Russell's Reviews > The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess by Patrick Wolff
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Feb 02, 09

Read in October, 2007

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 because of that. What I should have done is got some books and started reading and really understanding the game, but I didn't.

Fast forward today.

I started getting interested in the game again for a couple of reasons. I have been trying to improve myself, to keep myself mentally fit and progressing. You are either moving forwards or backwards. I'm trying to move forward.

It's an excellent book. At least, to my untrained eye and limited knowledge of Chess books in general. It covers the basics very well and gets the reader acquainted with the deeper aspects of Chess. The author is a grandmaster, 2 time U.S. Champion and has been teaching for years. All that experience pays off for the reader.

Wolff explains the principles, illuminates them with examples, then gives the reader a number of problems at the end of the chapter to work through, with answers in the back of the book, to cement the ideas. I really liked the teaching method. Some of the problems were ones he created, some from games he played, and others from great games of the past.

Chess is complex but I didn't realize just how complex it can be until I read this book. Although I claim some previous experience, I now realize I am just an abecedarian at this point, green and unschooled.

Chess isn't for everyone, there is a certain aesthetic about the game that not all will enjoy, even if they posses the needed brain power to play it.

Chess, to me, is beautiful. A well played move strikes a deep cord in me, giving me a thrill. Wolff's problems had number of these types of moves, where after I stared at the board and looked at everything I could see, I checked the answer and got that thrill when the grandmaster made a move that was perfect.

Chess tactics enthrall me, and solid strategies intrigue me. Chess has captured my interest. (Er, no pun intended. Really.)

So now I'm going to get more books and really start improving my game. I doubt I'll get into the tournament aspect, but if I can play a solid game against a computer, I'd feel like I have good handle on it.

I have long ways to go yet, but the longest journey begins with a single step. Or, this case, a single Pawn push.

If you have any interest in Chess at all, I don't think you can go wrong with this book.
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message 1: by Lili (new)

Lili sounds great!!! I should read this one


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