Checkmate: Queen’s Gambit Readalikes

Did you catch chess fever when The Queen’s Gambit came out on Netflix? If you did, you’re not alone! If not, it’s never too late to start! Here’s a few ways you can discover more of the amazing world of chess through books.

First up, read The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis to see where it all began. In this page-to-screen story, an orphaned girl finds skill and passion when she learns how to play chess. She enters tournaments and becomes a rising star in the game… but is the pressure too much?

Next, check out a few real-life versions of the story with All The Wrong Moves by Sasha Chapin and The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers. Sasha Chapin’s memoir takes you behind the scenes of ultra-competitive chess matches all around the world, by turns highlighting his humiliating defeats and celebrating a beautiful game. In another famous page-to-screen story, The Queen of Katwe tells the story of a young girl from Uganda who, through the support of her community, becomes determined to follow her skill and become an international chess champion.

Then, try How To Become A Candidate Master by Alex Dunne to build your own skills. Based on real games, this book will help amateur chess players gradually build their skills through a series of matches, with the goal of eventually achieving master status. If you’re not yet looking to become a master, you could read How To Beat Your Kids At Chess, a guide specifically for adult beginners, or try a Great Course on How To Play Chess, good for players of all levels.

Finally, get philosophical with The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson. In this case, a real-life grandmaster demonstrates how the complexities and strategies of the game also contain lessons for living life, including about sustaining focus, making hard decisions, overcoming failure, and much more. Using chess, Rowson shows how to gain a new perspective and appreciate the meaning and beauty in life.

Whatever kind of chess fan you may be, rest assured there’s a book out there for you!

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