Top positive review
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Attractive book - clear and gimmick-free
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is followed by a 14 page section on notation which is the only serious defect of the book for the simple reason that it is obsolete ( P-K5 instead of Pe5 ) though it could be argued that, given its simplicity and universal use in the past, it is useful to be aware of this notation but maybe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.