Saturday 24 May 2014

The Royal Game

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" is in the cinemas at the moment, and I highly recommend it. During the credits, it was stated that the movie was inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig. Of course the chess tragic that I am immediately stepped forward at this dedication, as one of Zweig's most famous work was The Royal Game.
"The Royal Game" was a novella, published posthumously, about a prisoner , Dr B, who tried to stay sane by playing games of chess in his mind. After his release, due to insanity, he avoided chess, until he found himself on a cruise with the World Champion. After revealing his chess strength in a consultation game, he defeated the World Champion in an individual game. However in the next game the World Champion deliberately plays slowly to unsettle Dr B, who suffers a recurrence of his mental breakdown.
The book was itself made into a movie in 1960, with the somewhat obvious title of "Brainwashed". Although the movie adds some additional characters to the book, it generally follows the spirit of the story.

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