Daniel King’s new book: How to Win at Chess

by ChessBase India
8/17/2023 – Over the course of his career, Daniel King has written many books that have been chess bestsellers! This time, the world-famous grandmaster, writer, commentator and coach has come up with another book: “How to Win at Chess: From First Moves to Checkmate”. The short, 54-page book is ideal for someone who is just starting out in chess. Before examining tactics like forks, pins, and skewers, it describes each piece and its movements and clarifies fundamental concepts like check and how to open a game. We recently had a conversation with Daniel about his new book, his writing process, and more.

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A guide for beginners

By Sneha Tiwari

Daniel King is one of the best commentators, trainers and writers in the world of chess right now. For years now, Daniel has been putting out content for stronger chess players — like the Power Play series — but recently ventured into something that every person, especially the ones who are starting out in the game, can understand. With his new book, Daniel has made something for amateur audiences. The book is packed with categorized chess positions and exercises, which can help young players get stronger. Not only that: the book has a lot of chess history embedded in it, including games by famous chess players.

Books are treasure troves of knowledge that have been instrumental in the growth of society as a whole over the years. But with the latest technology, online learning platforms, and audiobooks, their craze has somewhat gone down. We wonder if that’s the case with chess books as well. According to Daniel King:

I believe that chess books — and books in general — are very important. It is not always possible to trust the information given online, whereas material cited in books is often more diligently researched and checked. If you want to inspire a beginner, giving them something beautiful that they can hold in their hands is far better than something intangible online.

We had a talk with Daniel regarding his new book, his vision behind writing it, and other topics. Despite his busy schedule, he kindly agreed to our request.

Daniel King

Interview with Daniel King

Sneha Tiwari (ST): What prompted you to write How to Win at Chess?

Daniel King (DK): The publisher asked me! I have written for them before, and I really like the colourful design of their books and the diligent editorial staff, so I was delighted to work with them again on such a worthwhile project.

ST: As a grandmaster who has created some amazing content for stronger chess players (like the PowerPlay series), why did you venture into something for beginners?

DK: Very simple: I enjoy teaching people about the game of chess, particularly when I can work with such a good publisher who is open to vibrant design ideas.

ST: You have made a ChessBase video course on starting out in chess. How different or similar is this book to that?

DK: A book is a completely different medium, and it is a very different product.

ST: There are so many books out there for someone who wants to learn chess. What is different in this book?

DK: The book is divided into two sections. In the first part, you can find all the rules and some basic strategies, put across in a very colourful and appealing way — kids love the design. In the second half, there is lots of information on the chess scene: the world champions, women in chess, how computers have changed chess, streamers, and the rise of China and India. This is a book to inspire the next generation!

ST: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book, or was the whole procedure quite easy for you?

DK: Naturally, I research well for a book such as this, which contains a lot about the history and culture of chess. But I really enjoy such detailed work.

ST: Is this book exclusive to beginners and amateurs, or is there something for pro players as well?

DK: This book is for those who would like to learn the rules of chess, but also find out more about the history and culture of chess. For example, I wrote a section on the rise of the two chess superpowers, India and China.

ST: What were the challenges you faced while writing this book?

DK: Deadlines!

Daniel King

Vibrant design and colours!

Working schedule, favourite book and future plans

Someone who has written a book knows how difficult it is to draft one. A lot of research and hard work goes on behind the scenes. We were curious as to what Daniel’s writing schedule looks like since he has so many things on his plate already. To this, Daniel answered:

I have many commitments — broadcasting, commentary, and tuition, for example — so it is a case of finding time in my diary to write.

Ask any writer, and they will tell you about all the flaws in their writing. However, everyone has one piece of art that is really close to their heart. To Daniel, his book, Sultan Khan, is one of his best creations yet.

It is said that one can know a lot about a person by knowing the kind of books they read. As a voracious reader myself, I was intrigued about which chess books he has read and why. To this, Daniel said:

That is a very difficult question to answer! Too much choice! But perhaps I would have to go back to my childhood to one of the first books that I ever read, the story of the Fischer-Spassky match in Reykjavík 1972 by Svetozar Gligoric.

Bobby Fischer, Boris Spassky

Energizing himself with a little break, Daniel went on holiday, climbing the mountains, and just focusing on time with his family, but his fans can expect some more interesting and knowledge-laced content from him soon.

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