Book: The Queen of Katwe
Author: Tim Crothers
Reviewed by: Martin Bishop
PHIONA MUTESI sleeps in a decrepit shack with her mother and three siblings and struggles to find a meal each day.
Phiona has been out of school most of her life because her mother cannot afford it, so she is only now learning to read and write. Phiona Mutesi is also one of the best chess players in the world.
Through a rudimentary chess clinic in Katwe initiated by a war refugee, Robert Katende, a 9-year-old Phiona is initially taught by a 4-year-old and continues to master the game of chess through perseverance, humility and practicing in decreipt slum conditions. Despite her limited language skills, malnutrition and terrible squalor, she plays in chess championships in Russia and Sudan and easily beats out seasoned players.
In this book, the author candidly shares the heart-breaking stories of Phiona, Robert and other slum children, who dream greatly in the face of enormous challenges and use chess as a means of motivation to survive emotionally and economically.