Uncle Leester’s Rhyming Chess Tutor

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I don’t often review books that don’t exist, but this is one that ought to be: Uncle Leester’s Rhyming Chess Tutor, by yours truly.

No one will publish your chess book unless you’re an official and bona fide chess master. But what chess master knows how to communicate with beginners? What chess master knows how to write?

I stake pre-emptive claim to this idea. I am not a chess master, but if you’re just starting in chess, then I know more than you, so there. And this book is meant for you. Here are a few examples.

The Knight jumps over friend and foe/ His L-shaped move–just watch him go!

The fate of the Pawn is most lamentable:/ It always seems he’s quite expendable./ However, though it’s seldom seen,/Sometimes the Pawn is crowned a Queen.

There will also be a chapter on opening moves.

If you enjoy a wild melee,/ It’s the King’s Gambit you should play…


The under-rated Philidor/ Is guaranteed to raise a snore;/ But with his move of …2.d6,/ Black reaches into a bag of tricks…

I learned chess from other kids, on the playground, on the picnic table in my friends’ back yard across the street. No paid coaches. No computers. It’s a game, for Pete’s sake! Like Sorry or Monopoly. It’s supposed to be fun. It shouldn’t be all about gavones writing in to Bruce Pandolfini, “I have just signed my 4-year-old son to a contract with an expert chess instructor. How long will it take for him to become a Grand Master?”

The Rhyming Chess Tutor is guaranteed not to turn anyone into a Grand Master. Full refund, if it does!

8 comments on “Uncle Leester’s Rhyming Chess Tutor

  1. One of my cousins, Russell, did become a chess champion when he was 11 or 12. He played all games for keeps, especially strategy games, which I suppose helped him advance in his Navy career later on. (I don’t mean this in a disparaging way. I loved Russell dearly and still miss him, five years after his death.) Another cousin, Jerry, and I used to play board games and card games just as games, as a way of being together. In fact, when it looked as though one of us was going to win — thus ending the game — the one who was about to win would usually cheat in the other’s favor, just to keep the game going. Jerry and I still joke about this.

    Once, Russell tried to teach Jerry and me to play chess — real, competitive chess, like the kind he played. I probably don’t need to tell you that Jerry and I did our usual cheating in each other’s favor, such as deliberately moving into check, deliberately “not noticing” and moving away instead of checkmating, and so on. Russell almost had apoplexy. He swore he would never try to teach us chess again. So Jerry and I went back to our board games and card games, where we didn’t have to worry about winning.

    I guess that’s why I never became a colonel in the AF or a CEO of any private-sector company I ever worked for. I don’t seem to have an ambitious bone in my body.

  2. Very clever, Lee 🙂

    We played many board and card games growing up, and my dad tried to get me to play chess, but, alas, to no avail. Now scrabble or a giant jigsaw puzzle, that’s a different story!

  3. I tried chess, but I was never very good. I agree wholeheartedly about thennear obsession some have with it. It is a game, nothing more, nothing less.

    1. To be really good at chess, you have to work at it all the time. I’m about as good as you can get without computers, coaches, etc. But it’s just too demanding, to keep my play at its highest level. So I am content with it being at a lower level. After all, who cares?

    2. When I was in my teens I met some peers that were far beyond my skill level. I guess I just wasn’t interested enough to pursue attaining their level of skill and I doubt that I’ve played more than a handful of times since then.

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