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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 21 February 2006
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.
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on 28 March 2007
I'm currently working leisurely through this book with my 7 year old daughter. My daugter is finding it very approachable and so am I as someone who is a bit rusty on the game. I have found it very inspirational. My daughter had no problem in understanding and interpreting the section on algebraic notation. We played through the listed game and it spurred me on to download a couple of famous games which we also played through and discussed together. The chapter end tests and suggested practice exercises are at the right level to encourage rather than overwhelm. The format is clear and of good quality. Along with the other reviewers I heartily recommend this book as a fun introduction to chess that young children and their parents can enjoy exploring together.
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on 5 February 2005
Finally a learn chess book really written for children! We found this in Waterstones en route to a family holiday, and my 6 year old adored it. This book teaches how to play chess, and assumes no previous knowledge of the game. Your child can either read the book themselves, or it can make a guide for you to teach them.
The book starts by teaching the very basics, and not taking things too fast. The moves of the pawn and pieces are taught step-by-step, via a series of very large and very clear chess diagrams. Arrows point out the options, and the production quality of the chess boards is excellent.
Illustrations are nicely done, and low key, which I like a lot. This is a book which has the genuine aim of teaching chess, and does it property.
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on 20 July 2009
This is a great book for learning to play chess. It is clearly written in a style which is easy and fun to read, with "terribly tough tests" along the way to check your knowledge. Suitable for quite young children, from around 6 up, who want to learn to play
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on 5 October 2011
If you are mad on chess and have a budding genius child, this book is probably ideal. For me personally some of the diagrams and text didn't have enough explanation with them for children, and on occasion even left me scratching my head.

This book is a good introduction to chess, but not quite what I had imagined when I ordered. I had got the impression that the book is a story about a child with a pet aligator, which also teaches the rules of chess along the way. However, the book is really just a text book, an introduction to chess, with the odd cartoon thrown in. No story.

The inside of the book is entirely black and white. Amazingly the drawings in the book itself are basic pencil sketches. You get the impression that the final drawings never got done (apart from the front cover). The vocabulary is on the whole good, but in places is unecessarily unfriendly to a child (e.g. "maneuver", "motif", "obstruct", "swindle", "simultaneously"). What all this adds up to is that "Chess for Children" has become a book we are slowly working through together, rather than a book for my 8 year old to read herself.

The book goes a long way beyond explaining the basic rules of the game. It not only covers advanced rules like castling, en-passant etc. but also dives into tactics, algebraic notation etc. which is far more "Chess" than I was looking for and not enough focus on the "for Children" part of the title, which seems to have been added almost as an after thought. Having said all that, the chess content is good and I've learned things myself. I bought my elder daughter "How To Beat Your Dad at Chess" as she already knows the rules. However I think the level of "Chess for Children" would be better suited to where she is at ("How To Beat Your Dad at Chess" is too advanced for either of us). The simpler more child friendly book I had wanted to buy my younger daughter doesn't seem to exist. However in its absence, if you are prepared to put the time in and have a lot of patience, this book is worth the effort.
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When my 6 year old son announced he wanted to join Chess Club, I was a bit bemused. I hadn't played since I was a child and could hardly remember how to set up the board. Being a great believer that there is a 'book for everything' I looked up a few on Amazon and this seemed to fit the bill. I was very pleased with it - it is clearly set out, with diagrams, and starts at the real basics - how to set the board up, how to move the pieces, what the aim of the game is, etc. Later in the book are more challenging moves, how to make an opening move and other help with playing - and winning - games. All the way along, there are little tests to complete. For example, the first test shows some boards and the child has to say which pieces are missing or how they move. The tests are fairly easy and built my sons confidence as he progressed through the book, as well as fixing the information into his mind that pieces cannot jump other pieces and how and where pieces can move. All in all, it is a great book and I highly recommend it. My son was able to read it alone, although we did, initially, read it together. It helped to have a chess board on hand to try out the moves, but the book did work well on it's own as a teacher. I was very pleased with it and think it is a great aid to starting out in chess.
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on 4 August 2009
I purchased this for my son, as he had wanted a chess set for Xmas, but at age 6, I had wanted a simple set of instructions to help him get going. He has thoroughly enjoyed learning the game and is quite confident to play on his own against mum & dad now (often winning!). A great book for children to get them going.
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on 9 May 2010
One of the reviews on this book led me to be slightly sceptical - especially due to the "adult" style diagrams when demonstrating positions. However my fears were unfounded as my 6 year old boy has enjoyed the story with the aligator and had no problem at all with the adult diagrams. In fact, I think they are a good thing as this style of diagram is what he will be confronted with later on in life - a bit like learning the alphabet in order to read. Altogether a good buy!
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on 8 May 2016
An excellent book for anyone wanting to learn the fundamentals of the game.
By anyone I mean of any age! I am 82 and benefitted from the carefully laid out diagrams and clear exposition.
I really good "get you started" book.
Well done Murray Chandler.
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on 24 July 2010
I used this book to help me teach a group of children chess in an after school club. I found it really useful to a) remind me of some of the more unusual rules such as En Passen. But the best thing was the way that the book helped me structure my sessions.
The book is designed to be read by a child to teach themselves chess. As an adult however if you can get past the cartoons etc the content is excellent to use as way of ensuring that you don't give out too much information at a time. It also has a couple of mini games of chess ie only using a couple of pieces each.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to teach children chess or improve their knowledge and skill
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