A book report (1C Yuen Yuet Yu)


Title: The Queen’s Gambit
Author: Walter Tevis

          Imagine you’re a little girl with extraordinary skill in a world of patriarchy. Your skill is believed to be exclusive to only males, and people are sexist about it. That is what happens in this book – The Queen’s Gambit. 
          Young Elizabeth Harmon found out that she had a prodigious talent in chess. A woman playing chess? That was really unusual because people believed that chess was a game for boys. Although the book is about a female dominant and breaks the tradition of a male protagonist in such types of books; the book isn’t to promote gender equality or feminism. As an example, Beth still had feelings for some chess players and loved ‘girly’ things like clothes, shoes and hair. Instead, one of the life lessons of the book is to never give up on your dreams. When Beth was around 20, she had to play with Vasily Borgov, the world champion and beat him – which she had dreamt to do. To do that, she resisted the temptation of alcohol to keep her head clear. At last, she successfully defeated Borgov and earned the title of world champion. From this, we can see that Beth worked very hard to achieve her dreams; she was an alcoholic and stopped drinking to control herself. Though there were many ups and downs in her life, she still succeeded and came out as the best chess player. 
            ‘The cost of genius’ – Beth was a genius; she excelled in many subjects and was a prodigy in chess. People say, ‘Never judge a book by its cover.’ Beth appeared to be strong, intelligent, unbeatable and proud; but her ‘content of the book’ wasn’t as pretty. She was weak and beaten down from failure; she was confused and ashamed of her relationships and addictions. She was addicted to tranquillisers, alcohol and most importantly, winning. Sometimes things aren’t as pretty as you see them. Someone would be shining bright like a star on the outside; but as messed up as a war inside. I can somehow relate to Beth’s situation. Let’s take my recent piece of homework – regular writing as an example. People could only see ten out of ten on the contents page; They, however, could not see how much effort I put in – all of the hours of plotting and writing – and just deemed me a genius, and some even called me insane.
              Another thing about Beth is that people only found her gender special but not her skills. Although she is a game of male dominance, without caring what people say about her gender, she could still come out on top and prove those people wrong. So we shouldn’t care about what toxic people say about us, instead, we should be ourselves, and we can exceed at what we do best.
              The title of the book is a real blast. The Queen’s gambit is an old and famous chess opening where you move the queen’s pawn first. Now you might think that this is a nerdy and over-intellectual chess-related book. But don’t be startled by that. In the book, the chess scenes are short and easy to understand. It’s really interesting too – you could learn some chess notation and openings. ‘White plays king’s pawn and Black responds with the Sicilian.’ It’s just as simple as that! The book is really non-chess player friendly! Another thing that makes the title so good is that the main character is a woman and she is a ‘Queen of chess’, so her being a queen is really suitable. 

             In conclusion, the book is awesome for both chess players and non-chess players. Its notation is simple and the plot isn’t too hard to understand. It brings a fantastic message and I would totally recommend it to people.