The Hatter's List of Chess Books
There are countless books on playing Chess. Here are some I have, or want to get - some relatively easy for beginners, some more advanced for the serious "chess nuts."
A word about Chess Notation - there are two methods, the older Descriptive notation, which decribes each players play from their perspective; and the newer Algebraic notation which gives each square of the board an address. Most books today are written using the latter, but some of the books below use the former. It is recommend you become comfortable with both. I have tried to indicate which system the following books use.
- How to Be a Winner at Chess by Fred Reinfeld This is the book that first helped me playing better chess. A good basic guide for a beginner which does a wonderful job of explaining the basic strategies involved in playing a winning game. From checks, mate, attacking threats, forks, opening moves, mid-game and end-game play, Reinfeld explains the game in language that anyone can comprehend. Uses Descriptive Notation.
- The Complete Chess Course by Fred Reinfeld Through the years, I added more of Reinfeld's books. Eight have all been collected now in this 600 page course which will help the casual player play much better chess. Uses Descriptive Notation
- How to Beat Your Dad at Chess by Murray Chandler who is a Grandmaster who has played in over 150 tournaments.
It covers approximately 50 essential mating patterns in an easy to read and understand format. It is a very good introductory book on this subject. He also has a second book in the same format on Chess Tactics for Kids. These books are not really for children - but they are excellent books on tactical play for Teens and older. (Algebraic Notation with board position illustrations) He does have a book on the basics of chess for primary school children, Chess for Children: How to Play the World's Most Popular Board Game.
- Winning Chess by Irving Chernev Apparently out of print, but judging by those who recommend it it must be well worth getting used! An excellent work on basic tactics.
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess (2nd Edition) by Patrick Wolff A good introduction for the beginner, with chapters on basic tactics and strategies. It also has a section on the Grandmasters of chess, playing in Tournaments, and three very helpful chapters on playing chess against computers, and much more. A useful guide for a chess hobbyist. The author helped program IBM's Deep Blue. Uses Algebraic Notation
- How Not to Play Chess
by Eugene A. Znosko-Borovsky A short, easy book to read, the author wastes no time and cuts right to the point in deliviring his suggestions on the various problems one must avoid in playing chess. Directed mostly at intermediate players, the book comes in very useful in explaining the many "gotchas" that inexperienced chess players frequently fall into. He basically shows you some of the the most common chess mistakes that the average player might make. A Dover book, it uses Descriptive Notation.
Instructional Books by Chess's Grandmasters:
- Jeremy Silman
- The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions into Chess Mastery
is a very readable book for advanced beginners interested in the strategy the game has.Involved in the thinking process, playing chess may become a lot of easier, by visualizing the board into sections to play (Center, Queenside, Kingside), the role of each piece (Knights, Rooks, Bishops etc), accessing both yours and your opponent's weakness/strengths and finally making a reasonable plan.Algebraic Notation
- How to Reassess Your Chess: The Complete Chess-Mastery Course 4th Edition is a more advanced development of Silman's ideas. This is a book that will help you understand chess better and help you improve your chess-playing ability. Silman is an excellent teacher and teaches very dramatically the concept of "imbalances". The book has become as recommended as Nimzovich's My System, but unlike Nimzovich's book is written in a very easy to read and accessible way. It also discusses the psychological aspects of chess play. 658 pages. Algebraic Notation
- The Reassess Your Chess Workbook Exercises to help you learn the concepts taught in the above two books. Algebraic Notation
- Complete Book of Chess Strategy: Grandmaster Techniques from A to Z Silman teaches about the Openings, Middlegame and Endgame - a good book for beginners and intermediate players alike in an encyclopedia format. Algebraic Notation
- Yasser Seirawan
Play Winning Chess An introduction to the moves, strategies, and philosophy of chess, with clear explanations of the games fundamentals, instructive examples, question-and-answer sections, sample games, and psychological hints.Algebraic Notation
- Winning Chess Openings will help readers develop a solid understanding of opening principles that can be applied to every game they play--without having to memorize a dizzying array of tedious and lengthy opening lines. Algebraic Notation
- Winning Chess Endings teaches endgame strategies in an exciting new way--by putting the player in the middle of the action with firsthand stories taken directly from famous matches. Pull up a chair and watch the world's most exciting chess endings. Then become an endgame master! Algebraic Notation
- Winning Chess Tactics taking the reader from the very basics of chess through appreciation of advanced play. He does a remarkable job of discussing tactics that usually appear only in books for advanced players and communicating them to anyone with a grasp of playing fundamentals. The first part of the book deals with basic tactics and how they can be used individually and in combination. In the second part, Seirawan introduces some of the great chess tacticians and their games, further illustrating tactics as they work out in real-life play. Algebraic Notation
- Winning Chess Strategies A complete overview of proven chess principles that teaches players how to deploy their pieces using the right moves at the right time to build small advantages into effective, long range strategies. Algebraic Notation
- Reuben Fine (1914-1993) International Grandmaster was one of the world's greatest players from the 1930s to the 1950s.
The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings Algebraic Notation
- The Middle Game in Chess
After explaining the basic elements of combinations and attacks against the King, Fine discusses how to evaluate a position; how to handle superior, equal, and inferior positions; the significance of pawn structure and space; the transition from opening to middlegame and middlegame to endgame; and much more. Algebraic Notation
- Basic Chess Endings
focuses on the aspects of the ending that occur most frequently in the course of play. With clear language, it reinforces knowledge of the standard position and tried-and-tested rules. Algebraic Notation
Collections of Games by Masters:
The History of Chess and Collecting Chess Sets:
- The Art of Chess by Colleen Schafroth
Maryhill Museum of Art director Colleen Schafroth's beautifully illustrated homage to one of the world's oldest and most popular pastimes. Schafroth traces the evolution of the game from its origins in India, to its first golden age under the Arab caliphate, to the birth of the (much faster) modern version in 15th-century Europe.
- The History of Chess in Fifty Moves by Bill Price. A detailed history of the game from its origins and travels along the silk trade routes; the greatest players and tournaments, and the evolution of playing styles to the emergence of computer technology. Probably the best book on Chess history!
- Master Pieces: The Architecture of Chess by Gareth Williams
The first full-color illustrated book devoted to the art and design of the individual pieces in a chess set, the book presents examples of the most magnificent pieces from around the world, both ancient and modern. Master Pieces sheds new light on the history, evolution, and symbolism of chess pieces and displays the artistry and craft of creating these miniature works of art. Featuring some of the most beautiful and famous chess sets from all over the world, Master Pieces is the ideal gift for chess players everywhere.
- Sculptures in Miniature: Chess Sets from the Maryhill Museum of Art by Colleen Schafroth
Pictures of their collection of Chess Sets.
- Chess East & West Past & Present by Jessie Mcnab Dennis Pictures 100 Chess sets at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1968 (Used)
- Birth of the Chess Queen : A History by Marilyn Yalom
How did a game that originated in India in the sixth century evolve to feature a game piece that now has iconic stature in modern Western culture? Both chess fans and those unfamiliar with the game will enjoy this absorbing look at the evolution of chess and the rise in power and stature of the chess queen in the last 500 years.
- Culture, Chess and Art: A Collector's Odyssey across Seven Continents by Ned Munger is a several volume series combining his travel adventures and the depiction of various cultures as illustrated by ethnic chess sets. Volume One: Sub-Saharan Africa,
Volume 2: The Americas, and
Volume 3: Pacific Islands & Asia. A fourth volume on Russian and the "Stans", The Middle East, North Africa and India is in preparation. Well illustrated, the author's mixture of personal anecdotes with historical facts is both entertaining, educational, and enlightening.
More reviews: Chess Drum
- Chess: The History of a Game by Richard Eales
The reviews make this book seem both expensive and poor in quality.
- History of Chess by Harold J. Murray Written in 1913, a monumental work on the roots of Chess and its variations.
- The Development of Chess Style
by Max Euwe and John Nunn
A fascinating historical journey through several hundred years of chess games, including games and annotations. The portion written by Euwe has only been subtly revised by Nunn through the use of unobtrusive footnotes. Nunn completely rewrote the section on the Soviet school of chess and added sections on Fischer, Karpov, and Kasparov.
Chess Art and Chess pieces:
See also Eldrbarry's In Search of Unusual Chess Sets for links to all sorts of chess sets!
Eldrbarry's Home Page - Eldrbarry's Chess Links - Contact Barry McWilliams at BMcW@eldrbarry.net