Murphy by Samuel Beckett

1. P-K4P-K4
2. N-KB3N-QB3 (b)
3. B-B4B-B4
4. P-QN4 (c)BxNP
5. P-B3 (d)B-R4
6. P-Q4PxP
7. O-OP-Q6
8. Q-N3Q-B3 (e)
9. P-K5Q-N3
10. R-K1KN-K2
11. B-R3P-N4
12. QxPR-QN1
13. Q-R4 (f)B-N3
14. QN-Q2B-N2?
15. N-K4Q-B4?
16. BxQPQ-R4 (g)
17. N-B6 ch!PxN
18. PxPR-N1 (h)
19. QR-Q1!QxN
20. RxN ch (i)NxR
21. QxP ch!KxQ (j)
22. B-B5 dbl chK-K1
23. B-Q7 chK-B1
24. BxN mate (k)

And White wins.

(a) A famous opening line captures the bleak tone that continues throughout. “The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.”

(b) Murphy is forced to find work by his partner Celia. He finds it at Magdalen Mental Mercyseat, an asylum for the insane. Subsequently leaves Celia and is pursued by a ragtag bunch of characters from Ireland.

(c) Neary, Wylie, Miss. Counihan, and Cooper.

(d) Minimalist.

(e)  Murphy is drawn in more detail than other characters, about whom the reader is given ‘clues’ and allowed to make his/her own assumptions.

(f) The pleasure comes not from the plot or from character development.

(g) Experiencing Beckett’s unique prose style.

(h) Beckett depicts the despondency of modern man as no other author can.

(i) Highly erudite. Sometimes overly so?

(j) Tempered by dry humour. A genuinely funny and occasionally irreverent book.

(k) Without claiming to have understood the entire work it remains, nevertheless, a highly worthwhile read.


(Chess game taken from the Evergreen game via wikipedia.)

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