Batsford Book of Chess, The

Sean Marsh

Reviewer: John Donaldson
208 pages

The BATSFORD BOOK OF CHESS by Sean Marsh is an intelligently written guide to chess for those who are new to the game. This handsomely produced full-color hardback takes the reader from absolute beginner (it deals with the rules of the game in eight pages) to club player. The author covers the basics of opening strategy, positional play and tactics with plenty of clear and instructive prose.

One particularly nice feature of this book is Marsh’s use of “chess heroes” to illustrate the points he wishes to make. Giants like Fischer, Kasparov, Karpov and Smyslov’s best efforts are given which not only provides excellent material to learn from, but also serves to give the reader a knowledge of chess culture. Classics like Fischer’s famous blunder 29…Bxh2?? (game one with Spassky from the 1972 match) are given but also lesser known classics like Keres-Eliskases, Prague 1937, where the Estonian great runs his king from g1 to b7 in a queen and bishop versus queen and knight ending.

THE BATSFORD BOOK OF CHESS is beautifully laid out and would serve as an excellent introduction to the game, be it for an adult or a young child working with a parent.