Learn Chess: A Complete Course, by C.H.O’D Alexander & T.J. Beach

My Copy: 9781857441154 (image from rainbowresource.com is the one I have on my shelf)

I’ve tried to dig up resources to learn chess better, and I’ve tried reading this book a few times in the past. I still haven’t had much luck with it.

Learn Chess: A Complete Course is not for beginners. Certainly not for those who’ve played against family members and just for fun, learning the basic movements of the game and tackling them.

No, this book assumes you have some know-how and want to expand on it. More specifically, some of the know-how that would do a person credit in competition. I think you have to have a good grasp of algebraic notation and how that applies to chess (and chess movements and piece placement) before you even pick up this book.

Now, the book does indicate and give some tips as to how to describe piece placement with the letters and code terms. But, if you’ve never played that way, or known how to play that way, this book will baffle you. there’s barely a paragraph that is without the odd piece-letter-number combination. Very little to work with.

I wouldn’t recommend picking this one up until you’ve been playing with others a while who take the game a bit seriously or have bumped into some beginner texts that teach you more about the notations and how they work. Otherwise, you won’t get much out of this book.

I’ll come back to this one in about a year, when I’ve had a chance to learn from others about the game and how to figure out this notation. I’m still digging around for that information, because I’ve always wanted to improve my game and learn to expand my horizons. I’m one of those players that thinks I know what I’m doing, then when something unexpected happens, I can’t recover.

I want to improve, but it’s apparent that there are some things I have to figure out first…or maybe more “for dummies” friendly than I anticipated needing…

Besides, I keep hearing there’s a chess club in town, and if I could get enough in me to learn, I’d love to join up and learn even more…and do that (gulp) social thing…

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