Publication: Phoenix House, 1998, London
First U.K. edition. Translated from the Italian by Jon Rothschild. Fine in dust jacket. The body of Dr. Dieter Frisch, an elderly German chess master, turns up in his topiary garden beside his old army pistol. A homemade chess set of cloth and buttons is found on his desk in a complicated mid-game position, in lieu of a suicide note. Starting from this enigmatic clue, we rapidly discover that Dr. Frisch's assassination was the final move in a deadly, decades-long match between world-class competitors. We meet the rivals as young boys in pre-Nazi Germany. The more orthodox and methodical player of the two is blond and Aryan; his creative, curly-haired Jewish opponent will eventually develop a daring attack requiring the sacrifice of his knight for two pawns. At first they play in tournaments. Later the duel is continued within the barbed-wire borders of a concentration camp, where the stakes are human lives.
Inventory Number: 10625