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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  162 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Don't make a move without it.

Written by a U.S. Chess Champion, International Chess Grandmaster, and longtime instructor, this book includes information for both novice and expert, including over 400 illustrated chessboards and photos; over 20 pages of detailed answer key notes; a completely new chapter on new evidence about chess and its impact on brain power; a guide

Paperback, Third Edition, 448 pages
Published May 3rd 2005 by Alpha (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

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Feb 02, 2009 Russell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah Chess. The game of Kings, and king of games.

A game that I, sadly, haven't really touched since high school.

I had played the game in middle school and high school. At least, by 'played' I mean I understood how the pieces moved and the objective of the game. And I could beat anyone I knew at it, but I didn't ever get any deeper than that. No real tactics, no strategy, no real understanding of the game. I only won because everyone else sucked so much worse than I did.

I stopped playing mostly bec
Jan 26, 2013 Manny marked it as to-read
On the one occasion when I met the author, I was at first rather doubtful about his claim to understand the problems complete idiots face at the chessboard. He comprehensively outplayed me several times, following up with a nice little anecdote in one postmortem about how he'd determined that the line I'd used was more dangerous than generally believed after he'd helped Anand prepare it for a Candidates match.

In the last game, however, he thoughtfully overlooked a mate in three in a better posit
Britt Selvitelle
Oct 14, 2007 Britt Selvitelle rated it it was amazing
I received this as a joke Christmas gift after being continually beat by my dad.

It turns out, this is a fantastic starters or "refresh my memory" book! Wolff does a fantastic job of describing basic techniques, and most importantly, each explanation includes diagrams. This means you can read it on the go, unlike more advanced books that require you to be in front of a board.

It's actually kind of unfortunate that this was placed under The Idiot's Line of books, because it caters to such a wide va
Mar 25, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes chess
Recommended to Mark by: reviews on
Yeah yeah, I know this is one of those Idiot's Guide books. But I heard it was good so i decided to peep it, and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of it. Skip the first 3 or 4 chapters if you already know the rules, but after that it gets into the good stuff, and by the end you'll finally understand what 'damaging the pawn structure' or 'winning material' means. And a few friends have commented on the improvements in my game :)
Adam Kim
May 07, 2013 Adam Kim rated it liked it
Entertaining and great way to learn chess for a novice/beginning. Lots of chess historical facts and a the author keeps it entertaining even for people who aren't chess addicts
Aug 19, 2008 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: chess-books
A *terrific* book for beginners to learn the game, or for non-beginners to get back into shape if you've stopped playing for a number of months.
Jyotika Varmani
Aug 21, 2014 Jyotika Varmani rated it it was amazing
The effort put into this book is commendable. The book is progressively organized, which is vital for a beginner. The supporting diagrams enable better and easier understanding of the text. The exercises and their solutions at the end of the chapter are very useful to improve one's game. Also, the author presents his lessons with enthusiasm which makes the book very interesting. One of the best chess books ever!
Theodore Kinni
Jan 20, 2016 Theodore Kinni rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I been playing since I was kid, but I always learned by losing. This book has been a terrific way for me to start learning the strategic fundamentals of a great game.
Anthony Commisso
Sep 16, 2015 Anthony Commisso rated it it was amazing
Mar 23, 2009 Jason marked it as abandoned
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a good book. But when I have a chess program on my computer that lets me learn the finer points of the game with either of two grand masters through real examples and test on an interactive chess board... well, it's just a lot easier than following along with the book using a physical chess set you have to set up for every example or playing along in my head. And such software can be had for the same price or cheaper than the book. I'd still recommend it to someone looking for a chess bo ...more
Amar Pai
Though the title makes me cringe, I have to admit this is a decent introduction to strategy/tactics. I wish they'd change the name though. At the bookstore I saw another book entitled Chess for the Gifted and Busy. Now that's more like it! (Unfortunately, I flipped through that one and found it rather dull. It's too bad; I'd much rather be reading a book that didn't call me an idiot)
Jan 28, 2010 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Chess instructional book strats from the basic rules of the game all the way to advanced strategies. Written by a US Grandmaster. Great for those who love the mental workout that chess provides, boring as hell for the 99.9% of everyone else.
Nov 10, 2008 Bruce rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to learn more about chess
This book has some great strategies for both offense and defense as well as plenty of puzzles for one to solve to better understand each concept. I play and see chess differently after reading this book so it has served its purpose.
Adam Geisler
Oct 27, 2013 Adam Geisler rated it really liked it
Well, I mean, it's an idiot's guide. But really that just means there are some complicated strategical concepts explained with humor and clarity. It includes some engaging puzzles and tips that I like to use with my chess club players.
Mar 01, 2012 James rated it really liked it
A helpful and easy-to-read guide to chess. For beginners who don't know a Rook from a Bishop, to experts who are looking to fine tune their strategies.
Jan 03, 2012 Kara rated it liked it
This is an excellent overall guide to the game of chess. From how to play to tactics and strategy, this is the best introductory chess book I have found.
Steven Steele
Sep 29, 2012 Steven Steele rated it it was amazing
This was one of the 2 resources (along with the Chessmaster 10th Edition tutorial) that took me past the level of beginner. I highly recommend it.
May 25, 2011 Danica marked it as sadly-abandoned
very, very slowly making my way through the exercises. get them wrong half the time. feel like a dolt.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess by Patrick Wolff (1997)
Oct 15, 2007 Kellan marked it as to-read
britt gave this a fantastic review, have to check it out
Jul 09, 2016 Christine rated it really liked it
I'm very excited to learn more...
Jan 28, 2010 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This chess instructional book starts from the basic rules of the game and covers all the way to advanced strategies. Written by a US grandmaster. A great read for those of us who love the mental workout chess provides, boring as hell for the 99.9% of everyone else
D rated it liked it
Jul 20, 2016
Tim Mcintire
Tim Mcintire rated it really liked it
Jul 17, 2016
Ron rated it liked it
Jul 15, 2016
Quan.Nd marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2016
Tony Martinjak
Tony Martinjak rated it really liked it
Jun 19, 2016
Vernon Smith
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Jun 18, 2016
Sandip Sarwate
Sandip Sarwate rated it it was amazing
Jun 12, 2016
Arash Ashrafzadeh
Arash Ashrafzadeh marked it as to-read
Jun 11, 2016
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