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When it comes to chess, the more you know, the better your game will be. And that’s why we’ve put together this list of the 15 best chess books for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Whether you’re a beginner just starting out, or an experienced player looking to improve your skills even further, these books will provide guidance and inspiration on how to play the game at its best.
Best Chess Books
Following are some of the best chess books for all levels – beginners, intermediate and advanced.
1. Chess 101 by Dave Schloss
Learning how to play chess involves more than just knowing how to move the pieces. Chess 101, is a chess book for beginners that provides comprehensive chess training about everything a new player needs to know like types of boards and pieces, setting up the board, the value of pieces, how pieces move, etc.
Chess 101 also contains over two dozen exhibits, designed to help you learn to play chess with ease!
2. Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by Bobby Fischer and Stuart Margulies
Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess is a chess puzzle book written by Bobby Fischer and co-authored by Stuart Margulies and Donn Mosenfelder, originally published in 1966. It is one of the best-selling chess books of all time, with over one million copies sold.
The book is intended for beginners and uses a programmed learning approach, permitting readers to go back and retry each question if they give a wrong answer. Unusually for a modern chess book, it requires no knowledge of chess notation, using only diagrams with arrows and verbal descriptions of chess moves such as “rook-takes-pawn-check”.
The book begins with an explanation of the rules of chess. The puzzles focus largely on finding checkmate; combinations involving back rank mates are particularly emphasized.
3. Winning Chess Strategy for Kids by Jeff Coakley
Winning Chess Strategy for Kids is a fun and comprehensive chess course written for children 7 to 13 years old. With entertaining artwork, it’s a perfect guide for learning the royal game.
The book begins on square one: covering the rules, basic mates, and elementary tactics. It then leads the student through a whole range of advanced strategies, including piece development, pawn structure, and attacking the castled king. Opening principles, middlegame plans, and endgames techniques are all explained in clear and simple language.
Separate sections throughout the book are devoted to combinations and terminology.
Whether kids are learning chess for recreation or are interested in playing competitively, Winning Chess Strategy for Kids will help them understand the game better and enjoy it more.
4. The Steps Method by Rob Brunia and Cor van Wijgerden
The step-by-step method has been developed by Rob Brunia and Cor van Wijgerden to teach children to play chess. A large number of schools and chess clubs use this method for their chess lessons.
This method consists of six steps. Each step is accompanied by an instruction book with the teaching material to be used by the trainer/teacher/parent and a workbook with exercises for the students. The book is designed and written for the independent learner.
5. Beginning Chess by Bruce Pandolfini
Bruce Pandolfini is one of the world’s most sought-after chess teachers and one of the most widely read chess writers working today. Pandolfini also created over 300 hypothetical games as a consultant for Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit.
What makes this book different from others of its kind is its simplicity. Every problem can be answered in one move, and no problem requires more than ten pieces on the board. The most common tactical themes are featured, including forks, pins, skewers, underminings, x-rays, and traps–giving the novice a well-rounded introduction to the game.
1. Logical Chess – Move By Move by Irving Chernev
Having learned the basic moves, how exactly should a player improve? In this popular classic, the author explains 33 complete games, in detail, move by move, including the reason for each one. Playing through these games and explanations gives a real insight into the power of the pieces and how to post them most effectively.
2. How to Study Chess on Your Own by Davorin Kuljasevic
Every chess player wants to improve, but many, if not most, lack the tools or the discipline to study in an effective way. With so much material on offer, the eternal question is: ‘How can I study chess without wasting my time and energy?’
Davorin Kuljasevic provides the full and ultimate answer, as he presents a structured study approach that has long-term improvement value. He explains how to study and what to study, offers specific advice for the various stages of the game, and points out how to integrate all elements in an actionable study plan.
Davorin Kuljasevic reflects on learning techniques and priorities in a fundamental way. And although this is not an exercise book, it is full of instructive examples looked at from unusual angles.
3. Amateur to IM: Proven Ideas and Training Methods by Jonathan Hawkins
Focusing his attention firmly on the endgame, Jonathan devised a number of building blocks and identified a number of very important areas of study. The result of his hard work was a meteoric rise through the ranks, as he became firmly established as a prominent GM killer on the English tournament circuit. These pages reveal the secrets of his notebooks for the first time.
IM Hawkins presents special material aimed to help you become a much better practical player, one armed with a deeper understanding of key aspects of chess. A careful study of the lessons presented in this book should enable the chess student to gain significant improvement.
4. Chess Tactics from Scratch by Martin Weteschnik
‘Chess is 99 percent tactics’ is an old saying. When Martin Weteschnik started working as a trainer in his local chess club, he quickly realized that even the stronger club players had great weaknesses in their tactical play. He also discovered that simply asking them to solve a huge number of puzzles did not fix the problem. So he decided to write it himself.
Chess is a visual game. A chess player must be able to recognize elementary patterns, therefore the tactics in this book will be primarily explained graphically. This approach is supported by a large number of diagrams, which will also allow the reader to study this book without a chessboard.
Chess is also a game of logic. Logic, in the same way as chess tactics, depends on collecting and processing information. This book will show you how to accurately find the elements of tactics, and work with them creatively.
5. My system by Aron Nimzowitsch
My System (German: Mein System) is a book on chess theory written by Aron Nimzowitsch. Originally over a series of five brochures from 1925 to 1927, the book—one of the early works on hyper-modernism—introduced many new concepts to followers of the modern school of thought. It is generally considered to be one of the most important books in the history of chess.
For many years, Nimzovich was known as the “Stormy Petrel” of the chess world. Today, his profound theories of positional chess are accepted as a matter of course, and a knowledge of them is essential to every player who wants to improve his game.
My System describes a theory of chess; it also describes the character and genius of its author. It is a very readable book, for Nimzovich’s methods sparkle with humor, pungent originality, and witty explanations.
1. The Shereshevsky Method to Improve in Chess by Mikhail Shereshevsky
In this book, Mikhail Shereshevsky Explained how you can build your opening repertoire, How to work on chess classics, and how to play endgame more efficiently. Mikhail Shereshevsky is one of the most famous authors in the world.
He has already written classic books like endgame strategy. Studying this book properly will improve your overall understanding and you will also understand the exact method for chess improvement.
2. How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman
Author Jeremy Silman is very famous due to his endgame book. He also contributed many books. Reassessing your chess teaches you how to make a good plan. It will also help you to change your overall chess strategies. you will also understand your positional mistakes and how to play practical chess.
3. Grandmaster Preparation – Positional Play by Jacob Aagaard
Grandmaster preparation is one of the finest series written by Grandmaster Jacob Aagaard. This whole series is mainly recommended for master-level players and above. But few books like positional play and strategic play can be learned by advanced chess players. It’s a recommended book for players with rating above 1800. Most probably many players will find puzzles too hard because they are hard but you can try to solve these puzzles and you can learn a lot from that process only.
4. Mastering Chess Middlegames by Alexander Panchenko
Russian grandmaster Alexander Panchenko published this masterpiece with New in Chess. The book contains a collection of inspiring lessons on the most important middlegame topics: attack, defense, counterplay, realizing the advantage, obstructing the plans of your opponent, the battle of the heavy pieces, and much more. After every chapter, Panchenko gives positions for practice and positions to play which is the most important thing the book offers.
5. Vishy Anand: World Chess Champion by Vishy Anand and John Nunn
Written by a former world champion himself, this book is a real gem. Vishy, who comes from a small town in South India, becomes World Champion with very limited resources. Because of him, we are watching Indian chess touch a new high every year.
In this book, John Nunn along with Vishy Anand explained many of his classical games. The New edition also features biographical information and a career record. This book is for you if you want to enjoy the highest quality of games analyzed by none other than 5 times the World Chess Champion.
If you are looking to improve your chess game, any of the 15 chess books on this list would be a great place to start. Not only will you learn new strategies and tactics, but you will also deep insight into the mindset of some of the greatest chess players. So what are you waiting for? Pick up a book and start playing!
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Image Credit: Chess board vector created by upklyak – www.freepik.com