Chess Book Reviews

New Chess Books Online

one of these three chess books is for beginners

We’ll look at a few of the new chess books available on Amazon.

Smerdon’s Scandinavian (book review)

This is not for chess beginners. (For the novice, see the next book review below this one.) Smerdon’s Scandinavian could be very useful to intermediate and advanced players who compete in tournaments. The first reader-review on Amazon included this:

. . . the 2…Nf6 Scandinavian [also called the ‘Center Counter Defense’] is less solid than the 2…Qxd5 Scandinavian and if White chooses the best line to play, then Black might . . . finally get a draw . . . But before that happens, a lot is still to be played for: often there occur variations that are good for White . . . but are so much easier to play for Black. So these ‘good for White’ variation might be ‘hard to play correctly for White’ and thus give Black a practical chance for everybody who is not a titled played or who is not playing a titled player. I wouldn’t play it against [grandmasters] or even [international masters].

Would this chess book be reasonable as a gift? The recipient would need to be a tournament player and one who might use this particular opening system. This publication, however, is not for a novice. (See Beat That Kid in Chess, below)

opening chess book

Smerdon’s Scandinavian (for intermediate or advanced players)

Paperback – 496 pages – $25.59 (Amazon, Nov 9, 2015 price)

ISBN-13: 978-1781942949

Published November 7, 2015

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Beat That Kid in Chess (book review)

This new book is best suited for the beginner who already knows how to move the pieces around but would like to win some chess games. It could be a great book for such a player. The following is part of what’s on the back cover of Beat That Kid in Chess:

After the lessons in the first eight chapters, you can see your progress in simple exercises and then in the more-advanced exercises, as you become ready. . . .

Checkmate, pin, knight fork—those are demonstrated and explained, but how much more is given to you in this chess book for early beginners! . . . Even if you have never won a game before, you can learn how to win, even with only this book.

"Beat That Kid in Chess" paperback

Beat That Kid in Chess (exceptional for beginners)

The reading level is most appropriate for teenagers and adults, although some older children would have no problem understanding it. The concepts taught are given simply. This is easy to understand, and could be a perfect gift for a chess beginner.

Paperback – 194 pages – $13.40 (Amazon, Nov 9, 2015 price)

ISBN-13: 978-1508856221

Published September 2, 2015

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The Dragon, Volume One (by Gawain Jones)

Like Smerdon’s Scandinavian, this is a specialized chess opening book, appropriate for some intermediate and advanced competitors but not for beginners. From the Amazon page, we read (in part):

The Dragon is one of the most thrilling chess openings and a favorite of attacking players. But can this sharp and provocative system still be played in the modern era? GM [Grandmaster] Gawain Jones says “Yes!”

Volume One of "The Dragon" chess opening book

The Dragon – Volume One (for tournament players)

This could be a good gift of a chess book, if the recipient is a tournament player who likes to play the Sicilian Defense with the black pieces. It’s definitely not for the novice player. The reading level (stated on Amazon) says “5 and up,” but surely very few small children would benefit much from this book.

Paperback – 320 pages – $22.19 (Amazon, Nov 9, 2015 price)

ISBN-13: 978-1784830076

Published November 7, 2015

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Chess book for the beginner

What other book for beginners uses the Nearly-Identical-Positions method of chess instruction (NIP)? This is the natural way, the easier way, the new way, to lead you to notice important details in each position on the board.

New Book Titles on Chess (brief reviews)

Let’s begin with two chess books that have already been published and then look at two that are coming out in the next few months or so.

Gift of a new chess book

From numerous studies, chess playing has been found to be beneficial for children in school

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