Most of Waverly's victories concern the game of chess. She started playing chess when her brother, Vincent, received one from church on Christmas. She started playing the game, and she loved it. She loved the secrets of the game, which makes a lot of sense, because her mother taught her the "art of invisible strength." Here is what Waverly says:
I also found out why I should never reveal "why" to others. A little knowledge withheld is a great advantage one should store for future use. That is the power of chess. It is a game of secrets in which one must show and never tell. I loved the secrets I found within the sixty-four black and white squares.
Eventually, Waverly became a child sensation. Here is a quote on this:
By my ninth birthday, I was a national chess champion. I was still some 429 points away from grand-master status, but I was touted as the Great American Hope, a child prodigy and a girl to boot.
She also had less obvious victories. For example, she recounts how she started playing chess by bribing her bothers with candy. Many victories, indeed.
This is why she gained the confidence to go against the true "grandmaster" of her life, her mother. When she did this, she regretted it.
Her black men advanced across the plane, slowly marching to each successive level as a single unit. My white pieces screamed as they scurried and fell off the board one by one. As her men drew closer to my edge, I felt myself growing light. I rose up into the air and flew out the window. Higher and higher, above the alley, over the tops of tiled roofs, where I was gathered up by the wind and pushed up toward the night sky until everything below me disappeared and I was alone.
I closed my eyes and pondered my next move.