Book Title: The Greenbecker Gambit
Author: Ben Graff
Release: May 1st 2020
‘I only feel truly alive when the chess clock is ticking and the patterns on the squares in front of me are dancing in my head. Very little else gives me the same feeling. Nothing else, that does not involve a flame.’
Tennessee Greenbecker is bravely optimistic as he sets out to claim what he sees as rightfully his – the title of world chess champion. But who is he really? Is he destined to be remembered as chess champion or fire-starter? Either way, might this finally be his moment?
Content/trigger warnings at the end of this post may contain spoilers.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for reviewing purposes as part of a blog tour. This does not influence my opinions in any way.
I didn’t know what to expect from this book going in as I don’t usually read a lot (or any, for that matter) in the genre, but I was pleasantly surprised that I liked this one.
The Greenbecker Gambit is about Tennessee Greenbecker, a former chess personality on his life journey of reclaiming the chess title he deems rightfully his. Set in London, this story contains a mix of humor and serious themes all in the view of the main protagonist.
Greenbecker, an alcoholic and pyromaniac, is an unreliable narrator and I have been interested in knowing more about his character right from the start. Most of his views on life definitely sparked a laugh out of me and as I got to know him better, and even though I hated him for some of his thoughts and actions, I eventually sympathized with the man.
Initially, I was very hesitant because it is centered around the sport of chess and I know virtually nothing about that, but I’m glad that I gave this book a try. It turns out, readers do not need an extensive knowledge regarding chess to enjoys this book.
I also can’t help think that this book is designed to provoke thought about mental health. What I must mention though, is that I find the writing too choppy and abrupt. I also found myself spacing out for some big chunks of the book.
But overall, The Greenbecker Gambit is a good book and I recommend it to chess novices and enthusiasts alike. If you enjoy dark humor and like knowing the psychology of anti-heroes, this book is for you!
Click to reveal content warnings which may contain spoilers for the book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ben Graff is a writer, journalist and Corporate Affairs professional. He is a regular contributor to Chess and Authors Publish. He is not a grandmaster but did draw with one once.