Chess Books for Children

While marketing my chess book (and researching potential competition for my Beat That Kid in Chess), I found several publications that could be very beneficial for children. Since these books do not appear to be directly competing with mine, I feel no hesitancy in mentioning them.

On the other hand, for those chess books that do appear to compete with mine head-to-head . . . I will be silent, for they get enough attention as it is, and I still believe that Beat That Kid in Chess is the best book for its intended readers.

Chess is Child’s Play: Teaching Techniques That Work

This book helps parents and other adults to teach chess to children. Taking a brief look at some of the pages, I found Chess is Child’s Play to be a wonderful promotion of the benefit of becoming engaged in this game. Indeed, for its intended audience, it may be the best chess book, but keep in mind that this really is for adults who want to effectively teach chess to children; it’s not for handing over to a four-year-old. To illustrate that, consider these brief excerpts:

Page 12-13

. . . Throughout life, one of the most valuable skills a person can have is the ability to solve problems. Parents want their children to be able to find and select the best solutions for every given situation they will encounter out in the real world.

A weaker mind waits for others to solve problems for them. Such individuals lack the courage and skill to implement their own ideas. They become dependent upon others to solve their problems.

As a chess player you face your opponent one-on-one. No one is allowed to whisper answers into your ear, or feed you game-winning moves.

Your child will start recognizing patterns. Children who have this ability are less likely to make the same mistake twice. They tend to learn from their errors. . . .

Page 14-15

. . . In a world where children are often ignored and devalued, chess gives them a tremendous edge. Over the board, each player has a truly equal opportunity to come out ahead. There is no bias for age or physical size. You win because you outplay your opponent. . . .

Chess players learn to think outside the box.

If we’re going to solve some of the enormous problems this world has, our children must be able to think outside the box. They will need to come up with many innovative solutions.


Chess is Child’s Play (by Sherman and Kilpatrick)

This hardcover has 304 pages and is published by Mongoose Press (April 16, 2012). The price offered on Amazon on October 15, 2015 was $15.11. Of the 64 reader reviews on Amazon, 84% were 5-star rated.


The Kids’ Book of Chess and Chess Set

This is an updated and newly-illustrated version of the 1970 publication Illustrated Chess for Children. This new edition comes with a chess set. In contrast with Chess is Child’s Play, this one is directly for kids: You can hand it over to a child 8-12 years old and it should be a delight to the young reader.

Probably few chess books have been praised in the School Library Journal, yet that’s the case with The Kid’s Book of Chess. Here’s a excerpt from that review:

Grade 4 Up– Instead of technical language and difficult diagrams, The Kids’ Book of Chess explains all the basic elements of the game in a colorful, dramatic story of the medieval battlefield that the chessboard represents. All the pieces from pawn to king are introduced according to the role they play in the chess game and compared to their actual role in medieval life. How to begin the game, move the pieces, and develop a winning strategy are well described in clear, simple text; accurate diagrams; and delightful illustrations of medieval life. . . .

cover of the chess set for kids

The Kids’ Book of Chess and Chess Set

This paperback of 96 pages is published by Workman Publishing Company (January 11, 1990). The price offered on Amazon on October 16, 2015 was $15.36 (including a chess set). Of the 62 reader reviews on Amazon, 65% were 5-star rated.


Beat That Kid in Chess: For the early beginner to win games

My book is for the raw beginner who already knows the rules, in contrast with The Kid’s Book of Chess and Chess is Child’s Play, both of which devote many pages to the rules of the game. Yet there’s another difference. Beat That Kid in Chess is not for an average child 4-8 years old; it’s for older children, teenagers, and adults. Consider these excerpts from the back cover.

Do you know the rules but almost nothing more about chess? This is the best book for the early beginner . . . How few chess books are for the raw beginner! How few of them concentrate on what the early beginner needs the most! . . . Checkmate, pin, knight fork—those are demonstrated and explained, but how much more is given to you in this chess book for early beginners!

This may be the only chess book that regularly uses the new teaching method called nearly-identical positions (NIP). This makes it easier for the beginner to see a chess position more like an intermediate tournament player would see it. It makes tactics easier to notice and mistakes less likely.

Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction:

This book can take you into a level that should help you defeat many beginners, at least sometimes. In other words, you will no longer be a raw beginner and will instead be able to defeat raw beginners, at least more often than you lose. And it may be easier than you think.

"Beat That Kid in Chess" by Whitcomb

Beat That Kid in Chess

This paperback of 194 pages is published through Createspace (September 2, 2015). The price offered by Amazon on October 16, 2015 was $13.40.



Beginner Chess Books

Regardless of how many chess books may be similar to mine in various ways, I doubt that even one of them is equal to BTKC in following this new training method for developing tactical skill. Yet the following two publications may be worthy of consideration, in their own right.

Review of Some of the Best Chess Books

The following five chess books were chosen, for this review, not for head-to-head competition but for comparing different skill levels of chess players.

A Queen Versus Rook Endgame of Chess

Let’s look at the standard winning method against the Third Rank Defense in the queen versus rook end game. This is a challenging defense to break down.

Play Chess to Win

Teamwork really counts —  Try to get your pieces to work together

Beat That Kid in Chess – for Beginners

The book trains the “early beginner” in the most basic tactics and winning methods, regardless of the age of the chess opponent.