Paperback, 285 pages, 2002 Russell Enterprises
Chess can be an obsession that takes over your life, whether you are a wood-pushing novice or a superstar grandmaster. British journalist Sarah Hurst was infected with chess fever at the age of 20 and spent seven years exploring the mysterious world of the amateur and professional player. In pursuit of interviews she slid down an icy hill in Hastings to catch a Chinese women's world champion, chased Garry Kasparov around London, chatted cheerfully with a manic depressive in Budapest, and roamed the Russian steppe with Kalmyk Buddhists. Read about some of the dark sides to chess as Hurst perceives it, and enjoy some thoroughly entertaining chess writing.