Opening Moves: The Making of a Young Chess Champion

Opening Moves: The Making of a Young Chess Champion

by Barry Berg, David Berg, David Hautzig
     
 

Opening Moves is the story of how Michael and his family discovered that he had an exceptional talent for a demanding and rigorous game, and how they and he nurtured it so that Michael, while remaining a kid who likes to play ball and the piano, can perfect his skills at the chessboard.

Michael is learning about himself while he is learning about

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Overview

Opening Moves is the story of how Michael and his family discovered that he had an exceptional talent for a demanding and rigorous game, and how they and he nurtured it so that Michael, while remaining a kid who likes to play ball and the piano, can perfect his skills at the chessboard.

Michael is learning about himself while he is learning about championship chess. He even has seven precepts that he believes in and that help him keep his life as well as his games on the winning road. From "Respect Your Opponent" to "Develop a Plan," these rules for playing the games of chess and life can be used by anyone, are eight to eighty.

Grace with intimate photographs, details of chess games, and an afterword written by Michael's dad that addresses "chess dads and moms," Opening Moves is am appealing snapshot of one young boy and his passion for an ancient game.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Like the movie, Saving Bobby Fischer, this book follows a young chess champion from astounding an elementary school chess club at age four, and trouncing adults in New York's Washington Square Park, to winning the kindergarten National Championship. The text quickly moves to thoughtful advice, such as the role of losing in learning, plus six other maxims the young Michael and his father have developed. Readable, full of vignettes and anecdotes, the book inspires young chess players to better games even if not at championship level. The second half of the book features actual games--numbered moves which may be set up on a chess board for study, interspersed with more lively narrative, "Life as a Chess Dad or Mom" reassures a parent, as the movie did, that you may follow a child in his or her love of a sport or pasttime even if you know little about it. The important thing is to keep building self esteem, provide a little forethought for creature comforts (visit the bathroom; eat something) and rejoice in the essential lessons of life which the sport offers that go far beyond the game. 2000, Little Brown, Ages 5 to 10, $15.95. Reviewer: Susan Hepler
Children's Literature
This biography of Michael Thaler portrays a young child's amazing talent with the game of chess. The book opens when Michael plays his first game of chess at age three. At age four, he joins his school's chess team as its youngest player. By age six, Michael has won the kindergarten division and became a National Chess Champion. But the book is not just about Michael's amazing chess skills; it is also about the lessons he is learning about chess and about life. Whether he wins or loses a game, Michael learns from his mistakes. Through his chess practice, and with the guidance of his father and his coaches, Michael has developed eight rules that help guide him. These eight rules would also help any child in their academic and athletic pursuits. Michael's story is inspiring and amazing. Several pages are devoted to analyzing three of Michael's games. For the reader who likes chess, these analyses will be interesting. For other readers, these pages can be easily skipped without losing the story's flow. This contemporary biography will supplement any classroom. 2000, Little Brown and Company, Ages 8 to 12.
— Matthew Faithful
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-Michael Thaler's passion for chess at age six and his rise to become a national championship player are described in an engaging manner. Short chapters tell about the boy's thirst for the game, his development as a player, and the lessons he has learned from chess, including patience and planning. The author also analyzes three of the boy's games and includes an afterword by his father on his reaction to competitive tournaments. Throughout the book, Thaler remains a child who also enjoys playing the piano and Little League baseball. Large, full-color photographs enhance the author's descriptions of the youngster's development. While well written, the book's appeal may be limited to children interested in chess or biographies of other youngsters.-Janice C. Hayes, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreeboro Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
The discovery, education, and nurturing of a young chess prodigy are detailed in photojournalistic style. Michael Thaler put together a puzzle of the United States at age two. At four, at the end of his first chess lesson, the boy was hooked. His parents realized their son's tremendous potential and love of the game and decided to do everything necessary to develop his talent. Chess lessons and tournaments became part of his weekly schedule and before he started Kindergarten, he had already won a trophy in the kindergarten division. Michael became the youngest member of his school's chess club and soon defeated older members of the club. The youngster gives the reader seven lessons that work for him. Among them are prepare, respect your opponent, focus on the game, learn how to win and how to lose (losing is an opportunity to learn), be patient, and chess isn't everything. Michael's story ends with his participation in a national tournament that he attends with his father. Before the first match, they analyze his past games and review Michael's thought processes as he played. Three games are reviewed, move by move. Those who do not understand chess notation can read the text that explains Michael's strategies, but may not be interested in this section. Michael does win the tournament and the cover illustration shows him standing with a trophy taller than he is. An epilogue by Michael's father gives advice to other parents of talented youngsters. An interesting story enhanced by photographs, which will appeal to the chess-playing family. (Nonfiction. 6-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316913393
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
04/01/2000
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
44
Product dimensions:
8.88(w) x 10.54(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range:
8 - 10 Years

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