WEST ACROSS THE BOARD by Andrew Jalbert
What are the elements of friendship that last a lifetime-the mysterious connection that can outlast great distances and more than half a century of separation to bring friends back together? For Lázaro, a salty Cuban mariner and Dominic, a brilliant Chicago engineer, the answers can be found in the game of chess.
From the time of their meeting and first chess match on Key West in the 1930s, each man’s win is scratched into the back of the board. As the game tally grows, so does their friendship. Now, both men are in their twilight years, but it’s Dominic’s life, weathered by cancer, which is reaching its conclusion. Lázaro, who fled from his island home and his friend years ago, learns that Dominic is rapidly dying and sets off on the long journey from Boston to Florida to see his old friend. Prior to leaving, Lázaro retrieves the old chessboard and makes a startling discovery. The number of scratches, first marked over sixty years before and uncounted until now, has the two men evenly tied.
As he drives towards Dominic and the keys, Lázaro is forced to confront a past he has struggled to forget while anticipating the reunion with his old friend and what could be their final game.