London Chess Conference

We would like to highlight the excellence of several speakers at the London Chess Conference 2023  as the authors of the following books on this page. As a service to conference attendees, there will be a book display. Attendees will be able to peruse several titles relevant to the theme of the conference. Some titles will also be available for purchaseFurthermore, all attendees receive a 20% voucher which can be redeemed at the Chess & Bridge shop at 44 Baker Street, London, W1U 7RT. 

Checkmate! The Wonderful World of Chess

by John Foley – Scholastic (2023)

Newly published in the USA, this is an all-in-one guidebook. It is targeted at children who want to learn how to play chess for themselves. It starts with minigames which build up children’s understanding of gameplay. Using beautiful illustrations, readers are drawn into the world of chess with a mixture of learning advice, stories, characters, diagrams, photos and classic games. It introduces an innovative colour coding system for learning tactics. The book cover carries praise from Judit Polgar who describes it as “practical and entertaining” and from Jesper Bergmark Hall who writes the foreword.

Written by Richard James, Chess for Schools is a great resource to help teachers encourage children to enjoy the benefits and challenges of the chess game. Chess is a game of extraordinary excitement and beauty and all children should have the opportunity to experience it. Indeed, many claim that playing abstract strategy games such as chess provides a wide range of cognitive and social benefits – such as improvements in problem-solving ability and communication skills.  However, Richard James argues that, because of the complexity of chess, most younger children would gain more benefit from simpler chess-based strategy games and incremental learning. In this practical handbook, Richard provides a wide range of games and puzzles based on these principles which are appropriate for primary schools and explains how teachers can identify children who would benefit from starting young.  Richard also sets out how this approach can engage the whole community, including working with children with special needs, getting parents involved in learning and playing, and developing partnerships between primary and secondary schools. Chess for Schools shares the latest research into how children process information, combined with insights into international best practice in teaching chess to young children. The book demonstrates the transformative effect chess can have on older children, and how this can be promoted in secondary schools. Richard James offers valuable insights into the greater context of chess-playing, expressing how and why chess is a joy to so many worldwide and shares a series of resources and minigames for teachers to use with their learners. 

Psychologist and chess teacher Karel van Delft provides access to the underlying scientific research and presents the best didactical methods. Van Delft has created a dependable toolkit for teachers and scholastic chess organisers. What can teachers do to improve their instruction? How (un)important is talent? How do you  support a special needs group? How do you deal with parents? What are the best selling points of a chess program? Boys and girls, does it make a difference? How do ‘chess in schools’ programs fare in different countries. This is not a book on chess rules and moves, but it points the way to where good technical chess improvement content can be found. Van Delft offers a wealth of practical advice on the most effective didactics in order for kids to build critical life skills through learning chess. 

Chess Improvement: It’s all in the mindset 

by Barry Hymer and Peter Wells, Crown House (2020) 

Twenty-first-century knowledge about skills development and expertise requires us to keep such mystical notions as fixed talent in perspective, and to emphasise instead the dynamic and malleable nature of these concepts. Nowhere is this more apparent than in chess, where many gifted players fall prey to plausible but self-defeating beliefs and practices – and thereby fail to achieve the levels their natural abilities predicted. Happily, however, the reverse can be true too; through learned dispositions such as grit, risk-taking, strategic thinking and a capacity for sheer hard work, players of apparently modest abilities can achieve impressive results. Blending theory, practice and the distinct but complementary skills of two authors – one an academic (and amateur chess player) and the other a highly regarded England Chess Olympiad coach (and grandmaster) – Chess Improvement is an invaluable resource for any aspirational chess player or coach/parent of a chess player. Barry and Peter draw on interviews conducted with members of England’s medal-winning elite squad of players and provide a template for chess improvement rooted in the practical wisdom of experienced chess players and coaches. They also include practical illustrative descriptions from the games and chess careers of both developing and leading players, and pull together themes and suggestions in a way which encourages readers to create their own trajectories for chess improvement.

Thinking with Chess: Teaching Children Ages 5-14 

by Alexey RootMongoose Press (2015) 

What’s the best way to teach chess to children? Thinking with Chess: Teaching Children Ages 5-14 is a handbook for teachers, librarians, after-school instructors, chess coaches, counsellors, and parents that requires no prior knowledge of the game. Both novices and veteran chess players can use its innovative lesson plans for teaching groups of children. In Thinking with Chess, Dr. Alexey Root connects chess with skills important to academic success, such as classifying, pattern recognition, decoding, creating, and predicting. The book also introduces challenges for practicing divergent thinking and puzzles for convergent thinking. Thinking with Chess teaches not only the fundamentals of chess – the chessmen and how they move, how to keep score, and where to play – but also tools useful in winning games, such as double check and smothered checkmate. 

This is a collection of 32 lesson plans designed to provide a practical link between chess instruction and national standards in elementary and middle school math and science instruction, with occasional forays into English and history. It is ground-breaking and valuable precisely because it accomplishes the critical important work described above: it sells chess by tying it to established educational standards 

A landmark, full-colour chess instruction book, ideal for both beginners and more experienced players wanting to improve their game. The book takes the form of a course, with quick-start guides to help to retain the information you’ve learned and puzzle sections for you to test yourself as you go. To illustrate more advanced strategy and tactics, author Sean Marsh uses world-class chess ‘heroes’, such as Anatoly Karpov and Mikhail Tal, to bring the concepts to life. Illustrative games from Tactical Hero Mikhail Tal. Easy to follow, yet thorough and challenging, this book is an essential companion for all budding chess champions. 

The Paula Principle: how and why women work below their level of competence 

By Tom Schuller, Scribe (2017) 

Whereas The Peter Principle, a four-million–copy bestseller from the 1960s, argued that most (male) workers will inevitably be promoted to one level beyond their competence, Tom Schuller shows how women today face the opposite scenario: their skills are being wasted as they work below their competence levels.  Schuller blends interviews and case studies with examples drawn from literature and popular culture to examine how attitudes have changed, from the advent of higher education for women in the 19th century to female dominance at all academic levels today. He also reveals how this has translated — or failed to translate — into the lived experiences and careers of professional women, whether they are nursery workers, council employees, journalists, or oil company executives. Engrossing and full of everyday insights into how gender impacts on working life, The Paula Principle is a well-reasoned analysis of the obstacles that many women face, and a call for us to challenge them on a personal, organisational, and societal level. 

The Usborne Chess Book 

by Lucy BowmanUsborne (2016) 

A fun, write-in activity book packed with brain-teasing puzzles, useful facts and clever tips that show how to play chess and improve your game. Some of the puzzles are answered using chess-piece stickers and all the answers are at the back of the book. Simple puzzles show how to use the pieces, with more tricky puzzles on tactics and checkmates. This book gives a whole new dimension to the game of chess, allowing children to hone their problem solving ability with chess themed games and puzzles. Filled with clear instructions, this attractive book offers a colourful introduction to the game. Bursting with interesting activities and brilliant hints and tips, this will help sharpen chess skills, while also encouraging children to think strategically and tactically. Illustrations on every page, and exciting stickers bring the chess pieces to life and help children to visualise the rules and logistics of chess. Recommended Age: 6+ 

The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids 

by Richard JamesRight Way (2013) 

This accessible how-to guide for parents and teachers on the best way to teach chess to children is from international chess expert Richard James who taught grandmasters Luke McShane and Jonathan Rowson. Richard shows how learning chess is interesting and fun. It can also help children develop life skills, such as decision-making and social skills, and be a springboard to other subjects in the school curriculum, such as maths, science, history and even languages. In an easy-to-follow, fun way, James explains how to structure short lessons with worksheets and other activities to introduce the chess pieces, chess notation and chess-board dynamics so that children can understand the thinking behind the moves and start playing and enjoying this fascinating game.

Mathematical Games, Abstract Games 

by João Pedro Neto and Jorge Nuno SilvaDover (2013) 

This user-friendly and visually appealing book offers a collection of strategy board games – some old and some recent.  Providing intellectual challenge, these games were chosen for their strategic and tactical qualities. Chapters discuss the history and theory of board games. A helpful glossary offers clarifications of rules. 

“Children of the Z and Alpha generations will face many new challenges in the future, and most of them will pursue careers that do not even exist today. The primary purpose of this book is to introduce games and exercises that develop creative thinking and thus enable children to tackle and solve unexpected, complex problems confidently.” – says Márk.

We choose chess as an environment which we find to be easily accessible for children. The problems arising on the chessboard are universal, so the skills can be more easily transferred to other domains where they can be used successfully. The development of mathematical logic, generalisation and thinking in systems are enormously helpful for grasping the essentials of STEM domains.

Logical Chess: Move by Move: Every move explained

by Irving Chernev Faber & Faber (1957) Batsford algebraic edition (1998) reprinted. 

Having learnt the basic moves, how exactly should a player improve?In this much loved classic, Irving Chernev explains 33 complete games in detail, telling the reader the reason for every single move. Playing through these games and explanations gives a real insight into the power of the pieces and how to post them most effectively. “The novice who plays through Logical Chess can learn an ocean of basic chess wisdom.”Leonard Barden, English chess master and broadcaster 

Learning Chess,  Step Activity Books, and Manuals for Chess Trainers

by Cor van Wijgerden, Rob Brunia 3rd Edition (2009) 

The Steps Method workbook 1 is the first book in the series of 6 steps. Suitable for age 6+. In the first step, all the rules of chess are introduced with much attention to the development of the basic skills, necessary to play chess. The step-by-step method introduces a unique sequence of teaching material. Crammed with exercises. 

Someday I’ll be Queen – Later word ik koningin (in Dutch)

by Christel Minne and Daniël Vanheirzeele, Thinkers Publishing, (2023) 

Chess is particularly suitable for the total development of every child. Because young children find the figures on a chessboard intriguing, Christel Minne (kindergarten teacher and chess coach) came up with a fun and historical rhyming picture book to take toddlers from the age of four into the world of chess. The drawings in the picture book are funny and aim to provide a visual support to memorize the rules of chess. The accompanying toolbox also offers numerous games and tips for children, parents, grandparents, teachers and therapists who want to learn chess. If you don’t know anything about chess as an adult, this book offers cozy and relaxed moments to get started with your (grand) child or a group of children. Thinkers Publishing is convinced that this beautiful picture book will warm every child’s and parent’s heart!

12-year-old Princess Kassie leads a blissful life in the kingdom of Chess Mountain. She adores her parents (the chess goddess queen Caïssa, and the god of war, Mars) and delights in playing chess with her friend Dimitri, a fellow young god. All that plus being a coach for the chesslings (the lovable young chess pieces) makes Kassie believe her life is complete.
But when Dimitri is kidnapped and her parents are blamed, a war is declared. Kassie is whisked to Earth, a destination she always hoped to avoid. While there with her guide Maurice, a trusted knight, she must complete a mission to attain her own goddess title and strengthen her kingdom. Living undercover as a student in a chess-loving NYC classroom, she is shocked to find that mortals are different than what she’d been taught, and more like herself than she ever knew. Before she knows it, she is championing her brave classmates to overcome life’s problems via the principles of chess. But when a chess bully menaces her friends while kingdom rebels draw near, Kassie struggles to be true to her beliefs without sacrificing herself and endangering Chess Mountain.

This work is also a collection of Kupreichik’s best games, many annotated by the man himself. His wins over Tal and Zilbershtein are legendary examples of the power of a knight sacrifice on d5 in the Open Sicilian. Inside you will learn not just about handling Kupreichik’s favourite Classical Sicilian, Slav and King’s Indian, but attacking and sacrificial chess in general. Readers even have the chance to solve 26 positions and so play like Kupreichik. The book is completed by a series of pen portraits from his family, which make clear the kind and principled man this hero of Belarusian chess was, as well as his love for the 64 squares.