Are you looking for the best Chess books to dive into? You’re in the right place.
This article is a compliment to the Chess Library we published containing the best books for every rating bracket and also the best ones for each different field of Chess such as tactics, endgame, and advanced attacking strategies. This page is a far simpler list going over seven of the top books for players to start with that will drastically boost your learning curve. Studying Chess is arguably more important than actually playing. The more you learn and memorize, the better you’ll do.
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1) Modern Chess Openings
By Nick De Firmian
Modern Chess Openings is a true classic in the world of chess. This was the first book I got on openings and couldn’t be happier. This is the 15th edition to the classic book so it stays relevant on updated theory of every opening. The book is laid out is a clear organized way. It goes through each opening in categories based on the type of opening. For example, Double King Pawn openings is one category and Double Queen Pawn openings is another. The main lain of the opening is discussed first, then each variation of that opening is laid out as well. Modern Chess Openings is the book to get once you’ve played your first 100 games or so on a website like Chess.com.
2) Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
By Fischer and Stuart Margulies
The book by the man that needs no introduction, the one and only Bobby Fischer. If you’re completely new to chess, Bobby is arguably the best chess player in the history of the game.
Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess is a must read for Chess players seeking to start learning tactics like pins, forks, and skewers. The exercises in this book will help you with seeing tactics in a position on the board. For the beginner, this will be a solid primer on tactics that you’ll use in every game you play, whether your defending against them or deploying them against your opponent. There is a saying in Chess that goes something like, “Tactics Tactics Tactics!“.
3) Chess Fundamentals
By Jose Raul Capablanca
They say that 80% of results always come from the fundamentals, chess is no different. Mastering the fundamentals is crucial to advancing beyond being a beginner in chess.
Chess Fundamentals by Jose Raul Capablanca is one of the first books to go through once, and then go through again on a regular basis. Capablanca teach you the fundamentals of the opening, middlegame, and the endgame. All of which are crucial to learn if you’re going to get past the beginner stage as a player. The book also contains 14 complete games annotated by Capablanca himself. Imagine reading the thoughts of one of the best Grandmasters of all time going through 14 entire games of Chess saying what’s good, what’s bad, and what to do differently in the position.
4) Simple Checkmates
By A.J Gillam
Simple Checkmates is the book that will teach you more than 400 ways to checkmate your opponent. The more ways you learn to checkmate your opponent, the better you’ll do. You could be down material and still win the game because you found a way to checkmate your opponent while they were too busy capturing pieces. You don’t need much to launch an attack leading to mate, often times it’s done with just two pieces. After you’ve learned an opening or two, learning some basic checkmate patterns is next on the way to becoming a master.
5) Chess For Dummies
By James Eade
For the beginner emerging yourself in Chess, it’s not long before you learn the vastness of skill and knowledge it takes to reach even an intermediate skill level in the game. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and not sure what to learn first, then Chess for Dummies is for you. They do a good job at explaining everything about the subject from A, to Z. The book goes through all of the rules in Chess and the basics of every aspect of the game. You’ll also learn all of the Chess terminology, the lingo, and basic strategy and tactics.
6) Chess Tactics for Champions: A step-by-step guide to using tactics and combinations the Polgar way
By Susan Polgar and Paul Truong
Chess Tactics For Champions is exactly what it says, tactics for champions, written by champions. Susan Polgar is an icon in the Chess world being the first female to ever become a Grandmaster while also being just 15 years of age. She perfected the use of tactics and strategic combinations to get there and she shares those skills in this book. She covers a wide array of tactics going much further than just pins and forks.
7) Modern Chess Strategy
By Ludek Pachman
Modern Chess Strategy is one of the top books in Chess for learning how to develop strategic positions in order to launch aggressive combinations to your opponent. When a brilliant combination is witnessed in a game and catches the attention of the Chess community for weeks to come, it’s never because of chance or just having the right pieces at the right time. All of it was planned prior with strategy. That’s what this book focuses on. Ludek Pachman is a Czech Grandmaster as well as a theorist. Prior to this book, his work wasn’t available in English, until now. He talks about advanced strategy using the minor and major pieces including how to exchange pieces in ways that will result in a better position than your opponent, when often times exchanging pieces leads no where but an equal position.
I hope this list of the best Chess books helped you. All of these books are highly recommended for beginners and intermediate players. They will give you all of the fundamentals like opening principles and checkmate patterns.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in reading about the best Chess magazines and the best Chess clocks.