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The Queen's Gambit

Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

Engaging and fast-paced, this gripping coming-of-age novel of chess, feminism, and addiction speeds to a conclusion as elegant and satisfying as a mate in four.

Eight-year-old orphan Beth Harmon is quiet, sullen, and by all appearances unremarkable. That is, until she plays her first game of chess. Her senses grow sharper, her thinking clearer, and for the first time in her life she feels herself fully in control. 

By the age of 16, she's competing for the US Open championship. But as Beth hones her skills on the professional circuit, the stakes get higher, her isolation grows more frightening, and the thought of escape becomes all the more tempting.

©2018 Walter Tevis (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • thawstone
  • 30-06-19

Don't Need to be a Chess Fan

Walter Tevis' Mockingbird is one of my all time favorite books. Though I listened to it many years ago, it haunts me to this day. This book was a leap of faith. I have no particular interest in chess, however I opted to trust reviewers who claimed it didn't matter. The reviewers were right. Somehow Tevis manages to make the matches riveting without the need to know exactly what's happening on the chess board. The tension is palpable throughout. Perhaps this is partly because the matches are largely about the clash of the personalities involved. Add to this the fascinating story of the protagonist's upbringing and the ever lurking shadow of the orphanage's method to maintain tranquility.

I didn't notice any reviews by a chess enthusiast who might verify one way or the other: are the moves described the actual ones prescribed by the named techniques, i.e. the Queen's Gambit? Not that it mattered to me, I'm just curious.