Below: Graham Burgess (left) and John Watson

Graham Burgess and John Watson

For chess-players of all ages and abilities, it is vital to get off to a good start. This simple guide provides all the tips and ideas needed to play purposefully from move one. That’s because these 50 Mighty Openings are the very ones used by chess masters and grandmasters to outwit opponents time and again.

This book teaches the names and starting moves of all the main chess openings, and explains the basic ideas. Beginners will learn how to position their pieces for maximum impact. More experienced players will discover some remarkable tactical and strategic themes that are vital for chess mastery.

Throughout the book, numerous devastating opening traps are highlighted. You will have fun posing difficult problems for your opponent - whether a friend, a chess-club rival or your Dad!

Chess Openings for Kids makes learning the chess openings fun. Playing these powerful openings helps develop an understanding of how the pieces work together. Soon you will be able to play strong moves in any opening position, and approach every game with confidence – and success.

International Master John Watson is a former US National High School Chess Champion. He is arguably the world’s foremost writer on chess openings, and the author of award-winning books on chess strategy. In 2022 he was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame as “one of the greatest writers in the history of American chess”. FIDE Master Graham Burgess has written more than twenty chess books, ranging from general guides to works on specific openings. He also holds the world record for marathon blitz chess playing.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

“Fifty openings and defences explained...very high quality presentation throughout” – British Chess Magazine

“I like the layout of this book, and its design makes it possible for readers to just ‘drop in’ on any particular chapter, learn something, and then move along....Chess Openings for Kids should get a lot more use by 95% of chess-playing kids than the more comprehensive opening tomes like ECO, MCO or BCO” – Rick Kennedy,

“Highly recommended as a first book on openings and maybe as the book that will replace all the unread opening books in your chess library.” –

“...provides a very succinct overview of the main openings and the ideas behind them. ... my favourite aspect of the book was the set of pithy subtitles given to each chapter. Sometimes flippant, they nevertheless shed just a little light on the opening in question. ... one of those sentiments may inspire you to try the opening in question, and that’s exactly what the authors recommend” – GM Luke McShane, New-in-Chess

“There are many good books available to help kids improve, and Gambit Publications in England has some of the best. A good new instructional book from Gambit called Chess Openings for Kids would make ideal summer reading. ... The book is really an ideal way for a parent to help a child enhance his or her chess knowledge. It introduces kids to the otherwise bewildering array of names and variations of the openings. Along the way, it discusses every significant principle of strategy.” – Cecil Rosner, Winnipeg Free Press

“...a quality book that will help players of all ages and strengths. ... Not only will the player learn the names of these openings, but he will also have the basic ideas behind the moves explained in a very user friendly way. The book teaches the beginner how to place his pieces in the best possible manner. ... Players of all ages will benefit as well as the stronger player who will have many strategic and tactical themes revealed that are essential for mastery of the game.” – Patrick Foley, Sunday Times (South Africa)

“The first few pages go through algebraic notation and some of the principles of how to play the opening. Then we are into the openings with two pages being afforded to each one. I believe that great skill was required to do this because it is very hard to try to explain the key elements of any opening in just two pages – but the authors pull this off with aplomb. ... If this book had been available to me when I was learning chess at the age of 12, I would have more easily been able to work out what openings I wanted to play according to my own style and preferences. To have 50 opening choices in one very handy volume (and tremendously well priced for a hardback!) is excellent and parents/teachers wishing to work on openings with children – and indeed adults should obtain a copy whilst you can. ... Great for kids.” – Carl Portman,

“...all major chess openings plus all the strategies...A lovely easy learning openings book!” – John Elburg,

“The idea of the book is to provide basic information for juniors on 50 Mighty Openings. Six pages of introductory comments, highlighting the merits of thing such as development, King safety and pawn structure. Then it’s on to the 50 Mighty Openings in question. These include all of the classics, starting with the Giuoco Piano and ending up with the Reti Opening. Each one received a double-page spread of coverage, with good notes and plenty of diagrams to explain the first few moves. ... The book succeeds in its aim. Juniors, familiar with the moves and basic tactics and now wanting to take the next step, should be able to strengthen their play and worry their opponents with some judicious name-dropping.” – Sean Marsh,

Gambit books by Watson: The Gambit Guide to the Modern Benoni, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy, Chess Strategy in Action, Mastering the Chess Openings volume 1, Mastering the Chess Openings volume 2, Mastering the Chess Openings volume 3, Mastering the Chess Openings volume 4, Chess Openings for Kids, A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire for White.

Gambit books by Graham Burgess: Chess Highlights of the 20th Century, Gambit Guide to the Torre Attack, The Slav, The Taimanov Sicilian, Chess Openings for Kids, The Gambit Book of Instructive Chess Puzzles, A Cunning Chess Opening Repertoire for White.