The Best Books About Learning Chess

Published: 8 September 2023
Written by Chris Beach

Ever found yourself intrigued by the alluring world of chess and yearn for an engaging, comprehensive guide to unravel its mysteries? That's what this blog post is about - exploring a selection of the best books about learning chess that will help you navigate your way from novice to experienced player. These carefully selected books can provide you with insights into winning chess strategy, enabling you to think logically and tactically on every move.

Whether it's figuring out classic plays or deciphering complicated tactics, these encompassing guides offer invaluable lessons. Imagine being able to confidently play chess at your local club with a command over diverse strategies! Understanding complex chess openings will no longer be intimidating as these remarkable pieces of literature shine light onto them. They're intended not merely for passive reading but as resources facilitating active engagement in the dynamic world of playing chess. Nestled within their pages are secrets behind achieving coveted positions like pawn structures, piece activity and king safety - keys required for true mastery in this intricate game. Broaden your perspective on what it truly means being a logical Chess Player while immersing yourself into a realm that amalgamates intellectuality and entertainment-that's the fascinating Chess World!

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Table of Contents

• Top Chess Books for Beginners
• Must-Read Chess Books for Intermediate Players
• Classic Chess Books by Chess Legends
• Conclusion

Frequently Asked Questions
• Can books really help improve my chess game?
• Do I need any additional tools apart from the books to learn chess effectively?
• How long does it take to become proficient at chess if I study from a book?

• Related Posts
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Key Takeaways

  • "Chess 101" by Dave Schloss is a great start for new players to learn chess basics.

  • Intermediate chess players can improve their gaming strategies with books like "How to Reassess Your Chess" by Jeremy Silman.

  • Classics from legendary world champion chessplayer Bobby Fischer and others provide insights into advanced tactics of the game.

  • The book list includes options suited for every level, from children beginners to adult intermediates.

Top Chess Books for Beginners

Venturing into the world of chess can be daunting - luckily, "Chess 101" by Dave Schloss is a great guide for new players. Another brilliant start for kids is "Winning Chess Strategies for Kids" by Jeff Coakley, which makes learning fun and engaging.

You could also learn from a legend with "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess," co-authored by Stuart Margulies and Don Mosenfelder. Dive deeper into the game tactics with "The Steps Method" by Rob Brunia & Cor van Wijgerden - a favorite among beginners.

Ending this list on a high note is Bruce Pandolfini's "Beginning Chess"; it simplifies complex strategies making them easier to grasp!

Chess 101 by Dave Schloss

Book cover of Chess 101
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For those yearning to embark on the grand journey into the world of chess, Dave Schloss's "Chess 101" serves as an ideal starting point. Intent on equipping new players with everything they need to take their first confident steps onto the checkered battlefield, this book covers all rudimentary guides - from piece placement and movement (including castling and en passant), constructing chess notation, adhering to etiquette of the game, and much more. So comprehensive is its coverage that it comes approved by

"Chess 101," according to specialists in this ancient game of strategy, offers a beautifully simple tutorial while simultaneously illuminating what makes this sport so fascinating; no mean feat amidst a sea of beginner-level manuals. Encompassing every critical aspect such as how gameplay works up until entering your first tournament battle-grounds along with tons more content for rookies, Schloss has presented us with an enchantingly succinct tutorial into this regal past-time. With its unmatched clarity and organization structure guiding readers through topics ranging from board setup and piece values straight through implementing strategic elements in gameplay - there is no question about why it fills a unique gap amongst newcomer-oriented publications regardless if you're elementary-age or adult looking for reliable information. Don't be deceived by its compact size; within these pages are essential lessons worth any beginner's attention.

Winning Chess Strategies for Kids by Jeff Coakley

Book cover of Winning Chess Strategies for Kids
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This exciting and comprehensive course on chess is specially tailored for youngsters aged between 7 and 13. Bursting with unique content and captivating illustrations, it's the ideal introduction to this venerable game that will also appeal to parents and educators.

Starting from the basics - explaining rules, standard checkmates, and simple tactics - the material smoothly transitions into more advanced strategies like piece development, pawn structures, and assaulting a fortified king. It eloquently delves into opening principles, middlegame tactics, as well as endgame techniques using easily-understood language. The book contains defined sections focusing on chess combinations and nomenclature. Regardless whether kids are dipping their toes into this engaging pastime or pursuing competitive play ambitions, this resource ensures they'll both comprehend chess deeply and relish playing it immensely.

Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by Bobby Fischer, Stuart Margulies, and Don Mosenfelder

Book cover of Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
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Dive headfirst into an unparalleled chess training experience delivered by the world's greatest player. This ingenious method is designed to be fast, efficient, and above all enjoyable - perfect for both beginners getting a grip on the game and seasoned players seeking intricate strategies.

Prepare to sharpen your skills with practical problems and exercises aimed at perfecting your checkmate technique. Benefit from this unique learning approach, crafted carefully to up your game in a way that resonates with you. Regardless of where you currently stand in terms of skill level, get ready for some major chess mastery!

The Steps Method by Rob Brunia and Cor van Wijgerden

Book cover of The Steps Method
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This guide, the first in an illustrious chess-teaching series, caters to the novice player and those with a ranking of up to 800. Not just one book but several workbooks make up the initial level including basic, extra, plus and mix versions. There's a clear methodological approach that unfolds over six stages. Every stage includes its own workbook packed full of exercises as well as handy summaries for learners to refer back to.

The gem within this system lies not only in content but also structure designed specifically for instructors; it could be anyone - teachers, coaches or even parents guiding their child's learning journey at home. The writer cleverly minimizes dependence on deep prior knowledge of chess from these mentors by providing comprehensive lesson outlines complete with teaching aids tailored for children at various development stages. Further strengthening mastery comes complemented via supplementary workbooks filled with exercise materials that mirror lessons taught throughout this manual.

Beginning Chess by Bruce Pandolfini

Book cover of Beginning Chess
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Step into the captivating world of chess with this remarkably accessible guide created especially for beginners. This comprehensive anthology, a testament to years of instructive experience, delivers a goldmine of lessons hand-crafted for fledgling enthusiasts, paving their way to prowess in this timeless game.

What sets this guide apart in the cluttered marketplace, is its admirable simplicity. Every puzzle offered is solvable in a single move, none presenting more than ten pieces on the board, thereby keeping things manageable for beginners. Resiliently traversing the essential tactical themes - forks, pins, skewers, underminings, x-rays, and traps, this book ensures novices are packaged with a well-rounded acumen to navigate the chess board.

Must-Read Chess Books for Intermediate Players

If you're an intermediate player, take your chess gaming level up a notch with 'How to Reassess Your Chess' by Jeremy Silman. Dive into game-changing strategies in Aron Nimzowitsch's 'My System'.

Experience the historic Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953 through David Bronstein's perspectives. Foster Grandmaster-like thinking through Alexander Kotov's 'Think Like a Grandmaster'.

Lastly, polish your endgame skills with Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master by Jeremy Silman.

How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman

Book cover of How to Reassess Your Chess
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This once-in-a-generation guide considered the holy grail among chess enthusiasts, is its fourth reincarnation, revised thoroughly with fresh examples and deeper exploration of the game-changing concept of imbalances. Tailor-made for both chess players in the 1400 to 2100 bracket and tutor in search of a comprehensive study plan, it takes you on an enlightening voyage through the foundations of imbalances, meticulously covering every detail. Completing this journey leaves you with an invaluable prize: a master-level understanding of positional chess, something many aspiring players only dream of.

The novelty of this guide is its segment on chess psychology, a first of its kind, exploring the mental and emotional challenges that stunt players of all levels. Easy-to-understand advice and practical techniques are provided to alleviate these common obstacles. A collection of hundreds of games, enriched with detailed instructions, light-hearted stories and memorable lessons, breathes life into the concepts discussed in the guide. If deciphering the grand strategies of chess maestros has always been Greek to you, or if you've found yourself a mere pawn in a game of positional chess, this guide could be the game-changer you've been looking for. This revered international chess master and author, celebrated for his instructive writing and known for his contribution

My System by Aron Nimzowitsch

Book cover of My System
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Seeds of modern chess philosophy were first sown in this groundbreaking masterwork. Initially published as five separate pieces during the mid-1920s, it championed a new perspective on hypermodernism, introducing fresh concepts that revolutionized the existing school of thought. In essence, dissecting its pages uncovers some of the most influential theories in our beloved game.

Many consider this gem to be one of pivotal significance within chess history. The teachings contained within have not only challenged but pushed boundaries and norms widely accepted at the time. Today, we can look back at these innovative theories - once considered radical - as fundamentals vital to any serious player's understanding & mastery over the checkered battlefield.

Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953 by David Bronstein

Book cover of Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953
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Here's an interesting gem for all you budding chess enthusiasts! "Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953" penned by David Bronstein is a classic that shouldn't miss your bookshelf.

This isn't just another archive of games; it presents them with pure artistry and astute analysis from the legendary grandmaster himself. The tournament documented in this book was certainly no ordinary one either - seen as a prestigious event through which the challenger for the world championship emerged.

With insights being offered into each move annotated beautifully, every page drips with wisdom to make you improve your game strategy! So if you want to delve deeper into chess tactics, making this best learning resource part of your shelf would be worth more than just a checkmate!

Think Like a Grandmaster by Alexander Kotov

Book cover of Think Like a Grandmaster
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Falling into the league of must-reads for intermediate chess players is "Think Like a Grandmaster" by Alexander Kotov. A Soviet Chess grandmaster himself, Kotov brings immense insight and an analytical approach to his book that makes it more than just a simple guide.

The magic lies in the breakdown; he meticulously deconstructs games throughout providing key strategic tips.

Contrary to some who may view this book as controversial due its creator's reputation as a soviet toady, I see it as an invaluable tool for those looking for depth in their game understanding.

This book doesn't merely count moves or discuss openings; it positions you right inside the mind of a grandmaster! Leveraging my own experience with this book, I can assure you that once involved, your chess acumen takes on new heights seldom reached.

Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master by Jeremy Silman

Book cover of Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master
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Dive into the universe of chess endgames with this all-inclusive guide, perfect for players eager to evolve and enhance their skills across all gameplay stages. This revolutionary approach ensures that you comprehend everything necessary at your current rating stage while also preparing you to advance further. Look forward to grasping each vital concept as you climb from a novice level up to becoming a competent tournament competitor and eventually a master.

This unique resource demonstrates core foundations using an engaging conversation-like tutorial style that makes learning easy regardless of learner's stage or experience. Starting with basic mates and gradually exploring critical elements forming the endgame foundation, this book presents advanced strategies in simplistic terms, avoiding reliance on rote memorization but rather focusing on understanding key concepts. It emphasizes mastering Opposition, Lucena & Philidor Positions, Cat & Mouse game strategy,Trebuchet technique among others - these are crucial features toward building well-rounded endgame proficiency. Moreover, it goes beyond mere technicalities by fostering an appreciation for the beauty of endgame play through discussions about significant tactics like minor piece domination alongside appreciation essays featuring top-notch performers in history every chess enthusiast should know about - making late-game scenarios less intimidating and more empowering instead.

Classic Chess Books by Chess Legends

Dive into the minds of chess titans with "My 60 Memorable Games" by Bobby Fischer, revel in the dynamic games chronicled in "Life and Games of Mikhail Tal" by Mikhail Tal himself. Gain strategic insights from "Karpov's Strategic Wins", a two-volume masterpiece by Tibor Karolyi.

Explore Garry Kasparov's fascinating analysis of past world champions with his series "My Great Predecessors". Lastly, equip yourself with cunning tips and tactics found in Simon Webb's "Chess for Tigers".

These classics provide essential wisdom from legendary leaders in the game.

My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer

Book cover of My 60 Memorable Games
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If you're like me, and want to truly experience the game of chess from a master's perspective, then Bobby Fischer's "My 60 Memorable Games" should be your next read. It ranks high among the most significant chess books ever written.

The page-turner was first published in 1969 and holds an astonishing collection of Fischer's feats in competitive play from the 1957 New Jersey Open right through his later years of dominance.

One thing that makes this chess book exceptional is that it offers insight into not just any grandmaster's thought process but shows you how one of history's greatest players navigated through real-life games with detailed comments about strategy and mental agility for each move.

Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by Mikhail Tal

Book cover of Life and Games of Mikhail Tal
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Swept up in the miraculous life of the Latvian wonder, known popularly as the 'magician from Riga', we're taken on a passionate journey through a career that glistened with memorable highlights and heartfelt observations. A fascinating confession of his experiences; weaving his masterful games amongst engaging anecdotes, candid self-dialogues and astute recounting of confrontations - both triumphant and challenging - creating an absorbing narrative. Yet it was not all smooth sailing for this chess whizz who possessed an ineffable love for the game. His perennial health issues would periodically land him in hospital yet failed to eclipse his ardent spirit or diminish his extraordinary prowess at manipulating pieces on the checkered battlefield.

His annotations projected far beyond just another collection of games, making them captivating even for those mildly acquainted with chess. Readers are bound to be caught up by Tal's indomitable enthusiasm and vibrancy painted across every engagement he encountered over 64 squares right until 1992 when he departed this world leaving behind an unmatched legacy steeped in achievement. Packaged along is a comprehensive record revealing close to hundred meticulously analyzed confrontations alongside countless position renditions sure to provide sheer delight while sipping a cuppa on leisurely afternoons.

Karpov's Strategic Wins (two volumes) by Tibor Karolyi

Book cover of Karpov's Strategic Wins
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Diving into the masterful strategies of Anatoly Karpov, Karolyi's two-part work takes you deep into intricate battles on the chessboard. Across the series, readers witness a collection of wins from 1986 to 2010 that cemented Karpov's legendary status.

Riveting rivalries with Garry Kasparov form a key part of this captivating anthology. You'll appreciate both volumes - but particularly 'Karpov's Strategic Wins 2 - The Prime Years,' praised worldwide as an incredible trove bursting with strategic gems penned by one of the greatest chess legends.

Authored by Tibor Karolvi, considered one among today's leading chess writers.

My Great Predecessors by Garry Kasparov

Book cover of My Great Predecessors
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Embark on a thrilling journey through the most epic battles in chess history, not just captivating die-hard fans of the game but also sparking excitement among general audiences. The chessboard is conversely conceived as an expanse for high-stakes intellectual warfare, where global champions clash as formidable masters of thought.

This spectacular convergence of games from yesteryears serves as ground zero to our riveting exploration into the history and evolution of World Chess Championships. With this compilation, you're treated to scrutinizing analyses inciting profound respect for legendary players from bygone eras such as Wilhelm Steintz (1886-1894), Emanuel Lasker (1894-1921), Jose Capablanca (1921-1927) and Alexander Alekhine (1927-1935 and 1937-1946). But it's more than simply absorbing their masterful plays - it delves deeper by setting these extraordinary individuals against a rich tapestry inclusive of historical events, political intrigues and shifting cultural tides. Each champion left indelible impressions upon the sands of time with their trademark styles reshaping strategies leading onwards in the game's illustrious lore.

Chess for Tigers by Simon Webb

Book cover of Chess for Tigers
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Brace yourself to adopt the fierce mindset of a tiger - unyieldingly focused on one thing only: victory. The essence drawn from this chess guide prompts players not just towards conventional or textbook instruction, but rather emphasizes a ruthless drive for winning, dismissing any obsession over integrating 'perfect' moves or embracing the aesthetic facets of the game.

The transformation nurtures players into indomitable forces that flex their tactical strengths and effectively exploit opponents' weaknesses while consciously directing gameplay towards scenarios suiting their personal style. It provides strategic insights to enhance odds against formidable players and presents tips to dodge trivial blunders which might cost dearly. This rebooted version immortalizes its stature as an indispensable companion in every challenger's arsenal, with beginners particularly standing to gain substantially.


In conclusion, chess mastery isn't something that materializes overnight. It demands diligence, an analytical mind, and most importantly - a never-ending passion for the game. While these books provide formidable advice, putting theory into practice is paramount to true understanding. I highly recommend heading over to your local chess club and rolling up those sleeves! A real game against an opponent aspiring like you can breathe life into learned strategies far beyond what any book can depict. Remember - to become a chess champion it's all about immersing yourself in the world of 64 squares; one smart move at a time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can books really help improve my chess game?

Absolutely! Books can provide valuable strategies, tactics, and insight from experienced players which can contribute greatly to improving your game.

Do I need any additional tools apart from the books to learn chess effectively?

While having a physical or virtual chess board could aid learning as it allows practice, it's not absolutely necessary.

How long does it take to become proficient at chess if I study from a book?

The timeline varies widely depending on personal dedication and frequency of practice; regular reading and consistent practice usually yield quicker results.

You might also enjoy our dive into the reasons reading makes you tired

Portrait of the article author, Chris Beach
Chris Beach

Hi, I'm Chris. My love of books started when I was a child visiting libraries with my Dad. The smell and feel of old pages still sparks something within me that can I can only express as an emotional attachment to books. Two decades later this evolved into a passion for collecting rare books, particularly 17th century early-English literature, and rare children's books. I believe every book has its own story and each one reveals something new about the world we live in.
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