Chess Books

Book Review – The Queen of Chess

Judit Polgar is an inspiration to chess players throughout the world. The strongest female player ever, she is outspoken in encouraging girls, women, and children to learn to play chess.

The Queen of Chess was written by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by Stevie Lewis.  Written and illustrated for children, this book avoids the problems many books about chess have faced. Polgar’s story needs no embellishment. She became an international chess sensation by the time she was nine years old, and during her career she defeated 11 World Chess Champions, including Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen when each was ranked the best in the world.

The book takes its readers through her history, starting when she learned the rules of the game at age five. Children will be able to relate to her path and should find inspiration from the success that came from her dedication and hard work.

Appropriately, the book avoids all mention of controversies. There is no mention of the game she lost to Kasparov that was marred by his violation of the touch move rule. Later, Polgar beat him after he had suggested that she was a “circus puppet” and that women should stick to having children instead of playing competitive chess. Polgar faced discrimination both because she is a woman and because she is Jewish. That she overcame irrational prejudice in a game of logic and skill makes her journey more impressive, but it was good judgment to avoid those subjects in a book for children.

Polgar has written her own series of instructional chess books for children. Chess Playground, illustrated by her sister International Master Sofia Polgar, is in use in schools in her native Hungary and in China.

The Queen of Chess offers a few basics about the game and provides a puzzle that comes from a game Judit won at age nine. The book is not designed to teach chess but provides a wonderful introduction to one of the heroes of chess. Published by Little Bee Books, this book is a suitable gift for students in the primary grades (kindergarten through third grade).

Cover photograph courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

Chess champion, David Sherman, will play a simultaneous exhibition at the Day of the Book Festival on Sunday, April 21 in Kensington, MD

The 17th Kensington Day of the Book Festival will be on Sunday, April 21. We will be there to play chess with anyone who wants to join us.

In addition to the chess tent, there will be live music, authors reading from their books and engaging in discussions, children’s programs, cookbook demos (and quite a variety of food vendors), poetry readings, and booksellers.

For many years, Allan Savage performed a simultaneous chess exhibition at the festival. Allan, a friend of the Center, passed away unexpectedly during the pandemic, and the Center has picked up the torch.

David Sherman, a former Maryland and DC Champion who used to teach chess with us, volunteered last year and again this year to continue Mr. Savage’s tradition.

Looking for Chess Books? The U.S. Chess Center also has over a thousand used chess books for sale, starting at $1.00 and up and your purchase helps support the charitable mission of the Chess Center.  Peruse our inventory of used chess books at

Used Chess Books For Sale

The U.S. Chess Center has over a thousand used chess books for sale, starting at $1.00 and up.  We have been working to inventory our collection and enable online perusal.  Check out the list of books we’ve cataloged for sale so far in this Google Sheet or on our Libib Bookshelf2021-07-16 UPDATE: Peruse and purchase books here:

Email with inquiries or to purchase any books.  Buyer pays shipping or local pick-up is available.  Your purchase helps support the charitable mission of the Chess Center.  Thank you!