Simple Chess

If each player is capable of quick development, castling and of not blundering any pieces away, what is there to separate the two sides? This is the starting point of Simple Chess.

- Michael Stean

The first time I ever heard of Michael Stean’s Simple Chess was back in 1988. This was ten years after the book first came out but it was recommended as a great introduction into the positional aspects of the game in an article in the first magazine I ever bought.

The last time I heard it referenced by a Master was just a few weeks ago in Keith Arkell's Perpetual Chess interview.

If you know anything at all about Keith you know he’s been earning his living with minority attacks since around the time I was buying that chess magazine. Well it turns out that Stean’s book was where he first picked it up.

From tomorrow, over the next seven weeks (one for each chapter) I’ll be starting a daily series that will eventually become a study companion for the whole book.

You can buy a copy of Simple Chess second hand on eBay for a few pounds. On kindle it’s less than a fiver. The brand new algebraic edition will set you back £6.26. Not that you need that one. I'll be using the old Faber and Faber descriptive notation version.

I hope you'll join me working through this wonderful book.


  1. I watched your interview with Ben earlier this week. I'm an adult re-beginner. I played a bit in my teens and started again in earnest two years ago in the when I was in my mid fifties. I joined my local chess club and got beaten by everybody who was between 9 and 80 years old. I hope I'm better now but can't really tell b/c Covid. This book seems to be a good introduction into positional chess. I'm looking forward to using your companion. Thank you for the great interview which pointed me to the book. I've got the Kindle version.

    1. Hi Steffan,

      Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the podcast and I hope you find the book helpful.

      Let me know how you get on with it. It sometimes takes me a few days to get back to comments but I'll always answer in the end.


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