The Life-Changing Magic of Chess: A Beginner’s Guide with Grandmaster Maurice Ashley

Magic Cat. (Life-Changing Magic). Apr. 2024. 40p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781419773396.
Gr 1-5–Part how-to, part autobiography, this book is a superb introduction to chess. Not only do readers get illustrated tips and easy-to-understand diagrams, they get to know a master of the game. With relatively few pages, this work is inviting for readers of all levels. The page layouts are clear and allow readers to focus on each step presented and really absorb the information through rereading. Perhaps the strongest lessons presented include the ideas that “Losing is Learning” and “Knowledge is Power.” Ashley makes sure all readers understand that chess is for everyone, and everyone is welcome. The layout and design have visual appeal. Abstract and challenging concepts are rendered with clarity. Any student who has even the slightest interest in chess will be eager to dive in and learn more. Teachers who work with underrepresented and underserved students will find this book to be a super tool for introducing chess to skeptics. This is an especially valuable volume for educators wanting to start a chess club.
VERDICT A great resource for students, parents, teachers, and anyone who needs a friendly, understandable introduction to the game of chess. Every library should have this book.

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