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The Rookie by Stephen Moss (Bloomsbury, £18.99)

rookieOn which shelf should you display a book about one man’s valiant but ultimately futile quest to become a chess expert? Autobiography? Sport? Self-improvement?

Journalist Stephen Moss’s The Rookie, which captures the grim world of amateur chess, should be most accurately placed in misery-lit. The draughty bed-and-breakfast lodgings, the supermarket sandwiches, the bare, depressing playing halls, the musty maleness, the mental exhaustion, the self-loathing that follows defeat, the humiliation of being whipped by a child, the…

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