Daniel Pratzer is new (seven months) to prestigious (expensive) Loon Lake Academy and "so far had managed to fly under the radar of the cool-and-cruel crowd." He joined the school's Chess Club hoping to make some friends. Organized sports required two-hour-per-day practices which Daniel couldn't afford with his C average. Upon conclusion of one of the club's weekly meetings, Dan is accosted by the two senior co-captains who call him Patzer-Face, a derogative chess term for dufus. They invite Dan and his father to a father-son chess tournament in New York and tell him that if Grandmaster Pratzer fails to show up, they will wring his son's neck. Really?! His father is a grandmaster and he never told Dan? In fact, told him he didn't know how to play? What's up with that?! When I read the blurb on the back of the book, "This exciting story of a crushingly intense chess tournament...", I was somewhat dubious, however intense it might turn out to be. This is an awesome commentary on familial relations, friendship, bullying, competition...and chess...and, yes, it is crushingly intense!
"Some mistakes you can't take back. You just have to find a way to live with them."
"Maybe every kid deserves to see his father be a hero just once for a few minutes."
"If you want to win, you've got to be willing to take risks and endure things that others can't.'
"We all conceal things and sometimes we have our reasons."
Truman Award Preliminary Nominee 2016-17