New Chess Book for the “Raw” Beginner (published in 2015)

By Jonathan D. Whitcomb

If used as a gift, this new chess book may be more likely to please the recipient, compared with other books on the royal game. The main requirement is that the reader is a true beginner in chess, knowing the rules but not knowing much about winning.

From the Introduction in the paperback book Beat That Kid in Chess, we read:

Have you had trouble with a kid who was too smart, beating you in a game of chess almost before you knew what hit you? I can probably help you teach that kid a lesson, but I make no absolute guarantee: You know that kid and I don’t. If you know the chess rules but almost nothing about how to win, this book is for you. We’ll keep to the basics that you need most, when you are still learning how a reasonable chess game works.

Yet this book is not actually about winning a game against a child. It was written to help raw beginners learn to beat other beginners, regardless of age, and it may be one of the best publications for accomplishing that modest purpose.

It’s for most readers older than 10-12 years, including teenagers and adults.

front cover of paperback book on chessNearly Identical Positions or NIP

Beat That Kid in Chess uses a new method of instruction in the royal game. Tactics can be more easily and quickly absorbed from the expert use of nearly-identical positions. The NIP system avoids the pitfalls found in almost all chess books, for the reader can accidentally memorize a chess position by irrelevant factors. This clues the brain into remembering a precise application of a tactic (such as a knight fork or double attack) in a wrong way. That memory can come from something in the position that has nothing to do with the combination itself. That problem evaporates when the NIP system is used.

The key to the effectiveness of NIP is in the way a typical beginner learns chess from a book. Very few novice readers spend many hours intensely studying tactics in a chess book before playing an actual game. Yet how few authors of chess books appear to understand that fact! Many more readers will want to spend a little time in moderate concentration. A few well-orchestrated chess positions, using the NIP system, teach what the beginner most needs to learn in preparing to win games. The essence of each tactic will be learned quickly, ready to be recalled in over-the-board competition.

It’s been estimated, by one grandmaster, that hundreds of thousands of books on chess have been published. This particular one, Beat That Kid in Chess, may be in a class by itself, in its regular use of nearly-identical positions. This chess book may actually make it easy for a raw beginner to quickly learn to win his or her first game.

Part of an Amazon Customer Review

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.

I love the way this book is organized: It’s starts with a few simple chess terms, progresses to chapter topics . . . then ends with simple and advanced exercises . . . This is going to help me get back into the game, so to speak, as well as help me know in what order to teach my own children, so that they too can enjoy the benefits that come with playing chess.



New Chess Book as a Gift

Reviews of three paperback books on chess (one for beginners):

  • Smerdon’s Scandinavian (advanced)
  • Beat That Kid in Chess (beginner)
  • The Dragon – Volume One (advanced)

Beginner Chess Book for Teenagers

. . . carefully crafted for the raw beginner who wants to win a chess game as soon as possible . . . who knows the rules but not much else.

Chess Book for Beginners

Three books compared