancholy contest at its heart. By calling the section "A
> > Game of Chess" he seemed to be forging a metaphor for the silent
> > contest of an unhappy married life.
>
> > The Defence by Vladimir Nabokov
>
> > The novel's protagonist is Aleksandr Luzhin, a chess prodigy for whom
> > the game becomes a tormenting obsession. His crisis comes in his match
> > against the Italian grandmaster Turati, who stands between him and a
> > challenge to the world champion. As the match unfolds, his carefully
> > planned defence fails and he has a mental breakdown.
>
> > From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
>
> > The evil genius of this James Bond novel is Kronsteen, whom we first
> > encounter a few moves from victory in the final of the Moscow chess
> > championship. "To him all people were chess pieces." He is called to
> > an emergency meeting of Smersh, where Bond's destruction is planned,
> > but first insists on finishing the endgame.
>
> > Murphy by Samuel Beckett
>
> > Beckett's protagonist is a nurse in a mental hospital where he plays
> > chess with one of the patients. Their final game begins with Murphy's
> > innocent advance of his king's pawn: "This was Murphy's first mistake,
> > and the primary cause of his subsequent downfall." When he concedes,
> > it is indeed the prelude to his death.
>
> > Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling
>
> > To get to the stone, Harry and his mates must become pieces on a giant
> > chessboard. "What do we do?" asks Harry. It's obvious, isn't it?" says
> > Ron. "We've got to play our way across the room." Ron is a top player,
> > and wins with a daring knight sacrifice. (He is the knight.)"
>
> > This totally hackneyed list was added to a week later in the letters:
> > "In your list of Ten of the best chess games in books (31 January) you
> > omit the most convincing - The Squares of the City by John Brunner
> > (published in 1965). In an afterword he complains that Through the
> > Looking Glass doesn't make sense as a chess game. His book is
> > accurately based on a game played in Havana between Steinitz and
> > Chigorin in 1892, although it remains unfinished in the book, as one
> > of the "pieces" discovers what is going on.
> > Chris Evans
> > Earby, Lancashire"
>
> > I have not heard of that last one at all. Anyone read it?
>
> I have the book now. Here is the introduction:
>
> The Squares of the City
> John Brunner
>
> Copyright =A9 1965 by John Brunner
> ISBN 0-345-27739-2
> e-book ver. 1.0

I have a good many of Brunner's novels, novellas and short stories,
acquired mostly from used-book stores over the years. HIs novel "Stand
on Zanzibar" is a masterpiece. But I have never come across "Squares
of the City." Is it a novel published by itself, or is it in a short
story anthology?

> INTRODUCTION
>
> The story told by John Brunner in The Squares of the City held me
> spellbound from beginning to end. It had a special attraction for me
> because all the people in the book are chess-mad, and chess is my
> favorite pastime. But even the reader who knows nothing about the game
> will be thoroughly fascinated by this story in which the two chief
> political antagonists in a South American country attempt to direct
> the actions of their followers by using the unconscious but powerful
> influence of "subliminal perception," a technique which may well
> threaten all our futures.
> Under its baleful persuasion, members of the two hostile parties
> commit all sorts of crimes as they unknowingly carry out the actions
> suggested to them by a confidant of their leaders who is an expert in
> subliminal perception and who is the Director of the television
> network that controls The City. Only gradually does one realize that
> The City is a chessboard=97its chief inhabitants taking actions that are
> the counterparts of moves in a vicious game of chess being played out
> by their leaders.
> The author has added an ingenious twist to his story which will be
> particularly intriguing to chess fans. The game in which his
> characters move as living pieces has not been artificially designed by
> him to suit the progress of his plot. It had actually been played,
> move for move, some seventy years ago in a match for the world
> championship between the title holder, the American master William
> Steinitz, and the Russian master Mikhail Ivanovich Tchigorin.
> =97Edward Lasker, M.E., E.E.
>
> What, by the wat, are ME and EE?


 
Date: 09 Feb 2009 11:00:20
From: Offramp
Subject: Re: Ten of the best chess games (in novels)
On Feb 9, 6:49=A0pm, Offramp <alaneobr...@gmail.com > wrote:
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jan/31/ten-best-chess-games
>
> "Ten of the best chess games
>
> =A0 =A0 * John Mullan
> =A0 =A0 * The Guardian, Saturday 31 January 2009
> =A0 =A0 * Article history
>
> The Book of the Duchess by Chaucer
>
> In Chaucer's narrative poem, a melancholy poet falls asleep over a
> book and dreams of wandering in a forest where he meets a mysterious
> black knight. The sad knight tells of a game of chess he has played
> against Fortune and lost. The dreamer realises the chess game is a
> metaphor for life, and that the knight has lost a real white queen.
>
> A Game at Chess by Thomas Middleton
>
> In this 1620s crowd-pleaser, all the characters are chess pieces. It
> was an allegorical assault on the Spanish court and its English
> sympathisers. The behaviour of the characters mimics the moves in a
> chess game. The most dangerous person is the Black Knight (the
> scheming Spanish ambassador in London).
>
> The Tempest by William Shakespeare
>
> The earliest evidence that chess might be a sexy affair. The courting
> lovers, Ferdinand and Miranda, are "discovered" behind a curtain,
> playing chess. "Sweet lord, you play me false," Miranda accuses
> Ferdinand (teasingly?), and he reassures her, "No, my dearst love, I
> would not for the world." They are brainy as well as vivacious.
>
> Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
>
> The whole book is a fantasy born of a chess game. In a list of
> dramatis personae, Carroll explains which characters corresponded to
> which pieces, and gives the position as the story commences. He sums
> up his narrative as a chess problem: "White pawn (Alice) to play and
> win in 11 moves."
>
> The Royal Game by Stefan Zweig
>
> One of the passengers on a ship is the world chess champion. Another,
> Dr B, tells the narrator of his incarceration by the Nazis, during
> which he tried to stay sane by playing mental chess against himself,
> dividing his mind into two contesting characters. With this training,
> he easily beats the world champion. In a return match, the champion
> plays as slowly as he can, driving Dr B to distraction and madness.
>
> The Waste Land by TS Eliot
>
> "And we shall play a game of chess, / Pressing lidless eyes and
> waiting for a knock upon the door." The second section of Eliots poem
> has this melancholy contest at its heart. By calling the section "A
> Game of Chess" he seemed to be forging a metaphor for the silent
> contest of an unhappy married life.
>
> The Defence by Vladimir Nabokov
>
> The novel's protagonist is Aleksandr Luzhin, a chess prodigy for whom
> the game becomes a tormenting obsession. His crisis comes in his match
> against the Italian grandmaster Turati, who stands between him and a
> challenge to the world champion. As the match unfolds, his carefully
> planned defence fails and he has a mental breakdown.
>
> From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
>
> The evil genius of this James Bond novel is Kronsteen, whom we first
> encounter a few moves from victory in the final of the Moscow chess
> championship. "To him all people were chess pieces." He is called to
> an emergency meeting of Smersh, where Bond's destruction is planned,
> but first insists on finishing the endgame.
>
> Murphy by Samuel Beckett
>
> Beckett's protagonist is a nurse in a mental hospital where he plays
> chess with one of the patients. Their final game begins with Murphy's
> innocent advance of his king's pawn: "This was Murphy's first mistake,
> and the primary cause of his subsequent downfall." When he concedes,
> it is indeed the prelude to his death.
>
> Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling
>
> To get to the stone, Harry and his mates must become pieces on a giant
> chessboard. "What do we do?" asks Harry. It's obvious, isn't it?" says
> Ron. "We've got to play our way across the room." Ron is a top player,
> and wins with a daring knight sacrifice. (He is the knight.)"
>
> This totally hackneyed list was added to a week later in the letters:
> "In your list of Ten of the best chess games in books (31 January) you
> omit the most convincing - The Squares of the City by John Brunner
> (published in 1965). In an afterword he complains that Through the
> Looking Glass doesn't make sense as a chess game. His book is
> accurately based on a game played in Havana between Steinitz and
> Chigorin in 1892, although it remains unfinished in the book, as one
> of the "pieces" discovers what is going on.
> Chris Evans
> Earby, Lancashire"
>
> I have not heard of that last one at all. Anyone read it?

I have the book now. Here is the introduction:

The Squares of the City
John Brunner

Copyright =A9 1965 by John Brunner
ISBN 0-345-27739-2
e-book ver. 1.0

INTRODUCTION

The story told by John Brunner in The Squares of the City held me
spellbound from beginning to end. It had a special attraction for me
because all the people in the book are chess-mad, and chess is my
favorite pastime. But even the reader who knows nothing about the game
will be thoroughly fascinated by this story in which the two chief
political antagonists in a South American country attempt to direct
the actions of their followers by using the unconscious but powerful
influence of "subliminal perception," a technique which may well
threaten all our futures.
Under its baleful persuasion, members of the two hostile parties
commit all sorts of crimes as they unknowingly carry out the actions
suggested to them by a confidant of their leaders who is an expert in
subliminal perception and who is the Director of the television
network that controls The City. Only gradually does one realize that
The City is a chessboard=97its chief inhabitants taking actions that are
the counterparts of moves in a vicious game of chess being played out
by their leaders.
The author has added an ingenious twist to his story which will be
particularly intriguing to chess fans. The game in which his
characters move as living pieces has not been artificially designed by
him to suit the progress of his plot. It had actually been played,
move for move, some seventy years ago in a match for the world
championship between the title holder, the American master William
Steinitz, and the Russian master Mikhail Ivanovich Tchigorin.
=97Edward Lasker, M.E., E.E.

What, by the wat, are ME and EE?