Let’s consider choosing a chess book as a gift, and this can be difficult, but consider the relevant points in deciding which one to purchase and give to that special person:
- What is the playing level of the reader?
Actually that’s only one point: the skill of the chess player who will use the book. Other points are far less important, so we’ll keep to this question.
Does the person know the rules of the game, or at least most of them, but has little if any experience winning a game? If that person is an adult or a teenager or an older child, the choice may be easy: Beat That Kid in Chess. Of the hundreds of thousands of chess books written over the past few centuries, this may be the only one that systematically uses the NIP* method of training in tactics (*nearly-identical positions). Beat That Kid in Chess was written for the raw beginner who knows only the rules of the game but wants to learn to win.
Does the one who’ll receive the chess-book gift already win games, more often than losing? Perhaps a more advanced publication would be more useful. How to Beat Your Dad at Chess might work, for it teaches many checkmate patterns. By the way, neither of these two chess books is precisely aligned with the title: The first book is not really about defeating a child, and the second one is not really about defeating your father. They are two different approaches to winning at chess, whoever your opponent may be.
How to Beat Your Dad at Chess is far from the best book for the raw beginner, but it could be an ideal gift for a tournament player.
Besides the covers, with cartoon characters and similar titles, they have something else in common: Both emphasize the importance of tactics in winning chess games.
This is not so much a review of books on chess openings as it is a plea for authors to write such books in a way that would be more useful to the player rated below a master.
How many persons know the rules of chess but have hardly a clue about how to play well! This is a book for the average (or below average) person who just wants a little help in winning a chess game against somebody who already knows a little bit about winning.