My father taught me chess at a young age. I am still not very good, though. Now, we have started again playing against one another and analyze positions. He remembered a book, which he possessed but lost, and is desperate to find it again. Hopefully one of you will help me identify it. Here is what I know:

  • old book, from the 70s or before
  • Russian author, or at least Slavic-sounding name
  • included the very beginning of chess, legal moves, main principles etc for total beginners
  • introduced different mini-games, including the 'game of 8 pawns', played only with the pawns (no king, the goal is to reach promotion)
  • the cover included some white and green, and some chessboard but angled 45 degrees

Sorry, this is all my ageing father can remember. He says it is the best chess book he has ever read.

  • 3
    and here are some related links, I'd primarily try to narrow the search using the 8-pawn game criterion. a) Pawn only chess, b) Comprehensive Chess Course, vol.1 see the item description, c) and the book "Chess Openings for white, explained..." matches your cover description.
    – Ellie
    Feb 19, 2018 at 16:35
  • 2
    Could he be confusing a couple of different books? Based on the cover, and the Russian author, that could the English translation of Peter Romanovksy's 'Chess Middlegame Planning'.
    – Herb
    Feb 19, 2018 at 17:58
  • FYI, Andrew Soltis describes the pawn only variant in 'Studying Chess Made Easy', but doesn't give a reference as to who taught it
    – user1108
    Feb 20, 2018 at 14:06
  • 1
    Was it actually written in Russian or just a translation to another language (which one?) from Russian perhaps? Feb 26, 2018 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


The first thing I would suggest is going to an old book site, like Abebooks.com and putting in chess titles or keywords that come to mind. They show covers with the old books they have for sale. A key thing you left out, soft cover or hard back?

Check "Comprehensive Chess Course series" of books by Lev Alburt and his coauthor Palatnik, Sam. They comment in one of them about rules for the "pawn game". He apparently references the Soviet Chess Program or schools as the source of the game. One Title of the series: The King in Jeopardy: The Best Techniques for Attack and Defense (Comprehensive Chess Course Series) Alburt, Lev, Palatnik,Sam.

I have seen the cover you are describing in my searches for books but I do not remember who it was I was searching. I commonly look for Chernev and Botvinik so it may be one of theirs. I will keep looking. I too have a favorite book I learned from "Fireside Book of Chess" by Reinfeld.

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