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Chess Bitch: Women In The Ultimate Intellectual Sport Hardcover – September 30, 2005

3.1 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"One woman’s fascinating true story of the life of a champion chess player. All women should take up the challenge and pick up a board! Chess anyone?" —Yoko Ono

"With crisp prose and a hypnotic rhythm, Shahade runs us through a vast range of colorful, affirming characters. Chess Bitch is a worldwide trot in search of a common humanity, a precise critique and a wild ride that transcends its own subject." —J.C. Hallman, author of The Chess Artist: Genius, Obsession, and the World’s Oldest Game

"She speaks playfully and provocatively on chess as meditation, as art and as philosophy …how passion can be more interesting than genius, and the importance of sexy."—The Philadelphia Independent

About the Author

Jennifer Shahade, age 24, is an international chess icon. A chess master and two-time American Women’s Chess Champion (2002, 2004), She has represented the U.S in international competitions in countries all over the world, including Spain, Russia, China, India, and Brazil. In 2002, Shahade received a degree in comparative literature from NYU, where she was an editor for the literary magazine Brio. Her writing has appeared in Chess Life Magazine, New In Chess, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Through the non-profit Chess-In-The Schools, she coaches inner-city youths, including a girls’ class, and the three-time National Junior High Championship team, I.S. 318. Shahade is a member of the artist collective Mano/Damno, a group that aims to blur the boundaries between life and art, and has participated in performance art projects at New York’s psychogeography festival, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and The Viewing Room Art Gallery.She lives in Brooklyn.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Siles Pr (September 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 189008509X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890085094
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,008,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jennifer Shahade is a Philadelphia based writer and gamesplayer. She is a two-time American Women's Chess Champion and the editor of Chess Life Online at uschess.org/clo. Her first book, Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport intertwined her own story with that of great women chess champions past and present. Shahade also contributed in-depth chess annotations to Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess.

Jennifer's latest book project, Play Like a Girl! Tactics by 9 Queens is the first book with combinations that are all executed by female chess champions. All the author royalties of Play Like a Girl go to 9 Queens, a non-profit Jennifer co-founded with Jean Hoffman, which promotes chess to those most in need of its benefits.

Forever in search of new ways to present games, Jennifer created hula-chess and naked chess with Daniel Meirom and roulette-chess with artist and curator Larry List. In 2010, Hulachess was among 125 videos selected from over 23,000 for the first online gallery of the Guggenheim/Youtube Biennial.

Shahade was the chair of the US Championships committee from 2009 to 2011, all held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. She also does play by play commentary and hosted video recaps during the US Chess Championships and US Women's from 2009 to 2011.

Jennifer's writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Games Magazine, New in Chess, Chess Life Magazine, PokerStars Blog, Woman Poker Player Magazine and Foreword Magazine.

Stay up to date with Jennifer on her official website, jennifershahade.com and twitter.com/jenshahade.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

A Kid's Review on December 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Jennifer goes into the nitty gritty of the inside world of girl's chess. The fact she is truthful and doesn't spare anyone of either the good and bad of things makes this a better book than Susan Polgar's book.

Do you want a book that tells things the way they are, or a nicy, nicy book looking at the world through rose colored glasses? True, some people want everything will butter on it and feel the world must be "fair" to all.

Perhaps some historical facts are up to debate, but a couple of the other reviewers may have their "facts" wrong themselves and need to provide their "sources" when trying to correct anyone.
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A Kid's Review on December 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the best book with a true perspective of women's chess. Just ask Beatrice Marinello of the USCF (she is a USCF National Master, great chess teacher and has been USCF Scholastic director and Executive Director - Need any more credentials?) who attended the book breaking ceremony with Jennifer Shahade.

It appears that the INTERNET CHESS AUTHOR STALKER continues to attack Jennifer's books (rumor has it that it is a person with the initials E. L. who sued the USCF some 20 years ago or so). Just look at these recent reviews (so short so they could be written in a hurry and be plentiful).

Jennifer Shahade gives her point of view on things and says what she feels. There is no libel at all in the book as you certainly don't see any lawsuits over anything written. It is toned down mellow-yellow like the book on the Polgar sisters (which doesn't really tell it the way it is as it must be rated "G" as compared to a "PG13" for Shahade).

If you like reading a little history, yes with perhaps a little bit of gossip, then you will like this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I am the ANTI CHESS BOOK STALKER. Whenever and Wherever a Good Chess Book is being unjustly bombarded by BOGUS kids reviews (and those using fake names on their accounts) the AnitiChessBookStalker will strike. Just like superman (or perhaps in this case a superwomen) I will be there to counter strike!

First of all I have seen JENNIFER SHAHADE in person at her opening book signing and have read her book. It is targeted at an audience interested in a mature approach. This is not a scholastic chess book, though really it is fine for older kids to learn reality about an insider's view of the female chess world.

Once again the stalker will be confronted and we know where to find you!!!
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Format: Hardcover
Jennifer Shahade gave us a bargain by writing three books in one. Chess Bitch is the title of her maiden book that chronicles the relationship between women and chess on historical, cultural and personal levels. Each one of these levels is a triumph on its own.
-- Historical:
Shadade gives a brief history of women's chess through the lives of world champion women players, from Vera Menchik to Antoaneta Stefanova. She also briefly takes the reader through the history of women's chess in America.
-- Cultural:
The author delves into some of the issues, real or supposed, that are exclusive to women in chess. She presents a moderate feminist viewpoint sympathetically without alienating the reader.
-- Personal:
Ms. Shahade offers her own experiences and insight into how she dealt with chess as a female while expounding on her own philosophies and ideas.

When I initially read the book my focus was on the historical information. Much of what Ms. Shahade presents, particularly in the section on American players, had been totally neglected by chess authors in the past. The biographical information on some players is sparse, but on others is quite detailed. The glimpse into Sonja Graf was basically a repeat of Shahade's fine New in Chess Magazine article from July, 2004. The biographies of Women World Champions, particularly from Menchik to Chimburdanidze, were fairly routine and handled equally well by John Graham in his "Women in Chess: Players of the Modern Age." But the author shines when looking at the post-Georgian champions. Her treatment of the American players is a delight and alone worth the price of the book.
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Format: Hardcover
First other books by women I've enjoyed: Kitchen, NP, The Good Earth, Ethan Frome, The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas, Mrs Dalloway, The God of Small Things, and The Bell Jar.

Second me: I am an American, well-read, male, feminist, CPA, lawyer, former national master (current expert), w/out an international rating, and with a graduate degree.

Finally her: CB is excellently written, researched, and a real page-turner for this well-read author's first book! Ms Shahade's choices about who to dwell on and what to reveal about them and how to blend diverse aspects into a central theme is profoundly satisfying and unique. Her leading insider status and enthusiasm for the general topic helped her presentation a lot and also very helpful to the book is her candid, direct style regardless of whether she is writing about her friends / rivals (the other current top women players) or others from the past that she had to do research to get to know and understand. As a world traveller the author has a lot of her own ongoing experiences and anecdotes to draw upon. CB is a revealing look into the mind of a leading women's grandmaster and thinker about an important sport. CB is essential to anyone such as myself who is trying to understand how feminism in a sub-culture surfaces and is dealt with reasonably.

Us the readers get a lot of value from CB regardless of whether or not we know how to play chess! I cannot emphasize that enough! CB is a bargain, really: we are getting the ultimate insider tour of a top level of women competitors plus an analysis of how feminism comes into play in various ways both subtle and profound and not in ways you would guess by yourself without the author's help.
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