"The Queen's Gambit", by Walter Tevis (a renowned author of numerous novels), is the story of an unremarkable small town girl in the late 1950s doing something remarkable - breaking into the fierce male-dominated world of professional chess. Even if you don't play/don't know anything about chess, you will enjoy this book!
Beth is an eight year-old orphan - quiet, sullen, and by all appearances unremarkable. That is until she plays her first game of chess in an unusual place with an unusual teacher. Her senses grow sharper, her thinking clearer, and for the first time in her life she feels herself fully in control. By the age of sixteen, she’s competing for the U.S. Open championship. But as she hones her skills on the professional circuit, the stakes get higher, her isolation grows more frightening, and the thought of escape becomes all the more tempting. Will she ever acheive her dream of defeating the unbeatable Russians on the international chess circuit? Engaging and fast-paced, The Queen’s Gambit speeds to a conclusion as elegant and satisfying as a mate in four.