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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess (2nd Edition) Paperback – September 1, 2001
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From the Back Cover
You're no idiot, of course. You've seen people play chess in movies and even on the computer. But when it comes to actually playing chess, you can barely distinguish the pawn from the rook. Don't throw in the towel yet! Whether you want to play chess fo pleasure or sport, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess will teach you everything you need to know! In this Complete Idiot's Guide you get: --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Patrick Wolff is a two-time U.S. Chess Champion (1992 and 1995) and an International Chess Grand-master. Patrick writes a chess column for the Boston Globe. In addition, he has been a chess coach and instructor and has appeared in several instructional chess videos.
Top customer reviews
The Idiot's Guide to Chess is designed to take anyone from zero to competitive in easy steps.
On reaching 40, I realized that I could no longer compete in physically exerting sports and started looking for other interests, especially something I could share with my young son. Chess took my fascination. And so started my search for a book that can go beyond explaining the rules to demystifying the first and most important elements of tactics and strategy.
If someone was looking for a book that could take any ordinary Joe off the street and prepare them for competition, this would be the book I recommend. Or at least, it would be a good place to start. For probably no one book could take you there. Chess is so profound that to properly understand it, you need the input and advice of several people and much thought and practice.
The strengths of this book are:
* It's thoroughness. With over 400 pages, it will eventually hit on every question a beginner through to an up and coming or intermediate player would ever ask. It also contains interesting anecdotes, history, and asides.
* Well organized. 21 chapters covering the range of subjects such as rules, history, tactical motives, weak squares, computers, etc. It is a good reference book. You can skip certain sections if desired, such as the rules if you already know them, and look into your areas of interest.
* User friendly. Plenty of diagrams; plenty of chess puzzles to test you and stretch your understanding; a language that is patient and easy to follow without talking down to you.
In other words, it is everything that the legendary Capablanca's `Fundamentals' is not. So if you are already chess minded, Capa's book is more compact and might get you there quicker. But it is dry and hard work to plough through. The Idiot's guide is the book I'd recommend for mere mortals.
Some weaknesses of the book:
* More effort could have been put into putting diagrams and their explanations to which they refer on the same page.
* There are no complete games to work through.
* Some chapters might leave you wanting more (this might not be such a bad thing). I found the chapter on openings useful but not satisfying. This may be why I see that the Idiot's Guide series has come up with a book specifically for chess openings.