Chess Story

Chess Story by Stefan Zweig

1) “And, actually, isn’t it damn easy to think you’re a great man if you aren’t troubled by the slightest notion that a Rembrandt, Beethoven, Dante, or Napoleon ever existed?”

2) “The more one limits oneself, the closer one is to the infinite.”

3) “C’est son métier. If I had a toothache and there happened to be a dentist on board, I wouldn’t ask him to pull my tooth free of charge.

4) “For, as is well known, nothing on earth puts more pressure on the human mind than nothing.”

5) “But even thoughts, insubstantial as they seem, need a footing, or they begin to spin, to run in frenzied circles; they can’t bear nothingness either.”

6) “The same flickering thought always broke in: What do they know? What did I say yesterday, what must I say next time?”

7) “My knees began to shake: a BOOK!”

8) “For suddenly I had something to do – something meaningless, something without purpose, you may say, but still something that nullified the nullity surrounding me.”

9) “Playing chess against oneself is thus as paradoxical as jumping over one’s own shadows.”

10) “I regret that it was played for such thoroughly incompetent spectators and that its course is as lost to the annals of chess as Beethoven’s piano improvisations are to music.”

An intriguing short story that explored the human mind and picked up near the end. The narrator’s perspective reminded me of The Great Gatsby, and the interrogations brought me back to The Sympathizers.

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