All the Wrong Moves
A Memoir About Chess, Love, and Ruining Everything
Sasha Chapin, Sasha Chapin
"A briskly told coming-of-age memoir...Chapin has a fine eye for the game's beauty...In the course of his entertaining odyssey, Mr. Chapin offers a Zen-like secret to chess, and to living."
--Wall Street Journal
Sasha Chapin is a victim of chess. Like countless amateurs before him--Albert Einstein, Humphrey Bogart, Marcel Duchamp--the game has consumed his life and his mind. First captivated by it as a member of his high school chess club, his passion was rekindled during an accidental encounter with chess hustlers on the streets of Kathmandu. In its aftermath, he forgot how to care about anything else. He played at all hours, for weeks at a time. Like a spurned lover, he tried to move on, but he found the game more seductive the more he resisted it.
And so, he thought, if he can't defeat his obsession, he had to succumb to it.
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 no less determined not to lose.
Along the way, he chronicles the highs and lows of his fixation, driven on this quest by lust, terror, and the elusive possibility of victory. Stylish, inventive, and laugh-out-loud funny, All the Wrong Moves is more than a work of history or autobiography. It's a celebration of the purity, violence, and beauty of the game.