King's Gambit Declined

I finished Paul Hoffman's book, King's Gambit, yesterday evening.

gambit

If you're a chess fan, and if you follow modern chess celebrities like Kasparov, you'll probably get a kick out of King's Gambit, but I doubt the average reader will find it very interesting at all.

The book didn't seem to have a strong, central theme. Sure, it's chock-full if interesting, and downright exciting, interviews with colorful, flamboyant, and wacky chess personalities, but the tome tasted more like a so-so pot luck dinner than a filet mignon, or even a double-quarter-pounder meal. At its best King's Gambit is a hodgepodge of chess anecdotes with no real, substantive connecting thread between the chapters (with the exception of a good dose of father bashing; man, this guy's got an Eldredgian Wound like you'd never believe).

Hoffman must have received inspiration from J.C. Hallman's, The Chess Artist, because he tried his darndest to emulate Hallman's knack for storytelling. While Hoffman is no slouch, he's not quite a J.C. Hallman.

If you're a chess fiend, pick up King's Gambit, it's a worthy read. If not, don't bother.

C-

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