A globe-trotting romp through the world of ultra-competitive chess, in which the author submits himself to humiliating defeats and the tutelage of ornery mentors in his search for glory--a celebration of the purity, violence, and beauty of the game.
The quest memoir is a balky beast. To tame it as well as Canadian journalist Sasha Chapin does in All the Wrong Moves, you’ll need an obscure but preferably universal target of obsession — chess mastery, in his case ... 'It’s tricky to explain the appeal of chess to someone who doesn’t play,' Chapin concedes, yet he makes all the right moves in doing just that.
All the Wrong Moves is a briskly told coming-of-age memoir and a kind of confessional ... Mr. Chapin has a fine eye for the game’s beauty and observes in a typically insightful metaphor that chess elevates one of the more dismaying aspects of existence—violence—into 'symbolic ballet' ... His self-deprecation does become annoying, but then, he warned us ... In the course of his entertaining odyssey, Mr. Chapin offers a Zen-like secret to chess, and to living, and some sharp observations on the game ... to judge from the confident style of All the Wrong Moves, his first book, Mr. Chapin does have a future as a writer
Chapin has an engaging way of describing chess games and the complexities in which players formulate their moves across the board. Chess enthusiasts will find this comical memoir with a sarcastic tone entertaining to the end when he shares the secret of chess.