Booklist Review – October 15, 2021 Issue

How a King Plays: 64 Chess Tips from a Kid Champion.
By Oliver Boydell

Nov. 2021. 112p. illus. Random, $9.99 (9780593451267). Gr. 5–8. 794.1


Eleven-year-old Vietnamese American chess champion Oliver Boydell shares 64 tips (one for each square on a chess board) with fellow chess players of all levels. Basic chess knowledge is required, however. Spanning a succinct one or two pages, each tip comprises a short introduction, an explanatory paragraph or two, and a pithy, summative conclusion, such as, “So, depending on the position, don’t be afraid to move your king” or [comma] “So, for real protection, aim to protect your passed Pawns with other Pawns.” While offering his advice, the kid champ addresses readers directly through text that’s accessible and persuasive. Including both tactical and strategic suggestions, the tips progress roughly sequentially, from the opening to the middlegame to the endgame. Interspersed among them are quotes from legendary chess champions and strategists, like Bobby Fischer, the only American World Chess Champion, and Mikhail Botvinnik, the sixth World Chess Champion and founder of the Soviet school of chess. A glossary of chess terms concludes this comprehensive guide that will inspire casual players and budding champions alike.