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Author: Klass, David
A father-son chess tournament reveals the dark side of the game.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 165352
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 63248
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 01/01/2014 Chess is a mind sport, one that is all-consuming, both mentally and emotionally. Daniel Pratzer is about to find out what that means, but not in a way he expects. A freshman and a newbie to chess—or patzer in chess lingo—Daniel is approached by the senior chess club cocaptains of his exclusive high school. A father-son weekend tournament is coming up, and Daniel and his father are more required than requested to be there. First prize is $10,000, but Daniel’s father doesn’t play chess. At least, that’s what Daniel thinks. In truth, his father is a Grandmaster who walked away from the game before his life became unbearable. Now 30 years later, he breaks his own vow so he can spend time with his son. Mr. Pratzer soon finds himself competing against an old rival who knows every demon that can destroy him, and Daniel learns that family is more important than acceptance or glory. Fast-paced, inspired writing makes this perfect for fans of John Feinstein’s The Sports Beat series. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 02/01/2014 Freshman Daniel Pratzer, a self-taught chess player, is making modest progress in his high school chess club, but he’s nowhere close to matching the abilities of the two senior officers. He’s therefore amazed when Eric and Brad invite him to participate in a high-profile chess tournament in Manhattan, in teams that will comprise a trio of father-son partners. The guys are frank with Daniel—it’s not his skills they’re after, but those of his grandmaster father. Grandmaster? That’s news to Daniel, who promptly confronts Dad for confirmation. It’s true, and Dad has no intention of returning to the game. However, he agrees on the condition that this is a one-off, and it will be played for the sake of father-son camaraderie rather than winning. In the course of the tournament, however, Dad faces off with an old, desperate rival who knows how to push all his buttons and induce a repeat of the breakdown that drove him from competitive chess years ago. Klass is in excellent control of his plot, moving swiftly to the tournament action, exploring the prickly behavior of Mr. Pratzer under pressure, and steadily closing in on the final showdown and likelihood of tragedy. Although much of the action revolves around Mr. Pratzer, Daniel is a credible narrator, by turns resentful, puzzled, and proud of his father’s hidden past. This will be a fine companion piece for Rich Wallace’s Perpetual Check (BCCB 4/09). EB - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2014 Gr 7 Up—Freshman Daniel Pratzer has managed "to fly under the radar of the cool-and-cruel crowd." To break out of mediocrity, he joins the school's prestigious chess team. Daniel is a novice; in fact, the two team captains call him "Patzer-face" (a "patzer" meaning someone whose chess abilities are minimal). Daniel is shocked when he is asked to join the team at an important, weekend-long father-son tournament, and then he learns the truth. They want him for his father, a former prodigy who became a grandmaster at 16 but gave up the game due to stress. Daniel didn't even know his father could play. At his son's urging, Mr. Pratzer agrees to compete, and Daniel is surprised to see such a killer instinct in this meek, pot-bellied accountant. As the tournament begins to take a toll on his father's health and well-being, he begins to think that maybe skeletons are better left in the closet. Like a well-played chess game, drama unfolds deliberately as things progressively get worse, building up to an exciting, climactic endgame. Daniel is a likable, dorky kid, the underrated everyman with whom readers can empathize and cheer on. The characters reflect on what it means to be a winner, successful, or popular and to lose one's self to pressures from peers, parents, or competition. This book is smart, real, and full of feeling.—June Shimonishi, Torrance Public Library, CA - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.