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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess, Third Edition Paperback – May 3, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

 

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Product Details

  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: ALPHA; 3 edition (May 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592573169
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592573165
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. W. Ward on August 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have been playing Chess casually for many years. Only recently have I taken it upon myself to try to further my understanding of this game. Idiots Guide is an excellent start for the list of books I have compiled on the topic, based on other users recommendations. The book is broken up into 4 sections, with the first 3 being relevant to the rules of the game, strategy, tactic, and such. The 4th section is more of a tidbits and trivia section containing short biographies of the who's who in chess, which in itself can be pretty interesting. However, the meat of the book is in the first 3 sections. The author shows step by step the various games that demonstrate the principles. The overall writing style is simple and easy to understand. Personally, I felt that this book was too strong to be in the same category as the "Idiots Guides" or the "For Dummies" books. The end section gives a good list of follow up books also, which I also plan to read.
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I'm 70 years old and picked Chess for my mental exercise during 2009. Hey ! It's working ! The Guide is really very clear and presents Chess in an interesting way so one doesn't get lost or overwhelmed by it. Great book to start Chess with.
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Format: Paperback
Some of the time the instruction and material was just fine. But then something was introduced that seemed out of place or not well explained. Some rewording and some reorganizing is needed in "The complete Idiot's Guild to Chess". There is no problem with it having a lot in it, it is just how it is presented and explained. After looking around I ended up with a complete beginner's guild to chess that was directed at my age, easy to understand and had lots of material.
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At a rather advanced age, I have decided to learn chess, but I need a lot of help so I bought The Complete Idiot's Guide. Here I uncovered an unbelievable amount of information. It answered just about every question that I had, although it did take a bit of effort. I agree with some of the other reviewers that it could have been organized better because I didn't want to wait 150+ pages to find out what was recommended for the opening. Call me a traditionalist, but I would have preferred to read about the opening at the start of the book. Wolff certainly did a good job of explaining the intricacies of chess though. The examples he includes (shown as pictures of games from famous matches) are very helpful and improved its educability. One could visualize exactly what it was he was talking about via the aide of example boards. For me the book was a good investment towards becoming an average player.
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Format: Paperback
I've always had a fascination with chess and wanted to learn how to play for many years. My only problem and I think the problem of many other people was a fear or intimidation of the game. I was under the impression that you had to be of superior intellect to learn the game and always stayed away from learning anything about chess. I finally decided to learn about the game and read several books to try to help me learn and understand more about this great game.

Of all the books that I have read, this book has helped me the most. The rules and fundamentals of the game were explained in a manner that the chess novice could understand with diagrams included to allow you to visually see what was being explained to you. After only reading the first three chapters I was playing games of chess with friends and against my computer and actually winning a few games. I never thought I would actually be playing a game of chess but now I find it's my favorite hobby. I recommend this to anyone who has always wanted to play chess but felt that they weren't cut out for the game. You'll learn easily and find yourself playing chess in no time.
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The last line of the first chapter states, "Anyone can easily learn how to play chess, and this book teaches you how."
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.
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