Failing better. Beckett's game with chess in Murphy
by Dr. Bernd-Peter Lange
A game's trajectory
Beckett´s lifelong obsession with chess has become a household word. From his childhood with its games in the family, through his participation in matches of the chess team of Trinity College Dublin, facing the Danish master Aaron Nimzowitsch in a simultaneous exhibition, losing many chess games to Marcel Duchamp in his French exile, games in the Vaucluse hideout in the second World War to many occasional friendly games against many partners well into old age, Beckett never lost his fascination with the game. (Knowlson, 1996) The chess books in his library had a focus on the contemporary chess scene, specializing on game collections of the World Champions of chess from Capablanca in the 1920s to Kasparov in the 1980s. (Van Hulle/Nixon, 2013, 261-287) The most concentrated literary reflection of Beckett´s preoccupation with chess came early in his career with the writing and publication of Murphy. The novel is a rarity among thematically related fictions since it integrates the notation of a complete chess game and notes commenting on some of its moves.
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Literature, women playing chess and Bertolt Brecht
The society has recently published a very interesting essay from our member Bernd-Peter Lange about the German playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht and chess playing women around him.
As it is in German, you can find the article in our German website here:
Invitation of CH&LS members to the CCI meeting in St. Louis, Missouri USA
Tom Gallegos, President of CCI-USA, has informed us about the CCI Conference to be held July 6-9 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, while also inviting all CH&LS members to attend.
Here is his email: (The attachment with program and registration form mentioned in the email is at the end of the text).
Dear CCI Members, Guests, and Friends,
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Chess Theory from Stamma to Steinitz, 1735–1894
by Jean Olivier Leconte
The McFarland publishing house (USA) has a whole branch specialized in books about chess history, which is to their credit, because the target audience is rather limited. Note that the published books are always of good quality.
I recently acquired one of their latest publications, with the book of my friend Frank Hoffmeister. His book, to which I contributed very modestly, does not differ from McFarland's books. It is a book of great quality for those who are interested in the history of chess and the beginnings of the opening theory for example.
In his introduction, Frank indicates that he started writing this book in ... 2009 (!) for publication in 2022. Such a length of time does not surprise me, considering the richness of the book. Note that in the February 2023 issue of the New In Chess magazine, the British Grandmaster Matthew Sadler publishes a long article about this book and gives it the maximum rating of 5 stars!
Paris celebrates the Café de la Régence
A landmark in chess history. On Tuesday 4 April 2023, the ceremony for the inauguration of the commemorative plaque of the Café de la Régence took place at N°161 rue Saint-Honoré in Paris.
This ceremony marks the end of a cultural project led by Jean-Olivier Leconte (FIDE master and chess historian) and that lasted several years, in particular to convince the City of Paris of the interest to pay tribute to this place known worldwide by chess players.
The ceremony took place with several deputies of the Mayor of Paris, as well as the president of the French Chess Federation.