- Series: Chess
- Paperback: 237 pages
- Publisher: David McKay; 1st edition (March 20, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812918673
- ISBN-13: 978-0812918670
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 211 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chess for Juniors: A Complete Guide for the Beginner Paperback – March 20, 1991
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From the Inside Flap
Robert Snyder, national chess master and noted teacher, introduces this timeless game to the young beginner. Snyder teaches the basic principles and then builds on students' knowledge, giving clear instructions on how to choose and employ opening, middle, and endgame strategies to win. In twenty graduated lessons, with over 275 diagrams, Chess for Juniors covers:
-- Basic Rules
-- Check, Checkmate, and Castling
-- Opening Systems, including the Ruy Lopez, the Sicilian Defense, the Nimzo-Indian, the Queen's Indian Defense.
-- Basic Endgame Strategy
-- Tactics such as the Hanging Piece, the Fork, and the Pin
-- And more.
Robert M. Snyder's students have included the 1989 and 1990 national elementary and junior high school champions. He is the founder of the Chess for Juniors chess club in Garden Grove, California, the country's largest club for young people, and his school seminars have been attended by a total of over 50,000 students.
Top customer reviews
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In short, it's likely the best first book for a child (I'd recommend Fred Reinfeld's classic "The Complete Chess-Player" for an adult, but only if the adult can deal with descriptive notation).
A beginner will learn from this book the rules of chess, how the pieces move, algebraic notation, tactical motifs, some openings, some basic endgame motifs, and even some basic strategy.
Though the book reads a bit corny if you are an adult, the book is lucid and easily accessible for a child. It's a great all-around primer for all of the elements of chess you'll need to learn after you complete this book.
If you or your child is still enthusiastic about chess after reading this book, I encourage you to join a chess club, travel to tournaments, and get a coach (after doing a criminal background check). Then, in order, I recommend you read the great collection "Logical Chess: Move by Move" by Irving Chernev, "Chess Tactics for Champions," by Susan Polgar, "How to Beat Your Dad at Chess" (for checkmate motifs) by Murray Chandler, "Silman's Complete Endgame Manual: From Beginner to Master" by Jeremy Silman, and for the middlegame and the elements of positional chess, "The Amateur's Mind," by Jeremy Silman. You can check out my other reviews to see which books I recommend you go to after you complete these. I'm not a Master, but I started chess very late (at 44), and moved from Class E to Class B (1600 USCF) in just over three years. I know which books are a waste of time and which help the quickest.
This would be a great start for any beginner.
Since I already knew the basics of chess before I bought this book, I was most interested in the approach Snyder took once he directed his readers on to the next step, since this is where introductory books on chess really show their true colors.
Snyder covers the pins/forks/skewers tactics as well as anyone, but the best part is the in-depth attention he gives to openings, defenses, and what he calls "Tactical Motifs." What this entails are insightful, detailed looks at the Ruy Lopez (the "Spanish") and Giuoco Piano (the "Italian") openings, and a group of the best-known gambits (From's, King's accepted and declined, Bishop sacrifices, Petroff's Defense). He also looks at those three to four-move checkmates like the Fool's and Scholar's--how they can be sprung on novice/unsuspecting opponents and how they can be avoided so easily if you develop the sound opening principles Snyder sets forth. If you play over and completely absorb all these openings and the basic variations as Snyder sets them down here, you'll develop a strong sense of space and begin to understand the tactical and strategic consequences of the moves you make.
Snyder also gives great explanations of some defensive responses, especially the Sicilian, the King's Indian and the Nimzo-Indian if you're playing black. The depth of Snyder's explanations is perfect, so that you learn what to do and why to do it without getting bogged down in needless details and variations. His lessons on King-Pawn, Queen and Rook endings are also perfectly set out. End games are essential of course but they are a bit dull to have to study. Again, I feel Snyder gives you just what you need to know so that you won't mess up an end game with a loss, draw or stalemate when the use of a few core techniques could have made the game yours. Finally, there are a couple of instructive games which look especially at attacks on the weak f7/f2 squares and their outcomes, around which many wins or losses can revolve.
All in all, this is a fine beginner's book, either for youths or adults. I would say that there are other good ones out there too which can be fruitfully studied in conjunction with Snyder--the beginner's books by Yasser Seirawan (Play Winning Chess), John Nunn (Learn Chess), and I. A. Horowitz (Chess for Beginners). I do think it's shameful that many advocates of Snyder's work try to undermine these other works by pumping "Chess for Juniors" and pushing down all positive reviews of his competitors by marking these reviews "unhelpful." There seems to be some kind of strategy at work, since they always put Snyder's title in upper case letters, recommending it after they have put down the other work. Sometimes they won't even review the other work, but will just mention Snyder's. It all seems orchestrated.