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on 14 April 2012
This book will transport you instantly back to the 1950s and it is none the worse for that; chess has not essentially changed since then.

The book appeared in 1958, written by two primary school teachers ( Bott and Morrison ) and that is the source of its strength: the authors were actively involved in promoting chess among schoolchildren and understanding of their audience shines through their leisurely explanations and a profusion of clear diagrams.

The simple illustrations have a dated charm very much of their era.

How the pieces move is described in the first 27 pages, followed by 60 pages on simple game play ( including check, checkmate, castling and 'en passant'.

This is followed by a 14 page section on notation which is the only serious defect of the book for the simple reason that it is obsolete ( P-K5 instead of Pe5 ) though it could be argued that, given its simplicity and universal use in the past, it is useful to be aware of this notation but maybe not at this early stage and not for children - it can be skipped.

There follow 17 pages on forks pins and discovered check, then 18 pages on 'Mating Patterns' which, in spite of its ambiguous title, is very relevant, discussing, as it does, possible and impossible combinations of pieces to chekmate an opponent ( e.g. you cannot checkmate with king and bishop against king ).

The book continues with a number of short sections on winning, drawing ( some interestingly arcane rules ) stalemate and a short selection of 'Games with Comment' played by children.

The book ends with a short section of general comments and the answers to all the chess 'quizzes' which adorn the rest of the book.

You really can learn to play chess with this book ( suitable for beginners from 8 to 80 according to the authors ).
Copies seem to be available second-hand only but the price of some of these makes it a real bargain.
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on 15 March 2014
The book arrived in good condition and in good time. Don't know why it's out of print, because it's still the best book for teaching children how to make the best use of each piece on the chess board. The pictures are clear and helpful. The portrayal of the pieces as cartoon characters adds to the fun and the recognition of the potential of each piece. However, unlike today's books they don't go overboard on this, which helps to keep it simple.

Bought it first for my son when he was 6 years old and we read a couple of chapters each evening. Our game was improving daily - I found it helpful, too! Then my son grew impatient and read a few chapters ahead...I haven't beaten him at chess since.

This time I bought it for a friend's son and daughter, and I hope they get as much fun from it as we did - chess is good for helping children to think strategically and logically and to develop patience, all of which are helpful in many life situations.
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on 4 December 2004
This was the book that I leant to play chess with. It made chess fun and interesting for me. The illustrations are fantastic. highly recommended.
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on 4 January 2010
Thirty years ago I remember avidly reading this as an 8 year old, with its compehensive yet clear and friendly approach to explaining the game.

If I was learning the game today I would still use this book, with its clear illustrations, piece by piece guidance and game examples to follow. It has a "fun" and unpatronising way of clarifying the initially daunting game of chess and is the complete tutor in itself.

The only thing I would fault is the title, as it is really a book for all ages and I find it hard to see how it could be bettered.
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on 10 January 2016
This was purchased for my grandson who has shown an interest in chess. I am a life long serious chess player and this classic book remains one of the best for a young child to read to gain a grounding in the game. His mother (my daughter!) has acquired another book designed specifically for the parents of children who are would be chess payers and that obviously performs a different function.
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on 8 November 2010
This is an absolutely excellent book, an ideal introduction for children to chess, or for adults too. The service was quick and condition as described.
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on 19 February 2015
Pages were intact but spine was very damaged and sun damaged which was not noted in the description
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on 14 February 2015
great, arrived quickly, thanks :)
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on 3 January 2015
Got me into chess as a child.
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