If you’ve watched The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, you may have taken notice of all the books that were mentioned throughout the series. Since these books helped Beth Harmon become World Champion, it’s a no-brainer to get those same books to improve your game.
In this post, we go through all the books mentioned throughout the show. Some of them are real books and some other books mentioned are fictional, made up for the show. Below you’ll find a list of all the Chess books from The Queen’s Gambit.
Disclaimer: ChessJournal.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Modern Chess Openings
By Richard Clewin Griffith and John Herbert White
This is the first book given to Beth by Mr. Shaibel that she consumed like a fat kid at a buffet, and for good reason. Modern Chess Openings was first published in 1911 and is still one of the most popular, most important Chess books for players to read.
The newest edition to the book is number fifteen. I found out which edition the book that Beth received. it had a dark red cover, which means it was the 4th edition of Modern Chess Openings you can see here.
The following books are brought to Beth by Harry Beltik in his completely failed attempt to enlighten Beth in episode five, “Fork”. Harry went over to Beth’s house and started handing her books only to get basically the same response with every book, “read that”.
Some of the books Harry gave Beth were fictional, most were real books though. In the order Harry handed the books to Beth.
A.I. Deinkopf Middlegame Strategy – Fictional Book
My Chess Career: Masterpieces by the Master of Chess
By J.R. Capablanca
This is the second book in the series that Beth picks up in the library and also the second book Harry gives to Beth, she thanks him for another copy. Capablanca is one of the greatest Chess players of all time. My Chess Career covers the early victory of Capablanca at San Sebastian in 1911 along with 35 other games including annotation of those games by the master himself. Capablanca teaches you in-depth lessons about Chess from his games in the prime of his career. Few lessons on Chess are found elsewhere.
Alekhine’s Games 1938-1945
By C.H. D. Alexander
The next book Harry gives Beth is Alekhine’s Games 1938-1945.
Alexander Alekhine is another one of the great players in history. As a conclusion to a trilogy, this book goes into detail about his best games from 1938 to 1945. This is a reprint of the third book with all of the games converted into Algebraic Figurine PGN Notation, including diagrams of the games. Alekhine has unique insight on Chess due to his life long controversy, similar to Bobby Fischer.
The next two books Harry hands to Beth are fictional.
- Rook and Pawn Endings by Meyer
- My Life in Chess by Borgov
Paul Morphy and the Golden Age of Chess
By William Ewart Napier
This was the last book given to Beth by Harry as he left her house as a goodbye gift.
Paul Morphy is arguably the greatest player to have ever lived because of the massive difference in skill between him and every other player in that time period. The Golden Age of Chess contains more than 200 games from the era of Paul Morphy which spans from the mid 1830’s to the 1920’s. The author gives detailed comments that are witty and well written. Players say that the comments alone are worth the price of the book. If you love Chess, this is one of the most recommended.
Chess Attack and Counterattack
By Fred Reinfeld
This book was seen on the pile of books Beth is adjusting right as Harry is leaving her house. I was able to make out the first part of this book so I was able to figure out what the book was. I wasn’t able to even guess what the other books in the pile were.
Attack and Counterattack was first published in 1955, which makes sense since the show is based on this time period. The book is divided into two sections. One on how White can take advantage of having the first move and the other on how Black can challenge that advantage of the first move and take over the initiative from White.
Basic Chess Endings
By Reubin Fine
And the last book in The Queen’s Gambit series is Basic Chess Endings by Reubin Fine. Beth and Benny were studying this book when Benny was training Beth at his place in New York. As they were studying, Beth actually found some errors in some variations that the author overlooked.
Basic Chess Endings is a great book for players to get the fundamentals of how to end the game in Chess. Fine has been the authority on endgame strategy being a Grandmaster. Players seeking to reach master level ratings study this book in detail. The depth of the strategies explained in this text are unmatched.
And the last book is a fictional one. Openings & Tactics by Benny Watts. Beth was reading it during the tournament where she beats Benny in the finals.
I hope this list satisfied your curiosity. All of these books are classics and you’ll hear them over and over in discussions on the best Chess books. If you liked this post and want more reading material, you can see the ultimate Chess Library guide on the best Chess books for every rating bracket.