NABOKV-L post 0004359, Sun, 5 Sep 1999 08:22:36 -0700

Nabokov and Chess (fwd)

I received the following information from Tom Delehanty
<> which I think will be of interest to a number of you:

The most important chess problem construct employed by Nabokov in his
fiction appears to be the *solus rex* theme, where Black's King is the
only Black piece on the board. Solus rex problems tend to be waiting-move
constructions, or "waiters". The White forces cannot directly force
checkmate, so White makes an aesthetically pleasing "waiting move", which
compels the Black King to move into a ruinous position. Nabokov seems
never to have composed any solus rex chess problems.

A good article, which goes into some relevant problem themes and contains
a useful bibliography, is Daniel Edelman, "Cooks, Forks and Waiters:
Chess Problems and Vladimir Nabokov's *The Defense*", American Chess
Journal *3*, 44-58.

Lynne Walker