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Must Read Chess Books For Every Type of Player Should Read

must read chess books

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As a chess enthusiast, I've experience countless hours pouring over theory, analyzing games, and most importantly, learning from the greats. 

Chess books has been a critical element in my growth as a player. 

I've decided to share the most influential chess books that have shaped my understanding of the game today. 

Here's a comprehensive list of books I believe every chess enthusiast should read (arranged from books for basics, tactics, openings, middlegame, endgame and more).

Chess Books Basics

‘Play Winning Chess' by Yasser Seirawan: A Masterpiece for Chess Beginners

Our Top Pick
Play Winning Chess
  • Seirawan, Yasser (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 06/01/2003 (Publication Date) - Everyman Chess (Publisher)

As a chess player with experience competing in tournaments, I can confidently say that the journey of every chess enthusiast is unique and fascinating in its own way. 

However, there's one common thread that binds us all – the yearning for a comprehensive, beginner-friendly guide that can help us navigate the labyrinthine world of chess. 

This is where ‘Play Winning Chess' by Yasser Seirawan, the book that was my stepping stone into the realm of chess, comes into the picture.

Not Just Another Chess Book

‘Play Winning Chess' wasn't just another book for me, it was one of my introduction to the principles of good chess, a useful guide into this intricate world. 

Before I found this book, chess was a game shrouded in mystery for me – a puzzle waiting to be solved.

Recommended reading: If you're looking for the best book that teaches the principles of chess written by a former World Chess Champion – check this article!

The Impact to My Gameplay

Looking back at my early days as a chess enthusiast, I realize the significance of this book in my journey.

It laid the groundwork for my future development as a chess player, and the strategies, tactics, and principles I learned from it continue to influence my gameplay even today.

If you're a beginner looking to delve into the world of chess, ‘Play Winning Chess' by Yasser Seirawan is a highly recommended read. 

From my personal experience, I can vouch for its effectiveness in laying a solid foundation for understanding and playing chess. 

Recommended reading: If you want to learn more about chess book reading techniques, check out this article.

Chess Books Tactics

A Journey Through ‘Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess'

Our Top Pick
(Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess) [By: Bobby Fischer] [Nov, 2012]
  • Bobby Fischer (Author)
  • 11/30/2012 (Publication Date) - Bantam USA (Publisher)

As a fan of Bobby Fischer, I can assure you that the interactive course on chess tactics found in Bobby Fischer and Stuart Margulies' ‘Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess' is a goldmine for beginners. 

I can still remember my early days of exploring chess through this book. 

Its unique and effective approach significantly enhanced my tactics, providing me with a really good foundation upon which I was able to build my game.

Outsmarting the Old Guard: Insights from ‘How to Beat Your Dad at Chess'

Our Top Pick
How to Beat Your Dad at Chess (Chess for Kids)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Chandler, Murray (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 10/01/1998 (Publication Date) - Gambit Publications (Publisher)

Delving into ‘How to Beat Your Dad at Chess' by Murray Chandler is like taking a trip down memory lane for me. 

This book, offering 50 deadly checkmates, evokes fond memories of my early chess games with my father. 

It still amuses me to recall how I would study Chandler's strategies, then try them on our unsuspecting dad during our nightly games. 🙂 

The lessons I learnt from that book have proven invaluable, not only in besting my dad but also in outsmarting opponents in my chess endeavors.

Chess Books Openings

Chess Openings for Kids by John Watson and Graham Burgess

Our Top Pick
Chess Openings for Kids
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Watson, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Having dabbled with the game of chess from a tender age, I can confidently say that the book ‘Chess Openings for Kids' by John Watson and Graham Burgess serves a really good first stepping stones into the strategic world of chess. 

The book offers a comprehensive guide to chess openings, perfectly tailored for young players. 

It not only help establish a firm foundation but also sparked a lifelong passion for the game.

Understanding the Genius of Paul Morphy: A Personal Perspective on ‘A First Book of Morphy' by Frisco Del Rosario

Our Top Pick
A First Book of Morphy
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Del Rosario, Frisco (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 216 Pages - 07/06/2006 (Publication Date) - Trafford Publishing (Publisher)

By the time I encountered the book ‘A First Book of Morphy' by Frisco Del Rosario, I had already taken the first steps towards understanding the intricacies of the game. 

This annotated collection of selected games of the legendary Paul Morphy was a revelation, helping me understand the beauty of strategy and execution. 

This book became another treasure trove, providing insights into the mind of one of the greatest chess players of all time.

‘Keep It Simple 1.e4 & Keep It Simple 1.d4' by Cristof Sielecki

Our Top Pick
Keep It Simple 1.d4: A Solid and Straightforward Chess Opening Repertoire for White
  • Christof Sielecki (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 02/15/2020 (Publication Date) - New In Chess (Publisher)

As my understanding of chess deepened, I began to appreciate the importance of a robust opening repertoire. 

That's when I came across ‘Keep It Simple 1.e4 & Keep It Simple 1.d4' by Cristof Sielecki. These two volumes offer simple and comprehensive White opening repertoires. 

As I explored these books, I discovered that simplicity could indeed breed sophistication.

This strengthened my game and further ingrained my love for chess.

Recommended reading: If you want to learn what chess books to read first, check this article.

Chess Books Middlegame

‘The Amateur's Mind' by Jeremy Silman

The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery
  • The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery
  • Silman, Jeremy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 443 Pages - 10/01/1999 (Publication Date) - Siles Press (Publisher)

I've found that understanding the game from an amateur's perspective is a key step towards mastery.

‘The Amateur's Mind' by Jeremy Silman was a book that resonated with me. 

It unravels the complexity of chess by analyzing games, positions, and concepts from a beginner's view. 

My experiences with this book have not only shaped my understanding of the game but have also significantly improved my middlegame.

‘How to Reassess Your Chess: Chess Mastery Through Chess Imbalances' by Jeremy Silman

Our Top Pick
How to Reassess Your Chess: Chess Mastery Through Chess Imbalances
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Silman, Jeremy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 658 Pages - 10/15/2010 (Publication Date) - Siles Pr (Publisher)

I've always wanted to constantly aim to hone my skills and continually improve. 

So, when I reached a point in my chess journey where I felt the need to enhance my positional chess skills, ‘How to Reassess Your Chess' by Jeremy Silman was the guide I turned to. 

This book is very useful and aimed at experienced players, which deeply explores the concept of chess imbalances, offering a new perspective and advancing gameplay significantly.

Chess Books Endgame

Pandolfini's Endgame Course

Our Top Pick
Pandolfini's Endgame Course: Basic Endgame Concepts Explained by America's Leading Chess Teacher (Fireside Chess Library)
  • Pandolfini, Bruce (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 10/15/1988 (Publication Date) - Touchstone (Publisher)

Remembering the countless matches where my fate was decided in the endgame, I was excited when I discovered Bruce Pandolfini‘s ‘Endgame Course'. 

I found this book to be an excellent guide for beginners stepping into the exciting world of chess endgames. 

Pandolfini's clear and straightforward approach not only helped me to navigate through intricate endgame scenarios but also enriched my understanding of strategic planning.

Mastering Chess Endgames with Silman's Complete Endgame Course

Our Top Pick
Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner to Master
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Silman, Jeremy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 530 Pages - 11/01/2006 (Publication Date) - Siles Press (Publisher)

This is another treasure trove of knowledge in Jeremy Silman's ‘Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master' that I really began to comprehend the depth of endgame strategy. 

This comprehensive manual meticulously covers basic to advanced endgame concepts, making it an indispensable resource for every chess enthusiast striving to become a master. 

My own chess skills have significantly improved since integrating Silman's lessons into my play, and I highly recommend this course to anyone serious about advancing their chess endgame.

Advanced Strategy and Analysis

Masters of the Chessboard by Richard Reti: The Timeless Wisdom

Masters of the Chessboard
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Reti, Richard (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 458 Pages - 06/10/2016 (Publication Date) - Russell Enterprises, Inc. (Publisher)

Among my cherished collection of chess literature, “Masters of the Chessboard” by Richard Reti holds a special place. 

The book's in-depth analyses and commentary on the style of the greatest chess masters have greatly influenced my understanding of the game. 

Reti's insights, coupled with my personal experiences on the chessboard, have shaped my strategic approach and helped me appreciate the beauty of chess in a whole new light.

My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer: A Personal Journey

Our Top Pick
My 60 Memorable Games: Chess Tactics, Chess Strategies With Bobby Fischer
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Fischer, Bobby (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 04/07/2009 (Publication Date) - Batsford (Publisher)

As a dedicated follower of the game and a passionate chess player, Bobby Fischer's “My 60 Memorable Games” has been an invaluable resource for me. 

I have spent quite some time studying these games, analyzing Fischer's strategic decisions, and learning from his mastery. 

These games have not only shaped my own style of play but also helped me appreciate the depth and complexity of chess.

Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors: A Tribute to Chess Legends

Our Top Pick
Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors, Part 1: Part 1
  • Kasparov, Garry (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 466 Pages - 08/07/2020 (Publication Date) - Everyman Chess (Publisher)

“Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors” is a remarkable 5-volume series that captures the lives, times, and play of the greatest chess legends. 

As a chess enthusiast, I have found these volumes to be more than just books – they are a journey through the history of chess, filled with the wisdom of the world's greatest players. 

My understanding and appreciation of chess have deepened significantly thanks to Kasparov's meticulous analysis and insightful commentary.

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Additional Resources

‘How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire' by Steve Giddins

How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Giddins, Steve (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 277 Pages - 01/01/2014 (Publication Date) - Gambit Publications (Publisher)

There's this chess book that can help elevate your game – ‘How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire' by Steve Giddins

This insightful book became one of my guide in choosing my chess openings, adding depth and variety to my strategy. 

Gleaning Wisdom from ‘Better Chess Openings' by J.E.F. Kaan: An Expert's Perspective

Better Chess Openings
  • Kaan, Jef (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 252 Pages - 11/19/2014 (Publication Date) - Lulu.com (Publisher)

This book provides a complete opening repertoire for both White and Black, offering profound insights and invaluable strategies. 

Complete Guides: If you want to learn more check out our complete effective learning strategies guides resource page.

"Discover The Solution On How To Improve Your Game Faster" (Even If You're Just Starting Out And You Don't Know Where To Find The Answer!)

Also Get Your FREE “Chess Fundamentals Cheat Sheets” to help you SPEED UP Your Learning and more!

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