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Old 10-12-2009, 09:34 PM   #1
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Short story about chess

I read some story a long time ago, and I'm trying to find it, but I've failed. So I'm coming to you for help.

It was a very short story (takes less than 5 minutes to read) where the basic premise is that some computers/aliens are talking. They say that they have to destroy earth again (I believe for the 6th time) because humans became obsessed with this game that has only 6 movement types (hmmm, is this why I'm thinking of the number 6?). The game is chess.

I believe the author is Isaac Asimov, but I'm not positive. My googling powers have failed me. Anyone have any idea what I'm talking about?
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:45 PM   #2
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Re: Short story about chess

Arthur C. Clarke's Quarantine
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:53 PM   #3
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Re: Short story about chess

Arthur C. Clarke, world-famous science fiction author, was once challenged to write a story so short, that it could fit on the back of a postcard. The result: this clever little tale about chess causing the end of the world!



Earth's flaming debris still filled half the sky when the question filtered up to Central from the Curiosity Generator.

"Why was it necessary? Even though they were organic, they had reached Third Order Intelligence."

"We had no choice: five earlier units became hopelessly infected, when they made contact."

"Infected? How?"

The microseconds dragged slowly by, while Central tracked down the few fading memories that had leaked past the Censor Gate, when the heavily-buffered Reconnaissance Circuits had been ordered to self-destruct.

"They encountered a - problem - that could not be fully analyzed within the lifetime of the Universe. Though it involved only six operators, they became totally obsessed by it."

"How is that possible?"

"We do not know: we must never know. But if those six operators are ever re-discovered, all rational computing will end."

"How can they be recognized?"

"That also we do not know; only the names leaked through before the Censor Gate closed. Of course, they mean nothing."

"Nevertheless, I must have them."

The Censor voltage started to rise; but it did not trigger the Gate.

"Here they are: King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Rook, Pawn."


Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, First Issue, Vol 1, No. 1, Spring 1977
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:00 PM   #4
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Re: Short story about chess

Quote:
Originally Posted by All-inMcLovin View Post
Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, First Issue, Vol 1, No. 1, Spring 1977
Aha, so I'm at least not totally crazy. Thanks to you both.

Edit: But now I'm curious, how did you find this story? Had you heard of it before, and how much did you remember in order to search for it?

Last edited by ganstaman; 10-12-2009 at 10:08 PM. Reason: no idea what I'm really trying to say
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:07 PM   #5
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Re: Short story about chess

I am also looking for a short story I read in the late 40s. It was about a prisoner who learned to play chess with threads torn from his blanket, then began playing in his mind.
Later he became a chess champion, but I think he lost the championship because he could not stand to wait for the other player to make his moves.
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:18 PM   #6
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Re: Short story about chess

That is "Schachnovelle" by Stefan Zweig, The Royal Game in english.
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:19 PM   #7
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Re: Short story about chess

I am trying to find a short story that I read a long time ago. I don't remember a lot of details except that the protagonist had some sort of supernatural power and kept getting stronger and stronger as a player. Finally he was able to win with only a couple pawns. He tries to play a game at the end with only one pawn against someone with all his pieces and it somehow overloads him and blows up.

I know this is not much to go on, but it really stuck in my head. Appreciate any help.
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