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.
Parts travelogue, memoir, and collection of factoids, his first book takes readers from sweltering Thailand to the streets of St. Louis as he walks them through his consuming love affair with the game and offers up trivia about famous moves, renowned players, and a glance at its larger history ... Wryly funny, introspective, and grimly evocative, Chapin’s memoir is perfect for a brief wade into the world of chess, or as a jumping off point for a much deeper dive.
... spirited ... The author infuses the narrative with exuberant, often funny, anecdotes; glimpses of strategy; and lyrical reflections on why 'chess is about the most human thing you can do' ... An entertaining portrayal of the esoteric world of chess.