Friday, November 29, 2013

GRANDMASTER by David Klass

I was thrilled to receive an advance copy of David Klass's newest release at the ALAN conference.  I even got to meet him, chat with him at a publisher's dinner, and have him sign my copy.  (Please excuse the geekiness.)

Morris Pratzer is a grandmaster, but no one knows - not his wife or daughter or more importantly, his son Daniel.  Mr. Pratzer's secret chess life is revealed when Daniel's chess club teammates do some research for a father/son tournament that promises $10,000 in prize winnings. 

Two of the prep school top players are hoping to find the perfect club member to fill out the six member tournament team.  A little research on the Internet uncovers the fact that Daniel's father was a chess champion as a teen.  He reached grandmaster status but mysteriously chose to leave competition at the age of sixteen.  When the two players approach Daniel about recruiting his father for the tournament, Daniel can't believe his quiet accountant father could possibly be the person they think he is.

Mr. Pratzer acknowledges that he is indeed ranked as a grandmaster, but he insists he has given up the game for good.  Daniel isn't surprised that his father is refusing to compete because the two have never been close.  Daniel knows his father loves him, but outward signs of that love have only been evident on rare occasions throughout Daniel's short life.  It takes a private closed-door discussion between Daniel's mom and dad for his mother to convince Mr. Pratzer that he owes it to Daniel to participate in the chess event.

The majority of GRANDMASTER takes place during the three day chess tournament in New York City.  During this time Daniel learns more about his father's past and the intense toll playing high level competitive chess has taken on the secretive man.  Readers will experience Daniel's fear that his father may crack under the pressure as well as Daniel's own personal growth experience as he competes with the hope of winning the big prize.

Author David Klass played competitive chess as a teen and then gave up the game for many years until his own children recently became involved in tournaments.  His exceptional skill as a writer brings the stress and excitement of the game to life and will likely win him some new reading fans.

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