Book Review | Chess Story by Stefan Zweig

Updated: Jun 25

Birth: November 28, 1881, Austria

Death: February 22, 1942, Brazil


Chess by Stefan Zweig - 1943

Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in Vienna, Austria. In addition to being a novelist; was also a playwright, journalist and biography writer. His recognition in the world of literature provided with stories like The Burning Secret, Chess, Fear, Amok, Confusion...


I would like to share with you today; Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman by Stefan Zweig



A marvelous masterpiece. The book presents a sensational plot with deep psychoanalysis.


Yet, it is not a dull one but rather gripping and sometimes nerve-shredding... Therefore, once you start reading, you will finish it while keeping your breath.


As a good chess player, I used to study each and every single match played by the main character and worked on his approach to the game. As far as I remember, I was able to play the game in my mind for the first 6 or 7 moves. For this reason, the book is very much appealing to me.

Yet, even if you are not a chess fun, you will enjoy it since chess is just a means to dig deeper into the subconsciousness and to discover the very thin line between the reality and delusion.


And of course Chess is just a metaphor to explain writer's perception of life and political struggles of the time which led to death of millions of people in such a ruthless way.


Negative aspect of this book is that it is a very short book so it makes you sad while finishing it. I strongly recommend the book without hesitation to anyone.



“In chess, as a purely intellectual game, where randomness is excluded, - for someone to play against himself is absurd ... It is as paradoxical, as attempting to jump over his own shadow.” /Stefan Zweig
“For the more a man limits himself, the nearer he is on the other hand to what is limitless; it is precisely those who are apparently aloof from the world who build for themselves a remarkable and thoroughly individual world in miniature, using their own special equipment, termit-like.” /Stefan Zweig
“People and events don't disappoint us, our models of reality do. It is my model of reality that determines my happiness or disappointments.” /Stefan Zweig
“All my life I have been passionately interested in monomaniacs of any kind, people carried away by a single idea. The more one limits oneself, the closer one is to the infinite; these people, as unworldly as they seem, burrow like termites into their own particular material to construct, in miniature, a strange and utterly individual image of the world.” /Stefan Zweig

“Nothing was done to us - we were simply placed in a complete void, and everyone knows that nothing on earth exerts such pressure on the human soul as a void.”

“Besides, isn't it confoundedly easy to think you're a great man if you aren't burdened with the slightest idea that Rembrandt, Beethoven, Dante or Napoleon ever lived?” /Stefan Zweig
“For the more a man limits himself, the nearer he is on the other hand to what is limitless; it is precisely those who are apparently aloof from the world who build for themselves a remarkable and thoroughly individual world in miniature, using their own special equipment, termit-like.” /Stefan Zweig
“We are happy when people/things conform and unhappy when they don't. People and events don't disappoint us, our models of reality do. It is my model of reality that determines my happiness or disappointments.” /Stefan Zweig
“I hadn't had a book in my hands for four months, and the mere idea of a book where I could see words printed one after another, lines, pages, leaves, a book in which I could pursue new, different, fresh thoughts to divert me, could take them into my brain, had something both intoxicating and stupefying about it.” /Stefan Zweig

“People and events don't disappoint us, our models of reality do. It is my model of reality that determines my happiness or disappointments.

“But is it not already an insult to call chess anything so narrow as a game? Is it not also a science, an art, hovering between these categories like Muhammad's coffin between heaven and earth, a unique yoking of opposites, ancient and yet eternally new, mechanically constituted and yet an activity of the imagination alone, limited to a fixed geometric area but unlimited in its permutations, constantly evolving and yet sterile, a cogitation producing nothing, a mathematics calculating nothing, an art without an artwork, an architecture without substance and yet demonstrably more durable in its essence and actual form than all books and works, the only game that belongs to all peoples and all eras, while no one knows what god put it on earth to deaden boredom, sharpen the mind, and fortify the spirit?” /Stefan Zweig
“The more one limits oneself, the closer one is to the infinite; these people, as unworldly as they seem, burrow like termites into their own particular material to construct, in miniature, a strange and utterly individual image of the world” /Stefan Zweig
“They did nothing... other than subjecting us to complete nothingness. For, as is well known, nothing on earth puts more pressure on the human mind than nothing.” /Stefan Zweig

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