Phase 1: Rules and Beginner Tips
Rating Range: 800-900
Recommended duration: 1 month
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.
Once you understand all the rules and basic ideas of Chess, we recommend 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