Book Review: The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis

I’ve not written very many book reviews in the last couple of month. This isn’t because I’ve not been reading, it’s because I became immersed in the Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson, and I wanted to wait until I’d read all of the books written so far before reviewing them. I have to say that the first two books were amazing, the third dragged a little and the fourth I am really struggling with, but that is all for another review.

I’m sure that almost everyone has heard of The Queen’s Gambit, which was one of the best TV shows of last year. It was based on the book of the same name by Walter Tevis and was first published way back in 1983. Walter also wrote The Hustler and The Color of Money, both made into very successful films. He died in 1984 at the young age of only 56.

Anyway, The Queen’s Gambit stars Beth, an orphan who watches the janitor at the orphanage playing chess against himself and is immediately intrigued. Before too long she is beating her first mentor, and then starts to win against far more experienced players. The book also describes her addiction to tranquilizers and later wine. Throughout the book she has two different nemeses. The first when she is young the woman in charge of the orphanage, and then later the Russian Chess Grand Master and World Champion.

Who would have though that a thriller about chess would be so engrossing. The book does get into the nuances of chess more than the TV series, but for me that is OK. What is also amazing is how close the TV series is to the book. And yes, I did use to play chess when I was young, although I was a distinctly below average player.

Overall a fantastic read which I sped through like a game of speed chess, and one that I gave a top score of 5 out of 5 on Goodreads.

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