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Chinese Chess for Beginners Paperback – March 31, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
I notice that "Chinese Chess for Beginners" has received a couple of unfair, negative and uninformed reviews, which might discourage interested readers--readers who might really benefit from Sloan's book before they proceeded to one of the more comprehensive introductions to the game by H. T. Lau, David H. Li, or another overview such as Tony Hosking's. Rather than add to the book's already detailed positive reviews, let me address the most patently unfair criticisms.
First, even though it will be necessary for continuing players to learn the Chinese characters used on the pieces, most especially if they plan to play online, Sloan does NOT employ any Chinese characters, but uses standard Western abbreviations throughout--such as R for rook, K for king--in all his diagrams. The reviewer who was "not impressed" that "Chinese Chess for Beginners" demanded "a knowledge of the symbols used in Chinese Chess" was clearly confusing Sloan's book with another.Read more ›
To be honest, the book could certainly be better. It does cover everything necessary: it introduces the pieces, explains the rules, explains strategy, has sample games... All good and well, yet the presentation could be clearer, the text a tad more captivating and I would really prefer if the sample games were included in their entirety. Still, it works, and to those who prefer reading books to reading web pages, this is still worth considering.
The information in this book is good, it just isn't presented as well as the material deserves. If you just want to learn how the pieces move, check out the "xiangqi" (Chinese Chess) article on Wikipedia. That's how I learned, and it was much clearer and more concise.
The biggest problem for me was the use of a notation system that relies on relative data. Unlike the algebraic notation system I'm used to in Western Chess (which uses a letter to describe each file and a number to represent each rank, thus giving absolute grid reference locations,) the system Sloan employs uses an absolute number for each file and a second number (this one relative to the piece being moved) to describe rank positions and movement. This becomes confusing.
Originally published in the '80s (before desktop publishing) on a small scale, the layout of the book shows its age/budget. It looks like it was printed on a black and white newspaper press with very limited formatting options. More than merely aesthetically unpleasing, the limited formating sometimes makes it harder to parse out what the author is trying to get across. There's good information in the book, but you'll have to fight against the materials of the book to get it out.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author assumes that the reader has a knowledge of the symbols used in Chinese Chess. Not impressed.Published on August 9, 2007 by Gilbert Gonzalez