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Paperback The Queen's Gambit Book

ISBN: 1400030609

ISBN13: 9781400030606

The Queen's Gambit

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

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 sixteen, she's competing...

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

I don't play chess, but I loved this book.

I picked up a used copy of "The Queen's Gambit" not because I was fascinated by the subject matter, but because Walter Tevis was a writing professor at Ohio University, my alma mater. (I never had him for a class, though I did interview him for a university publication.) I had never read anything by Tevis--not even his bestsellers, "The Hustler" and "The Man Who Fell to Earth"--but "The Queen's Gambit" makes me want to rush out and find every Tevis book I can. In "The Queen's Gambit," Tevis creates a singular, and singularly moving, lead character--Beth Harmon, an orphaned, alcoholic, drug-addicted teenage girl who also happens to be one of the greatest chess prodigies the world has ever seen. Left alone in the world at the age of eight, hooked on tranquilizers by the monsters who run her orphanage, Beth is buffeted on all sides by enemies and fools. She finds her only lasting solace in the black and white figures on the chessboard, living and reliving those strategies as if her life depends on it (which, in the end, it does). Beth is so real, and so heartrending, that she and her story will linger with you long after you've finished the book. The book contains a great deal of chess terminology and strategy--two things of which I am profoundly ignorant and profoundly uninterested. Yet Tevis made me feel the excitement Beth feels in playing the game, and involved me totally in her life-and-death struggle to master it. Even if you don't like chess, you will like "The Queen's Gambit." My guess is that if you love the game, you will adore "The Queen's Gambit."

"Rocky" for smart people

It was the spring of 1983. On a long plane trip, I started THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT by Walter Tevis, a just-published novel I'd bought on impulse. And I was gobsmacked. Tevis --- author of THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH and THE HUSTLER (and, later, THE COLOR OF MONEY) --- had written a book that, very simply, could not be put down. The woman who would become my first wife tried to talk to me; I shushed her. A meal came; I pushed it aside. All I could do was read, straight to the end --- weeping, cheering, punching the air.Amazingly, this novel soon went out of print. And stayed out of print for two decades. Now, at last, it's available again. What's the fuss about? An eight-year-old orphan named Beth Harmon. Who turns out to be the Mozart of chess. Which brings her joy (she wins! people notice her!) and misery (she's alone and unloved and incapable of asking for help). So she gets addicted to pills. She drinks. She loses. And then, as 17-year-old Beth starts pulling herself together, she must face the biggest challenge of all --- a match with the world champion, a Russian of scary brilliance.You think: This is thrilling? You think: chess? You think: Must be an "arty" novel, full of interior scenes. Wrong. All wrong.I tell you: THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT is "Rocky" for smart people.I tell you: You will care about Beth Harmon more than any fictional character you've encountered in years and years.I tell you: You will grasp the wrench of loneliness --- and the power of love --- as if this book were happening to you.Do you need to know anything about chess? Nope. Nothing. Tevis was a storyteller whose genius was to tell great stories; there's nothing between you and the people.My bet: If you read five pages, you won't put it down. You too will weep. And cheer. And at the end, raise your fist like a fool for a little girl who never existed and a game only wimps play.

As lucid as a perfect diamond

This book contains the best descriptions I have read of what goes on during a mental competition. The protagonist, Beth Harmon, possesses the "perfect diamond" in her brain. Other reviewers have quibbled about her personality, but how else can a writer describe the person who lives primarily in the mind, and not in the body. The descriptions of Beth at her best and at her worst in competition are masterly. I had never hoped that any author could discover the words that would communicate the experience of being deep in the game, as Tevis has. I was lucky enough to come across this book in a temporary book store. I've read it several times, and my pleasure does not diminish.

The Queen's Gambit Mentions in Our Blog

The Queen's Gambit in 5 Ways to Celebrate Reading This National Literacy Month
5 Ways to Celebrate Reading This National Literacy Month
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • September 09, 2021

September is National Literacy Month, a time to encourage the young people in your life to pick up a good book and explore new worlds. Here, we offer up five strategies for sharing your love of reading with kids and young adults.

The Queen's Gambit in In the Game of Life, Play Chess, Not Checkers
In the Game of Life, Play Chess, Not Checkers
Published by William Shelton • December 08, 2020
For people unfamiliar with the game of chess, they can often be intimidated or bored by the prospect of trying it, but we know more about the game than we recognize, and we often "play" the game more than we realize. Luckily, the rules and strategies have been covered by several experts in books, and beyond that, the elements of the game can be understood through literature like that of Machiavelli. Learn more about this fascinating game with these book picks.
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