The Immortal Game: A History of Chess
Anyhow, this is a really fascinating history of chess, told in that post-modern way of jumping back and forth in time, between the ""straight"" historical account, the author's own experience with the game, and a move-by-move account of a famous game -- the so-ca...more
It's just more fun. The Immortal Game has a sort of whimsy about it which I find appropriate because chess is, after all, merely a game (despite the intellectual and historical heft it can throw around after 1400 years). Of course, they're very different works, so that co...more
Halfway through this book I knew I was going...more
The book includes detailed discussions on the rules and strategies of chess as well as its significance in relation to human understanding at different points in history. The Immortal Game of the title seems to end anticlimactically, echoing a somewhat stilted conclusion to the otherwise graceful narrative. Additi...more
The title and opening were significant enough hooks to keep me reading until the narratives started to unfold. The time spent on earlier civilizations, gave me a vested interest.
I am not a chess player. From early in my youth I purposefully disdained from chess playing. I had access to books and willing adversaries. But it was not an easy thing. From the first game it became apparent that being go...more
Me? At best is was an ok magazine article.
Not that the subject isn't worthy. I just found the writing thin, without the author bringing much to the table then his own family history's link with chess and his recent attempts to retake up the game. All the relevant material...more
The author is clearly not a chess player, so the perspective he offers is not your normal Grandmaster ghost-authored fare. He tells a sort of history of chess interspersed with the moves of the Immortal Game (Anderssen-Kieseritzky, London 1851).
There is a lot to like here. David Shenk is a good writer with a clear and engaging style. The book is sort of well researched wi...more
"It all starts out simply: in the fi...more
A book review by: Yvette Fannell @chesspoet
‘Understanding is the essential weapon,’ proclaims the ancient Persian poem “Chatrang-namak,” one of the oldest books mentioning the game. ‘Victory is obtained by the intellect...’
The Immortal Game: A History of Chess, or How 32 Carved Pieces on a Board Illuminated Our Understanding of War, Art, Science, and the Human Brain by David Shenk explores the impact chess has on the world o...more
David Shenk is the author of four previous books, including The Forgetting, an acclaimed study of Alzheimer's, and Data Smog, about information overload in the Internet age. The greatest asset of The Immortal Game is its accessibility. Through an educated layperson's knowledge of chess, Shenk focuses on his subject's more intriguing points and leaves arcane rehashes of famous games for more technical texts. (An appendix obliges those who revel in such details.) At its most engaging, the book med...more
I enjoy how David Shenk organized the book. He weaved the account of 1851's Anderssen vs Kieseritzky game in the history + evolution of the chess in a seamless way, resulting in an exciting story about how humans regard chess as the representation of ancient AND modern battles.
Read this book to find out how to mak...more