Monday, June 08, 2009

The Chess Artist by J.C. Hallman

This was another one of those Half-Price Books purchases I made on one of the dozens of date-trips Jill and I took there. As always, I scan the chess section for any books that might be on my purchase list. This one was not on my purchase list, but it looked interesting anyway, so I bought it.

I started reading this one after I finished Bobby Fischer Goes to War back in March. But right around that time is when I found out about our job transfer to Houston. So reading and a lot of other things got pushed to the back burner. I read this book on and off for the next three months, but once we settled down here in Houston, I finally focused on finishing it.

The book started out really well and ended really well, but the middle part about Hallman and Glenn's trip to Kalmykia really dragged on. Pretty soon I was wondering if this book was going to be about nothing but their trip to that barren land. It was getting really depressing for several chapters. But I endured and am glad I did. The last few chapters about the tournament and their visit to the prison in Michigan made up for the dullness of the middle.

I enjoyed the chapters about the history of chess. Those chapters fascinated me the most. It was really interesting to read how chess evolved from a game in India to what we play today.

You don't have to be a chess player to enjoy this book, although chess players will find this a good read too.

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