86 pages 2 hours read

Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land

Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | YA | Published in 2020

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Chapters 4-7

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 4 Summary: “Yahaira”

In the second collection of poems from Yahaira’s perspective, Yahaira recounts her relationship with chess. Yahaira’s father taught her to play chess, showing her the functions of each piece when she was only three years old, so that she had mastered the game enough to beat her father by the time she was four. Yahaira credits her proficiency at chess to her ability to intuit the “rhythm of the / game [...] it’s all just / steps & patterns” (90). In retrospect, although she enjoyed winning, she never loved chess: “I did chess. I was obsessed with winning. / But never love” (93). Despite her incredible talent, Yahaira no longer plays chess, having quit after she was molested on a crowded train after a chess tournament. Yahaira’s rift with her father comes after she cannot reach him by phone following her attack. On the day after Yahaira’s attack, she finds her father’s marriage certificate to Camino’s mother. When she does hear from her father again, Papi calls her in anger after finding an email disqualifying her from a prestigious chess tournament. When she refuses to play again, Papi tells Yahaira that she has broken his heart.