Book review: A Bible Book of Chess

by Sheila Deeth


Here’s a cute little book for you. I couldn’t resist, because it combines two of my loves: chess and religion.

This is a primer for children, beginning at the very beginning (how to move the pieces) and touching only the basics of strategy. There really isn’t much “religion” involved … just enough to give it a proper flavor for a Bible camp where Sheila was asked to teach. For example, the book begins with the story of how Noah sailed a ship and landed on a high mountain, where he was saved. Well, the chessboard is your world for this book, and if you don’t steer toward the mountain (the center four squares) you are going to be in trouble.

Sheila is a writer with a background in various Christian branches; her husband serves as the chess expert, being a former Utah State Champion. But it’s Sheila who was coerced into teaching chess at a grade school, and she’s since accumulated thirteen years of teaching chess at the primary and secondary levels. The experience culminated in this new training aid for children. It’s illustrated, complete, and simple, and contains a number of suggested learning games to reinforce the ideas. For example, kids are encouraged to play a game with nothing but pawns, to see who can be the first to get a pawn to the 8th rank.

Pick it up with a new chess set for your young reader this Christmas!