Chess and racial persecution in a novel that you will read all in one go!

Paolo Maurensig - translated by Jon Rothschild - Owl Books - 1998 - 144 pages

The Lüneburg Variation

2024 May 21 | by Arduino Mancini Chess - Conflict and Games Theory - Historical Fiction

A gunshot ends the life of a wealthy German businessman.

Is it an accident? A suicide? A murder? The execution of a sentence? And for what fault?

The genuine answer is surprising:

it is a chess move!

Behind that move lies a hell shaped like a chessboard.

Going back in time, move by move, we will find two chess masters, opposed in everything, and animated by inexhaustible hate, who go through the years and political cataclysms thinking mostly of sharpening their weapons to overwhelm each other.

One of the two protagonists is Jewish, and the other was a Nazi officer: but this is only one of the key aspects of the novel.

What makes the story interesting is the constant tension between the two rivals to figure out what the opponent’s behaviour might be after the following move: the game will be won by the one who succeeds in surprising the enemy.

A great master of the game, Garry Kasparov, said:

Chess is the most violent sport in existence!

Dry, lucid, and tense, this novel leads us through a story that proceeds like a brutal chess game.

Here is a short passage, which I found particularly significant.

It was in that early period, during one of my performances, that I met him for the first time.

I believe that each one of us has, somewhere in the world, his antagonist, the negative alter ego, like what is opposed to the Holy Names of the Tree of Life: the Qlippah, whose name the Sages warn against even pronouncing, the serpent always ready to raise its head, the adversary one would never wish to meet and in whom, however, one ends up running into, since he is part of one’s very being.

In my case, it seemed that all the efforts made, including those of past generations, had only aimed, and for centuries had only aimed, at bringing about this deadly clash.

The book is inspired by the short story Schachnovelle by Stefan Zweig, which Paolo Maurensig admitted having read and studied.

Please read it, now!

You may be interested in a Journey to the chess kingdom

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