As usual, I am greatly enjoying all the lucid contribution above, you all really make the reading of any book so vastly more interesting and stimulating!
I am also glad that most of you seem to have enjoyed the book, as I felt somewhat responsible for nominating it. In fact, I am among the minority who did not like it particularly. To the negatives that have been highlighted already I will add that several passages were plain irritating to me, and I found the comparison (repeated twice if memory serves me well) between the isolation Dr. B was put into with what went on in concentration camps frankly unbearable.
Most of my irritation stemmed from finding various descriptions unbelievable, from the personality of the champion to the implicit smugness of the narrator, apparently the only person on the boat able to understand the internal turmoil of Dr. B in the last game, as if only the knowledge he himself had acquired (by virtue of his charm?) about Dr. B's background would allow anyone to detect anomalies in his behaviour, which on the other hand is described as patently rather deranged.
Of course, it did read very well (and I must assume it wasn't just the translation), but in the end I cannot say I enjoyed it. Glad most other did, though, and again thankful for this enlightening discussion!