My last post for 2013 concludes the exploration of my book Move Two!, a book I wrote in the 1990s for children who have learnt the basics and are ambitious to move into competitive chess.
The book comprises 16 chapters, one for every piece you start with, alternating openings, tactics and endings. Most chapters also include a quiz. The second half of each chapter has an Activities section followed by Masters of the Universe, a history of international chess based on the world champions and their games. It’s currently available for free download (there are a few mistakes and typos in this version) via the link above.
The openings looked at in detail in this book are those starting 1. e4 e5. I encourage children to understand these openings before moving onto anything else because they are based more on tactics than strategy. The last chapter introduces the reader to some more gambit openings (the Danish Gambit was dealt with in an earlier chapter).
Most of the chapter is taken up by the King’s Gambit: there are several White wins which demonstrate the attacking ideas of this opening. We then look at its close relation, the Vienna Game (little played at this level, but a good practical choice as after 1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. f4, Black’s best reply, 3.. d5, is not so easy to find, and taking the pawn, which is fine in the King’s Gambit, is just bad after 4. e5). Our final gambit is the Evans Gambit, another opening which will score well at this level against unprepared opponents.
The final quiz in the book presents ten combinations arising from games played with the King’s Gambit and Evans Gambit. Many readers will recognize the last two as being from Anderssen’s Immortal and Evergreen Games.
The last Activities section of the book features two popular chess variants. Exchange (Bughouse) Chess is a great game to play with your friends between rounds of a tournament and always very popular, especially with young players. We didn’t encourage it at Richmond Juniors apart from the last meeting of each term, which was devoted to chess variants, because it tends to be noisy and it takes time to sort out all the pieces after the game.
Another of our favourite variants at Richmond Juniors was Kriegspiel, the other game featured in this section. Again great fun both for players and spectators, but not really suitable for beginners.
The last episode of Masters of the Universe introduced the reader to some of the leading teens and pre-teens at the time of writing. The games come from Peter Leko and Richmond Junior Club member Luke McShane, who won the World Under 10 Championship at the age of 8 in 1992.
So, what next? There was originally going to be a Move Three! as well, but as I no longer had a publisher it was never written. It probably also needed a stronger player than me to co-author it.
Maybe one day. Meanwhile there’s a lot happening in my life and a lot more to discuss next year, not least feedback from the Chess and Education conference.
Best wishes for 2014 to all my readers, and do stay tuned.