Book Review: Grandmaster by David Klass



GRANDMASTER: A Novel by David Klass was my first October read – and I didn’t expect it to be that good – probably better. With that kind of the first line in the first chapter, with that kind of writing style – You will definitely continue the novel through the end and that just happened to me.

In a span of 4 hours, I finished the book. I just grabbed this book on my shelf and I just thought of bringing it along while satisfying myself with my selfish cravings of Ramen and Sushi and I never thought of reading this book through the end but I want to do something and I got hooked. If you want something light to read, this can be the book that you will want to start with. The story centers to the life of Daniel Patzer, an average freshman and pretty normal guy who have an average grade of C+ in school and seems a portrait of the common student in school, join the chess club.

He was invited by his teammates because there will be a father-son chess tournament and it requires three members and fathers to join the event. Daniel confused as he seems, never knew why was he invited to a big game and it turns out that his father is a Grandmaster of his time that he never knew. With this stunning novel that caught my heart, I believe that this novel deserves any reader’s attention. I love how David Klass focuses on a story of a young boy and his father – because we all know the truth, we deny it or not, many of the youth today don’t have an alone time with their father. Either they speak so little, told a lie or never had a time.

I stood there watching my father, and I was sweating profusely in the air-conditioned hall. My knees felt weak, and my hands were clasped tightly, as if some team prayer might help. But I wasn’t praying – I was watching my father do what he was best at, after a lifetime of hiding his talent. Maybe every kid deserves to see his father be a hero just once, for a few minutes.

This book made me experienced all the goosebumps that I never thought I would experience A LOT in a book. It touched my heart because I have a soft part when it comes to family and sensitive when it comes to a father. I realized that sometimes it is better to make time than to wait for the time that they will make because you don’t know what your family is fighting and they probably needed you there when the time comes.

“Some mistakes you can’t take back. You just have to find a way to love with them.”

Books like this are so new because; first, romance is eliminated, like the contemporaries out there that deals with finding the right guy. No offense, I read contemporaries but I’m not saying that they are not good. My point is, this book is a fresh one for me and it has a male perspective, which is rare. Second, the story focuses on the relationship between father and son in which in our society today is shallow when it comes to that kind of topics.

Admittedly, I love how the characters build their relationship throughout the story and I wish that I could have that kind of relationship. Third, the passion of the character – Grandmaster Patzer gave up playing chess 30 years ago. He chose to set aside his passion because he wants to have a normal life; Be an accountant, have a home and a family. I grasped. I need to breathe on this part because it is so suffocating.

It taught me that you have to sacrifice things in order to get what you want and you have to face your own demons in order to win yourself back. Fourth, the romance – this book is so limited of a flirtatious line that you wanted to know what will happen next and the only thing that I could say is, “It’s cute and lovely at the same time.”

“Sometimes, we want the best for our kids, and we push too hard. We keep aloof from them or we pressure them too much, we hide from them or we grab them with both arms. Either way we run the risk of pushing them out the door, of teaching them the wrong lessons, and of turning them into men we wouldn’t want them to be.”

Upon reading the book, there is this line at the cover “WINNING THE GAME CAN MEAN LOSING EVERYTHING.”, and you will know the meaning throughout the story and it hurts – I wanted to cry. I wanted to hug the character and tell them that it will be okay, that you made an amazing decision for yourself, that giving up passion is not giving up on life – Sometimes it is the other way around, giving up everything is sometimes a new beginning.



David Klass is the author of many young adult novels, including You Don’t Know MeDark Angel, and Firestorm (The Caretaker Trilogy). He is also a Hollywood screenwriter, having written more than twenty-five action screenplays, including Kiss the Girls, starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd, Walking Tall, starring The Rock, and Desperate Measures, starring Michael Keaton and Andy Garcia. Klass grew up in a family that loved literature and theater—his parents were both college professors and writers—but he was a reluctant reader, preferring sports to books. But he started loving the adventure stories his parents would bring home from the library—particularly Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson and Alexandre Dumas. After his sister twice won a story contest in Seventeen magazine, Klass decided he would win it too, and when he was a senior in high school, he did, publishing his first story, “Ringtoss,” in the magazine. He studied at Yale University, where he won the Veech Award for Best Imaginative Writing. He taught English in Japan, and wrote his first novel, The Atami Dragons, about that experience. He now lives in New York with his wife and two children.