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The Best Chess Books- For Beginners to Advanced Level Players

Are you looking for chess books to become the next grandmaster? You are at the right place. There are umpteen chess books with various intents available in the market. Many chess greats have their own favourites too. One of the greatest chess players of all time, Bobby Fischer, has written some books that need to be on your reading list.

Below is a comprehensive list of chess books for beginners to the advanced level. Check the list and add them to your shelf immediately!

Chess Books for Beginners

Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess- Bobby Fischer

A book from the greatest Chessmaster of all time has to be priceless. This book has proven to be effective for generations of chess players. One of the best-selling books on chess, it is a must-have for everyone. This paperback is essential for beginners as well as intermediate players.

Improve your chess game with the most efficient and fastest method out there. For beginners, it’s all about learning chess. For intermediate players, this book teaches more complex strategies. The practice problems will help you understand the game better.

 This book has a unique teaching method: It asks you a question. If you answer it correctly, it goes to the next question. If you give out the incorrect answer, it explains why it is wrong and asks you to try again.
 The book is an encyclopedia and covers problems from moving the pieces to basic checkmates and methods to attack the opponent. Novice chess players who know nothing about the game will become comparatively good players, if not formidable.

Fundamental Chess Endings- Mueller and Lamprecht

Fundamental Chess Endings is a book on understanding the crucial endgame principles. It is a well-detailed endgame manual that is an excellent choice for beginners.

New forms of chess, especially online chess involve competitiveness within a limited time; it is crucial to know how the game will end. Every chess player needs to understand the essential endgame elements. This book provides extensive help to those wanting to study endgame tactics. Additionally, the authors also stress the practical side of the endgame, like describing rules of thumb, principles, and thinking methods.

It is said that World Champion Magnus Carlsen studied this book thoroughly.

The Complete Book of Chess Strategy- Jeremy Silman

A book by Jeremy Silman is always worthwhile. This book is a thorough guide on chess strategies with concepts in alphabetical order. You can strengthen your chess vocabulary and it will become your resource when you’re practicing a game of chess. Especially for beginners, each concept is well explained and is an excellent option for those looking to upgrade their game and learn the terms.

Although it is a bible for beginners, it might not be practical for advanced-level players.

Discovering Chess openings- Building Opening Skills from Basic Principles- John Emms

In another classic book for beginners, the author explains that the answer to winning a chess game is a deep and meticulous understanding of the basic principles. Here the reader learns the essential themes: progressing swiftly, taking central control, and the king’s safety. Once you’ve understood these principles, you can focus more concretely on specific chess openings.

Chess Books for Intermediate Players

How to Reassess Your Chess- Jeremy Silman

The world-famous author Jeremy Silman focuses on the importance and art of positional chess. This publication covers the thought process behind middlegame plans and how to spot the imbalances in positions. He helps the player understand where amateur players fail.

How to Reassess Your Chess is a book that will gradually create a noticeable difference in any player’s game. Silman demonstrates how to analyse and dissect a position, understand the strategy behind this and finally find the tactics that would lead to the winning move in straightforward and concise language. When Silman explains the thought processes that go into a player’s move, the strategies seem plausible and allow you to try them the next time.

How the Reassess Your Chess is insightful for intermediate players and provides an incomparable value add to your chess knowledge.

Best Chess: Logical Chess: Move by Move: Every Move Explained- Irving Chernev

This chess book is worth a buy for intermediate players. It is a treasure trove for players looking to improve their game. It has 33 detailed games that provide a fantastic insight into how to put your knowledge to practical use effectively. As the name suggests, it is beneficial for players who are just starting out in chess, as well as players who are looking for a book centered around tactics.

A Guide to Chess Improvement: The Best Of Novice Nook- Dan Heisman

One of the best chess books by Dan Heisman, this book concentrates on the opening play, tactics, endgame, and strategies of positional chess clearly meant for players who are transitioning into the advanced category. The book also has guidelines dedicated to topics relevant to the non-theoretical aspects of playing chess games for tournaments. This is exceptionally important for online games that often have games that are set against a timer. The skills you’ll learn here are time management, thought process, skills and psychology, planning and strategy, and overall chess improvement.

The author has expanded his work to introduce a book that you can easily navigate through in the revised edition. It is a replacement for having a grandmaster by your side.

Understanding Chess Move by Move- John Nunn

To play chess that is taught by grandmasters is always a bonus. John Nunn, the winner of four individual gold medals in Chess Olympiads, was the World Chess Problem Solving Champion, not once but thrice.

He himself has carefully curated thirty prominent games by top players to explain the most essential principles of chess. In the book, John Nunn practically comments on every move to show how the top-rated chess players of today handle typical chessboard situations. This best-selling title is now available in the ebook format. This is one of the chess books that you need to own to improve your chess.

Chess Books for Advanced Players

Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual- Mark Dvoretsky

A book that the grandmasters blindly trust. This book is an extensive guide to the endgame, improving and strengthening your all-around chess game. It has more advanced techniques meant for intermediate and advanced players. For beginners, it is slightly tough. Many grandmasters like Vladimir Kramnik and Karsten Mueller are all praise for Dvoretsky’s endgame manual.

This is one of the best chess books ever.

Chess Tactics from Scratch: Understanding Chess Tactics- Martin Weteschnikv

 This is an upgraded version of a typical tactics book, meant for advanced players. It comprises more complex tips in chess tactics and combinations, pivoting on methods for analyzing tactics for reasonably experienced players and experts. The book’s unique selling point is that it systematically examines any position to determine why certain conditions exist and what would make the position manageable to a given type of tactic. The themes for tactics are arranged with each chapter. Go for this only after familiarizing yourself with the language and methodology of the more accessible tactics books. Definitely for the intermediate players and above.

Grandmaster Preparation Series- Jacob Aagard

If you want to become a chess grandmaster and etch your name amongst the greats, this book offers you practical advice and a workable training plan to think effectively and out of the box and make decisions far more efficiently. The author explains some calculation thinking methods such as Candidates, Combinations, Prophylaxis, Comparison, Elimination, Intermediate Moves, Imagination, and Traps to the reader through a series of well-thought-out exercises.

Think Like a Grandmaster- Alexander Kotov

As the name suggests, it takes a deep dive into the overall thought process in chess. Alexander Kotov discusses many crucial aspects of chess, including the complete approach to chess and how to make decisions. The author provides the tools for both tactical and positional growth. In tactical growth, this book provides an insight into analysis trees, candidate moves, and calculation exercises. In contrast, for positional growth, you will improve upon creating and implementation of plans, pawn upon islands, pounce on weaknesses, tension, etc. This classic book is meant for advanced players.

Other Recommendations

  • Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953- David Bronstein
  • My 60 memorable games- Bobby Fischer
  • The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal- Mikhail Tal
  • My Great Predecessors Series- Garry Kasparov
  • My System- by Aron Nimzowitsch
  • Chess 101- Dave Schloss
  • Chess for Kids- Michael Basman
  • Modern Chess Openings- Nick de Firmian

Also Read: Types of Chess Variants and How to Play Them

What Should You Look for While Buying Chess Books

Read the Synopsis

Always read the synopsis first when you’re looking to buy chess books. The overview essentially summarizes the chess books and what to expect from the resource, whether it be on the greatest game of chess, the grandmaster’s tactics, a dictionary to learn chess terms, or an exhaustive guide that details every move and piece.

Follow the Reviews from Sources

Before investing your money in a book, browse through the reviews and see what others say. Book reviews on various websites offer specific insight into how resourceful and helpful the book is, whether it has helped the readers with the promise, whether it has served its purpose, or was it the money’s worth.

Look for Recommendations

If you want to learn the art of chess, always look for recommendations made by grandmasters themselves or other readers. The recommendations provide a thorough perspective into the game, while you can choose the book of your choice. Each book will have a specific focus, so the suggestions will help you find the right book.

Also Read: World Chess Championship- History, Top Champions and Interesting Facts


What books help you become a chess grandmaster?

Read the following books to gain expertise in chess:

  • Test Your Chess IQ- A. Livshitz
  • Test Your Positional Play- Bellin/Ponzetto
  • Grandmaster Preparation- Lev Polugaevsky
  • The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal- Mikhail Tal
  • The Test of Time- Garry Kasparov
  • Modern Chess Strategy-Ludek Pachman
  • Chess Informants- Various
  • My 60 Memorable Games- Bobby Fischer
  • Alekhine’s Best Games- Alexander Alekhine
  • Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953- David Bronstein

Madhuboni Banerjee
A graduate in engineering who later completed her post-graduate degree in Mass Media. Writing has always fascinated her, and she wishes to pursue her interest in the same. She wants to discover and write about new themes and topics. She always likes to venture in various writing forms and continues exploring her interest there.


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