In the recent issue of one of Books & Culture there is a generally positive review by Nathan Jones of David Shenk's recent book, 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.
I am sure that many of the chess enthusiasts on the Impala Blog will have already seen or read Shenk's book, but the review might still provide some food for discussion. Jones writes that "Shenk's book pushes the reader to appreciate the game's deep history and the profound aesthetic and social questions that it raises." The review is found at
Christianity Today is a leading Christian magazine in the USA.
Sadly, I've tried to give up buying books about chess - although if anyone sends me an interesting one, I'll certainly review it here.
Marcel Duchamp was certainly a genius in art, and a gifted player of chess as well, who represented his country, France. But what can the example of one nutcase prove? For his chess career and games see here.
I incline to the theory that the roots of chess are to be found in China.
To say that the moves of chess have remained unchanged for 500 years gives a misleading impression. Firstly, India has, by and large, remained faithful to the old rules (without castling and an initial pawn double-move) which make for a slower game. Then, China, Japan and even Korea and South-East Asia hold to their versions of the game, which remain enormously popular in their countries.
And lots has changed in the last 150 years. Timed play with chess clocks, national championships and international tournaments, the introduction of a World Championship, titles, ratings, and most recently the application of computers to the game.
And then there are other games of skill, such as the oriental game of GO (also IGO), unrelated to chess, which are as deep as chess.
Thanks, Richard, for the message. Comments are welcomed from readers who have read the book .