An epic chess match on a transatlantic liner unearths a story of persecution and obsession. One of the most perfectly gripping novellas from a master of the form, Stefan Zweig.
Chess world champion Mirko Czentovic is travelling on an ocean liner to Buenos Aires. Dull-witted in all but chess, he entertains himself on board by allowing others to challenge him in the game, before beating each of them and taking their money. But there is another passenger with a passion for chess: Dr B, previously driven to insanity during Nazi imprisonment by the chess games in his imagination. But in agreeing to take on Czentovic, what price will Dr B ultimately pay?
A moving portrait of one man's madness, A Chess Story is a searing examination of the power of the mind and the evil it can do.
'The rediscovery of this extraordinary writer could well be on a par with last year's refinding of the long-lost Stoner, by John Williams, and which similarly could pluck his name out of a dusty obscurity.' Simon Winchester, Telegraph
'Perhaps the best chess story ever written, perhaps the best about any game. Never mind that you may have never moved a pawn to King four; the story will grip you.' Economist
'His great achievement in short form'The Times
A staunch pacifist after his time in the Ministry of War during the First World War, Stefan Zweig was, at his peak, one of the bestselling and most widely acclaimed authors in the world. Following Hitler's rise to power, he and his second wife fled Austria; first to England, then to America, and finally, in 1940, they travelled together to Brazil, where the couple took an overdose and died. Much of his work is available from Pushkin Press.
Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in Vienna, a member of a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family. He studied in Berlin and Vienna and was first known as a translator and later as a biographer. Zweig travelled widely, living in Salzburg between the wars, and enjoying literary fame. His stories and novellas were collected in 1934. In the same year, with the rise of Nazism, he briefly moved to London, taking British citizenship. After a short period in New York, he settled in Brazil where in 1942 he and his wife were found dead in bed in an apparent double suicide.