Chess Book Reviews

How to Beat Your Dad at Chess

Do not confuse this book with Beat That Kid in Chess, which differs greatly from How to Beat Your Dad at Chess. (Neither book is actually about how to compete, in the royal game, with someone of a particular age or relationship.)

Open up this chess book (How to Beat Your Dad at Chess) to a page at random. If you’re a beginner, you might become frustrated, for algebraic notation abounds, and the tactics will probably be unfamiliar to you; this is not for a raw beginner. If you’re an experienced competitor in the royal game, however, you may soon become fascinated at the simple explanations of tactics; this book can be a treasure for an intermediate player or even a Class-A or an Expert (rated) tournament player.


From the Back Cover of this Book

How to Beat Your Dad at Chess has the following on the back cover:

This is a chess book for everyone, from eight to eighty, beginner to master. In a clear, easy-to-follow format it explains how the best way to beat a stronger opponent (be it a friend, clubmate — or Dad!) is by cleverly forcing checkmate. Delightful and instructive positions from real games are used to show the 50 Deadly Checkmates that chess masters use to win their games.

One could ask, “How deeply was the author, Murray Chandler (a grandmaster), involved in the writing of this paragraph on the back cover?” Grandmasters are known to rarely make moves that average tournament players would consider blunders: They carefully examine chess positions, systematically eliminating weak moves from consideration. Yet careful examination reveals the following weaknesses in the above promotional paragraph:

  1. It’s not actually for “everyone.” It could benefit many players between lower-intermediate and expert levels.
  2. The Introduction illuminates a detail: “47 checkmating strategies” rather than “50 deadly checkmates.” Three patterns are not forced checkmate.
  3. Most games won between one master and another do not involve one of these checkmating patterns, although some games masters win against lower-rated players probably do involve these patterns.
  4. Notice the contradiction: Is it really “for” a “master” but “masters use” these checkmates “to win their games?” If masters already use them, why would they need this book?

We need to make a clarification about “beginner.” Many grandmasters have competed against other grandmasters and masters and experts for so long that their memories may have become a bit hazy regarding beginner levels. The silly blunders of raw beginners can be repulsive to the highest chess competitors, leaving the grandmasters to group all beginners into one class. This may have happened with the paragraph on the back cover of How to Beat Your Dad in Chess, if Mr. Chandler actually wrote that paragraph. This grandmaster’s book is NOT for the early beginner, the novice who knows the rules of the game but nothing about how to win. That kind of beginner is better off with Beat That Kid in Chess.

The back cover would be more accurate with something like the following:

This chess book may be of great help to many players with abilities equivalent to the USCF-rated levels of the following: Class-E, Class-D, Class-C, Class-B, Class-A, Expert. Some players below and above those levels may also benefit. It clearly shows you how to get checkmate in some positions in which some of your pieces are poised to attack your opponent’s king. These fifty patterns (47 of which are forced checkmates) are easy to follow and highly instructive: delightful combinations from real games.

That indeed would have been more accurate.



Beginners’ Book of Chess

My new paperback book Beat That Kid in Chess is for the early beginner, the player who knows the rules of chess but almost nothing else about the royal game.

Chess Books for Beginners – one new

I’ve been promoting my own chess book (for novices) for several weeks now: Beat That Kid in Chess. So why would I mention two competing books on the royal game, both of them for beginners? Mine could be the only one ever written that uses a new teaching method called nearly-identical positions.

Book – How to Beat Your Dad at Chess

[This] book is mostly for the intermediate player. It could easily bewilder a beginner, for the many combinations are multi-move, . . . the puzzles require looking deeply into the positions, with one move following another.


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  1. General Chess Book Resources | The Best Chess for Children
  2. "How to Beat Your Dad at Chess" an older book | Beat That Kid in Chess

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