Tuesday, April 20, 2021

#BookReview of Queen's Gambit by Walter Trevis #atozchallenge

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Q

The Operation Awesome theme for the #atozchallenge 2021 is book reviews (even though we're a blog about the publication journey, not a book review blog-- the team loves to read!). I've selected books that I have been itching to read that corresponded with the letter.

This book is an excellent choice. The story follows Beth, an orphan, and her professional chess career. The narrative addresses themes of mastery, loneliness, substance use, and games. The pacing is on point, and even though I am certainly not a chess expert, I enjoyed how the author described the chess matches and how Beth prepared for tournaments. It ignited my interest in learning more about chess.

I would recommend this book for those who want to learn more about chess in a way that is historical, educational, and fun. I will caution that there is some drug use throughout the story and sexual violence in the beginning. This is the first novel I have read by Trevis, and I am curious to read his other novels.

I finished the book. Beth’s journey was engaging and intriguing and it was difficult to stop reading. I anticipate reading more by Trevis and watching the show on Netflix. One of my key factors for reading books is if I would recommend it to others, and if I would reread the book. I would do both for The Queen’s Gambit, and I would definitely read it again with a chess board in front of me to play along.

The theme is captured by the following sentences: “She had been playing grandmaster games in her head from the time she first discovered Chess Review, but she had not been disciplined about it. She played them to exult in the win—to feel the stab of excitement at a sacrifice or a forced mate, especially in the games that were printed in books precisely because they incorporated drama of that kind.”

Overall the novel was hard to put down and an easy read. I appreciated the way chess was portrayed as a conflict and a character, and Beth’s motivations for playing the game. Though the ending was probably more like a quick end game, the novel contained obstacles throughout the novel.



What is your favorite part about chess? Do you have a preferred opening strategy like the Queen's Gambit? Have you seen the Netflix show?


  1. I don't have the patience for chess. It kinda describes my life overall because I always go for the quick wins, living in the today, not preparing for tomorrow. In chess you have to be patient, and I've none of that :)


  2. I’m so pleased to hear that this is a book I can find and read; I had only heard of the dramatised version, on a streaming service I don’t have. I know enough about chess to be able to enjoy watching it played, but can’t play, myself.

    Have you read Katherine Neville’s The Eight? I do recommend it if you enjoy chess. It’s not just a chess novel, though. There is a historic chess set once owned by Charlemagne and a fantasy element.

  3. I had heard this book was good and I LOVED the series on Netflix. Beth Harmon has become one of my favorite characters.

    I loved chess growing up, I played it a lot even if I was never really all that good at it. When I watch Queen's Gambit I wanted to give it a try again. Maybe I will. I am certain that there are some aps to play online.

    Tim Brannan, The Other Side: 2021: The A to Z of Monsters


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