8-3 | Players and Pawns: How Chess Builds Community and Culture

Book Review

Players and Pawns: How Chess Builds Community and Culture

Gary Fine
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Prologue, introduction, acknowledgments, notes, index. 288 pp. $26.00 cloth. ISBN: 9780226264981

by Jon-Paul C. Dyson

First Paragraph:

The subtitle of Gary Fine’s new book on chess is significant, for he is an ethnographer who is most interested not so much in the game itself as in the communities that develop around it among the players, the teachers, and the kibitzers who comment ceaselessly on matches in progress. Chess, Fine points out, is relentlessly social, for even a brilliant move (and he notes “brilliance” is a much sought-after quality in chess) requires that an opponent help create the position that makes the move possible.