4-3 | Counterplay: An Anthropologist at the Chessboard

Book Review

Counterplay: An Anthropologist at the Chessboard

Robert Desjarlais
Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2011. Illustrations, appentices, glossary, notes, bibliography, index. 251 pp. $50.00 cloth. ISBN: 9780520267398

by Jeffrey G. Snodgrass

First Paragraph:

In his recent book on chess, anthropologist Robert Desjarlais, himself an expert player, speaks of how he tired of the regular “repeating geometries” Sveshnikov defense, a chess opening, and turns instead to another: “This time, though, I hooked up with the Taimonov Sicilian, a dependable, shape-shifting mesh of counter-attacking strategies. The Taimonov’s ways in the world, its sinuous forms and possibilities, fitted well with my own pre- dilections” (p. 100).