NABOKV-L post 0015704, Sun, 25 Nov 2007 07:39:50 -0500

Nabokov's Luzhin ...
Mated to a fanatical spouse: chess mastery

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Special to The Oregonian

After reading "King's Gambit: A Son, a Father, and the World's Most Dangerous Game," Paul Hoffman's memoir of his and others' lives in and around the world of professional chess, it's easy to see how this mesmerizing sport keeps itself largely removed from the hearts and minds of the American public.

For every Garry Kasparov, the former champ and would-be successor to Vladimir Putin, witness: the cruel decline of another former champ and current anti-Semitic expatriate Bobby Fischer; the narcissism of Kalmykia President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a millionaire who runs the international chess federation FIDE and whose own Russian republic chokes on dust as he showers the chess world with his excesses; and the madness of Vladimir Nabokov's Luzhin, the broken grandmaster culled from reality in the novel "The Defense."

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