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Play Winning Chess Paperback – June 1, 2003
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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I usually don’t purchase books intended for beginning chess players, but since “Play Winning Chess” is the first in a progressive series of books (the others being “Winning Chess Tactics,” “Winning Chess Strategies,” “Winning Chess Combinations,” “Winning Chess Openings,” and “Winning Chess Endings”), I decided to begin with the basics. I’m glad I did.
What most impresses me about this book is how very well written it is. Seirawan and Silman are both exceptionally knowledgeable writers who convey their ideas with clarity, precision, and humor. Seirawan and Silman's prose reminds me a little of the late, great chess author Fred Reinfeld’s writing, and I consider that to be high praise indeed.
“Play Winning Chess” is a very well-organized book. After covering the history and basic rules of chess, the authors explain their concepts with simplicity, according to four time-tested basic principles that will lead aspiring chess players to play winning chess. The four principles are: Force, Time, Space, and Pawn Structure. Using examples from games they played, Seirawan and Silman illustrate these principles in a clear and easily understandable manner. The book contains a bounty of diagrams to help illustrate the author’s points. However, the diagrams in the Kindle versions tend to be a bit on the small side.
“Play Winning Chess” is perhaps the best novice player’s chess book I’ve ever read. It belongs in every serious beginner’s library. Highly recommended.
Once Seirawan introduces algebraic notation, he jumps right in and expects you to have it memorized, so be ready to have a mini chess set on hand, or a phone app where you can play both sides. It is simply too much for a beginner to keep visualizing the positions as they change from the printed board. I prefer the tactile experience of actual pieces to a phone or ipad app. If you're the same way, I recommend the Checkbook Magnetic Travel Chess Set, especially if you wish to use this book while commuting or traveling. I travel often and this is a great tool.
In summary, if you are thinking about getting into chess, and don't really know which book to buy, get this one and start playing!
This book starts out assuming that you know absolutely nothing about chess. It starts you out with how the pieces move, and teaches algebraic chess notation in a non-threatening manner (essential for any chess book! ;) But then it also goes into essential strategy, such as pawn structure and tempo.
If I had to choose only one chess book to take with me for an extended trip, this would be the one.