Chess Handbooks 3 W. H. Cozens Lessons in Chess Strategy

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On the third day my ruse succeeded, although only in part. Whether Czentovic, looking through the porthole, had seen us at the chessboard from the promenade deck, or whether it was mere chance that he honoured the smoking-room with his presence I don’t know, but at any rate, as soon as he saw us amateurs practising his art, he automatically came a step closer, and from this measured distance cast a critical glance at our board. It was McConnor’s move. And that one move seemed enough to tell Czentovic how unworthy of his expert interest it would be to follow our amateurish efforts any further.

He entirely lacked the ability to draw up his battlefield in the boundless space of the imagination, and always needed to have the black and white board with its sixty-four squares and thirty-two chessmen tangibly present. Even at the height of his international fame he always travelled with a folding pocket chess set, so that if he wanted to reconstruct a championship game or solve some problem, he had the position visible before him. This defect, trifling in itself, showed a lack of imaginative power, and was discussed in the inner circles of chess as heatedly as if, in a musical context, an outstanding virtuoso or conductor had proved unable to play or conduct without a score open in front of him.

You were fetched and led along a few corridors to you didn’t know where; then you waited somewhere, again you didn’t know where, and suddenly you were standing in front of a table with a few men in uniform sitting round it. A pile of papers lay on the table: files, containing you didn’t know what, and then the questions began, real and false, obvious and deceptive, cover-up questions and trick questions, and while you replied strange, malicious fingers leafed through the papers containing you didn’t know what, and strange, malicious fingers wrote something in the record of the interrogation, and you didn’t know what they were writing.

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