Best Gift of a Chess Book

Each of the following chess books are here given a brief review, for gift consideration:

  • The Kids’ Book of Chess
  • Beat That Kid in Chess
  • Winning Chess Tactics for Juniors

Many other good chess books are available, including How to Beat Your Dad at Chess and Chess Tactics for Kids (both of which are by the grandmaster Murray Chandler; they’re for intermediate-level players), but those are reviewed elsewhere.

The best chess-book gift for a particular recipient—that depends greatly on the knowledge and skill of the reader who’ll receive the gift. The following three publications are for three different kinds of readers.

The Kids’ Book of Chess

The best recipient for this gift may not literally be a reader. It’s a small child who’ll enjoy a parent or grandparent (or other adult) reading it while the little one looks at the pictures. The Kids’ Book of Chess is a book for small children and it includes a chess set.

cover of chess book for children

An Amazon customer-reviewer said:

Fun book that taught my 6 year-old son not only to play chess, but the story behind the games, its pieces and its strategy. He is now teaching me to play. The game board shows how each piece may move, which is a helpful aid.

Beat That Kid in Chess

This is for a wide range of ages of reader, and your opponent over-the-board does not have to be a child. This chess book is for the beginner who already knows how to move the pieces around but doesn’t yet know how to win a game.

"Beat That Kid in Chess" front cover

An Amazon customer-reviewer said this about Beat That Kid in Chess:

This book is perfect for someone who knows the basic rules of chess but needs additional help to actually win. I learned chess as a child, but as someone who hasn’t played in over a decade, this is a great refresher.

Winning Chess Tactics for Juniors

This is not the best chess book for most beginners, especially not for a low-level of novice. Yet Winning Chess Tactics for Juniors can be a great exercise tool for an average club player or a USCF competitor rated between 1000-1600, regardless of age.

"Winning Chess Tactics for Juniors"

This chess book has 534 tactical exercises, needing the reader to see up to three moves ahead (although some of the problems need foresight of only one or two moves ahead). Check-mark spaces are provided for each of these 534 diagrams. The reader can thus keep track of which ones he or she has already solved, and this can be helpful the second time going through the book.

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A Chess Book as a Gift

. . . If the gift is for someone who is at least ten years old and already knows the rules, however, . . . A much better choice would be Beat That Kid in Chess, which is written for the early beginner who knows how to play but does not yet know much about winning . . .

Chess Book for Beginners

I know what the beginner most needs to learn to quickly be able to win chess games, and I know how to teach it.

Chess Book for the Teenager

The cover seems to show a  young boy and a mom, but the text of  this book is more for the teenager or  adult reading level (or the older child).

Review of How to Beat Your Dad at Chess

This book may be ideal for the intermediate-level player or post-beginner who can already handle looking more than one move ahead. [Another chess book, here reviewed, is much better for the raw beginner, however.]

Queen Versus Rook Endgame

What is the Philidor position? It depends on what kind of endgame you’re talking about. With queen versus rook, it looks something like this . . .

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