NABOKV-L post 0024250, Mon, 20 May 2013 16:48:45 -0700

Chess problem
I was working on a chess problem in the New York Times on Saturday and I did as
well as the two winners (both playing black). Which surprized me. But in any
event, it got me to thinking about Nabokov as a chess player.

Google led me to an interview done with the author before fame struck, but in
1951, the latest book was ...

a volume called "Conclusive Evidence." It was an autobiography and yet it wasn't
altogether so. Would Mr. Nabokov talk a bit about it? He would.
>"It is a memoir," he said, "and true. There is a good deal of selection in it,
>of course. What interested me is the thematic lines of my life that resembles
>fiction. The memoir became the meeting point of an impersonal art form and a
>very personal life story."
>Was there any precedent for the memoir that is to some extent manipulated or
>constructed or conceived as a novel? Mr. Nabokov didn't think too long. "There
>isn't any precedent that I know of," he said. "It is a literary approach to my
>own past. There is some precedent for it in the novel, in Proust, say, but not
>in the memoir. With me," Mr. Nabokov said, "it is a kind of composition. I am a
>composer of chess problems. Nobody," he said, "has yet solved the chess problem
>in 'Conclusive Evidence.'" What about a professional, a Reuben Fine, a
>Reshevsky, or someone like that? "I'm waiting for one to come along," Mr.
>Nabokov said in a voice that could have been as ambivalent as Joyce's when
>people were starting to guess at the title of what turned out to be "Finnegans

Now, as the reader may imagine, the question perhaps not so much begged as
raised by all this is does anyone know about the chess problems referred to? are
they repeated in Speak, Memory? has anyone solved them?


February 18, 1951 Talk with Mr. Nabokov by Harvey Breit

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