Assuming no knowledge of chess beyond the rules, Maurice Ashley guides you on an inspirational journey through the world of chess tactics. He brings the pieces to life by examining their fundamental characteristics, and shows how their powers can be put to use to win pieces or give checkmate - the building-blocks upon which all chess skills are based.

Ashley writes: "the approach is unique because it is basically me: the way I teach, the way I talk about chess, the way I think. You'll find my love for martial arts in these pages, as well as my ridiculous love for sports, story-telling and teaching." But his approach is not just entertaining: teams under Ashley's guidance have won six national junior championships. His charismatic teaching methods are the stuff of legend - and are to be the subject of a movie. This book makes his ideas and material available to all: teachers and students alike.

In 1999, Maurice Ashley became the first African-American to qualify for the elite Grandmaster title, an achievement that was widely reported in the international media, including Time magazine, USA Today, New York Times, Sports Illustrated and The Times (London). Ashley is one of the highest-profile figures in American chess, and has commentated on the game for ESPN and Channel Four Television (UK). He sees chess as playing a role in helping at-risk youth, and has coached a number of junior teams to victory in national championships, most famously the Raging Rooks of Harlem, whose achievement is planned to be the subject of a feature film. In 2003 he was named Grandmaster of the Year by the US Chess Federation.

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"GM Ashley know that he gets excited about chess and he has a way of talking about the game that engages his audience." - Rick Kennedy,

"This is a user-friendly book, which starts out demonstrating how the pieces move but is really aimed at players who can play but need to move to the next stage. I reckon those with a basic rating of 1400+ will benefit most from Ashley's basic tips, which are clearly written and informative" - IM Gary Lane, Australasian Chess

"Ashley says he has a unique approach and in this department he does not disappoint. He has a number of interesting exercises, like visualizing 'landmines' or 'finding the crossing points.' Better yet, Ashley is great at reconceptualizing chess basics. The TRIP method of defense, for example, is a handy way for beginners to remember how to meet a threat: Take, Run, Interpose, or Protect. He also extends the standard idea of thinking of piece values in terms of money by suggesting readers understand the fluid value of pieces as something more akin to the stock market. A pawn might only be worth $1 in some positions, but on the seventh rank its value skyrockets. And that powerful bishop? Reconfigure the central pawns and its stock could tank." - Josh Specht,

"Ashley presents a very novel approach to teaching beginners the basics of the game. It's clear a lot of time and thought have gone into the material presented and it's great to see a really entertaining book for beginners in the shops" - IM Stephen Gordon

"Any avid chess player who would absorb knowledge of the game beyond the rules will appreciate a unique approach that examines the basic characteristics of each piece and shows how the piece can be used to win pieces or give checkmate. This comes from 'the Tiger Woods of chess' and offers players an outstanding survey of moves that lead to victory. Any chess library will appreciate the approach." - California Bookwatch,

"In Part One... Ashley selects positions from his own games and lesser-known gems such as Leonid Yudasin versus Joel Benjamin (2003, rapid game) and Mikhail Tal versus Cathy Forbes (1988). Each position memorably illustrates one of the seven most valuable skills" - Dr Alexey Root, Chess Life

"Especially produced for learners, though the average club player may also benefit, if utilising it as a refresher course" - Bab Wilders, Nederlands Dagblad

"...this book is not only about explaining the utter basics, but also about having fun with chess and with analysing chess games. And that's just why Ashley's book is so nice. He wants his readers to enjoy chess rather than to be very good at it. And this, of course, is the most valuable skill of all." - Arne Moll,

"I have seen a lot of book on chess tactics but how Maurice Ashley brings his chess pieces to life is very special." - John Elburg,

"So many books for beginners start out with good intentions but very soon leave the beginner behind because they try to cover too much ground too quickly. Fortunately this book does not fall into this category. The seven basic skills really are quite basic but they are explained through a generous helping of diagrams and there are simple test positions to assess one's progress and understanding. So full marks to the author for sticking to the basics and avoiding the pitfalls of more famous antecedents." - Alan Sutton, En Passant

"GM Ashley will be best known to most chess fans as the excited commentator on various chess DVDs. For some, his style of delivery is distinctly over-the-top. Others will find it fun and engaging. I know my chess juniors have always reacted well to his commentaries, spoken in a way that suggests he's reporting from a worldwide cataclysmic event. Fans of his audio style will be delighted to hear that the same sort of approach is applied to his written work too, albeit it in slightly lesser force." - Sean Marsh,

"American grandmaster Maurice Ashley has a florid, persuasive style of writing which turns the learning of basic ideas into good fun." - John Saunders, British Chess Magazine