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A Chess Classic: 'The Immortal Game'

David Shenk chronicles the history of chess in <em>The Immortal Game</em>.
David Shenk chronicles the history of chess in The Immortal Game.

Even in this era of Game Boys and PlayStations, you can still read an account of Hezbollah's raid across the Israeli border as "Nasrallah's gambit," and you can find descriptions of the response it provoked as "Israel's endgame."

Chess vocabulary forms a metaphorical bridge between a harmless board game of strategy and the strategies of real-life war.

The history of chess is recounted in The Immortal Game, a new book by David Shenk.

To serious chess players, the book's title has an obvious double meaning: It refers to the game itself and also to a particular match that was played by two masters -- Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky -- in London in 1851.

Shenk weaves the story of that match, move by move, throughout the larger story.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robert Siegel
Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.