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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My First Chess Book -- Book Review

Disclosure: Ryland, Peters and Small gave me a copy of this book free of charge for this review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. They also sent me a copy to giveaway! As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

My husband loves chess though he hardly ever plays anymore. He has a collection of chess boards around the house so Hazel has always been curious about chess. I have only played chess a handful of times in my life. I was taught by a boyfriend from high school/college time and played a few times since dating him. I am not much competition for Steve. I thought My First Chess Book by Jessica E. Prescott could help us teach Hazel how to play and hopefully help improve my game. 

Now the book says it is for children aged seven and more. Hazel will be sick this month. I figured we would try it anyway. The book starts with an introduction to the game and how each piece can move. It also describes how the squares on the board are labeled to be able to discuss them (letters along the horizontal and numbers along the vertical so each square has a unique letter and number combination). Next the book is divided into four chapters. The first chapter is to teach Piece Movement. This is the chapter we are focusing on right now for Hazel. In fact we will probably not get past the first lesson for quite awhile. I want to know she understands each lesson before moving forward. The first lesson is called Pawn Football. It uses four pawns of each color and is a two person game. The winner of the game is the first to get a pawn to the other side. There are a few lesson built within this game. The first being that the pawns must work together to get across. And of course to understand how the pawn moves.


 The first chapter goes through games that teach about the movements of each of the different chess pieces. The second chapter is called Tricky Rules & Cool Vocab. It has eight lessons to teach these rules and vocabulary.  The third chapter is Tactics & Strategy. This is the chapter I really need to work on. It teaches some of the strategies to chess through its ten lessons. The final chapter is Planning & Checkmates. The thing about chess is that a player needs to plan and think through each move as well as future moves of both himself/herself and his/her opponent. 


The book itself is simple to follow and has wonderful pictures to really understand how the board should be set up at the beginning. It is clear and well written at the level of a child. I must say I am really looking forward to watching Hazel grow with this book!! Plus improving my skills will make game time more exciting for all of us and allow me to play with my nephew when he visits from North Carolina. Right now he only has Uncle Steve to play with him and often Steve is tired from a day of work. It is definitely a wonderful book and a perfect gift for any child who loves challenges and playing games.