A New Chess Book for Beginners

I [Jonathan Whitcomb] have just published my first book on chess: Beat That Kid in Chess. I’ll quote the first three paragraphs from the back cover of this 194-page paperback:

Do you know the rules but almost nothing more about chess? This is the best book for the early beginner. Whatever your age, feel your understanding grow as you learn to checkmate and also learn to gain many advantages that can lead to a checkmating position.

After the lessons in the first eight chapters, you can see your progress in simple exercises and then in the more-advanced exercises, as you become ready.

How few chess books are for the raw beginner! How few of them concentrate on what the early beginner needs the most! “Beat That Kid in Chess” differs by emphasizing the simple basics that give the biggest rewards, so you’ll quickly make real progress.

Here’s a small part of the Amazon description:

The approach was organized by a professional nonfiction writer who began teaching chess beginners in the 1960’s. He knows what the raw beginner most needs to learn. Of the countless chess books which have been published, very few appear to be carefully written for beginners, perhaps less than 10%. Of those that seem to be for beginners, most are too confusing and more appropriate for lower-ranked tournament competitors.


"Beat That Kid in Chess" - by Whitcomb

Author’s Evaluation (for what it’s worth)

I’ve looked through other chess books that appear, on the surface, to be for the chess beginner. Not one of them impressed me, in how a beginner might benefit in comparison with the benefits possible if certain basic points had been emphasized properly. I pressed forward, with full confidence that my book, Beat That Kid in Chess, could become the best chess book ever written for the raw beginner. Now that my book has been published, I present it as a candidate for being the best such book ever written.

If I am mistaken, through overlooking a better book, please let me know.


One estimate for the number of chess books published (in history) is about 100,000. Probably less than 10% of those were written for the raw beginner, the player who knows the rules but not how to win an actual game. Who can say what is the best chess book for a beginner? But one point can be said for Beat That Kid in Chess: It uses a new method of instruction called nearly-identical positions. This greatly helps the student to see those critical details in chess positions, details that make all the difference.

In the first chapter of the book, Diagram-1 is a position in which White can make an immediate checkmate, capturing a black pawn with the queen. On the next page, however, one piece has been added, and that black queen protects that pawn, preventing White from getting mate.

Those nearly-identical positions are then repeated over and over, with different possibilities that come from those minor alterations. This can save the reader from losing many games over a long period of time. How is that? Instead of learning slowly by the painful experiences of losing many games, the beginner learns those basic concepts from examining those carefully planned chess positions in those diagrams in Beat That Kid in Chess.



Another Voice for the Benefits of Chess for Children

. . . in the United States, a nation that actively promotes sports for the physical development of students but promotes intellectual competition (like chess) much less than European countries promote the game [of chess] in schools.

A New Chess Book for Beginners

Castle early in  the game, to get your king closer to a safe corner

Beat That Kid in Chess

Published September 2, 2015, with a suggested retail price of $13.40 (US dollars)

Chess for Beginners

. . . The above four simple principles, when applied consistently, may allow an early beginner to soon win a game, provided the opponent is also an early beginner.