22 November 2012

Book completed: The High Window


From Chapter 15 of Raymond Chandler's The High Window:
The chessmen, red and white bone, were lined up ready to go and had that sharp, competent and complicated look they always have at the beginning of a game.  It was ten o'clock in the evening, I was home at the apartment, I had a pipe in my mouth, a drink at my elbow and nothing on my mind except two murders and the mystery of how Mrs Elizabeth Bright Murdock had got her Brasher Doubloon back while I still had it in my pocket.
I opened a little paper-bound book of tournament games published in Leipzig, picked out a dashing-looking Queen's Gambit, moved the white pawn to Queen's four, and the bell rang at the door.

From Chapter 36:
It was night.  I went home and put my old house clothes on and set the chessmen out and mixed a drink and played over another Capablanca.  It went fifty-nine moves.  Beautiful, cold, remorseless chess, almost creepy in its silent implacability.
When it was done I listened at the open window for a while and smelled the night.  Then I carried my glass out to the kitchen and rinsed it and filled it with ice water and stood at the sink sipping it and looking at my face in the mirror.
'You and Capablanca,' I said.

1 comment:

  1. Intriguing....

    " played over another Capablanca. It went fifty-nine moves." ...

    Now, I don't have Mega/UberBase, but a quick search gave me 11 Capablanca games with 59 moves.

    Which could this game of "Beautiful, cold, remorseless chess" be ?

    Maybe its St Petersburg, 1914, Black in a Spanish against Tarrasch.

    Perhaps White in a Queen's Gambit Accepted against Max Euwe in Amsterdam in 1931 ?

    But I'm going for White in a Queen's Gambit in Buenos Aires, 1927 against Alekhine, when he lost the World Championship.

    After all, when would a solitary, hard-nosed 'tec like Marlowe best empathise with Capablanca ?

    Just when he's at his lowest point, and needs to get up and fight back !

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