Martin Gale is nine years old and yet he is ready to release the strength of those who feel that there is no more time, they cannot wait any longer, they must roll up their sleeves and start playing. For real. Martin loves and is loved very much by his grandparents who emigrated from Greece and by his mother Leah, as well as by Mama Jean, the bizarre stranger who has decided to take in both of them after their eviction. He also loves Jack Gale very much, his languishing father, and he feels loved back by the neighborhood in which he was born and raised. Brooklyn. The place of a tough yet sweet love, volcanic and transformative, so empathetic and different from Manhattan and the New York that the whole world sings, idolizes, accuses.
Martin Gale has a reason to start playing seriously: his mother Leah is getting sick, something that in the United States has a cost. And playing chess, in order to win the rich prize offered by a tournament, is then an act of rebellion against the circumstances, the rules, the fatal constraints in which everyone finds himself – willingly or unwillingly – when he comes into the world.
What Martin will discover, as he learns the game on the chessboard, is that right there in the middle, adult life opens up.