Thursday, October 2, 2014

Edit to Review of Grandmaster by David Klass

I just realised that the tournament depicted in the book, despite being a team event, is not in a team format. For all intents and purposes, the participants are playing in an individual event, then adding up the scores of the players in their team. Which, although it would mean that the plot hole I mentioned in the previous review is now invalid, opens up a couple of new ones. 1) Except for the games that they are playing against Daniel's teammates, George Listz's team are assumed to have won the rest of their matches in the last round. For some strange inexplicable reason, everyone knows that. 2) The tournament rule that only the best 5 players from each team will be counted. It could be possible that David Klass means that only 5 boards from each round will be counted for each team, but that would result in a weird situation where teams would prefer getting 5 wins per round rather than 6 wins, as the player who lost for that round would get an easier matchup next round, so I'm going to take it that it's the best 5 players who are counted. Daniel is the weakest in his team. His score wouldn't be counted, unless he managed to overtake one of the two absent teammates. It's possible that that's precisely what happened, but given that he is the weakest, to say that it's weird that no one brought this up would be an understatement.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Grandmaster by David Klass

I found Grandmaster by David Klass quite an engaging read. I suspect people are going to think that this is a book that's going to appeal to chess enthusiasts(which I am) and that those unfamiliar with chess will be unable to get into it.

That's not the case. Even if you are unfamiliar with competitive chess, you won't have much trouble following the book.

However, if you are a competitive chess player, then the glaring plot hole might put you off. (Spoiler alert)

Going into the final round of the chess tournament, Daniel's(the protaganist) team and another team are tied in place for 1st. Six boards are played per round and due to reasons I'm not going to reveal here (if you want to find out, read the book), two of his teammates are unable to play for the final round and they are short two players. However, of the remaining four, three of them win their matches, and the only one who's still playing is Daniel's father, the grandmaster.

And that is where the major plot hole is. Everyone thinks that if Daniel's father loses, Daniel's team will lose the first place to the other team.

Let's do the maths.

Daniel's team has 3 wins.
The other team has 2 wins(as Daniel's team is short two players and they'll have to forfeit the boards).
If Daniel's father loses, that's another win for the other team.
2+1=3 wins.

Which is exactly the same number of wins as Daniel's team.

Which would be a draw.

Now, if only George Liszt(Daniel's father's opponent) thought his team would win, that could still be written off as him assuming that his team, going into the final round with 2 wins(due to Daniel's team shortage), thought that his win would be enough to cinch 1st place for his team.

But it's EVERYONE who thinks that way.

There. That's the major plot hole.

There are also a couple of scenes requiring suspension of disbelief. Like when George Liszt recognises Daniel's father after not having seen him for thirty years. Daniel's father, Moris, is in his fifties, is bald and has a belly growing out.

If you can get past all that though, Grandmaster is quite an engaging read.