3 Chess books & fiction to Put on your reading list in 2021

Chess Books for 2021

2020 has really been the year Chess regained fame, glory and respect. Magnus Carlsen might have helped but three tremendous trends have shaped it: Netflix, Coronavirus and Twitch.

With this in mind, we've all been assiduously watching games, reading strategy books or buying a first chess set. (If you live in New York, we recommend you stop by the Chess Forum in the Greenwich village for a more warm touch from owner Imad Khachan).

For a different take we wanted to recommend three fiction book to complement your efforts to improve your chess game.

The Queen's Gambit - Walter Tevis

Book - Queen's Gambit

The eponymous book that influenced the famed series The Queen's Gambit on Netflix is worth reading on its own.

Eight year-old orphan Beth Harmon is quiet, sullen, and by all appearances unremarkable. That is, until she plays her first game of chess. Her senses grow sharper, her thinking clearer, and for the first time in her life she feels herself fully in control. By the age of sixteen, she’s competing for the U.S. Open championship. But as Beth hones her skills on the professional circuit, the stakes get higher, her isolation grows more frightening, and the thought of escape becomes all the more tempting.

LINK: Buy on Amazon

The Chess Story (Schachnovelle) - Stefan Zweig

The Chess Story (Schachnovelle)

Chess Story, also known as The Royal Game, is the Austrian master Stefan Zweig's final achievement, completed in Brazilian exile and sent off to his American publisher only days before his suicide in 1942. It is the only story in which Zweig looks at Nazism, and he does so with characteristic emphasis on the psychological.

Travelers by ship from New York to Buenos Aires find that on board with them is the world champion of chess, an arrogant and unfriendly man. They come together to try their skills against him and are soundly defeated. Then a mysterious passenger steps forward to advise them and their fortunes change. How he came to possess his extraordinary grasp of the game of chess and at what cost lie at the heart of Zweig's story.

LINK: Buy on Amazon

The Luzhin Defense - Vladimir Nabokov

The Luzhin Defense

Nabokov's third novel, The Luzhin Defense, is a chilling story of obsession and madness. As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive,  distracted, withdrawn, sullen--an enigma to his parents and an object of ridicule to his classmates. He takes up chess as a refuge from the anxiety of his everyday life.  His talent is prodigious and he rises to the rank of grandmaster--but at a cost:  in Luzhin' s obsessive mind, the game of chess gradually supplants the world of reality.   His own world falls apart during a crucial championship match, when the intricate defense he has devised withers  under his opponent's unexpected and unpredictabke lines of assault.

LINK: Buy on Amazon


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