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Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In the game of chess, the strongest piece, the Queen, is often referred to as "bitch," and being female has been long considered a major disadvantage. Chess Bitch, written by the 2004 U.S. Woman's Chess Champion, is an eye-opening account of how today's young female chess players are successfully knocking down the doors to this traditionally male game, infiltrating the mal ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 15th 2005 by Siles Press
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I'm tempted to give this book five stars to artificially inflate my rating, but that would be childish, right? ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful read which I'd highly recommend, but only to those who really like chess. It's partly autobiographical, but the author writes mostly about her professional rather than personal life. It's also, like the title indicates, a historical account of the role of women in chess, which also exposes all the sexism in this subculture.

Even though I'm a low-level amateur chess player, I really love this game. I've never been to a tournament, and I only play online. But that was enough to
Jack Gardner
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Thanks for this book -- one of the best I've read on chess players. Fascinating insight into what it takes for women in the 20th century, from the intellectual efforts to the social battles. Playing chess like a girl, from socialites to exotic dancers, is rough.
Lina from Israel
Mar 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An upbeat, fresh look on women who in today's world might be mistaken for being dull. Couldn't be further from the truth! An inspiring book for the aspiring female chess players :o) ...more
Clifton Franklund
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chess, hobbies
The game of chess often seems to mirror the thoughts, beliefs, and values of those that play it (and support it). This has been true of Weltanschauung, artistic expression, and in this easy read - gender equity. I am still of two minds about the need/value of women-only chess tournaments and separate titles (e.g. WGM). All of these players would easily crush me over the board, so I approach the whole topic as an informed amateur. I could appreciate, but not fully endorse, the straight-up feminis ...more
Gavin Claugus
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chess
WGM Jen Shahade writes a circumspect novel regarding female chess players from around the globe, though most of the players she discusses come from slavic countries. This is no coincidence, especially in light of Russia having the most titled players of any country and supporting the strong chess culture there.

WGM Shahade's book contains even-handed characterizations of these chess players. She makes note of the rough edges in her interview process. One of the Polgar sisters, for example, feels
Treasure I. Moore, Author
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great look into the world of chess from another woman's perspective. It's good to know we're out here together enjoying the game, defying the odds and seeing the beauty of life through the many the many angles of chess. ...more
Kaitlin Page
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional peek into the world of women's chess, with games spelled out in the back of the book. Love it! ...more
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
The rating I've given is probably higher than most people would award this book with.

At the time of the writing, the author's been 22 years old. Playing chess and taking first steps into the poker world. At the time of the reading, the reader (me) is 22 years old - former chess and poker player.

Those two games have no doubt shaped my psychological views and the way I look on "life". People who have mingled with those two do know, and know from their own experience that:

- Balancing overconfidence
This book was really interesting. I learned a ton about chess, something I know little to nothing about, and about a rich area of women's history that I also knew nothing about. While I had wished that the author had organized her thoughts a little better (she seemed to skip around quite a bit), overall Shahdae is a great narrator and her feminist voice is engaging to read. Also kudos to whomever put this cover together. It is excellent. A fun read for feminists even if they know nothing about c ...more
Mariana LJ
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A refreshing trip to the inside of the minds of brilliant women in chess. While it reminds us why there are so few female chess players, it doesn't tells us exactly why, however, the reason may not be as important as the experiences of this Woman Grand Master and her colleagues. I recently started learning to play chess and this book left my fingertips itching to reach the board. ...more
Mar 25, 2009 rated it liked it
I actually was in a book club with the girl who wrote this book. She is obviously a professional chess player. I thought this book was interesting to see the competitive and professional side of something I consider just a game.
Alexander Markovits
Wonderful glimpse into chess history with feminist lens

Insightful, uncompromising, entertaining as hell, and informative on chess history.

Would recommend to anyone, regardless of level of chess enthusiasm.
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chess, summer-2011

Shahade's book is a light in the dark. Learning about the fascinating history, culture, and personalities of women's chess has made me proud to be part of that tradition. I wear this knowledge like an armor and take inspiration from the great women players out there leading the way!

May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-auto
Recently discovered goddess. This is a remarkable ramble through the world of chess and women's role in it. It will help to care about chess, but Jennifer is a remarkable woman. She's a woman who is finding her voice. ...more
Joël Ramos
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a great review of some of the top players in chess, and the pressures and joys of chess from a professional, worldly player. I very much enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone interested in the ancient and exciting game of chess (well exciting to anyone who would read this review!)!
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I registered a book at!
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chess
If you ever wonder why there aren't more women chess players, Jennifer Shahade explains why. Opens your eyes up to the blatant sexism in the competitive chess world. ...more
Melanie Brennan
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was impressed with the historical information in this book. Well written and Interesting on so many levels. I still think about it many years later. Highly recommend.
Bob Peatman
Sep 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
I think this book would be interesting to everyone, not just people into chess. Her perspective on women at the top of their profession relates to many fields.
Sep 25, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
It was interesting to learn about the history of women's chess and more about the game itself--but the book need a good proof read. There were enough errors to be really distracting. ...more
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Jennifer Shahade is an American chess player, poker player, commentator and writer. She is a two-time United States Women's Champion and has the FIDE title of Woman Grandmaster. Shahade is the author of the books Chess Bitch and Play Like a Girl and co-author of Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess. ...more

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