Excellent novel by Vladmir Nabokov, author or Lolita. In The Defense, a young boy named Luzhin is an outcast, ridiculed by his classmates. He takes up the game of chess as an escape, and rises to the rank of grandmaster. The game takes over his mind, and in a championship match with his opponent Turati, he breaks down and is committed to an asylum. His wife (whom he seems curiously detached from, emotionally, even in the first days of their courtship), tries to cure him from shielding him from chess entirely, but he still finds ways to "play", for instance by memorizing games from the newspaper and solving them in his mind. The game totally replaces reality in his mind, leading to a type of madness. Definetly a book you can read in one sitting.