An enthralling journey into the world of chess--a story of heartbreak, obsession, failure, and the hunger for greatness.
Sasha Chapin is a victim of chess. Like countless amateurs before him--Albert Einstein, Humphrey Bogart, and Marcel Duchamp among them--the game has consumed his life and his mind. First captivated by it as a member of his high school chess club, he found his passion rekindled during an accidental encounter with chess hustlers on the streets of Kathmandu. In its aftermath, he forgot to care about anything else. Like a spurned lover, he tried to move on, but he found the game more seductive the more he resisted it.
And so, he reasons, if he can't defeat his addiction, he will try instead to master the game.
All the Wrong Moves traces Chapin's rollicking two-year journey around the globe in search of glory. He travels to tournaments in Bangkok and Hyderabad. He seeks out a mentor in St. Louis, a grandmaster whose personality is half rabbi and half monk, and who offers cryptic wisdom and caustic insults ("you're the best player in your chair.") His story builds toward the Los Angeles Open, where Chapin is clearly outmatched and yet determined not to lose.
Stylish, inventive, and laugh-out-loud funny, All the Wrong Moves is more than a work of history or autobiography. It is a chronicle of the highs and lows of obsession, of love pursued to its limits, and of a life driven by lust, terror, and the elusive possibility of victory.
SASHA CHAPIN is an award-winning journalist and recovering chess enthusiast. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, on BuzzFeed, and on Hazlitt. He is from Toronto and lives in Los Angeles.
Praise for All the Wrong Moves:
"Sasha Chapin writes like someone who knows. He knows euphoria. He knows despair. It's clear that he's traveled to hell and back, that he is fluent in languages of the heart that have yet to be spoken, and All the Wrong Moves is the brightest light." —Bryan Washington, author of Lot: Stories
"A smart, funny, and slyly profound book about the dark ecstasies of obsessive love. Sasha Chapin is a gentlemanly Gonzo, a dirty Bond, and he writes like a dream." —Claudia Dey, author of Heartbreaker
“All the Wrong Moves is a touching and brilliant portrait of masculinity. Chapin writes with arresting honesty, capturing the manner in which none of us are truly in control of our personalities. He humiliates himself in all the right ways, and the results are luminous and profound and hysterical.” —Heather O’Neill, author of The Lonely Hearts Hotel
"Thoughtful and clever . . . Chapin's sincere memoir of self-discovery will charm chess enthusiasts, as well as those searching for their next move in life." —Publishers Weekly
"[Chapin] infuses the narrative with exuberant, often funny, anecdotes; glimpses of strategy; and lyrical reflections. . . . An entertaining portrayal of the esoteric world of chess." —Kirkus Reviews
"Wryly funny, introspective, and grimly evocative, Chapin's memoir is perfect for a brief wade into the world of chess, or as a jumping off point for a much deeper dive." —Booklist