CounterplayAn Anthropologist at the Chessboard

CounterplayAn Anthropologist at the Chessboard

Robert Desjarlais

Print publication date: 2012

ISBN: 9780520267398

Publisher: University of California Press


“Chess gets a hold of some people, like a virus or a drug,” states this book. Drawing on a lifelong fascination with the game, the book guides readers into the world of twenty-first-century chess to help them understand its unique pleasures and challenges, and to advance a new “anthropology of passion.” Immersing us directly in chess's intricate culture, it interweaves small dramas, closely observed details, insights, anecdotes, and biographical sketches to elucidate the game and to reveal what goes on in the minds of experienced players when they face off over the board. The book offers a compelling take on the intrigues of chess and shows how the themes of play, beauty, competition, addiction, fanciful cognition, and intersubjective engagement shape the lives of those who take up this most captivating of games.