When the world's most innovative computer chess software is stolen, wisecracking, jazz bass-playing PI August Riordan is hired to find it. Sifting through a San Francisco peopled with bruising, ex-NFL henchmen, transvestite techno geeks, and alluring, drug-addicted dominatrices, Riordan has got his work cut out for him. But with a smart-ass attitude like Riordan's, nothing is easy ... A darkly comic sojourn through a town unrecognizable from the Tony Bennett song and the Rice-a-Roni ads, The Immortal Game is a Shamus, Barry, and Independent Publisher (IPPY) award nominee.
A fresh, engaging look at how 32 carved pieces on a board forever changed our understanding of war, art, science, and the human brain. Chess is the most enduring and universal game in history. Here, bestselling author David Shenk chronicles its intriguing saga, from ancient Persia to medieval Europe to the dens of Benjamin Franklin and Norman Schwarzkopf. Along the way, he examines a single legendary game that took place in London in 1851 between two masters of the time, and relays his own attempts to become as skilled as his Polish ancestor Samuel Rosenthal, a nineteenth-century champion. With its blend of cultural history and Shenk’s lively personal narrative, The Immortal Game is a compelling guide for novices and aficionados alike.
When the world's most innovative computer chess software is stolen, wisecracking, jazz bass-playing PI August Riordan is hired to find it. Sifting through a San Francisco peopled with bruising, ex-NFL henchmen, transvestite techno geeks, and alluring, drug-addicted dominatrices, Riordan has got his work cut out for him. But with a smart-ass attitude like Riordan's, nothing is easy ... A darkly comic sojourn through a town unrecognizable from the Tony Bennett song and the Rice-a-Roni ads, The Immortal Game is a Shamus and Barry award nominee and a San Francisco Chronicle Book of the Year.
When struggling pre-med student Ruby West beats the unconquerable Ash at chess he becomes fixated on her. Which is great if you like smoldering blue eyes, sculpted features, and afternoons of unexpected adventure. But not so great when she discovers he is a Greek god and his father, Zeus, has forbidden the gods from interacting with humans. Ruby soon realizes her love for Ash threatens the fragile stability that has kept the gods from meddling in the mortal world. Before long the two find themselves on a quest to rescue a goddess, save the Earth from unending winter, and secure the right to be together forever.
A surprising, charming, and ever-fascinating history of the seemingly simple game that has had a profound effect on societies the world over. Why has one game, alone among the thousands of games invented and played throughout human history, not only survived but thrived within every culture it has touched? What is it about its thirty-two figurative pieces, moving about its sixty-four black and white squares according to very simple rules, that has captivated people for nearly 1,500 years? Why has it driven some of its greatest players into paranoia and madness, and yet is hailed as a remarkably powerful intellectual tool? Nearly everyone has played chess at some point in their lives. Its rules and pieces have served as a metaphor for society, influencing military strategy, mathematics, artificial intelligence, and literature and the arts. It has been condemned as the devil’s game by popes, rabbis, and imams, and lauded as a guide to proper living by other popes, rabbis, and imams. Marcel Duchamp was so absorbed in the game that he ignored his wife on their honeymoon. Caliph Muhammad al-Amin lost his throne (and his head) trying to checkmate a courtier. Ben Franklin used the game as a cover for secret diplomacy.In his wide-ranging and ever-fascinating examination of chess, David Shenk gleefully unearths the hidden history of a game that seems so simple yet contains infinity. From its invention somewhere in India around 500 A.D., to its enthusiastic adoption by the Persians and its spread by Islamic warriors, to its remarkable use as a moral guide in the Middle Ages and its political utility in the Enlightenment, to its crucial importance in the birth of cognitive science and its key role in the aesthetic of modernism in twentieth-century art, to its twenty-first-century importance in the development of artificial intelligence and use as a teaching tool in inner-city America, chess has been a remarkably omnipresent factor in the development of civilization. Indeed, as Shenk shows, some neuroscientists believe that playing chess may actually alter the structure of the brain, that it may be for individuals what it has been for civilization: a virus that makes us smarter. From the Trade Paperback edition.