[lit-ideas] Re: A Franz Kafka chess game ?

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 02:10:52 -0800 (PST)

(quote) Usually, in chess, the playing style is some
mirror of the personality. You'd expect Kafka to be
more of a Petrosian than a Tal, more like Tartakover
than Marshall. Thanks, Omar, that was eye-opening. 

Did Treybal resign? 

*Kafka resigned, but not without a struggle.
Apparently Frantisek Treybal was a well-known player
of the day - there are 55 recorded games of his in the
database, including against Spielmann, Maroczy, Alapin
etc. - so for an amateur to hold 39 moves against him
would have been a fair achievement.

Obviously I posted this because I thought it might
reveal something about Kafka's personality, though
what exactly is not clear. Scandinavian (or
Center-Counter) defense is an interesting choice; the
Black begins with a seemingly active Queen foray to
d5, but this turns to be a bit pointless after the
White plays Nc3 and the White develops more easily.
The opening is often used by beginners and
inexperienced players and so could be used to get your
opponent to underestimate you. The Black can still get
a reasonable position later and seems to adopt a bit
of a waiting strategy - will holes appear in the
White's castle ? It did not happen this time, because
the opponent was very strong, but it was perhaps the
best chance under the circumstances. I would think
that this approach is not incompatible with the author
of The Castle.

Yes, today's top professionals change their openings
all the time so as to surprise their opponents, but
for most of us amateurs it is a few openings we feel
comfortable with (I'll not say which are mine) and so
there is probably a relationship between opening
choice and personality. Personality, though, is a
fluent category and, when we adopt a new opening, a
little something changes in our personality.

O. Kusturica

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