Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Josh Russell

Second Advisor

John Holman

Third Advisor

Sheri Joseph


The Exchange is a fiction novel Xavier "Savvy" Kowalski, one of the most promising American chess prodigies and rumored up-and-comer for the international fame as a potential challenger for the world chess crown. After he loses the junior world chess championship in Venice, Italy, he retires to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he hopes to start his life over. Savvy's father and the chess world at large conspire against him and he finds himself returning to competitive chess again after three years away. He assembles a new team to train him for a return to the world championship, and he also falls in love with a young prodigy he met during his retirement. Together they travel the United States and Europe as Savvy attempts to win back his reputation as America's premier chess player while encountering various rivals, including his own father. The story culminates with Savvy's final championship game, and with his dad.