Book Review

Can an average club player aspire to be a great player by dint of constant practice and competitive chess. Here is Steve Disney’s review of a book written by such a person.

THE ROOKIE by Stephen Moss.

I enjoyed this highly entertaining and informative book about one man’s quest
to improve his chess grading and maybe become an international master or
even better still a grandmaster. Mr. Moss called it a midlife crisis and for three
years he ate, drank and slept chess in his obsession to improve and become
seriously good. On a personal level as someone who plays twice weekly and
participates for New Milton in the Bournemouth League I can fully appreciate
and understand the trials and tribulations he encountered along the way.
On his journey he enters tournaments around Britain and travels to Holland,
Russia and America to compete. Whilst there he meets and talks to the games
superstars trying to discover what he could do to improve and climb the chess
ladder ratings. He began to realise that strength of character, calmness under
pressure, the sheer will to win were all-important features to have in one’s make-up.
He did not achieve a lot of success and there were more losses than victories
which led him to accept his own mediocrity. Since mediocrity is the space the
vast majority of us occupy, this book is actually a life lesson. You either have the
brain and knowledge to navigate the 64 squares like a grandmaster or you do not. It’s as simple as that.
Highly recommended.


A brilliant account of the emotional roller-coaster of an average club player
trying to become seriously strong. LEONARD BARDEN ( chess correspondent).

Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men and women happy.
S. TARRASCH ( grandmaster).

For me, chess is life and every game is like a new life.
Every chess player gets to live many lives in one lifetime.
E. GUFELD (grandmaster).