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The Chess Artist: Genius, Obsession, and the World's Oldest Game

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The Chess Artist: Genius, Obsession, and the World's Oldest Game Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the tiny Russian province of Kalmykia, obsession with chess has reached new heights. Its leader, a charismatic and eccentric millionaire/ex — car salesman named Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, is a former chess prodigy and the most recent president of FIDE, the world's controlling chess body. Despite credible allegations of his involvement in drug running, embezzlement, and murder, the impoverished Kalmykian people have rallied around their leader's obsession — chess is played on Kalmykian prime-time television and is compulsory in Kalmykian schools. In addition, Kalmyk women have been known to alter their traditional costumes of pillbox hats and satin gowns to include chessboard-patterned sashes.

The Chess Artist is both an intellectual journey and first-rate travel writing dedicated to the love of chess and all of its related oddities, writer and chess enthusiast J. C. Hallman explores the obsessive hold chess exerts on its followers by examining the history and evolution of the game and the people who dedicate their lives to it. Together with his friend Glenn Umstead, an African-American chessmaster who is arguably as chess obsessed as Ilyumzhinov, Hallman tours New York City's legendary chess district, crashes a Princeton Math Department game party, challenges a convicted murderer to a chess match in prison, and travels to Kalmykia, where they are confronted with members of the Russian intelligence service, beautiful translators who may be spies, seven-year-old chess prodigies, and the sad blight of a land struggling toward capitalism.

In the tradition of The Professor and the Madman, Longitude, and The Orchid Thief, Hallman transforms an obsessive quest for obscure things into a compulsively readable and entertaining weaving of travelogue, journalism, and chess history.

Review:

"Interweaving art and literary references along with the game's 1,200-year history, Hallman summarizes the many meanings and metaphors of chess." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Educational, fanciful, entertaining, this is a book that will make every reader see the game of chess in an entirely new — if slightly weird — light." Booklist

Synopsis:

Exploring the obsessive hold chess exerts over its followers, Hallman examines the history and evolution of the game and the people who dedicate their lives to it.

Synopsis:

In the tiny Russian province of Kalmykia, obsession with chess has reached new heights. Its leader, a charismatic and eccentric millionaire/ex--car salesman named Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, is a former chess prodigy and the most recent president of FIDE, the world's controlling chess body. Despite credible allegations of his involvement in drug running, embezzlement, and murder, the impoverished Kalmykian people have rallied around their leader's obsession---chess is played on Kalmykian prime-time television and is compulsory in Kalmykian schools. In addition, Kalmyk women have been known to alter their traditional costumes of pillbox hats and satin gowns to include chessboard-patterned sashes.

The Chess Artist is both an intellectual journey and first-rate travel writing dedicated to the love of chess and all of its related oddities, writer and chess enthusiast J. C. Hallman explores the obsessive hold chess exerts on its followers by examining the history and evolution of the game and the people who dedicate their lives to it. Together with his friend Glenn Umstead, an African-American chessmaster who is arguably as chess obsessed as Ilyumzhinov, Hallman tours New York City's legendary chess district, crashes a Princeton Math Department game party, challenges a convicted murderer to a chess match in prison, and travels to Kalmykia, where they are confronted with members of the Russian intelligence service, beautiful translators who may be spies, seven-year-old chess prodigies, and the sad blight of a land struggling toward capitalism.

In the tradition of The Professor and the Madman, Longitude, and The Orchid Thief, Hallman transforms an obsessive quest for obscure things into a compulsively readable and entertaining weaving of travelogue, journalism, and chess history.

About the Author

J. C. Hallman is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. His work has appeared in GQ, Boulevard, Prairie Schooner, and a number of other journals and anthologies.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312272937
Subtitle:
Genius, Obsession, and the World's Oldest Game
Author:
Hallman, J C
Author:
Hallman, J. C.
Publisher:
St. Martin's Griffin
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Chess
Subject:
Chess - General
Subject:
Chess
Subject:
Regional Studies
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series Volume:
#02-07-029
Publication Date:
20041114
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes one map
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Hobbies, Crafts, and Leisure » Games » Chess

The Chess Artist: Genius, Obsession, and the World's Oldest Game Used Hardcover
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Product details 352 pages Thomas Dunne Books - English 9780312272937 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Interweaving art and literary references along with the game's 1,200-year history, Hallman summarizes the many meanings and metaphors of chess." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "Educational, fanciful, entertaining, this is a book that will make every reader see the game of chess in an entirely new — if slightly weird — light."
"Synopsis" by , Exploring the obsessive hold chess exerts over its followers, Hallman examines the history and evolution of the game and the people who dedicate their lives to it.
"Synopsis" by ,
In the tiny Russian province of Kalmykia, obsession with chess has reached new heights. Its leader, a charismatic and eccentric millionaire/ex--car salesman named Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, is a former chess prodigy and the most recent president of FIDE, the world's controlling chess body. Despite credible allegations of his involvement in drug running, embezzlement, and murder, the impoverished Kalmykian people have rallied around their leader's obsession---chess is played on Kalmykian prime-time television and is compulsory in Kalmykian schools. In addition, Kalmyk women have been known to alter their traditional costumes of pillbox hats and satin gowns to include chessboard-patterned sashes.

The Chess Artist is both an intellectual journey and first-rate travel writing dedicated to the love of chess and all of its related oddities, writer and chess enthusiast J. C. Hallman explores the obsessive hold chess exerts on its followers by examining the history and evolution of the game and the people who dedicate their lives to it. Together with his friend Glenn Umstead, an African-American chessmaster who is arguably as chess obsessed as Ilyumzhinov, Hallman tours New York City's legendary chess district, crashes a Princeton Math Department game party, challenges a convicted murderer to a chess match in prison, and travels to Kalmykia, where they are confronted with members of the Russian intelligence service, beautiful translators who may be spies, seven-year-old chess prodigies, and the sad blight of a land struggling toward capitalism.

In the tradition of The Professor and the Madman, Longitude, and The Orchid Thief, Hallman transforms an obsessive quest for obscure things into a compulsively readable and entertaining weaving of travelogue, journalism, and chess history.

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