It has been said that one becomes serious about chess when one buys their first book on the subject. I became serious when I bought this book. Pritchard's agenda is to take the absolute beginner to the standard expected of a good club player. That's quite a leap, but it's a goal Pritchard achieves with ease and style. Beginning with an explanation of how the pieces move, we move through basic concepts (forks, pins, en passant etc.), tactics, strategy, how to handle the opening (including a list of the most common openings currently played), middle-game and end-game. All of the subjects are handled in a highly literate style that is accessible to all ages, with the sure-footedness of a seasoned master, and without condescension. The reader feels assured that the lessons being given are of the highest quality, and that the principles absorbed will always be relevant, regardless of fashion.
From my own experience, The Right Way To Play Chess completely transformed my game. Prior to reading this book, I knew how the pieces moved, and considered myself a chess player. Yet I was constantly defeated by friends, and grew increasingly frustrated at the apparent ease with which they did this. Having read this book, the defeats came to an abrupt halt (strangely, so did the games - a coincidence, I'm sure). Against most casual players, I now had not only the ability to handle most situations but also, crucially, the knowledge to enable me to *understand* why certain situations should be handled that way.
The Right Way To Play Chess remains absolutely outstanding, the benchmark for beginners. I cannot imagine a better book for giving you a rock-solid foundation on which to build your chess career.