‘The Greenbecker Gambit’ – Ben Graff
This is a novel rich in content.
Everything is surely here! The author has bitten off more than he can chew but (but!) this is surely deliberate. He just loves what he does. As a reviewer I probably never have been written to by the actual author. Until now! Ben Graff dropped me a line last March sending me, quite unbidden, a copy of this well produced book. He has written stuff before, see ‘Find Another Place’ (Matador 2018). He is a journalist, Corporate Affairs professional and clearly knows his chess.
From the blurb cover:
Tennessee Greenbecker is bravely optimistic as he sets out to claim what he sees as rightfully his – the title of world chess champion. But who is he really? Is he destined to be remembered as a chess champion or fire-starter? Either way, might this finally be his moment?
If you like your novels nice and straightforward: standard stories, boy meets girl, old befriends young, the anti-hero learns a painful lesson and emerges a better, reformed, person. All well and trusted formats. I am sure you can think of other, hopefully better, examples.
Well, this is nothing like that! Arson mixes with match chess. Real players – Fischer and Kasparov for example – mix in with the fictitious. Donald Trump even appears, Brian Eley gets mentioned and who is Dubrovnik who ‘has elected not to press charges’? I’ve got you hooked haven’t I? And the narrator – that’s Greenbecker, of course (do keep up) – plays the London System.
See CHESS 04/20, pp 36-37 for extract, chapter and verse.
Having read 75% of this story I gave up, confused, though I did skip to the end.
I hope you’ll like this ambitious thriller more than I did.
James Pratt, Basingstoke, Hampshire, October 12th, 2020
- Paperback : 355 pages
- Publisher: The Conrad Press (2020)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10 : 1913567028
- ISBN-13 : 978-1913567026
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm