NABOKV-L post 0024268, Thu, 23 May 2013 18:49:01 -0700

Subject
Re: Chess problem
Date
Body
Very interesting and convincing. It explains why I don't care for the chess
problem and the short story. Except - there has to be an exception doesn't
there? - I like Mrs Baird's chess problems and Saki's short stories. There is a
sense of humor that prevents them from becoming pretentious and frustrating.
Chekhov? Dama sobachkoi is a short novel and I prefer the letters on the whole
to the stories - but then there was Lola. Oh, hell. Too many exceptions.

I still do not care for the chess problem, as a whole.

Carolyn



________________________________
From: "Hyman, Eric" <ehyman@UNCFSU.EDU>
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Sent: Thu, May 23, 2013 6:10:11 PM
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] Chess problem


Some of the chess problems are in VN’s Poems and Puzzles. I don’t know offhand
whether the specific problem referred to in Conclusive Evidence [Speak, Memory]
is one of the ones in Poems and Puzzles. In 1986 I gave a paper, “The Affinity
between Nabokov’s Short Stories and Chess Problems,”at the Vladimir Nabokov
Society Meeting, Modern Language Association Convention, New York (abstract
published in The Nabokovian, 18 [1987]). Therein I argued that novels (or
memoirs) and chess problems are very different: chess games, novels and memoirs
are developing, sequential narratives, whereas short stories and chess problems
depend on single key moves that determine everything else, that the author sets
for the reader/solver to figure out.

Pale Firethus would be sort of a hybrid: it has two more or less sequential
narratives, Shade’s poem and Kinbote’s Zemblan fantasy; and is also akin to a
chess problem, where the key move is that reader needs to figure out that
Kinbote is mad (and/or might be Botkin).


Eric Hyman
Professor of English
Department of English
Butler 133
Fayetteville State University
1200 Murchison Road
Fayetteville, NC 28301-4252
(910) 672-1901
ehyman@uncfsu.edu

From:Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] On Behalf Of
Carolyn Kunin
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 7:49 PM
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Subject: [NABOKV-L] 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
>Wake."


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?

Carolyn

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