Chess Books

This is a set of short book reviews for the following:

  • How to Beat Your Dad at Chess
  • Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games
  • Beat That Kid in Chess

Tens of thousands of books have been written about chess, for the past few centuries, probably more publications on chess than all books on sports combined (football, tennis, golf, baseball, track, basketball, etc). What kind of chess books are there?

  • Openings
  • Middle Game
  • End Game
  • Tactics
  • Strategy
  • Master-game Analysis

Let’s keep to some popular best-sellers and to newer books available on Amazon:

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. Amazon gives it an age range of 9-12 years. This is all about tactics and almost entirely on checkmates.

chess book

  • Author: Murray Chandler
  • Published in 1998 (hardcover,Kindle)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1901983050
  • Suggested retail: $16.95
  • 127 pages

Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games

This is a huge collection, in 1104 pages, written by the chess coach who is the father of three well known female chess champions: Susan, Judit, and Sophia Polgar. Among the thousands of puzzles in this book are 3412 mates-in-two, which are great for intermediate-level players but probably too advanced for many beginners.

Chess book

  • Author: Laszlo Polgar
  • Published in 2013 (paperback, hardcover, Kindle)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579125547
  • Paperback: $21.20 on Amazon on Oct 20, 2015
  • 1104 pages

Beat That Kid in Chess

This is for what the book calls, on the back cover, the “early beginner,” the player who knows how to move the pieces around the chess board but hardly anything else. The reading level is for teenagers, adults, and older children. Simple tactics abound.

"Beat That Kid in Chess" book by Whitcomb

  • Author: Jonathan Whitcomb
  • Published in 2015 (paperback)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1508856221
  • Suggested retail: $13.40
  • 194 pages



Books on Chess

Mostly for the beginner and intermediate chess players, including club competitors

Chess Book for Beginners

This 194-page paperback was written with a modest goal: Teach and prepare the raw beginner to win a game of chess, even if it’s against another raw beginner.

Chess in Movies

In the 1942 film ‘Casablanca,’ Humphrey Bogart plays the part of Rick, an owner of a club in a big city in Morocco, northwest Africa, during World War II. . . . Rick [is] working his way through an opening variation of chess.


Credibility of Modern Pterosaurs

How can intelligent people believe that pterosaurs, those “primitive” flying creatures called pterodactyls, might still be flying over our heads? How can anyone believe in something so incredible? A terse rejecting of all the possibilities of a modern species of “flying dinosaur,” however, is answered thus: How do you explain all the eyewitness testimonies?

Cryptozoology and Science

The following is taken from the short nonfiction e-book Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea, by me, Jonathan D. Whitcomb.

Common persons in the southwest Pacific have seen something big flying overhead, something uncommon, unlike any bird or bat.

My American associates and I have explored remote jungles in Papua New Guinea, searching for living pterosaurs and interviewing native eyewitnesses. Most expeditions were led by one or two Americans, with one or two native interpreters. Did we fail or succeed? It depends on who interprets our investigations: skeptics who point out the lack of an official scientific discovery or open-minded cryptozoologists who recognize progress and hope it will continue.

Cryptozoology is not a branch of science, at least not in the usual sense; but it can motivate zoologists to conduct field investigations, at least in theory it can motivate them. It is the “study of hidden animals,” and usually relies less on direct scientific examination and more on eyewitness testimony; nevertheless, we can use scientific reasoning and methods within the boundaries of cryptozoology.

The American missionary Thomas Savage, in the 1800’s in Africa, obtained some bones of what we now call a “Western Gorilla,” which prepared for its eventual scientific acknowledgement. Whatever led that missionary to obtain those bones can be called “cryptozoological,” especially if he had been following eyewitness accounts.

The following is taken from the introduction in my larger book, Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition):

Although I encountered no dragon during my brief stay on Umboi Island in 2004, eyewitnesses I did encounter, objective witnesses of the reality of the ropen, with no superstitious native traditions tainting testimonies, almost without exception. Islanders of Umboi see the ropen and report what they saw; why should they doubt their own senses? And why should we doubt natives? Human experience lives at the foundation of all human societies and at the foundation of science; why single out experiences of those of another society as unreliable? Defending traditions of our own culture may be the worst excuse for rejecting experiences of natives who have long been labeled “primitive.”

To elaborate on the foundation of science being human experience, what do most Americans and other Westerners mean by “scientific?” Some non-scientists use that word as if it referred to some huge collection of statements of fact. Some of them use scientific to dismiss any and all eyewitness accounts of anything that may suggest an extant pterosaur. In reality, Western science was born with eyes that could see and a mind that could reason on what it perceived. Galileo and other early European scientists worked on understanding what they experienced, including what they saw with their eyes. Imagination is important, but the greatest scientists accepted human experience as the great validator of what they imagined.

Dr. Donald Prothero the Paleontologist

A few weeks ago, an American paleontologist, Donald Prothero, wrote a blog post, “Fake Pterosaurs and Sock Puppets,” in which the word fossil was absent. Please note, paleontologists are experts in fossils; it’s hard to find a dictionary definition of paleontology without noticing the word fossil. That was a strange omission.

“Fake Pterosaurs and Sock Puppets” was that professor’s opinion about my integrity, in particular my honesty, for he used the word deception regarding my online publications. That smells of bulverism, if not outright libel. I suggest that the bad motivations on my part were only in his imagination and in what was imagined by a few previous writers that had influenced him.

Outside the comments at the bottom of Prothero’s post, the word eyewitness is absent. That was a strange omission, for I am a cryptozoologist, an investigator who specializes in eyewitness testimonies. Why did he neglect getting into any details about his specialty and about my specialty?

Dr. Prothero may be a highly acclaimed paleontologist in the United States, or perhaps around the world, in his areas of expertise with fossils. But he seems to have completely failed to research what was outside his area of education and scientific credentials: the narrow branch of cryptozoology involving reports of apparent living pterosaurs.

Credibility of Eyewitness Testimony

The statistics from 128 of the more-credible reports, compiled at the end of 2012, prove that no significant number of hoaxes could have been involved. Prothero says nothing about that in his post about me. He does not even hint that any analysis was ever done on any eyewitness reports.

Detailed study shows certain critical descriptions in reports from around the world, reports that I have received over the past eleven years from four continents. Prothero gives not even a hint that I have ever received any reports directly from eyewitnesses. He was concentrating on making it appear like the subject of modern pterosaurs is not worth thinking about because it is all “fake,” and practically all of the publications are from me, and I am not to be trusted because I acted improperly in the use of “sock puppets.”

I suggest that the truth is better known and understood by following the evidence, not by following dead-end trails of bulverism.



American paleontologist “attacks” living pterosaurs

Readers of a recent post by Dr. Donald Prothero may think that I, Jonathan Whitcomb, have single-handedly deceived ignorant people into believing that pterosaurs are still alive. The paleontologist seems upset that my web pages dominate Google searches.

Clear Thinking and Donald Prothero

. . . using the word deception three times regarding me, Jonathan Whitcomb. . . . C. S. Lewis gave us “bulverism,” lamenting the decline of human reasoning. He defined the word in the mid-twentieth century: “The modern method is to assume without discussion that he [someone whose opinion you dislike] is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly.” How much better to talk about the subject at hand!

Review of a pterosaur book

So here I am, a very convinced “Evolutionist” who has written a great deal on Darwin, Chambers, Russel Wallace etc reading a  book on Live Pterosaur sightings by an out loud and proud Creationist.  And you know what? It really makes no difference to the case. So Whitcomb believes in living pterosaurs? The sceptics who attack his research are equally convinced they are extinct. It’s an issue it is rather hard to maintain a strict impartiality on.


Another book on living pterosaurs:

The quest for discovering modern pterosaurs

Fourth Edition of what could be called “The Bible of Modern Pterosaurs,” by Jonathan David Whitcomb, but the actual title is Searching for Ropens and Finding God


The Star Wars Character Encyclopedia

This science fiction encyclopedia specializes in one topic: Star Wars. Many reviews on Amazon blaze away at five stars each. It seems like an ideal gift for Star Wars fans and for many children of many ages.

Most Helpful Customer Review:

Part of the review by James Pernikoff (Amazon)

This delightful little book features just about all of the recognizable characters from all six “Star Wars” movies, including droids, creatures, and certain groups (like the Gamorrean Guards, Stormtroopers and X-Wing Pilots, for example). Even characters who I recognized but didn’t even know the name of are featured. . . .

. . . this is an indispensable reference to “Star Wars” fans, young and old. But it only applies to the six movies of the saga; characters from “Clone Wars” are featured in their own book, and characters from the “extended Universe” are not here, either. But if you want to know more about General Grievous, Sy Snootles or Zam Wesell, they’re all in here!


science fiction book about Star Wars good guys and bad guys and every character in between

Star Wars Character Encyclopedia


Review by Jen mom of 2

Very thorough book – my 4 and 5-year-old boys have watched selected portions of the movies, and they LOVE this book. They enjoy looking through the book to find their favorite characters and learn new details about them. I would have liked to have a bit more information included on some of the major characters (instead of just 1 page per character, no matter their role), but they don’t seem to mind a bit. Well worth the Amazon price!


Page from "Star Wars Character Encyclopedia" Ackaly beast from one of the films

Part of one page of the science fiction resource book (only about Star Wars)


Star Wars – For Children and Adult Fans

As of mid-May, 2013, nobody had given less than three stars, in an Amazon review, for Star Wars Character Encyclopedia, and this was after countless thousands of copies had been sold by Amazon.

Star Wars Character Encyclopedia on Barnes and Noble

. . . the definitive illustrated guide to Luke Skywalker, Jabba the Hut, and all of your favorite characters of the Star Wars galaxy! Feel the force as you flip through pages of profiles of all your favorite characters from the Star Wars galaxy.