Customer Reviews for

Chess For Dummies

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Why The Negative Reviews Are Wrong

I have read all of the negative reviews here and they all seem to make the same complaints: it isn't comprehensive enough, it doesn't cover everything, it doesn't say everything that could be said, the layout is confusing etc etc etc

What all these critics seemed to ...
I have read all of the negative reviews here and they all seem to make the same complaints: it isn't comprehensive enough, it doesn't cover everything, it doesn't say everything that could be said, the layout is confusing etc etc etc

What all these critics seemed to miss is that the book is called 'Chess FOR DUMMIES', it is not intended to be comprehensive, or even close to it, it is intended to teach you that basic terminology and introduce the basic ideas, and then direct the more serious student towards more mature resources, which it does, in Appendix B.

The book introduces one to the basic rules of chess, including the more obscure rules which are unknown to most beginners, such as 'en passant', it introduces one to the history of chess, it introduces one to the basic principles of chess, the opening, the middlegame, and the endgame, it introduces one to some very basic terminology, it tells one where to find the best chess web sites and places to find an opponent, and it has a good glossary of basic terms, it introduces one to basic chess notation, and introduces famous players and games, and offers encouragement to beginning by assuring them that the idea that one needs to be a 'supergenius' to play good chess is a total myth, that chess does not require exceptional intelligence. And in addition to all of this, it is very easy to read and understand.

Exactly what more can one expect from book called 'Chess for Dummies'?

Now, the complaint 'it doesn't go into depth describing the openings, sometimes offering only the first 3 moves'.

The person making this complaint apparently missed the 'for dummies' part of the title.

I am at a near total loss to understand how an in depth exploration of various openings, beyond the first 3-4 moves, is helpful to a beginner.

The fact of the matter is that most people, in the real world, who are not chess experts, do not play according to whatever theory or model you might have in mind.

Knowing what the first 30 book line moves for the Sicilian defense are will not help most beginners because most of the opponents they face will not make the moves the opening theory expects them to make. And cluttering up the book by considering umpteen variations does not exactly help matters.

The only people likely to play an opening down to the first 10,20,30 moves are experts, and if you one is beginner, than one shouldn't be playing against experts anyway because one will not learn anything. A beginner should be playing against other beginners. The way to learn how to play better chess is playing against opponents with a similar skill level.

Much better than listing all of the 10,20,30 book moves for every opening is to introduce the first few moves of some of the more popular openings, introduce the basic principles of openings so that beginners will know what they are supposed to be accomplishing in the opening, introduce the basic terminology, and then direct the readers elsewhere for more information.

And what do you know, that is precisely what this book does.

So the complaint that the book 'doesn't go into much depth about various openings' is just silly.

This is a very good basic introduction to chess, the complaint that it not comprehensive is ridiculous. It is not intended to be comprehensive, it's for dummies.

posted by 1328914 on May 9, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Not the best book to begin with

Even though it wouldn't be at the top of my list of recommend introductory chess books, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess" is clearly better (if you must have one of the major series books). The format of "Chess for Dummies" is not in a very logical order in certain ...
Even though it wouldn't be at the top of my list of recommend introductory chess books, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess" is clearly better (if you must have one of the major series books). The format of "Chess for Dummies" is not in a very logical order in certain places and suddenly you are confronted with material that has nothing to do with what needs to be covered at that point. Consider getting either "Chess for Everyone" (my first choice) or "Learn Chess" by Alexander and Beach (my second choice) as excellent introductory chess books for many reasons.

posted by BigFalls on December 3, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Not the best book to begin with

    Even though it wouldn't be at the top of my list of recommend introductory chess books, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess" is clearly better (if you must have one of the major series books). The format of "Chess for Dummies" is not in a very logical order in certain places and suddenly you are confronted with material that has nothing to do with what needs to be covered at that point. Consider getting either "Chess for Everyone" (my first choice) or "Learn Chess" by Alexander and Beach (my second choice) as excellent introductory chess books for many reasons.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2008

    Difficult to follow format yet comprehensive

    This book is certainly not as good as the competition ("Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess" or "Chess for Everyone; A complete guide for the Beginner) in that the format is difficult to follow. It jumps around to much and just when you are following a segment something out of the blue is tossed in that just doesn't fit in! But then why a decent rating of 3 stars? Well, it has a lot of instructional material and if you can manage to follow the material then there is a lot of information provided.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Why The Negative Reviews Are Wrong

    I have read all of the negative reviews here and they all seem to make the same complaints: it isn't comprehensive enough, it doesn't cover everything, it doesn't say everything that could be said, the layout is confusing etc etc etc

    What all these critics seemed to miss is that the book is called 'Chess FOR DUMMIES', it is not intended to be comprehensive, or even close to it, it is intended to teach you that basic terminology and introduce the basic ideas, and then direct the more serious student towards more mature resources, which it does, in Appendix B.

    The book introduces one to the basic rules of chess, including the more obscure rules which are unknown to most beginners, such as 'en passant', it introduces one to the history of chess, it introduces one to the basic principles of chess, the opening, the middlegame, and the endgame, it introduces one to some very basic terminology, it tells one where to find the best chess web sites and places to find an opponent, and it has a good glossary of basic terms, it introduces one to basic chess notation, and introduces famous players and games, and offers encouragement to beginning by assuring them that the idea that one needs to be a 'supergenius' to play good chess is a total myth, that chess does not require exceptional intelligence. And in addition to all of this, it is very easy to read and understand.

    Exactly what more can one expect from book called 'Chess for Dummies'?

    Now, the complaint 'it doesn't go into depth describing the openings, sometimes offering only the first 3 moves'.

    The person making this complaint apparently missed the 'for dummies' part of the title.

    I am at a near total loss to understand how an in depth exploration of various openings, beyond the first 3-4 moves, is helpful to a beginner.

    The fact of the matter is that most people, in the real world, who are not chess experts, do not play according to whatever theory or model you might have in mind.

    Knowing what the first 30 book line moves for the Sicilian defense are will not help most beginners because most of the opponents they face will not make the moves the opening theory expects them to make. And cluttering up the book by considering umpteen variations does not exactly help matters.

    The only people likely to play an opening down to the first 10,20,30 moves are experts, and if you one is beginner, than one shouldn't be playing against experts anyway because one will not learn anything. A beginner should be playing against other beginners. The way to learn how to play better chess is playing against opponents with a similar skill level.

    Much better than listing all of the 10,20,30 book moves for every opening is to introduce the first few moves of some of the more popular openings, introduce the basic principles of openings so that beginners will know what they are supposed to be accomplishing in the opening, introduce the basic terminology, and then direct the readers elsewhere for more information.

    And what do you know, that is precisely what this book does.

    So the complaint that the book 'doesn't go into much depth about various openings' is just silly.

    This is a very good basic introduction to chess, the complaint that it not comprehensive is ridiculous. It is not intended to be comprehensive, it's for dummies.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

    Anonymous

    Many people complain that it is not comprehensive enough, but remember, its for beginners. If your a beginner at chess get this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2006

    Lots of Material but lacks organization and clarity

    This is a book just loaded with information on chess. The problem I feel is that it is poorly organized and as such it can be confusing for a beginner - certainly not a book for young readers (would recommend 'Chess for Juniors' for kids in a flash or adults). Chess is a game that needs to be taught in a logical progressive order. You will find 'Chess for Dummies' jumps from one thing to another in a chaotic manner with some of the material coming off the wall.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2003

    An Excellelent everything you need to know book

    This book may not be the first book you want to read if you've never played before, but definently the second. This book tells the reader good books, and sites to chek out along with basic principles of the game

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    Total ly new to chess don't know how this will teach you.

    This book is for someone who knows nothing of chess. This is a total beginner's book. Which is all it is supposed to be. Now for a parent that knows nothing of chess and that has a child that wants to learn, this is also a good book for both or just a child alone if he has friends that play or a computer program, to play against. It will not help them beat the computer but what it does do is give the aspiring player a good foundation to start down the road to playing the game. I would suggest this book as a first for children or an aldult because if their interest does not go past this book. They will not need any other to get them playing. It is a good investment for beginner's. But if the chess bug bites the will have the first book of a chess library. Then you can look at the list of books that someone else left.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2014

    I do not understand why this book is getting negative reviews.  

    I do not understand why this book is getting negative reviews.  I read it many years ago and learned quite a bit from it.  Some of the principles in this book have stuck with me all this time.  I no longer have the book.  But I am just now getting into chess pretty seriously once again and am thinking about repurchasing it.  If you are a beginning chess player, this book will at least get you to the amateur level if not the novice.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2011

    Gr im mad!

    CHESS DOR DUMMEIS IM NOT A DUMMEI NEVER BYE IT!!!!!!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2008

    Seems to be a popular choice but not the best choice

    The 'For Dummie' series seems to be a popular choice for most subjects when coming to getting a 'first book'. The 'Complete Idiot's Guides' are also a popular choice. Though when it comes to their books on 'Chess' in particular, the 'format' in which they are written is restrictive and doesn't allow the material to flow in a smooth and consistent manner. There is lots of content - it is just the layout that makes for 'difficult' reading in spots 'like a road that is well paved in parts and has major pot holes in others!'. When it comes to 'chess' I suggest looking at one of the several good books that introduce chess without a restrictive format.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2008

    Contains a lot of info but not well presented

    In CFD you will find almost everything you need in a beginning chess book to learn how to play. The book contains a lot of unecessary filler in spots inserted where it does not flow well. Instead of helping you learn more useful material these inserts make the learning process more difficult. It you could easily filter these out then the book would be better.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2005

    Not that great

    Book does not go too deep into chess strategies or tactics. Openings only show 1-3 moves in. There are better books out there to learn the great game of chess.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2005

    Leaves out so much basic material

    Ugg!!! I don't really like the entire 'Dummy Series' as a whole which only a real 'dummy' would buy. This really applies to this book. It covers the very basic rules in a very skippy way. Then jumps from here to there is formatted 'mini' chapters that really leaves out so much material that any beginning student would be lost. This is one of the worst beginning books ever written, but has sales only because of it being part of the 'dummy' series. Spend your time really looking at reviews of good beginning chess books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2005

    Poorly Organized Beginning Chess Book

    The entire way this book is organized is sad. Because it does cover 'some' decent material to introduce a total 'dummy' to the game I have refrained form giving it just one star. It doesn't compare to THE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO CHESS or if you are a child or an adult wanting to to have the greatest simplicity then a great book is CHESS FOR JUNIORS. Consider looking into these books first and you will thank me for mentioning this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2004

    Leaves out Material - poorly organized

    Simply put this book leaves out essential material that is important in teaching chess to a beginner. The book doesn't present material in a good order that allows the student to build on earlier material. I teach chess in elementary schools, running several after school programs each week. I therefore have looked into and investigated over a dozen beginners books. This one is at the bottom of the list for anyone of any age.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2004

    A Good beginners guide

    The sectons on the Middlegame and Endgame are especially good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2004

    Chess For Dummies

    This book is simply awful. It falls into that category of 'Series' books that want to formulize everything. The 'Dummy Series' is a bad series on all counts. Chess, like math, builds on itself. If you don't get a solid foundation you're in for a lot of trouble. The thing about Chess For Dummies is it leaves out a lot of basic material. As you're progressing along you find you have to go right back to the start to learn a basic concept that Chess For Dummies left out. Also, for a beginner's book there is way too much extraneous material. Simply put, this is a really bad book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2003

    Chess For Dummies

    When my nine year old son started learning to play chess at his school I bought this book so I could learn enough to help him along. Things started out bad with this book from the start. It seems chess teachers don't use this book to teach beginners. I went to my son's school and asked the chess teacher why Chess For Dummies wasn't a good beginner's book. He explained to me that the book left out many key fundamentals that a beginner needs. So I asked what books did have all that and was told that the first two volumns of Lev Albert's Comprehensive Chess Course covered it all, but that Yasser Seirawan's Play Winning Chess series was also good and if I wanted something a little less heavy that Bruce Pandolfini's Square one was a good book to get you playing fairly fast. He went on to say that all these titles were used in his chess classes. I asked him if Chess For Dummies was okay somewhere down the line. He told me I might as well donate it to the public library as it was practically of no use. I felt kind of silly about running out and buying Chess For Dummies. I only kept the book long enough to see why it didn't make the grade while the others did. After I learned how to play it soon became obvious why it didn't make the grade. Too many things weren't in Chess For Dummies but were in the other books. Fortunately, Barnes & Noble.com was kind enough to let me return the book for a refund. So, my advice to anyone who is about to buy this book is, don't.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2003

    Bad Choice For Beginners.

    I've been teaching chess in the public schools for 23 years. I've seen a lot of beginner's books. Chess For Dummies is one of the worst efforts I've seen. Yes, this book will teach you to play chess but it leaves out many basic concepts beginners need. A better choice are several chess books aimed at beginners by Bruce Pandolfini. Panddolfini's books (all available on Barnes and Noble.com)will get a beginner up to playing speed in a short time. Time isn't wasted on areas of chess a beginner isn't ready for right at the start. But Pandolfini sacrifices some critical basic principles in the interest of leaarning to play fast. So, with this in mind, you have to look at Lev Albert's Complete Chess Course (again, all available right here on Barnes & Noble.com). Alburt uses an improved version of the old Soviet system that taught such luminaries as Botvinnik, Bronstein, Keres, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian,Spassky,Karpov, Kasparov, and Krammik. Some think even Bobby Fischer had access to it but that's beyond the scope of this review. Albert's course uses about 26 weeks to bring the absolute beginner up to advanced novice. He is very big on learning the board just as one would learn the multiplication tables and the alphabet. The first two volumns in Albert's course rigorously cover evrything the beginner should know, including memorizing the board. Chess For Dummies leaves this out as do Pandolfini's books. Chess For Dummies also give the beginner some false ideas about chess being easy. Chess, at any level, is a difficult and exacting game. It also implies that one chess book is all you need.To reach chess mastery you need well over 100 books. If you're really serious about learning to play chess srart with Albert's Comprehensive Chess Course, Vol. 1 and 2, instead of Chess For Dummies. You'll be glad you did!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2002

    Chess For Dummies

    Chess For Dummies is a bad choice for those new to the game. I have been teaching chess for over forty years and have seen many beginner's books. This book leaves too many basic concepts and how to learn and use them out and pads itself with too many Top Ten Lists. This isn't even a good book for the casual beginner. A far better choice is IGM Lev Albert's Comprehensive Chess Course, Vol. 1 and 2. (available on Barnes & Noble.com) These are based on the Russian system (formerly the Soviet System which produced all the world champions from 1948 until 1972 then regained it in 1975)which is a rigorous program for the beginner. A key part of chess is vigorously stressed in Albert's books. The Board and Board Dynamics. Upon completion of CCC Vol. I and II, the successful student can then complete the course by studying Vols. 2 - 7 (although there is a better option for Volumn 7; Ruben Fine's Basic Chess Endings. A good supplemental course for the absolute beginner and novice is IGM Yasser Seirawan's six book set although I recommend substituting Basic Chess Endings for volumn 6 in this series. A third option for the more casual beginner is Square One by National Master Bruce Pandolfini. This one will get you playing faster but without the deeper fundamental basics. I recommend it as supplemental reading. All of these books are appropriate for children and adult beginners and novices and all can be found on Barnes and Noble. I have to disagree with the reviewer who gave Chess For Dummies five stars and was, apparently, not aware of the intention of the reviewer who gave it one star and recommended My System. My System by Aron Nimzovitch is an essential work for the advanced Novice. I agree with the reviewer who gave it one star. If you tell someone they need a book for dummies then you set up a low self esteem image for that person. The title of Chess For Dummies is as bad as the contents. Top Ten lists reflect only the opinion of the author. Not a consensus opinion of the world's top 100 grandmasters, who are the only players with the expertise to evaluate such lists and even then it's still an opinion. Other material covered in Chess For Dummies can be found in numerous other chess books, many available on Barnes and Noble. If you really want to learn to play chess stay away from Chess For Dummies.

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