Chess Books for Children or Everybody?

The following two chess books have two things in common:

  • They appear, from the covers, to be for kids
  • They can benefit readers of almost any age

"Chess Tactics for Kids" and "Beat That Kid in Chess"

Chess Tactics for Kids and the new Beat That Kid in Chess

From looking at their covers, we might expect these two books to be similar inside; they’re dissimilar, one for experienced chess competitors and the other for raw beginners. Let’s examine them one at a time.

Chess Tactics for Kids, by Murray Chandler

The interior images appear to be for the benefit of children, but the tactics are for all ages, assuming the reader has had some experience in chess competition. This book is not ideal for the raw beginner who has had no previous experience with detailed chess calculations.

Nevertheless, Chess Tactics for Kids could be one of the best publications available for certain post-beginners, especially those players who have already learned to look ahead a couple of moves or more and have learned to avoid throwing away pieces during a game.

The author, Murray Chandler, is a grandmaster, and you can be sure that tactics are well explained in this chess book.

Hardcover – 128 pages – published in 2003

ISBN-13: 978-1901983999


Beat That Kid in Chess, by Jonathan Whitcomb

In contrast, this chess book was written from beginning to end with a focus on teaching the early beginner to win. Unlike many publications for beginners, it assumes the reader already knows the rules of the game; unlike many books that only appear to be for beginners, this one teaches the true basics that are most needed.

This new book, Beat That Kid in Chess, may be the first to give the reader the benefits of NIP (nearly-identical positions) training. This makes it easy for the beginner to grasp the critical elementary lessons naturally. Of the hundreds of thousands of chess books published over the past few centuries, this may be the only one that uses the NIP method regularly from beginning to end of the book.

It’s for older children, teenagers, and adults who know the rules of the game but hardly anything about how to win a game.

Paperback – 194 pages – published in September of 2015

ISBN-13: 978-1508856221



Youtube chess videos by Kerry Shirts

He [the Backyard Professor] has studied a number of chess books . . .  Yet he seems to have neglected the critically important tactical aspects of the game of chess, diving into strategy before he adequately developed elementary skills in tactics.

“Beat That Kid in Chess” for the Beginner

. . . the NIP system of teaching (nearly-identical positions) . . . naturally strengthens the beginner’s tactical abilities. . . . It naturally leads the reader into thinking a bit like a grandmaster, recognizing patterns.

Perhaps the Best Chess Book for Beginners

If you already own a copy of Beat That Kid in Chess, the following diagrams will simply supplement what you learn in that chess book.

Chess Book for the Early Beginner

This chess book has large diagrams, with simple but engaging English explanations. See where you can get a checkmate and where a position is not quite set up for checkmate, at least not yet. Learn to think a little more like a master thinks, but in a more basic way, easier to handle.


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