Games: chess

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Indy Lifestyle Online
If you look at the title page of Disney's Chess Guide by Anatoly Karpov, you will see a picture of Donald Duck playing chess against Mickey Mouse, cheered on by other Disney characters. Although they all seem to be enjoying themselves greatly, I suspect that what Minnie Mouse is trying to tell Mickey is that they're rather goofily playing with the board the wrong way round. As Anatoly Karpov explains on page 33, you have to have a white square at the bottom right-hand corner .

Hang on, I hear you ask; if getting the board the right way round is on page 33, what on earth or Disneyland fills the first 32 pages? Well, there's an introduction by Anatoly Karpov, then a brief section to tell you that you can play chess anywhere as long as you have a chess set, then some dubious history. And then, on page 16, begins a cartoon strip entitled "Goofy in the Land of Chess".

It's a curious story, in which Goofy knocks himself out with the chessboard after losing 20 games to Mickey Mouse, and then has a dream in which he is taken to a land occupied by chess pieces, and then comes on as a substitute bishop in a game between pink pieces and blue pieces after one of the blue bishops is discovered to be a pink piece in disguise. The chess content of all this is zero. Anyway, when he wakes up, Goofy has somehow learnt enough to beat Mickey, which leaves the Mouse looking extremely unhappy. Having inspired its readers to want to win at chess, the book then moves on to going through the rules, which takes some 50 pages, then a few traps and checkmates, and a final chapter of "Famous Games". These begin with one allegedly by Napoleon (whose name on its third appearance is misprinted as Napoleone) and end with Kasparov's final loss to Deep Blue last year. All are given with only the most cursory of introductions, so will be way beyond the understanding of the book's readers.

Disney's Chess Guide is published by Batsfords, price pounds 7.99.