The Defense Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 35 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Defense.
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Obsession

The problem central to novel is Luzhin's obsession with chess. It isn't merely a hobby, something he undertakes for mere amusement. Rather, it is a compulsion. When Luzhin sees a chess game, or spots a chess diagram, he must apply himself to the problem. He does this without regard for circumstances, retreating into himself until the solution is found. For the first half of the novel, Luzhin is focused on how to defend against the opening strategy of fellow grandmaster Turati.

Luzhin's single-mindedness is isolating. Though he spends thirty years traveling the world to participate in a series of prestigious chess tournaments, Luzhin remembers only hotels, players and strategies. These thirty years fall outside of the story. They're never recounted, but often referenced. The implication is that these years are lost, not worth relating. The story suggests that Luzhin lived these years by rote, mechanically performing the ritual...

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This section contains 790 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Defense Study Guide
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