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.