A new fascinating chess book: Engaging Pieces

Engaging Pieces, a new book by Howard Goldowsky. The book will be available through the USCF store, Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, and can be ordered at B&N and Borders brick & morter stores in just a few weeks. Be sure to pick up a copy for yourself.

During the last six years, I’ve contributed interviews, fiction, and opinions to a variety of state, national, and online chess magazines. This book, a complete collection of my chess writing, is the culmination of that work. Its title, Engaging Pieces, describes both the art writers strive to create and the medium with which chess players strive to create art.

I compiled this book for the same reason I began writing about chess in the first place: I wanted to share my curiosity about the cultural, social, and competitive nature of the game. Thus, the topics running through these pages includecomplex, contemporary issues that I wanted to make accessible to the public. Some of these topics include the details of chess rating systems, the interaction of artificial intelligence with chess computers, the relationship between feminism and women’s chess, the marketing and promotion of chess, and the question of whether or not chess is a sport. Simply put, I’m a chess fan. Each article and story represents the type of in-depth and entertaining chess writing that I, and other chess fans, deserve to read.

After reading this book, it will become evident that chess players and those surrounding the game are dynamic and passionate people. For example, my first interview, a profile of Michael de la Maza, was written because I was curious about his obsession with chess tactics, and I was fascinated by his rapid rating ascension; Maurice Ashley’s vision of chess promotion prompted my essay about the HB Global Chess Challenge; the humble yet impudent personality of a young Hikaru Nakamura inspired a conversation with him right before he won the U.S. Championship in 2005; and a brash, chess-playing homeless man panhandling in Harvard Square became the archetype for a character in the short story “When the Balance be in Your Favor.”

It is rare to see both fiction and non-fiction published in one volume. Yet having all of my chess writing collected in one place ties my work into a convenient package, and helps bring closure to one stage of my writing career. In the future, I’d like to spend more time improving my chess ability and pursuing other literary interests.

Lastly, many of the pieces here contain a postscript. These are brief, one hundred to seven hundred word updates about related events that have transpired since an article was originally published. These postscripts add a current perspective to each article, and, if necessary, they will help bring the reader up to date.

I hope these articles and stories prove to be as enjoyable to read as they were to write.

Howard Goldowsky

Here is a review of the book.

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