Review of Chess Bitch.
First of all I have to state that I like Jennifer Shahade's book a lot! It brings to the surface the views of so many men (and scaringly enough some women) that women are inferior merely by being women. It's not something new, after all women are without competition the biggest systematically discriminated group there is.
The book starts out by describing the early female chess players and their careers. It gives a good account of both the players and the beginnings of female participation in chess. It goes on with describing the emergence of the Georgian dynasty of players followed by the Polgars and the Chinese.
The book brings up the matter of women's chess tournaments and gender based titles, something I have had (and still have) a difficult time understanding the need for. Objectively there isn't a need for that, but in reality as long as the views of gender inequality persists I can understand why many women would want to play among themselves. After all that is what men has done themselves this far. But as I say with fairer (more equal) conditions between men and women it wouldn't be needed at all.
I found the description of how it is to play as a (semi) professional player travelling around the world to tournaments to be very thrilling, and how hard it is to make a living as a chessplayer where the prize money for women until recently has been very modest.
The latter part of the book isn't as interesting as the former, but I still like the accounts of various female chess players and their encounters with chess, and how the interest varied both with increasing age and other conflicting interests.
All in all, I enjoyed reading the book and I found it very inspirational to know something of how female participation in the chess world emerged.
When is your next book coming, Jennifer?