By Rich Wallace
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Copyright © 2009
Review by Anthony Kendrick
“Two brothers. One championship.” One really annoying dad.
Randy are brothers. Zeke is a senior and Randy is a freshman. Both play
chess and are playing in a regional tournament in Scranton, Pennsylvania
with the hopes of winning a $1,000 scholarship and an invite to the
state tournament. Randy is easy going and friendly and Zeke is a bit of a
jerk. Although these boys are very different from one another and don’t
generally get along, It is at this tournament that they both reach
their breaking point with their meddling father.
long ago I read “One Good Punch” which was set in Scranton, PA as well,
and featured a teen track star with a problem. Now reading “Perpetual
Check”, I’m beginning to see that Rich Wallace really has a knack for
writing quick reading sports dramas.
appreciated how in just 112 pages he takes us into the youth chess
world, introduces us to a dysfunctional family, and presents us with
signs of a resolution to sibling rivalry and parental interference. It
isn’t burdened down with chess match details he just provides enough so
that the novice and the experienced player get the picture. In addition,
the resolution does not feel forced or contrived. While he occasionally
gives us a glimpse into the past of these characters, Wallace mainly
just gives us a day in the life of these two characters, and it just
happens to be the day that they both come together and have had enough.
Teens 13 and up will really be able to relate to this characters, and it
may just spark their interest in the game of chess.