Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015784, Wed, 5 Dec 2007 22:12:06 -0500

THOUGHTS: Chess, plotting, and moves in VN
I know something, not that much, about chess. Certainly we weak
players often match mistake for mistake with unforeseen results
("the winner is the player who makes the second-last mistake")
and "move" and "blunder" suggest chess, but I don't think there's
any recognizable move or tactic here.

Jerry Friedman

--- jansymello <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:


> Jansy: M.R's invited readers to join in each other's wild goose chases
> according to sense of play & humor, wild intuitions, common-sense, aso.
> Roth departed, here in the list, from VN's SM passage about chess. If I
> understood some of Alexey's recent messages it seems he is suggesting
> that we also consider special "scrabble-game" series as yielding
> instrumental clues.
> Yesterday, while I was googling entries about "infinity and eternity",
> LATH came into view (!!!). I was so puzzled by its opening paragraph
> that I felt motivated enough to bring it up here:
> I met the first of my three or four successive wives in somewhat odd
> circumstances, the development of which resembled a clumsy conspiracy,
> with
> nonsensical details and a main plotter who not only knew nothing of its
> real object but insisted on making inept moves that seemed to preclude
> the
> slightest possibility of success. Yet out of those very mistakes he
> unwittingly wove a web, in which a set of reciprocal blunders on my part
> caused me to get involved and fulfill the destiny that was the only aim
> of the plot.
> The dis-oriented narrator blames the "main plotter" for his inept moves
> and yet, after he recognizes a "web" (albeit an "unwittingly woven"
> one), a mysterious "set of reciprocal blunders" of his gets him
> involved in "his life" to fulfill a destiny that had been already set
> down by the "main plotter" from the beginning. Unfortunately I know
> almost nothing about chess, but it seems that there must be a
> recognizable chess-move being "plotted" and described by these lines.
> The indeterminacy of writing down "three or four" is marvellous, the
> more so when seen in contrast to the very definite series of
> "successive" (wives).
> Any ideas?

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