Thread: Literary Chess Story by Stefan Zweig
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Old 04-14-2013, 01:04 AM   #7
caleb72
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OK - I've finished reading this and my first observation is that I liked the story. I particularly liked the telling of Dr B's stay with the Gestapo as I tend to like that sort of depressing topic. And in the first appearence of Dr B for the casual chess game was quite exciting.

I found it interesting that in the final game, the chess itself didn't intrigue me - the two characters did. The patience of the champion almost like a recreation of the patience of the Gestapo - waiting for its prisoner to crack. The frenetic energy of Dr B defeating himself - as he must.

I thought the champion really was a champion because it only took him one game to work out how to defeat Dr B and he did it beautifully - if cruelly. It's scary to think of him as an example of the cold and calculated actions of the Gestapo. The blunt, emotionless tormentor - the machine, carefully taking apart his enemies.

Meanwhile, Dr B is forever defeated in a way. His escape from the Gestapo came with luck and at the price of his sanity.

He forcibly created a kind of schizophrenia that was brilliantly teased by the champion into making another appearance, almost intentionally.

Maybe the story was about looking at the real cost of WWII on the captives, the psychological damage wrought by the Gestapo and other Nazi tormentors.

In any case, I'm interested in what others thought about the story.
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