Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess...a book review
by Bobby Fischer, Stuart Margulies, Don Mosenfelder
It is said that the three most important of elements of chess to learn first are - Tactics, Tactics, Tactics!
And this is what "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess" is all about.
At the outset it should be understood that (despite the title) the book is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject of chess. Its purpose is to teach the absolute beginner the basics of one aspect of chess, and that is - tactics - mostly within the framework of checkmating attacks.. Nonetheless, it is essentially a beginner's introduction to basic chess tactics, and nothing more.
The value of the book is that this is precisely what the beginner needs to focus on when first learning the game. It is essential to have a firm grasp of fundamental chess tactics before moving on to other aspects of the game. The fact that the material is presented within the motif of attacks on the opponent's king is all the better. After all, checkmate is the ultimate goal for winning the game. In that sense, this would be an excellent book to begin your chess education.
The format of the book is that of a structured learning course, using a series of exercises or puzzles to solve (one per page) which reinforce the concept under consideration. The book begins by explaining how the pieces move and capture, then quickly moves on to very basic checkmate tactics. The exercises start with relatively simple scenarios then progress in complexity in order to reinforce the reader's comprehension and build up his/her level of tactical sophistication. The book is easy to read (it does not use chess notation) in the sense that it should take on average less than 60 seconds to complete an exercise (i.e., a page). It took my eight year old daughter only a few hours, over several days, to complete the book. Because she was able to quickly and successfully absorb the concepts (she's pretty smart), it also increased her enthusiasm for playing the game.
I have recommended this book to many players new to the game, and to a person they all agree that this was a great book to begin learning chess.
Bottom Line - If you are a chess beginner who doesn't know a pin from a fork from a skewer from a double attack, then this is the book to start with. It is simply the best and easiest first introduction to basic chess tactics primer. Upon completing it, you should not only be able to effectively employ basic chess tactics against your opponents, but also be able to quickly recognize the potential for tactical threats against you. And, of course, you will learn how to prosecute basic checkmate attacks on your opponent's king (while also understanding how to defend against such attacks on your monarch!).
This book will start you on your journey of playing good chess!
P.S. For additional exposure to more complex tactics and combinations, an excellent follow-on to the Bobby Fischer book would be the classic tactics primer "Winning Chess - How to Perfect Your Attacking Play" by Irving Chernev and Fred Reinfeld.