Book Review: Chess 101

Book Review: Chess 101

Patzer24
Jan 3, 2011, 12:00 AM |
0 | For Beginners

Book Review: Chess 101 by Dave Schloss

Hello chess fans. I am here to discuss the text "Chess 101" by Dave Schloss which I have just read through the review copy I recently received from the author. Let me first break down the contents and structure of this book and then we can go in to each section deeper and have a general discussion of the book.

Contents:

1) The Board, the Pieces and How to Set Them Up
2)The Value of the Pieces and How They Move
3) How to Write Chess Notation
4) The Three Phases of the Game of Chess
5) Chess Clocks
6) Getting Ready to Play in Your First Chess Tournament
7) Basic Rules and Etiquette
8) Tips on Playing Winning Chess
9) Chess Puzzles

As we can see from the table of contents this book covers all aspects of the game of Chess and will be extremely helpful for anyone just starting out in the game of chess or trying to learn the game of chess for the first time.

Now let me briefly share my thoughts on each section of the book:

1) The Board, the Pieces and How to Set Them Up

The first chapter of the book discusses the most basic element of the game of chess which is of course the chess board and the pieces. The parameters of the chess board is discussed, the chess pieces are introduced, and the guidelines for correctly setting up the board and pieces is clearly explained. After working through this section you should be able to easily set up the chess board and the pieces correctly without much thought at all.

2) The Value of the Pieces and How They Move

The next chapter in this book is probably one of the most important sections. This chapter includes an introduction to learning how each chess piece moves and its unique properties along with the general piece values for each piece so that you can learn which pieces are worth the most and then make decisions based off of this knowledge to guide your moves and decisions on the chess board. Two important things to note in this chapter is the special rules of castling and en passant moves which are two necessary special rules that all chess players must learn and understand. Upon completion of this section the player should completely understand how each chess piece moves and the general value of each chess piece.

3) How to Write Chess Notation

This section is more geared towards those players who plan to play in real chess tournaments as keeping score during a chess game is usually required or highly recommended during official tournament play. However, even if you do not intend to play in official chess tournaments this section can still be quite helpful as keeping score of your games will allow you to review your games afterwards to enable learning from your past mistakes. Once finished with this section the player should be able to easily take notation of the games they play so that the moves of the game can be reviewed afterwards if the player desires to do so.

4) The Three Phases of the Game of Chess

In this chapter the game of chess is broken down into three phases; the Opening, the Middlegame, and the Endgame. As the game of chess is broken down into these three phases general guidelines and strategies for each phase are briefly discussed. Along with the three phases of the chess game other elements are also included such as check, checkmate, and draws (including the stalemate rule). And finally this chapter ends with a short discussion on how to study chess which is a very important part of this section as the player will want to get the most value for the time they put into the game of chess. After the reader has finished this chapter a strong foundation should be set in the player's mind about how a chess game breaks down and have some idea how to approach each phase of the game.

5) Chess Clocks

This chapter of the book is specifically devoted to the chess clock, including the two most type of chess clocks used in official tournament play and how they work. Also discussed in this section are the different time controls used in chess play from the longest down to the very quickest timed games. And finally two important terms of time controls in chess are explained in depth, increment and delay time which are commonly used in timed games. Once finished with this section the player should be able to recognize a chess clock, understand how it functions, and understand how every different time control works.

6) Getting Ready to Play in Your First Chess Tournament

This is probably the most important section of the book for those who intend to start playing tournament chess for the first time. This section of the book goes in depth to how an official chess tournament works, including pairings, understanding tournament descriptions, finding your board number and opponent, and understanding how the standings work. After reading this section a new tournament player should not have any fears or lack of knowledge about how their first chess tournament will work.

7) Basic Rules and Etiquette

This section could be seen as unimportant by many people however this section is not to be underestimated! It is very important to know and understand basic rules such as the proper way to complete your move and hit the clock during your tournament game, the proper way to offer/accept/decline draws during a tournament game, and of course the correct etiquette while at a chess tournament and especially during your tournament games.

8) Tips on Playing Winning Chess

This section is a short one but quite valuable! Various tips and guidelines for improving your chess results are discussed. Some directly related to the game of chess and even some tips about the psychology around chess which is of course just as valuable as the general chess tips. I consider myself a very experienced and strong player but ev en I learned something and had some points which needed to be reinforced after going through this section.

9) Chess Puzzles

Usually in a book which is just written as a general guide such treasures are not included. But here you get 5 introductory beginner chess puzzles to start your chess training off in the right direction.

And at the very end of the book the author has included a couple blank pages for you to make personal notes as you are going through the book or after going through the book. This can be very helpful if you want to save/highlight some key points you learned during the course of the book.

Overall I am very satisfied with this text. The book reviews all aspects of the game of chess and getting you prepared to move towards the first step or the next step in your chess career. The book is well organized and easy for all readers to understand. If you are looking for your 1st chess book this is sure to be a top pick.

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