It would be "fake news" if I were to report to you that my purchasing of The Rookie (Bloomsbury, 2016, 408 pages) had nothing to do with my being mentioned in it.
No sooner did the book arrive by mail than I did what every narcissistic person does: looked in the index for my name, found that I was on pages 249 and 250, and read these pages with a big smile on my face. Then I put the book on the shelf where it collected dust for several weeks.
Eventually I said to myself: since I bought the book, I might as well read it. Which I did in fits and starts at first - a chapter here and a chapter there. A week ago the book grabbed hold of me, and I finished it in a matter of days.
Its subtitle is An Odyssey through Chess (and Life). But The Rookie is more than just the story, often told with self-deprecating wit, of an amateur's attempt to attain chess mastery, . The book also chronicles the history of the game of chess and its decline since the glory days of the Fischer Boom in 1972.
Along his journey (from England to Amsterdam to Moscow to New York City to Saint Louis to Chicago and back home to England again), the author finds time to touch base with - and interview - many of the biggest names in the chess world.
These interviews were my favorite part of the book (well, except for maybe pages 249 and 250!).