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Review of: Popular Chess Variants, by D.B. Pritchard

David B. Pritchard, known by most chess variant enthousiasts as the author of The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, but also known as the author of chess and other books (selling in total over a million of copies), and as the chairman of the British Chess Variants Society, wrote a book, titled Popular Chess Variants. The book appears first in print January 2000, and is published by Batsford Chess Books. The ISBN of the book is 0 7134 8578 7. The book has 143 pages, and costs 14.99 British Pounds.

In this book, Pritchard describes twenty chess variants in detail. Eighteen of these can be played with normal chess equipment; in addition there are Xiangqi, Chinese Chess, and Shogi, Japanese Chess. (Curiously, the cover mentions also that the book discusses chess for four players, but that is not the case.)

Each of the variants is given with complete rules which are described in a very precise and clear way. In addition, the history of the variants is described, some sample games are given, and often additional information is given. The amount of pages, devoted to a variant varies: a variant like Racing Kings gets two pages, while Chinese Chess gets 22 and Progressive Chess gets 23 pages. For the variants that are described in more detail, more sample games are given, but also the reader is learned some basic principles of how to play the game well: some opening theory or endgame theory or common strategic or tactical aspects of the variants are described.

I liked this book very much. Pritchard has an excellent style of writing, and thus the book is a pleasure to read. Pritchard has made very good choices in what to present. Sample games always contain interesting and often brilliant points, and seem to capture the essence of the particular variant at hard very well.

The book will give chess variant enthousiasts several evenings of good study of interesting chess variants, and for the serious player of chess variants, I recommend the book fully.

Other information

Written by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: January 8, 2000.