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For fans of The Queen’s Gambit, this is the real life story of a female chess champion travelling the world to compete in a male-dominated sport with the most famous players of all time.

Jennifer Shahade, a two-time US women’s chess champion, spent her teens and twenties travelling the world playing chess. Tournaments have taken her from Istanbul to Moscow, and introduced her to players from Zambia to China. In this ultra male-dominated sport, Jennifer found shocking sexism, as well as an incredible history of the top female players that has often been ignored. But she also found friendships, feminism and hope.

Through her own story as well as in-depth profiles of pioneers of the game, Jennifer invites us into the extremely competitive world of chess. She shows us the rivalry and the camaraderie; the ecstatic highs and the excruciating losses; the glamour and the hard work. She describes the coach who told her that her period will affect her standard of play, and gives us thrilling blow-by-blow accounts of the matches that made history.

Intertwined with Jennifer’s own story are those of the top female players from around the world. We meet the famous Polgar sisters, the three Hungarian girls who were all child prodigies; we meet the glamorous jet setters who travel the world partying, and the players who escaped war-torn countries to become champions against the odds.

Chess Queens is a fascinating journey into the exhilarating world of chess and an essential book for all the aspiring chess queens of today.

Reviews

Amazing. I was transfixed throughout, and learned so much. Chess Queens is a meditation on why women have always been so under-represented in the game, and the remarkable lives of those who played on against the odds. An astoundingly intimate, thoughtful and inspirational book by a person who has seen it all from the inside.
Angela Saini, author of INFERIOR
Jennifer Shahade is a brilliant, insightful thinker who never fails to entertain and engage. I'm always amazed by the novel approach she's able to bring to any intellectual challenge and discussion. She's even made me want to learn to play chess - something I swore I'd never do. Jennifer is a true role model to any woman who has ever thought about taking on the worlds that have traditionally been branded male.
Maria Konnikova, author of THE BIGGEST BLUFF and THE CONFIDENCE GAME
Jennifer's book gives readers an insider look into the complex realities of being a female chess player, while also showcasing the badass women knocking down these barriers. Highly recommended!
Alexandra Botez, chess champion and Twitch streamer
The fascinating true stories of the lives of champion chessplayers. All women should take up the challenge and pick up a board!
Yoko Ono
A wild ride exploring the enchanting true lives of women competing and winning at the world stage. But more captivating than the glamorous jet-setting when we take a deep look inside their vibrant inner lives, revealing what it truly takes to win in a male-dominated field. A book that is so much bigger than chess that by the time you get to the end of it your understanding of the human mind and our world will have changed forever, for the better. I could not put it down.
Yanjaa, memory grandmaster