Hundreds of thousands of books may have been written about chess, over the past three centuries, perhaps more books about the royal game than all sports-books combined. Making a good buying decision for a chess book to be used as a gift, however—that requires care.
What is the chess-skill level of the gift recipient? That’s the big question. Is it a child who has already learned the rules but wants to win a game or two? Beat That Kid in Chess may be the best chess book for that child. Is it a club player who wins about half the time but needs to know a broad range of combinations that lead to checkmate? That intermediate-level player could benefit from the book How to Beat Your Dad at Chess. (By the way, both of those chess books are for a wide range of reader ages, not just for children.)
We now look at three very different chess books, for different gift recipients.
Chess for Children
This is not for older children, but it could be delightful for small kids who have adults who’ll read it to them or for second graders. Much of it is devoted to the rules of the game. Here’s one reader-review:
I bought this book for my children’s school library. I am the chess coach at their school and have been making efforts to increase the library’s collection of chess books for children. This book is a fine addition to the collection. As I read through it I thought that my K-2 crew would probably enjoy it more than my 3-5 crew, but so be it. [four stars out of five]
Beat That Kid in Chess
The title was chosen for marketing purposes, for it’s not actually about defeating a child in a chess game: It matters not the age of your opponent.
This chess book is for a wide range of readers: older children, teenagers, and adults. It assumes the reader already knows the rules of chess but not much about how to actually win a game. Here’s part of a reader-review for Beat That Kid in Chess:
Studies show that the study of chess increases your IQ, prevents Alzheimer’s, exercises both sides of the brain, increases your creativity, improves memory, increases problem-solving and reading skills, improves concentration, teaches planning and foresight, and more. Who doesn’t want that for themselves and their loved ones? This book is perfect for someone who knows the basic rules of chess but needs additional help to actually win. . . .
Chess Tactics for Kids
This book is for the third-level of chess skill: the intermediate player who already has the ability to look ahead in a game. Chess Tactics for Kids is not for the real beginner, the person who knows little more than the rules and has had very little over-the-board experience.
Like Beat That Kid in Chess, however, this book is for a wide range of reader-ages. Here’s one of the more-positive reviews for Chess Tactics for Kids:
I found this book a revealing guide to the way top players find chess combinations. Of course there are many books on tactics – one reason this one stands head and shoulders above the rest is because of the quality of the examples, and the logical presentation.
This chess book is extremely popular on Amazon, yet combining the two-star and one-star customer reviews makes 9%, which can be a warning flag if you’re to purchase a book to be used as a gift . . . “This was Not the book I needed to help my 9-yr old grandson advance from the beginning level of chess playing. It is much too complex . . .”
Beat That Kid in Chess may be the best book for . . . the player who knows the rules but not much else. The concepts taught with large chess diagrams can be understood and enjoyed by readers of a large range of ages . . .
This is a set of short book reviews for the following:
* How to Beat Your Dad at Chess
* Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games
* Beat That Kid in Chess
The new paperback Beat That Kid in Chess may be the first publication to systematically use the teaching method called “nearly-identical positions” (PIN). It was also written especially with the “early” beginner in mind.