17 Best Chess Books To Elevate Your Game In 2021

This is a list of the 17 best chess books every player should read. It's not just for beginners either - we've got everything from strategy to openings to improving your play.

This Advice was Last Updated 6 days ago.

Our top 5 recommendations for the Best Chess Books

 
⭐Best Seller
1
Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
Mass Market Paperback – Illustrated
⚡ RUNNER UP
2
Chess for Kids
Chess for Kids
Paperback – Illustrated
🔰 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
3
Modern Chess Openings, 15th Edition
Modern Chess Openings, 15th Edition
Paperback
✨ GOOD VALUE
4
The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance
The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance
Paperback
🔥 TOP PICK
5
Chess Fundamentals
Chess Fundamentals
Paperback

Are you someone who loves to apply strategy? Well, then I bet you love playing chess or at least fancies the idea of it. If you are searching to find out more about the game of chess, you have arrived at the right place.

Playing indoors, outdoors and with anybody – that’s just one bonus of the game of chess. Chess players are known to be quite analytical, and their power of strategizing is commendable. The game, although ‘just a game‘, teaches you many things.

Chess has many lessons in store for you, from strategy to analysis, from time management to decision making, from prioritization to making sacrifices. A child who’s taught to play chess from a very young age can apply these practical lessons better in life.

Whether you’re an advanced chess player or a novice in the field, we’ve gathered books from every corner of the chess library. This advice will acquaint you with the best chess books to help you prosper in the game of chess.

So, if you are a bookworm who also plays chess, you’ll find just the correct book for your next read. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

Looking for more great book reviews ☍ ? Check out all our articles on this topic.

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Best chess books from beginners to advanced players

Chess ☍ is a game of strategy and decision-making. As already mentioned, it teaches you different practical lessons. Did you know you could learn the game from books as well?

The books mentioned here, categorized from beginners to advanced players, have everything you need to know about chess. Did you have the chance to read any of these books before? Let us know in the comments.

Best Chess Books For Beginners

Below are some great chess books for novices.

1

Let’s Play Chess: A Step by Step Guide For New Players by Bruce Pandolfini

Let's Play Chess: A Step by Step Guide for New Players (The Pandolfini Chess Library)
Paperback / Kindle
This is my attempt to lure you to the royal game. It’s based on the very same lessons I have given to thousands of beginners. Their questions and problems have shaped it. Moreover, some of the best ideas in the book were actually suggested by new players!
I have tried to be as direct as possible. To make your journey a smooth one, the fundamentals have been broken down into short, logical statements. Each idea is numbered, ordered, and clearly stated.
Lets Play Chess Players Pandolfini info

This book by Broce Pandolfini ☍ is a book for all, but it especially makes a good read for beginner chess players. The content of the book is simple and easy to follow. Every part of the game of chess is explained in a step-by-step manner in detail.

The author used calculation as the medium of explanation, guiding you through the process of any part of the game. Memory is not the solution, but understanding is. Even if you don’t have a chess set with you at the moment, the book has plenty of pictures to get the idea.

You can get a copy of the book if you are interested to learn how to play chess and have never gotten the chance to learn. Pandolfini has got your back!

2

Learn Chess by John Nunn

Starting with the very basics, this book tells you everything you need to know to become a successful chess player.
Learn Chess
Paperback / Kindle
Dr. John Nunn has built up a worldwide reputation for the outstanding clarity of his writings on a wide range of chess topics. This is his first book to tackle the fundamentals of chess.
No prior knowledge is assumed. The reader learns step-by-step, with each new point illustrated by clear examples. By the end of the book, the reader will be fully ready to take on opponents across the chessboard, or on the Internet, and start winning.
Learn Chess John Nunn info

Learn Chess by John Nunn is a book that includes all the basics of chess. Nunn has covered every single detail you must know before you start with the hands-on game. You don’t need any prior chess knowledge to read this book. It treats its reader like absolute beginners and guides them accordingly.

Every step of the chess game is explained in detail for you to quickly understand them. As you approach towards the end of this book, you will be ready to face an opponent in a chess game online or across the board.
3

Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by Bobby Fischer

A one-of-a-kind masterclass in chess from the greatest player of all time.
Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
Mass Market Paperback / Paperback / Library Binding
This book teaches through a programmed learning method: It asks you a question. If you give the right answer, it goes on to the next question. If you give the wrong answer, it explains why the answer is wrong and asks you to go back and try again. Thanks to the book’s unique formatting, you will work through the exercises on the right-hand side, with the correct answer hidden on the next page. The left-hand pages are intentionally printed upside-down; after reaching the last page, simply turn the book upside-down and work your way back.
Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess info

A classic book on chess and a bestseller with inputs from the Grand Master Bobby Fischer ☍ himself is a must-read if you are into chess. The work of the book is a shared piece by Stuart Margulies ☍, a chess master, and Donn Mosenfelder, a publisher and an educational specialist.

The book is actually an informative chess course in the form of the word. Margulies applies programmed learning ☍ to get to the chess players through the book. As you proceed, the authors have put together a few chess puzzles and questions to test your progress.

The book continues to be a bestseller since published originally in the 1960s. You’ll love this classic even if you’re only an avid reader and not a chess player. You might change your mind after reading this book, you know!

4

How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman

How to Reassess Your Chess: Chess Mastery Through Chess Imbalances
Paperback / Kindle
In clear, direct language, Silman shows how to dissect a position, recognize its individual parts and ultimately find the move that conforms to the needs of that particular situation. By explaining the thought processes that go into a master’s choice of move, the author presents a system of thought that makes advanced strategies seem clear, logical, and at times even obvious. How the Reassess Your Chess offers invaluable knowledge and insight that cannot be found in any other book.
How Reassess Your Chess Imbalances info

Silman ☍ has crafted and curated this book for beginners and amateur chess players. It’s incredible how a foolproof game on your side can take a turnover during the middlegame. It’s tricky and challenging.

Reading through the chapters of How to Reassess Your Chess, you’ll learn the moves and plans in the chess middlegames. You will learn the positional imbalances possible while playing a game of chess.

Silman uses humor and in-depth understanding while he jots down the content of this classic chess book. He has analyzed the minus points of the amateur players and explained the solutions accordingly. This book acts as an asset for you if you’re returning to the game after a break.

5

Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev

“The novice who plays through Logical Chess can learn an ocean of basic chess wisdom.”—Leonard Barden, English chess master and broadcaster
Logical Chess: Move By Move: Every Move Explained New Algebraic Edition
Paperback / Kindle
Having learned the basic moves, how exactly should a player improve? In this popular classic, the author explains 33 complete games, in detail, move by move, including the reason for each one. Playing through these games and explanations gives real insight into the power of the pieces and how to post them most effectively.
Logical Chess Every Explained Algebraic info

Chernev’s Logical Chess makes the perfect book for novice chess players. Chernev has explained the tactics and moves in the game that a chess player must learn to succeed in the field. From the basics to the strategies, the book has it all.

The author has taken the help of 33 different master games to explain the art of chess-playing in detail. From the first move to why action is even made, Chernev has pointed out their reasons.

If any other book has left out some points, this book covers each of them comprehensively. This one by Irving Chernev makes an excellent choice for beginners and chess players who want to return to the game after a break.

Best Chess Opening Books

One of the most basic moves in chess is the opening move ☍, so why not build some strategy in the beginning?

6

Modern Chess Openings 15th Edition by Nick de Firmian

Modern Chess Openings is ideal for intermediate players ready to elevate their game to the next level or International Grandmasters who want to stay on top of recent chess innovations.
Modern Chess Openings, 15th Edition
Paperback
Modern Chess Openings is the best and most trusted tool for serious chess players on the market. First published over a half-century ago, this is a completely revised and updated edition of the book that has been the standard English language reference on chess openings. An invaluable resource for club and tournament players, it now includes information on recent matches and the most up-to-date theory on chess openings.
Modern Chess Openings 15th Firmian info

All the severe chess players would love to read the Modern Chess Openings 15th Edition, written by Nick de Firmian ☍. The book collects all the valuable points all chess players should go through.

The book is focused on chess openings and is a smooth read in the standard English language. It has all the updated tools and tactics that one needs to know in chess. The book also includes details of the recent chess matches and theories to keep you on track in the field of chess.

Whether you’re a club player or a tournament player, this book is going to prove to be an invaluable resource. We recommend this book as the perfect choice for intermediate players who aim to prosper as high as grandmasters in the field of chess.

7

The Agile London System by Alfonso Romero & Oscar Prado

Lately an increasing number of Grandmasters such as Alexander Grischuk, Gata Kamsky, Baadur Jobava, Richard Rapport and even World Champion Magnus Carlsen have played The London System.
The Agile London System
Paperback / Kindle
The authors explain the typical plans and tactics using illustrative games with clear verbal explanations, and provide lots of tactical and strategic exercises. They reveal the secrets behind sharp ideas such as the Barry Attack and the Jobava Attack and have added an exciting chapter on the especially aggressive Pereyra Attack, developed by the Argentinean master Manuel Pereyra Puebla.
Agile London System Dynamic Opening info

A comprehensive chess strategy concerning the white pieces per the London system, The Agile London System is the perfect tool for intermediate chess players. Many chess masters and grandmasters have used the London System, including Alexander Grischuk and Richard Rappaport.

The book is written by GM Alfonso Romero and FIDE Master Oscar de Prado. The book contains easy-to-follow steps to proceed in a chess game. With several tactics and attacks, the book guides you on how to apply basic strategies in chess.

Guiding you through the moves of the white pieces, you can also expect to learn how and what to expect from the black pieces. The book makes a great read and guides all chess players from beginner to advanced player levels.

8

The Kaufman Repertoire by Larry Kaufman

Seven years after his acclaimed and bestselling The Kaufman Repertoire for Black and White, Grandmaster Larry Kaufman is back with his new repertoire book, covering the entire scope of chess openings for both White and Black, in one volume.
Kaufman's New Repertoire for Black and White: A Complete, Sound and User-Friendly Chess Opening Repertoire (New in Chess)
Paperback / Kindle
Two important developments made this book necessary. Larry Kaufman, who himself routinely plays the lines he advocates to others, discovered that after 1.d4 (the recommendation in his previous book) it became nearly impossible to show a consistent advantage for White, especially against Grunfeld and Nimzo/Ragozin defenses. The other factor was that chess engines have become so much stronger.
Kaufmans New Repertoire info

The Kaufman Repertoire is an excellent guide to teach the opening strategies of chess. Written by the Grandmaster and former senior in chess, Larry Kaufman ☍ walks you through the repertoire of chess, explaining each one in detail.

You won’t find complex theories but easy-to-understand strategies for the Black and White pieces. This book is a follow-up to his previous book called The Chess Advantage in Black and White ☍. However, the book is nowhere a connection but a whole new set of moves and strategies.

Learning the tactics mentioned in Kaufman’s book, you are sure to become one confident chess player. Thanks to his idea of sharing his chess knowledge with the rest of the chess lovers and players. You can now expect to become next-level chess players by reading appropriate books like this one.

9

Better Chess Openings by J.E.F. Kaan

An ideal study guide, and only opening book a chess player needs until about master level.
Better Chess Openings
Paperback
An overview, selection, and improvement of chess openings; both for (post-)beginners and intermediate players. Including a unique and timeless ‘repertoire’, carefully selected for home player level (1.e4) and/or more advanced (chess club) players. For the latter, in addition to a second, more in depth repertoire with 1.e4, an optional repertoire is given with 1.d4 (besides some gambits, or general opening systems as well).
Better Chess Openings Jef Kaan info

You have the winning chances more in your hands when you know the front and ends of a game. Chess is no different in that. All that it differs in is a little bit more concentration, strategy, and analysis. With a good start, you know how the game’s going to end.

Better Chess Openings is just the guide for that. It takes you through a walk-through of the various moves in chess. Kaan has studied the overestimation done by most beginners or amateurs in chess and has addressed them.

The book addresses one phase at a time for you to understand better: opening, middle game, and finally, the endgame. You ace each one of them, and you’re sure to meet heights with that expertise. This is what makes this book a must-read for the royal game players.

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Best Chess Strategy Books

Now that you know the opening strategy follow it up with otherwise moves and techniques.

10

My System by Aron Nimzowitsch

My System: 21st Century Edition
Paperback / Hardcover / Kindle
This is the all-time chess classic of Aron Nimzowitsch, now provided in algebraic notation and updated to modern understandable English. One of the three or four best-selling chess books of all time. Contains 419 diagrams. Recommended by Grandmasters and masters for 75 years! Completely modernized in this 1991 edition.
My System Century Aron Nimzowitsch info

If you want to read the ultimate book on Chess strategies, go for My System by Aron Nimzowitsch. This book has accomplished the bestsellers lists for all time. Backed by recommendations from grandmasters and trainers since the 1920s, this book is a gem to all chess players.

You’ll find essential positional chess strategies, from the prophylaxis to blockading passed pawns, from pawn chains to whatnots; it is a guide to all of them. If you see yourself making claims in the next-level games of chess, this book will prepare you for the journey.

Although the book might not have reached heights as the other classics, this is still a must-have for chess players of any level.

11

The Woodpecker Method by Axel Smith & Hans Tikkanen

The Woodpecker Method is the name given by Axel Smith to a chess training system developed by his compatriot and co-author Hans Tikkanen.
The Woodpecker Method
Paperback / Hardcover
After training with his method in 2010, Tikkanen achieved three GM norms within a seven-week period.
The quick explanation of the Woodpecker Method is that you need to solve a large number of puzzles in a row; then solve the same puzzles again and again, only faster. It’s not a lazy shortcut to success – hard work is required. But the reward can be re-programming your unconscious mind. Benefits include sharper tactical vision, fewer blunders, better play when in time trouble, and improved intuition.
Woodpecker Method Axel Smith info

The Woodpecker Method is an exemplary illustration of the chess strategy. Authors Axel Smith and Hans Tikkanen have made reasonable efforts to make this book enjoyable by including the essentials of a pro chess game.

The method mentioned in this book is a go-to approach in a chess match. It involves moral intuition, tactical vision, and thinking in challenging chess scenarios. The book offers you a set of chess puzzles and lets you solve them repeatedly until you master the method.

It is much more challenging than you might hear it to be. The puzzles progress from the beginner level to the advanced classes to check your progress in mastering the chess strategy. Most of the challenges belong to the intermediate category, and you get the chance to polish yourself in the field of chess.

12

Winning Chess Tactics by Yasser Seirawan

Readers will learn sure-fire tactics and combinations from one of the world’s top chess players.
Winning Chess Tactics (Winning Chess – Everyman Chess)
Paperback / Kindle
Attack? Defend? Swap pieces? Tactics are the watchdogs of strategy that take advantage of short-term opportunities to trap or ambush opponents and quite possibly change the course of a game in a single move. Why should players only hope that opponents will blunder when International Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan can show them how to put the tactics of the world’s chess legends to work. 
Winning Chess Tactics Everyman info

Winning Chess Tactics by Yasser Seirawan ☍ is a prime example of the term itself. It is the ultimate guide to ace the chessboard game using the appropriate chess strategy and tactics.

This book starts with the basic chess strategies, to begin with, and then it proceeds towards the advanced tactics used in chess. It tells you which approach to use and how to use it and when to use it.

The book also deals with the various applied tactics by high-level chess players to give you the confidence and the best concept. It is perfect for chess beginner players while it also takes the intermediate player through a smooth sail.

13

Chess Strategy for Club Players by Herman Grooten

In Chess Strategy for Club Players, you will learn the basic elements of positional understanding: pawn structure, piece placement, lead in development, open files, weaknesses, space advantage, and king safety.
Chess Strategy for Club Players: The Road to Positional Advantage (New in Chess)
Paperback / Kindle
Every club player knows the problem: the opening has ended, and now what? With this new edition of his award winning book, International Master Herman Grooten presents to amateur players a complete and structured course on how to recognize key characteristics in all types of positions and how to make use of those characteristics to choose the right plan.
Chess Strategy Club Players Positional info

Guided through a walk-through the chess coach Herman Grooten ☍ himself, this book has won awards for the impact it has made on chess players out there. The book makes a perfect fit to teach the middlegame tactics in chess for beginner players.

The strategies mentioned in the book are proposed and applied by Wilhelm Steinitz, the first world champion. All his inspired tactics in the book are refined and updated by Grooten to better approach your chess match.

Every chapter in the book guides you from the basics to the endgame. It contains elements from the pawn structure to king safety. Grooten has also successfully managed to sum up all the tactics into practice exercises at the end of the book’s every chapter.

This unique element of the book is that it covers the tactics to apply when your basic principles in chess fail to work. With this book, you’ll learn the next move to go!

Best Chess Endgame Books

A good finish is also essential, especially in a game like chess which decides its winners on their last move.

14

Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual by Mark Dvoretsky

The Fifth Edition of a Modern Masterpiece
Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual
Paperback / Kindle
When it appeared in 2003, the first edition of Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual was immediately recognized by novice and master alike as one of the best books ever published on the endgame. The enlarged and revised fifth edition is better than ever!
Dvoretskys Endgame Manual Mark Dvoretsky info

One of the top-class chess instructors, Mark Dvoretsky ☍, has shared his knowledge with fellow chess players in his book on chess endgames. This commendably worth-the-read book covers the entire endgame theory in a manner that you can easily understand.

From the basics of the endgame to the advanced must-know facts, the book contains all of them. The tactics here are explained in detail as to when, how, and why to use them in the endgame.

If you want to ace your chess endgame, you must go through a gem like this one. Now available in its 5th edition, the book is a must-have in the library of chess players from the beginner to master levels.

15

100 Endgames You Must Know by Jesus de la Villa

“A clear exposition of the most important endgames, with exercises to test your knowledge.” ― British Chess Magazine
100 Endgames You Must Know: Vital Lessons for Every Chess Player
Paperback / Kindle
The good news about endgames is that there are relatively few chess endings you should know by heart and that once you know these endings, that’s it. Your knowledge never goes out of date!
The bad news is that, all the same, the endgame technique of most players is deficient. Modern time-controls make matters worse: there is simply not enough time to delve deep into the position.
100 Endgames You Must Know info

This book is the ultimate manual to go through to ace the chess endgame. Jesus de la Villa ☍ is the Grandmaster and the former chess champion of Spain. He has engaged himself to share his years-long experience in the form of words put to you.

There are many endgame scenarios in chess. Villa has chosen 100 possible endgame scenarios to prepare you to face any of them with mastery and confidence. Through the practical application of every strategy, the author intends to prepare you for every chess move you may face in a match.

With such an objective, the book contains many practice pieces as well. They give you a practical example of all the scenarios explained in the book. With this book, you can expect to have the appropriate approach to the endgame of your chess match.

16

Silman’s Complete Endgame Course by Jeremy Silman

Silman's Complete Endgame Course
Paperback / Kindle
For over 100 years, the world’s leading chess players and teachers have told their students to study the endgame. This book teaches the students what they need to know at their current rating level, and builds on that knowledge for each subsequent phase of the player’s development.
Silmans Complete Endgame Course Beginner info

The endgame course in this book by Silman is, in fact, the system you need for a professional approach to a chess match. This book is divided into parts. All chess players can read through all the sections of the book depending on their player level.

This approach is meant to ease you through the various brutal tactics a chess player needs to apply in chess, especially in the endgame. The endgame is the turning point of the match. You still have the option to advance your levels. However, Silman intends to impart his knowledge to fellow chess players in the simplest way possible.

This way, you make a smooth entry in the game while you transition to the different levels within the game. Many amateur players seem to take the endgame lightly, which should not be the case. This is why this book makes its entry to strengthen the chess players in this particular area of chess.

17

Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by Mikhail Tal

Life & Games of Mikhail Tal
Hardcover / Paperback / Kindle
Mikhail Tal, the ‘magician from Riga,’ was the greatest attacking World Champion of them all, and this enchanting autobiography chronicles his extraordinary career with charm and humor.
Life Games Mikhail Tal info

Life and Games of Mikhail Tal is a classic by Grandmaster Mikhail Tal ☍ himself. The book is an all-time classic sharing the experiences of Mikhail in his games following his life. This book is not only meant for one level but all chess players.

Mikhail was known to be an aggressive chess player of his time. He had his approach of acing the opening with his strategies. The book is the perfect rendition of all his methods to inspire you on the same path.

Known as the ‘Magician from Riga,’ Mikhail motivated his fans for daring attacks, precision, and creative tactics. Following his footprints through this book, you can assure yourself to reach his levels of expertise with the ultimate precision.

TOP 10 BEST CHESS BOOKS FOR QUICK CHESS IMPROVEMENT!

What Makes The Perfect Chess Book For You?

With the extensive range of chess books claiming to do whatnots, shopping for the right book for you is sure tricky. That is why we have jotted here the essential points to figure out before you look for the perfect chess book for yourself.

The Playing Level Is The Ultimate Determiner

The level of your chess playing determines the appropriate book for you the most. Beginner books usually cover the how-tos and the different approaches you can apply in a chess match as a starter in the field.

Advanced chess books focus more on the tactics and strategies and the different elements of the three sections of the chess game. Make sure to make the perfect judgment to learn your playing level.

Beginner Level

“Beginner” is a subjective term. In chess, a beginner is considered to be a brand-new entry in the field of chess. For such novices, adding beginner-level books meant for kids is a way to get started with chess. Not all beginner chess books have an easy-to-understand approach to chess.

Make sure to conduct thorough research on which book will be convenient, considering the book’s language and elements.

Intermediate Level

Intermediate chess books take you through a smooth sail from beginner to advanced. They are those stepping stones you cannot skip to see yourself on the next level. Suppose you can go through the intermediate player level smoothly. In that case, you can reach the advanced level sooner and with much knowledge in the field.

Make sure to learn every chapter of the intermediate chess book and be on point to proceed further. You need to train yourself with the different tactics to proceed further, and a shortcut is never a key for good players.

Advanced Level

Advanced chess players seldom buy books on chess to improve themselves. But when they do it, they make sure to research well and get the best one, probably a bestseller. If you’re among that level, you need to be very precise about the areas that need polishing.

Once you are familiar with your requirement, you can search for books dealing in that particular area.

All Levels

If you’re an avid reader who is also a chess player, you might want to browse through the top recommendations for chess books. These lists mainly cover the books that are readable for chess players of all three levels. These books help you to have better insights into the different prospects of a chess game.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve reached the end of this post, you are familiar with the top reads in the field of chess. Make sure to do your research before you buy the best chess books that fit your requirements.

With the books mentioned here, you are sure to move ahead towards the next level sooner and with effective results. Keep chess-ing the dream and ace it!

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