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2 Beaverton Games- Chess

The Immortal Game: A History of Chess, or How 32 Carved Pieces on a Board Illuminated Our Understanding of War, Art, Science and the Huma

by

The Immortal Game: A History of Chess, or How 32 Carved Pieces on a Board Illuminated Our Understanding of War, Art, Science and the Huma Cover

ISBN13: 9780385510103
ISBN10: 0385510101
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Why has one game, alone among the thousands of games invented and played throughout human history, not only survived but thrived within every culture it has touched? What is it about its thirty-two figurative pieces, moving about its sixty-four black and white squares according to very simple rules, that has captivated people for nearly 1,500 years? Why has it driven some of its greatest players into paranoia and madness, and yet is hailed as a remarkably powerful intellectual tool?

Nearly everyone has played chess at some point in their lives. Its rules and pieces have served as a metaphor for society, influencing military strategy, mathematics, artificial intelligence, and literature and the arts. It has been condemned as the devil's game by popes, rabbis, and imams, and lauded as a guide to proper living by other popes, rabbis, and imams. Marcel Duchamp was so absorbed in the game that he ignored his wife on their honeymoon. Caliph Muhammad al-Amin lost his throne (and his head) trying to checkmate a courtier. Ben Franklin used the game as a cover for secret diplomacy.

In his wide-ranging and ever-fascinating examination of chess, David Shenk gleefully unearths the hidden history of a game that seems so simple yet contains infinity. From its invention somewhere in India around 500 A.D., to its enthusiastic adoption by the Persians and its spread by Islamic warriors, to its remarkable use as a moral guide in the Middle Ages and its political utility in the Enlightenment, to its crucial importance in the birth of cognitive science and its key role in the aesthetic of modernism in twentieth-century art, to its twenty-first-century importance in the development of artificial intelligence and use as a teaching tool in inner-city America, chess has been a remarkably omnipresent factor in the development of civilization.

Review:

"Chess may or may not be the most intellectual of all games, but it is certainly the most romantic. Say the word 'chess,' and the images start to flicker through our minds: black-cowled Death hunched over a chessboard with the crusader in Ingmar Bergman's 'The Seventh Seal'; Alice adventuring through the Looking Glass; the thin-lipped grandmaster Kronsteen planning the destruction of James Bond in... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Before reading David Shenk's wonderful new book, I had at best a casual interest in chess. It seemed too ancient to untangle, too complex to decipher with any real appreciation. But Shenk, in a book filled with daring moves and cunning patience, has made a believer out of me." Stephen J. Dubner, coauthor of Freakonomics

Review:

"I loved this book. Full of burning enthusiasm for the greatest intellectual game in the world, it shows just what can happen when an accomplished author, full of fire and passion, tackles a most wonderful and intricate story. Like a great chess game, this is an achievement that will be talked about for many years to come." Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman

Review:

"It's audacious enough to write a book about the world's most written-about game. To say something fresh and smart seems almost unfair. But that's just what David Shenk has done. With the depth and insight of a grandmaster, The Immortal Game explores and explains not only the addictive power of chess but its shockingly important, Zelig-like role in the history of humankind." Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players

Review:

"David Shenk takes us millennia back and light-years ahead. The Immortal Game is an insightful look at chess, the icons of culture it has inspired, and the surprising part the game plays in the narrative of the modern world." Bruce Pandolfini, legendary chess instructor, author of Pandolfini's Ultimate Guide to Chess

Review:

"[A] compelling, accessible study....[T]his proves an enriching guide for lay readers who'd like to be chess aficionados but don't know where to start." Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

David Shenk is a national-bestselling author of four previous books, including The Forgetting and Data Smog, and a contributor to National Geographic, Gourmet, Harper's, the New Yorker, NPR, and PBS. The Forgetting was hailed by John Bayley as "the definitive work on Alzheimer's," and subsequently inspired an Emmy Award-winning PBS film of the same name. Shenk frequently lectures on issues of health, aging, and technology, and has advised the President's Council on Bioethics. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Kate48, September 27, 2007 (view all comments by Kate48)
This is the second book I've read on the history of chess, and it certainly doesn't disappoint. . . the immortal game, played in 1851 by Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky is interspersed with rollicking facts and myths on the history of chess. Who knew history could make one laugh out loud? According to Shenk, Wilhelm Steinitz . . ."insisted that he had played chess with God over an invisible telephone wire. (God lost.)" This one certainly does. Well worth a read, and it might even inspire you to join in on the fight between two miniature kingdoms. Black or white?
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385510103
Subtitle:
A History of Chess, or How 32 Carved Pieces on a Board Illuminated Our Understanding of War, Art, Science and the Human Brain
Author:
Shenk, David
Publisher:
Doubleday
Subject:
History
Subject:
Chess
Subject:
World - General
Subject:
Chess - General
Subject:
General History
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20060905
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
APPROXIMATELY 50 ILLUSTRATIONS THROUGHOU
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.58x6.24x1.10 in. 1.36 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Hobbies, Crafts, and Leisure » Games » Chess

The Immortal Game: A History of Chess, or How 32 Carved Pieces on a Board Illuminated Our Understanding of War, Art, Science and the Huma Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385510103 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Before reading David Shenk's wonderful new book, I had at best a casual interest in chess. It seemed too ancient to untangle, too complex to decipher with any real appreciation. But Shenk, in a book filled with daring moves and cunning patience, has made a believer out of me."
"Review" by , "I loved this book. Full of burning enthusiasm for the greatest intellectual game in the world, it shows just what can happen when an accomplished author, full of fire and passion, tackles a most wonderful and intricate story. Like a great chess game, this is an achievement that will be talked about for many years to come."
"Review" by , "It's audacious enough to write a book about the world's most written-about game. To say something fresh and smart seems almost unfair. But that's just what David Shenk has done. With the depth and insight of a grandmaster, The Immortal Game explores and explains not only the addictive power of chess but its shockingly important, Zelig-like role in the history of humankind." Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players
"Review" by , "David Shenk takes us millennia back and light-years ahead. The Immortal Game is an insightful look at chess, the icons of culture it has inspired, and the surprising part the game plays in the narrative of the modern world."
"Review" by , "[A] compelling, accessible study....[T]his proves an enriching guide for lay readers who'd like to be chess aficionados but don't know where to start."
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