Check Mates

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Felix feels like he’s permanently in trouble at school. Everyone keeps telling him to try harder, but it’s just not that simple. His mind is constantly changing direction, making it impossible to concentrate, and no-one gets how frustrating it is.

When his Granddad decides teaching Felix to play chess will help, Felix will do anything to get out of it. Aside from being boring, chess is for nerds! He really just wants to play video games and the imaginary war games he and his friend love so much. Plus Granddad has some pretty odd habits, like always keeping the curtains closed and never answering the phone.

But playing chess leads Felix to some surprising discoveries, from what it feels like to be good at something, to the dark secret that his Granddad has been hiding for nearly 60 years.

A well-constructed and thought-provoking real-life drama. Stewart Foster draws a clever link between the strategies required for gaming and for chess as Felix is drawn from one to the other, while Grandad’s cold war storyline brings in an additional element of interest and intrigue as Felix tries to untangle and understand his Granddad’s past.

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