Best 10 Chess Books
What are the best chess books ever written? There once was a time when chess books were the predominant training sources for any ambitious chess player interested in effective chess training. However, times have changed.
Nowadays, chess books have lost their sole supremacy and thanks to the latest technological progress, chess training software like chess DVDs and online training have become more and more attractive to the chess community. At first glance, these new training sources seem to offer numerous advantages and accelerate the process of chess training. But that’s only half the story! If you’re in search of chess training methods that have a lasting effect on your playing strength, you’ll need to work slowly and thoroughly.
In our eyes, working with chess books is one of the best ways to improve your chess. It sounds too simple to be of any importance, but the main advantage of training with chess books is the time it takes to work through them. Many chess courses offer us large training progress within a fraction of time. It can be tough, however, to retain all that information with just one watch. That’s why this article is a passionate plea to take a closer look into dusted bookcases as another method you can use in combination with your existing training sources.
Due to the immense number of published chess books, it can be difficult to figure out which books are worth studying and which ones are not. Many chess players endure the frustrating experience of wasting valuable chess study time on boring books. For that reason, this article founds a basis for discussion and provides you with an insight to the 10 best chess books available on the market.
1) Endgame Strategy by Mikhail Shereshevsky
This chess book is a great source of inspiration and an great chess training book to improve your endgame technique – not to be confused with endgame theory. Mikhail Shereshevsky shows plenty of necessary attitudes to improve your endgame technique, such as “Don’t hurry”, “Plus-equal mode”, “Cutting off the King” and so on. The author focuses on important guiding endgame principles which you can immediately implement in your own games and skyrocket your endgame skills.
2) The Seven Deadly Chess Sins by Jonathan Rowson
In his book, Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson investigates the psychological reasons chess players blunder in their games and what keeps them from reaching their full potential. He presents the seven deadly chess sins: Drifting (losing the plot); Perfectionism (leading to time trouble); Egoism (overestimating your chances); Failure to spot the critical moment; Deafness (failure to listen to intuition); Dogmatism (failure to think creatively or dynamically); and Attachment (to particular ideas).
Every chess sin is explained in detail and illustrated by many examples from real games.
3) Chess for Zebras: Thinking Differently about Black and White by Jonathan Rowson
This is another great chess book by GM Jonathan Rowson. This time he investigates three highly important questions for all chess players:
1) Why is it so hard, especially for adult players, to improve?
2) What kinds of mental skills are needed to find good moves in different phases of the game?
3) Is White’s alleged first-move advantage a myth, and does it make a difference whether you are playing Black or White?
Jonathan Rowson’s book can be very helpful for any chess player who focuses too much on his chess knowledge (chess openings and long theoretical lines) instead of his skills (the ability to solve chess problems over the board).
4) Grandmaster Repertoire 1 – 1.d4 Volume One by Boris Avrukh
How can a book about a certain opening be on a list of the best chess books ever written? The reason is simple: Boris Avrukh’s “Grandmaster Repertoire 1 – 1.d4 Volume One” is not only an outstanding opening book but also it is a milestone of chess opening books in general. The author delivers extremely detailed analyses and revolutionized the field of opening training.
This book provides the reader with a complete repertoire at a level good enough for elite tournaments, and certainly for the club championship. In a review about this book, even Top Grandmaster Michael Adams confirmed: “The high-quality Grandmaster Repertoire series has taken this format to a completely different level.”
5) The Amateur’s Mind by Jeremy Silman
Most amateur chess players possess erroneous thinking processes that remain with them throughout their chess lives. In his book Jeremy Silman provides the readers with great insights into strategical failures of club players and shows ways how to improve in this area.
Jeremy Silman sets up instructive positions on the chess board and plays them against his students in order to see how they would handle the position at hand. His students have to think aloud so that Silman can detect the key problems in their chess understanding which hold them back from performing a lot better.
6) Understanding Chess Tactics by Martin Weteschnik
This little-known book deserves much more attention than it got. The author put a lot of love into this book, and if you want to study tactics, then you can’t do better than this.
One great aspect of this book is that FM Weteschnik investigates the most important tactical motifs systematically. In each chapter, he analyses in depth all you need to know about pins, forks, discovered checks and many more tactical patterns. This book is an excellent choice if you want to devote your time to the most frequently occuring tactics and learn them step by step.
7) Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual by Mark Dvoretsky
When you are serious about improving your endgame skills, Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual is the right book for you. Mark Dvoretsky was one of the best known and most respected chess trainers in the world until he sadly passed away in 2016.
With his “Endgame Bible”, Mark Dvoretsky has produced a comprehensive work on the endgame which is directed to chess players of all levels. For those who are ready to immerse themselves in endgame theory, even more than ten years after the book’s release, there is still no better manual available today.
8) Excelling at Technical Chess by Jacob Aagaard
In many chess books you often come across the following saying: “and the rest is a matter of technique.” In practical games, however, it turns out that many chess players are unable to convert a winning position into a full point or save a half point in a theoretically drawn position. Very often, these players simply refer to bad luck and aren’t aware of their lack of technique.
GM Jacob Aagaard arms the readers with a lot of mental tools for improving their technique in order to enable them to win their advantageous positions.
9) Lessons with a Grandmaster by Boris Gulko and Joel R. Sneed
A lot of chess players are not aware of the subtleties in Grandmaster chess. For Grandmasters, however, it’s not always easy to understand what is lacking in the mind of an amateur club player.
This book bridges the gap between strong players and amateurs through a series of conversations between the strong grandmaster Boris Gulko and the student Joel R. Sneed.
10) Grandmaster Preparation – Calculation by Jacob Aagaard
If you’re already a strong Player (2100+ ELO) and want to improve up to master level, this is a must! Jacob Aagaard’s book contains plenty of well chosen exercises as well as helpful explanations to become a lot stronger in calculating.
This book is not a bedtime reading and you need to put a lot of work in it. But if you’re willing to do the work, your effort will definitely be rewarded.