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The Queen of Katwe: One Girl's Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion Paperback – October 15, 2013
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It’s a story almost too uplifting to believe: a young girl from a dirt-poor slum in Uganda meets a man, a missionary from a similar background, who inspires her to take up chess, a game so unknown in her country that there is not even a word for it in her language. The girl rises to national champion and travels to the Chess Olympiad in Siberia, a journey that opens her eyes to a world she might never have known. Crothers tells Phiona Mutesi’s story in a crisp, reportorial style (he’s a former senior writer at Sports Illustrated), but it’s nearly impossible to read the book without a strong emotional response. The author necessarily talks about the social and economic challenges that Phiona encountered in Uganda—most girls her age had no bigger dreams than simply surviving—but his focus remains centered on Phiona herself, the uneducated prodigy, the barely literate girl who, against all odds, stands poised to become a chess grand master. Inspiring without being strident about it. --David Pitt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A must-read for all who dare to dream." (Library Journal (starred review))
"A moving and universal story of the power of potential and the wonder of perseverance. This story will inspire you--and will make you wonder how many more Phionas there are among us."--Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, New York Times-bestselling author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
"This story of a young woman's triumph over the unimaginably cruel fortune she was born into would pierce a heart of stone."--Hillary Jordan, New York Times-bestselling author of Mudbound and When She Woke
“The Queen of Katwe is one of the most inspiring, thought-provoking, humbling books I’ve ever read. It’s a must-read for any chess player, woman, athlete, or frankly anyone who knows any of the previous three, aka everyone!”--Siva Sankrithi, Math Teacher & Chess Coach, Lakeside Upper School, Seattle, WA
“The Queen of Katwe is gripping. We witness Phiona’s incredible evolution as a player, as she competes against older and far more experienced competitors. It also offers readers a fascinating look at a war-torn and struggling nation, as well as the unlikely story of how her mentor Robert Katende, a refugee of Uganda’s civil war, has created a flourishing chess program for kids in one of Africa’s most treacherous slums. This story has the power to inspire girls everywhere."--Alexandra Kosteniuk, Grandmaster, 12th Women's World Chess Champion (www.chessqueen.com)
"Moving.... A poignant reminder of the power of hope." (Kirkus Reviews)
"The Queen of Katwe is an extraordinary account of one young woman’s exceptional achievement. It is also a lament for this world in which only a tiny number of incredibly fortunate and exceptionally determined children have any chance of escaping the dehumanizing poverty that prevails in Katwe and places like it." (Bill Littlefield, host of "Only a Game" on National Public Radio)
“It’s a story almost too uplifting to believe… Crothers tells Phiona Mutesi’s story in a crisp, reportorial style, but it’s nearly impossible to read the book without a strong emotional response… Inspiring.” (Booklist)
"The Queen of Katwe Tim Crothers gives us an inspiring and heart-wrenching story." (Chessville.com)
"An inspirational profile of an amazing chess player from one of the world's worst slums." (Shelf Awareness)
"Phiona’s story ... will break readers’ hearts. Phiona’s perseverance, courage, faith, and hope will have the very same readers rooting for her success." (School Library Journal)
"Part of Crothers's achievement is his presentation of the terrible circumstances millions of people battle every day to sustain themselves and feed their families, nearly all of them lacking the bright, improbable possibility provided by Mutesi." (The Boston Globe)
"Tim Crothers powerfully captures the crushing poverty in which Mutesi and herfamily still live." (The Age (Australia))
"Phiona’s story transcends the limitations of the chessboard--her life not confined to the miniature pieces that her hand glides from her side of the board to attack her opponent’s king. No, Phiona succeeding at chess, like the fight to become great athletes for so many impoverished people around the world, has been a game for her life." (Robert Hess, U.S. Grandmaster The Sports Quotient)
"Riveting." (New York Post)
"[A] remarkable story." (NPR, "Tell Me More")
"Wonderful.... A story of resilience and creativity in the midst of immense need." (ForeignPolicy.com)
“So compelling… Crothers writes the story matter-of-factly ... reserving judgment and bias…. It beckons the reader to wonder at the possibilities that lay before Mutesi, and it reminds us of the harsh reality in which she continues to live.” (Charleston Post Courier)
"Astonishing." (New York Times Book Review)
“This extraordinary story will stop you and make you want to count your blessings! It confirms how the strength of the human spirit and determination can prevail. Tim’s portrait of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi offers hope and inspiration to all humankind.” (Laura Schroff, New York Times-bestselling author of An Invisible Thread)
“Phiona Mutesi is [a] young star…. An incredible story." (Gary Kasparov, Chess Grandmaster)
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Top Customer Reviews
If you do not believe in or are offended by the Judeo/Christian God, then you will not enjoy this book. It is neither preachy nor religious, but it does contain some Christian vocabulary and phrases here and there.
If you are looking for a book on how one girl achieved chess Candidate for Grand Master at the age of 14, how and what chess books she studied to achieve what she achieved, hoping to use them to improve your own progress or to give to someone else to help them progress - you will probably be disappointed - read a different book. The girl, Phiona, is not introduced until the third chapter.
It is the inspirational story of the many lives, their successes and failures, the poverty and politics in Uganda, the plight of girls and women in Uganda slums and the working of God through people though it all. It is about how one girl and many other people whose experiences, consciously or unconsciously, played parts in revealing this astounding girl's intelligence and wit in chess tournaments and Olympiads, leading to her become a Candidate for Grand Master at the age of 14 in the 2010 Chess Olympiad in Siberia. Phiona herself gives her personal advice to other chess players in the first two pages of the last four pages of the book (depending on which edition you read).
If you enjoy reading about the lives of others in far away places, mostly Uganda, then you will enjoy this book.
If you like to read about a poor girl from a Uganda slum, who without being able to study books about chess or learn from chess software or the internet, makes it to her first Olympiad when she is 14 in 2010 and then on to a second in Istanbul in 2012, then you will enjoy and may be inspired by this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Prayers foe Phiona, the selfless angels who helped and taught her and all of Katwe.