The Champions' Game: A True Story

Saul Ramirez (Author) John Seidlitz (As Told to)
Available

Product Details

Price
$21.99
Publisher
Canter Press
Publish Date
May 09, 2017
Pages
200
Dimensions
5.5 X 0.63 X 8.5 inches | 0.89 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9780997740240

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About the Author

Saul Ramirez is the chess coach and art teacher at Henderson Middle School in El Paso, Texas, where he coached his students to win the national chess championships in 2015 and 2016. Ramirez grew up in El Paso's Segundo Barrio, one of the poorest zip codes in the United States, and discovered chess as a child, which became a pathway out of misfortune. Ramirez, like his current students, competed and became a champion in various state and national tournaments. Ramirez graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in May 2010 and started teaching at Henderson Middle School in August of that same year, where he continues to create new paths for the dreams of his students. He lives in El Paso with his wife, Edna, and two children, Saul Jr. and Frida.

Reviews

"An inspiring, true story."

-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A movie-ready narrative about how [Saul Ramirez]--a scrappy, dauntless Henderson Middle School art teacher--took a dozen students, most from underprivileged or lower-income backgrounds, to the 2015 National Chess Tournament and won. [ The Champions' Game] is a love letter to these students, to chess, and to El Paso."

-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Accessible for all readers, this story is a natural for the big screen: check and mate."

-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

FULL KIRKUS STARRED REVIEW:

Chess is life, and life is chess in El Paso, Texas, the unpretentious setting for an inspiring, true story. As told to Seidlitz through hours of interviews, Ramirez's account is a movie-ready narrative about how he--a scrappy, dauntless Henderson Middle School art teacher--took a dozen students, most from underprivileged or lower-income backgrounds, to the 2015 National Chess Tournament and won. Readers are introduced to 12 Mexican-American and Mexican players who not only choose to learn chess, but are determined to compete. "Mister," as his students fondly call him, cleverly relates life's lessons to chess strategies: protect the king (oneself); cherish your queen (practice proper etiquette and good manners); control your center (or emotions and actions); know when to walk away; and don't judge by appearances. Nuggets of Spanish are intertwined, accurately evoking the border's Tex-Mex sound; translations are efficiently offered as footnotes. While the kids are the stars, it is Mister's coaching and preparation that motivate his players; he believes that race and economic status have nothing to do with what a person is capable of accomplishing. It is not smooth sailing all the way, which makes the journey all the more endearing. More than anything, Mister's account is a love letter to these students, to chess, and to El Paso. Accessible for all readers, this story is a natural for the big screen: check and mate. (appendix, afterword) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

"Saul's story is an engaging illustration of the power of chess to transform lives and communities. Having led professional development for educators across the country, I have watched teachers discover the value of chess in the classroom and enthusiastically introduce chess to their students to impact literacy, math, critical thinking, and life skills. The Champions' Game is an up-close journey of a teacher, his school, and his community as they realize the changes that follow when students learn the Royal Game. For any educators who wonder if chess could make a difference in their schools, this is a must-read!" - Jerry Nash, National Chess Education Consultant, www.chess2learn.com