I have seen countless books on chess aimed at youngsters over the years, but this is probably the nicest introduction I have ever seen, aimed at primary school children. The problem with so many books is that they are too ambitious, too wordy or just downright boring, but such criticisms in no way apply to this latest addition.
The game is taught through the medium of a cartoon character, George, and his pet alligator, Kirsty, a self-proclaimed Grand Alligator of Chess. The large format pages and large diagrams are easier on the young eye, and the language is readily accessible to a young age group.
The book consists of six parts. Part One covers the basics of how the pieces move, then subsequent parts take the young beginner through a succession of easy, welldefined stages, until by the end of the book you are able to play through and understand a complete game. The book is also very much inter-active, as there are tests interspersed at regular intervals throughout.
As I said earlier, over-ambition is the main problem with so many beginners books, but here the authors have set out with the very limited objective of getting the child started on a very basic level. Opening theory, middlegame strategy and endgame technique have no place here. The emphasis is on learning the basics in an enjoyable manner. If you have a young child or relative who wants to learn chess, then I can thoroughly recommend this book, which in addition to everything I have already said comes at a very reasonable price.
This review first appeared in the magazine En Passant.