The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis
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Jacket art: Will Barnet.
Jacket design: Robert Aulicino.
Author photo: Ken Goad.
First edition copy of the book that inspired a contemporary (albeit quarantined) chess-crazed cultural moment. “The Queen’s Gambit,” adapted to a series in 2020, follows the journey of an American orphaned girl with an intuitive talent for the male-dominated, mental game. Set in the 1960s, the potential for such a character to have existed becomes more and more real: during the Cold War, she ambitiously sets her goals on a game against the champions from Russia; as women’s liberation movements buzz around the context of her own growing confidence, so her addiction grows to those sorts of pills mass-prescribed to keep the suburbs noxious, docile, the housewife tamed. In the story of a girl’s defiant dream of championship, Tevis embodies a hero of the era no one knew we needed, and another way of telling the story of the 60s in a story at once so particular and so universal, so relatable in its determination for mastery over one’s own destiny, when the world itself is set up like a game.