Rules & Beginner Tips

Rating Range: 0-500

Recommended duration: 6 months

Make sure you have learned to play correctly. This includes all of the basic rules (castling, en passant, draws, etc.), as well as moving the pieces.

We recommend the book Chess for Children to get started. The game is taught through the medium of a cartoon character, George, and his pet alligator, Kirsty, a self-proclaimed Grand Alligator of Chess. The large format pages and large diagrams are easy to read and understand. By the end of the book you are able to play through and understand a complete game. The book is also very much inter-active, as there are tests interspersed at regular intervals throughout.

There are also a couple of great sites for complete beginners that are also free that will get you started on the right track. The first is ChessKid.com. The second is The Chess Website.

Once you understand all the rules and basic ideas of Chess, we recommend the book Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess. This book is great because it doesn't require any understanding of chess notation and was written by two specialists in childrens learning. Once you have finished that book, we recommend a fun book Gary's Adventures in Chess Country. It introduces Chess through an engaging and lively adventure story.

At this point you should start actively playing kids tournament chess. A great event held regularly around New Zealand is the Sarapu Cup. Just visit the Auckland, Wellington or Regional events pages to find the next Sarapu Cup near you.

Next read How to Beat your Dad at Chess. Based on the principle of pattern recognition the author introduces you to fifty checkmate patterns and emphasizes the elements necessary to attain them. From "Anastasia's Mate" to "The Fischer Trap" it does an excellent job depicting the deadly patterns that would lead to mates. This will increase your understanding, in terms of both possibilities and quickness, of what pieces can do on a chessboard.

Next page: Phase 2: Tactics and General Principles