Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Friday, October 20, 2023

CheckMate!: The Wonderful World of Chess by John Foley

CheckMate!: The Wonderful World of Chess
John Foley
Published by Mortimer Children's. An Imprint of Wellbeck Publishing Group.

If you read this blog regularly, then maybe you read our review of The Queen of Chess, about Hungarian chess champion, Judit Polgár. If that book perked your interest in learning more about chess, or you have a chess club at your school or public library, then CheckMate! is a perfect addition to your library's collection.

This all-in-one guide is perfect for beginners or for those looking to improve their game. The author, John Foley, is Former London Junior Under-16 Chess Champion, Oxford University Chess Champion and Director of ChessPlus Ltd. He is a good teacher.

The book begins with a simple introduction to the world of Chess, its history, list of the male world champions, and how to set up your chessboard. The rest of the book is filled with diagrams that explains visually how to play. Foley begins with a few simple games to get you started. As players gain confidence, diagrams of more involved games which assist ones growth in understanding the strategy and problem solving techniques used in more complicated games.

Directions are easy to understand. All the diagrams are well-captioned. To keep the atmosphere light, throughout the book are helpful hints offered by cartoon-like chess pieces.

The last quarter of the book discusses tournament etiquette with Advance Tips are highlighted in yellow circles. Included are a listing of some of the world's best or best-known players (Judit Polgár is listed), playing chess online, playing against computers, and a glossary. In addition, are the moves from the game in 1994 between Alexei Shrove (Latvia) and Judit Polgár (Hungary).  

Even for someone like me who does not play chess, this handy how-to-play title is helpful in understanding the thought-process that goes into playing this historic and challenging game. 

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