My dad taught me how to play chess, he loved the game. I enjoy it but I am no strategist. Those skilled in the game are able to think of several moves ahead, I literally played off the cuff.

In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, I loved Sidney Sheldon books. He was such a good writer. Once started, I could not put his books down. One of my favourites was If Tomorrow Comes. It’s an excellent story in many ways, but sadly I re-read it a few years ago and found it had dated badly. However, the storyline was riveting with a female con artist in the title role.

There is a scene that I still remember today and when anyone mentions chess, I am transported back to that story.

Tracey Whitney is on a ship where two Russian chess masters are playing against each other. She challenges them to a game despite only just learning herself. She then causes a stir saying she will play them a the same time.

In two different room, watched by a crowd Tracey goes from one to another. They are amazed that a slip of a girl can play two top players, and win! Yes, she wins and it was all a clever con. Obvious really, but I didn’t pick it up when was reading it.

She was just the middle man, the men were actually playing each other through her. Ingenious!

It’s had many covers over the years, but this was the one I remember.

I can still recall the excitement of holding that white cover with its the huge thickness of the pages inside. I would read it on the bus to work and during my lunch hour, and the time between I was itching to get back to it.

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