The story of Bill Hook"es life with his many passions: chess, painting, traveling, photography and blackjack. Bill Hook won a gold medal at the Chess Olympiad and his friends include street hustlers and world champions. He played with the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Harold Schonberg, Marcel Duchamp and Miguel Najdorf. After Bill Hook had beaten him four times in a row, a very young Bobby Fischer started crying. Now Hook lives and plays on the Virgin Islands. An admirable and colorful life. The Washington Post chess writer Lubosh Kavalek:"A good read, a colorful document and an admirable life."
Meeting Bill Hook - an unassuming, friendly man - one would not suspect that his life was driven by an all-consuming passion for art, chess and gambling. Sometimes singly, sometimes in combination, often blending all three.
Bill's book spans a good part of the last century and gives us a glimpse into the scene in and around the New York chess clubs of the 1950's, describing the various personalities and the atmosphere with wit and humor. The vignettes include chess encounters with an array of players, from down-and-out homeless souls to the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Marcel Duchamp, and of course, Bobby Fischer.
From the inauspicious beginning, Bill's chess career developed into a life-long pursuit. Bill competed in 16 chess Olympiads, playing mostly on the top board for the British Virgin Islands. In 1980 he won the gold medal for the best overall individual performance and the position from his final game appeared on an official British Virgin Islands postage stamp.
As an artist he captured chess life and chess players - from street hustlers to world champions - in his early paintings and in countless photographs.
The book is a valuable record of a slice of chess life in the US and on the international scene and is written by someone with a great love of the royal game and an abiding sense of fair-play. A good read, a colorful document, and an admirable life.
009 The Flea House
041 Big Changes
135 Painting and Photography
187 Index of Names