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1. Mai 2002
Susanna Poldauf: Philidor - A unique relation between Chess and Music

Susanna Poldauf’s book "Philidor - A unique relation between Chess and Music” has enjoyed some success, judging by the reviews in the press and internet. And after all, it is a good read, no doubt about that. Rather an informative than a scientific one, it offers a well balanced view on Philidor’s life as well as his musical and chess work. One hardly gains new insights but we are informed about what we actually know about the great player and musician who played an important role in the history of both fields.

Unfortunately the book sometimes lacks of accuracy, in particular when Poldauf tries to generalize she occasionally jumps too easily to conclusions.

But all these are minor defects. The real strength of this little book is to give an interesting picture of the chess master’s life and times and to show very convincingly that chess during this epoch had been as much a part of general cultural life as music, maths, philosophy and the arts. Not only does Philidor come alive but so do a number of other important and well-known historical celebrities: Mozart, Euler, Leibniz, Diderot and Rousseau, even the chess automaton, to name just a few.

It is a must for everyone who is interested in the wider world of chess.


Copyright © 2002 by Christian Hörr