Chess at the Hotel See-Villa in Millstatt with all the wooden chess pieces in the starting position at the beginning (c) Photo Andreas Schneeberger

A mysterious chess game

Hotel Restaurant See-Villa, Carinthia, Austria

Chess and its magical attraction

At the picturesque See-Villa in Millstatt, surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Alps, a remarkable story unfolded one warm summer. Two guests were mysteriously drawn into a game of chess, though without ever meeting the other face-to-face or even knowing who their opponent was. It began one sunny afternoon when one of the hotel guests strolled through the elegant lobby. Their gaze alit on a chessboard that had been set up on a table, and without hesitation, she or he impulsively made a move before continuing on their way. Unknowingly, a mysterious game had now begun. Later, a fellow guest likewise passed through the hotel lobby and caught sight of that same chessboard. Without a moment’s hesitation, they made a move in response to the first. And thus commenced a silent to-and-fro of chess between two people destined to remain strangers.

View from the Hotel See-Villa in Millstatt over the balcony flowers to the sun-drenched Lake Millstatt with wooded mountains in the background (c) Photo Andreas Schneeberger
Lobby of the Hotel Restaurant See-Villa in Millstatt with door and two windows overlooking Lake Millstatt, inside two club chairs facing each other with a small table and chessboard in between and a couch to the right (c) Photo Hotel Restaurant See-Villa

Move by move

The days went by, and each time one of the two protagonists sauntered through the lobby, they made a next move on the chessboard to counter their mystery opponent. The hotel staff and other guests, meanwhile, watched the progress of this silent, enigmatic contest – one move at a time – with increasing interest and curiosity. The atmosphere in the hotel grew tenser as the two players maneuvered their pieces on the board, seemingly engaged in an ages-old ritual. Despite the anonymity of their opponent, they appeared to share a deep, personal connection, both to the game and to each other. And so the chess game continued. To this day, no one knows who it was who eventually won. But the story of the mysterious chess match between two strangers who never met will long remain in the memory of those guests and hotel staff fortunate to see it play out. It was an encounter that may have been guided by the magic of chess itself, showing that bonds between people sometimes run far deeper than what is merely visible on the surface.


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