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Daniel King’s new book - How to Win at Chess: From First Moves to Checkmate

by Sneha Tiwari - 12/08/2023

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 chess coach has come up with another book named 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. The book is the key manual for young players in the game. 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. Find out more about it in this article.

A guide for absolute beginners

Daniel King, a name not infamous in the chess world, 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 he 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.

Daniel King's latest book has all the knowledge a young chess lover needs

Books are treasure troves of knowledge that has 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 recently. We wonder if that’s the case with chess books as well. "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." says Daniel King.

A sample page from the book!

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

Interview with Daniel King in his book How to Win at Chess: From First Moves to Checkmate

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.

Daniel King's power play series is available on ChessBase India's shop

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!


Vibrant design and colours!

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.

The rising superpowers of Chess - India and China, led by Vishy Anand and Ding Liren

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

DK: Deadlines!

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 answers, "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.

Sultan Khan, a book written by Daniel King

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 answers, "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 Reykjavik 1972 by Svetozar Gligoric."

Daniel King's favourite book

Energizing himself with a little break, Daniel is currently 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.

Falling in love with the Sicilian Najdorf with GM Daniel King
Crush the Sicilian with the Grand Prix Attack | ft. Daniel King, Biswa, Vaibhav, Anirban

Important Links:

Daniel King's YouTube channel

Buy How To Win At Chess: From First Moves to Checkmate By Daniel King (Hardcover)

Buy How To Win At Chess: From First Moves to Checkmate By Daniel King (Paperback)

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