Intro to “Beginning Chess”

The following are selections from some of the posts on this blog.

New Book for the Beginner: “Beat That Kid in Chess”

This post was published on Sep 7, 2015

On September 2, 2015, the nonfiction book Beat That Kid in Chess was published . . . It’s intended to be the most useful book ever written for the beginner who knows the rules but little else about chess. . . .

nonfiction chess paperback book

[From the Introduction] You may notice that many diagrams are nearly identical, something rarely encountered in most chess books. You need to get used to those small differences that are so important in chess games. How critical can be the smallest difference! This approach can help you to think like a tournament player, in the sense of diving into a chess position as if it had never come up before . . .


Simple Queen-Versus-Rook Endgames in Chess

Published on Sep 9, 2015

Many chess end game positions can be challenging, especially with queen versus rook. But Beginning Chess really is for beginners, so let’s look at easy puzzles with simple tactics.

smaller rook against an armed queen

In general, with best moves made on both sides, a queen-versus-rook endgame (with only those two pieces plus the two kings) should always be a win for the side with the queen. In reality, many positions can be extremely challenging, even with top-level grandmasters. . . .


Chess Openings for Beginners

Let’s take a practical approach, not with long opening lines to memorize but with ideas for getting the advantage early in a chess game. This assumes your opponent is a beginner, with little knowledge . . . of chess openings. . . .


More on the Queen-Versus-Rook End Game

Let’s look at more tactics in simple end games . . . when a only four pieces are left on the board, including a queen on one side and a rook on the other.


More on the New Book for Chess Beginners

Beat That Kid in Chess is not really about winning a game against a child. The book trains the “early beginner” in the most basic tactics and winning methods, regardless of the age of the chess opponent. The title and book cover have been compared with How to Beat Your Dad at Chess, although almost everything else about these two chess books is different. . . .

paperback chess book for early beginners

Most of the book teaches those tactical details which are essential to winning chess games. . . .


Three Chess Books for Real Beginners

I’ve been promoting my own chess book (for novices) for several weeks now: Beat That Kid in Chess. So why would I mention two competing books on the royal game [Chess for Beginners and the newer book How To Play Chess For Beginners], both of them for beginners? Mine could be the only one ever written that uses a new teaching method called nearly-identical positions. . . .


A Simple Endgame

Some chess books teach endgame technique: how to win when you’re ahead and draw when you’re behind. We’ll look at a simple position suitable for beginners, taken from Winning Chess Endings, by grandmaster Yasser Seirawan. Keep in mind that this chess book is not for beginners, at least not for low-level novices.

After Black moves axb6, White wins with a6!

Black to move (White wins, with best play)

White has just advanced a pawn to b6, in Diagram-1, attacking a black pawn but allowing that black pawn to capture it. If things proceed as usual with exchanges, this endgame will probably end in a draw. . . .


A Chess Book as a Gift

Most chess books are purchased by the players who use them, rather than by those giving them as gifts. One exception is a gift-book for a beginner. A new entry in that genre is Beat That Kid in Chess. We’ll now compare it to an older book, Winning Chess Tactics for Juniors. One thing these dissimilar books have in common is a misleading title: The age of the reader (or the age of one’s competitor) has almost no relevance.


Chess Books on Tactics

How to Beat Your Dad at Chess [an older publication]is confined almost entirely to checkmating patterns.

Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games is a vast collection, focusing more on quantity than on quality.

Beat That Kid in Chess [a new book] is for the player who knows how to move the pieces around but has never, or almost never, won a game of chess. . . . for the “raw” beginner to learn how to win.

The older book 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations—that’s a large collection of tactical problems, with 1001 solutions at the end of the book, fortunately. It’s not for a beginner but for the intermediate competitor.

A Simple Rook End Game

Some chess books teach how to win an end game of king-plus-rook versus king. Instead of a move-by-move approach, let’s now look at several such endgame positions and see the right way to handle each one. The checkmating positions themselves will not be shown: Just imagine those checkmate moves.

White to move

The rook has already hemmed in the defending king [in the above diagram] so there’s nothing else for that rook to do now. The white king is a little too far away, however: It needs to get closer, to make checkmate possible.