The Best Chess Novels

There are more than two hundred belletristic works in my library in which the game of chess plays a more or less important role. Here I have chosen the – in my humble opinion – thirty best novels with chess as one of or the main topic (randomly sequenced):

 

The DefenseEine gefaehrliche BegegnungTactics of Conquest

  1. Vladimir Nabokov: The Defense
  2. Fernando Arrabal: The Tower Struck by Lightning
  3. Rudolf Jakob Humm: Spiel mit Valdivia
  4. Stefan Zweig: The Royal Game
  5. Ichokas Meras: Stalemate
  6. John Brunner: The Squares of the City
  7. Barry N. Malzberg: Tactics of Conquest
  8. Walter Tevis: The Queen’s Gambit
  9. Robert Löhr: The Chess Automaton
  10. Bertina Henrichs: La joueuse d’echecs
  11. Elias Canetti: Auto-da-fe
  12. Paolo Maurensig: The Luneburg Variation
  13. Thomas Glavinic: Carl Haffner’s Love of the Draw
  14. Fabio Stassi: La rivincita di Capablanca
  15. Ronan Bennett: Zugzwang
  16. Wilhelm Heinse: Anastasia or The Chess Game
  17. Gustav Meyrink: The Golem
  18. Samuel Beckett: Murphy
  19. Guillermo Martinez: Regarding Roderer
  20. Andy Soltis: Los Voraces 2019
  21. Ernst Jünger: A Dangerous Encounter
  22. Friedrich Dürrenmatt: The Chess Player
  23. Yoko Ogawa: Swimming with Elephants
  24. Ilya Ilf/Evgeny Petrov: The Twelve Chairs
  25. David Szalay: The Innocent
  26. Jesse Kraai: Lisa
  27. Jennifer DuBois: A Partial History of Lost Causes
  28. Michael Chabon: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union
  29. Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  30. Arne Danielsen: The Highest Rank

Just for the record, there is at least one excellent novel available in English translation that is featuring the game of Go: Kawabata Yasunari, The Master of Go (trans. by Edward Seidensticker), Vintage. 

 

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

9 thoughts on “The Best Chess Novels

  1. Oakley

    Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything. Nevertheless just imagine if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this website could undeniably be one of the best in its niche. Wonderful blog!

    Reply
  2. Ruby Grundmeier

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent blog. I stumbled upon it 😉 I may revisit yet again since I saved as a favorite it.

    Reply
  3. fallon_brett

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your blog.
    You have some really great posts and I think I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love
    to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a
    link back to mine. Please blast me an email if interested.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Hello, and thanks for the kind words. In the near future I am not planning to have a multi-author blog. But since I am new to blogging, maybe I will change my mind in the future. In that case I’ll come back to your friendly offer.

      Reply
  4. Mark Taylor

    A very judicious list!

    I’d love to see a list of all 200+ of your chess/chessic novels. I’m (mostly done) compiling a bibliography of chess motifs in English narratives which has about 2000 separate works listed.

    Reply
  5. Green1

    I stumbled across this blog too. Good stuff! In terms of books, have you read the chess based mysteries by Michael Weitz?

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Thanks for leaving a comment! The Michael Weitz mysteries are new to me, and I will have for sure a look at them. I appreciate the recommendation!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *