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  1. 17 Oct '07 14:18
    I don't remember where I collected this information, but the topic of which books to recommend keeps popping up, so here you go:

    10 essential chess books

    There are thousands of books written about chess, more than for any
    other game. There is simply no way to read them all, as more are
    published every year. Here is a list of the ten books universally
    regarded as absolutely essential to any chess player. You will not
    find any opening "repertoire" books or "Easy guide to..." books or
    anything like that. These are not shortcut books, they are serious
    works by serious authors for serious students. Most advanced players
    will own 9 out of the 10 at least. They have not been numbered because
    that would imply that one book is more important than another. So here
    you have them:

    Title: My System
    Author: Aaron Nimzovitch
    This is the timeless classic from the Father of Modern Chess.
    Nimzowitch was the first to explore and describe the game of chess
    from a viewpoint of its "elements." At the same time, he layed the
    foundation for modern positional play with his concept of
    overprotection This is required reading for anyone aspiring to
    mastership.

    Title: Basic Chess Endings
    Author: Reuben Fine
    This is the Bible for chess endgames. Every conceivable endgame that
    could ever arise is analyzed by a superb GM. It will take you months,
    even years to read and understand this book. Although tedious work,
    your effort will be rewarded by this book. Only drawback: It's in
    descriptive notation. All other efforts since this endgame study have
    been basically to condense the knowledge in this book.

    Title: 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices And Combinations
    Author: Fred Reinfeld
    This is probably the most famous of the "tactical trainer" genre.
    It is well known that tactics is the weakest part of an amateurs
    game and prevents his progress. I do about 10 of these
    exercises a day to keep me tactically "fit." A must for anybody
    under 2200.

    Title: How To Reassess Your Chess
    Author: Jeremy Silman
    This book is already considered a modern classic. You can think of it
    as a modern "My System," but in a more user-friendly presentation. It
    introduces the reader to a new vocabulary and concepts in much the
    same way. Tons of improving chessplayers swear by this book. It is a
    "I want results now!" book. Actually, I recommend buying his "The Amateur's Mind" and reading it before his Reassess Your Chess.

    Title: My 60 Memorable Games
    Author: Bobby Fischer
    60 great games annotated thoroughly by arguably the best chessplayer
    in the history of the world. If you get any game
    collection book, make it this one. You will spend many pleasurable
    hours by the chessboard playing over magnificent games, all fabulously
    commented. Good luck getting this one. I got it for "only" $60 USD.

    Title: The Art Of Attack In Chess
    Author: Vladimir Vukovic
    A necessary component of any chessplayers library is this treatise by
    Vukovic on the subject of Attack. This book guides the reader through
    all the common ideas that are essential so that you can "bring home
    the victory." Aggressive players will love it.

    Title: Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953
    Author: David Bronstein
    This tournament book stands out from all other books because of Bronstein.
    Many strong masters of the day played at this tournament of lore:
    Bronstein, Smyslov, Keres, Reshevsky, Petrosian, Geller, Najdorf,
    Kotov, Taimanov, Euwe and so many others. Bronstein studies all 210
    games with great annotation and throws in stories as well.

    Title: Logical Chess: Move By Move
    Author: Irving Chernev
    This book is incredible because it gives an explanation after every
    move! Everybody is tired of books that give a line and no annotation
    or explanation. Well, this book is the answer chessplayers were
    looking for.

    Title: The Ideas Behind The Chess Openings
    Author: Reuben Fine
    Although the openings studied are often not up to date, that is not the
    point. This is not a traditional openings book that may "teach" you
    the Sicilian, it attempts to explain the WHY not the WHAT. In this
    regard, it is similar to "Logial Chess: Move by Move." An
    important classic so you can play the first moves with understanding
    and confidence.

    Title: Pawn Structure Chess
    Author: Andrew Soltis
    Books like these have become increasingly important in the information
    age. It is no longer possible to blow out your opponent in 15 moves
    every other game. Modern masters rely on their knowledge of topics
    such as pawn structures to separate them from the stronger amateurs.
    This book lets you know exactly what they know.

    Any other recommended books, fellas?
  2. Standard member Talisman
    Time traveller.
    17 Oct '07 15:01 / 1 edit
    It can't be denied that the list you've chosen contains a wealth of chess knowledge. however, it's become increasingly apparent to me after drowning in a sea of chess literature for the past two years that there is a big difference between knowledge and skill.

    This point is addressed in detail in Rowsan's awesome book Chess For Zebras. In fact after reading this book my whole attitude towards improvement has changed.

    Rowsan talks about one of his online students who after reading My System said " I feel like Capablanca without the talent" He was making reference to the fact that he'd consumed a vast amount of knowledge but still couldn't progress.
    I'm now convinced the key to improvement lies in hard chess training!
    Playing out games against strong computer programmes from superior positions and studying chess problems from real games, either positional or tactical.
    I'll not say anymore as i'd only be quoting a load more from CFZ. It's one hell of an eye opener and the improving player once grounded in the basics of tactics and strategy could do a lot worse than make this their one and only chess improvement manual.
  3. Standard member Kepler
    Demon Duck
    17 Oct '07 15:15
    I have two that could reasonably replace Basic Chess Endings and The Ideas Behind the Openings.

    Mastering the Chess Openings vols 1 & 2 is also a why rather than a what book on opening theory.

    Fundamental Chess Endings by Karsten muller and Frank Lamprecht is more of a bible for chess endings than a condenstaion of Basic Chess Endings. Again this could easily take years to read and digest.

    My personal favourite is Chess for Tigers by Simon Webb. It is not too fat and is an easy read.

    I have to say that I agree with Talisman that book study does not necessarily make one a better player. I tried studying chess books when I was much younger. It did me no good at all. I found that playing the game was the only real way to improve for me.
  4. 17 Oct '07 15:21
    No book explaining tactics!?!? attacking chess by josh waitzkin, a better endings books is the complete guide to endgames from beginner to master! by jeremy silman. The art of sacrafice in chess also!
  5. 17 Oct '07 15:28
    "Great Chess Books Of The Twentieth Century In English" by Alex Dunne
  6. 17 Oct '07 16:50
    I like the selections. I have posted about some of those before so google if you want more details. Good luck finding the Fischer book at a reasonable price.
  7. 17 Oct '07 17:06 / 5 edits
    Originally posted by Talisman
    Rowsan talks about one of his online students who after reading My System said " I feel like Capablanca without the talent" He was making reference to the fact that he'd consumed a vast amount of knowledge but still couldn't progress.
    I'm now convinced the key to improvement lies in hard chess training!
    Playing out games against strong computer programm ...[text shortened]... rior positions and studying chess problems from real games, either positional or tactical.
    I both agree and disagree. if you study the books properly, analyzing every position as deep as you can, then checking your analysis with the annotations in the book, it should be no different than playing those positions against strong computers, or playing games. actually, you may do even better; play the positions in the book against computers, which covers your idea too (since those positions are from real games). the difference is that at my level for example, I quickly get lost in my (or the computer's) analysis of GM games, but studying positions from books, you have an idea on what to think about.
  8. 17 Oct '07 17:59
    Yeah, Silman's endgame book is fantastic. Polgar's "Chess Tactics for Champions: A step-by-step guide to using tactics and combinations the Polgar way" is supposed to be good for people ~800-1500 in strength.
  9. 17 Oct '07 18:00
    The post that was quoted here has been removed
    Yes, that's also a fantastic book.
  10. 17 Oct '07 18:07
    The post that was quoted here has been removed
    More than anyone else I can think of, you have progressed greatly in strength in the last two years. Would you care to share your study plan Mr. Smaug?
  11. 17 Oct '07 19:11
    We should all ask Akizy for book recommendations. He owns like 4000+ -

    _While there are certainly seminal books on chess, understanding of the game supercedes any book. Obviously Weyerstrass has proven this time and again!!

    _“Play the opening like a book, the middle game like
    a magician, and the endgame like a machine”
    (Spielmann)
  12. Subscriber no1marauder
    Humble and Kind
    17 Oct '07 19:21
    Originally posted by magnublm
    I don't remember where I collected this information, but the topic of which books to recommend keeps popping up, so here you go:

    [b]10 essential chess books


    There are thousands of books written about chess, more than for any
    other game. There is simply no way to read them all, as more are
    published every year. Here is a list of the ten books uni ...[text shortened]... know exactly what they know.

    Any other recommended books, fellas?[/b]
    Fine's endgames book has been updated by Pal Benko using computer analyses and is in algebraic notation. I highly recommend it and it helped my endgames immensely.
  13. 17 Oct '07 19:49
    Originally posted by magnublm
    I don't remember where I collected this information, but the topic of which books to recommend keeps popping up, so here you go:

    [b]10 essential chess books


    There are thousands of books written about chess, more than for any
    other game. There is simply no way to read them all, as more are
    published every year. Here is a list of the ten books uni ...[text shortened]... know exactly what they know.

    Any other recommended books, fellas?[/b]
    Dvoretzky's Endgame Manual is supposed the god of endgame studies...
    especially for this site, may be useful to keep on the shelf for reference...
  14. 17 Oct '07 23:31
    I just perused my bookshelf and these were the essentials that jumped out:

    "Chess Tactics for Advanced Players," by Averbakh. Shows the importance of the double attack and how it plays a key role in all successful attacks and counter-attacks.

    "Chess Middlegame Planning," by Romanovsky. Shows the role for proper handling of the central stage of the game, as well as how to hatch a plan.

    "Complete Chess Strategy Vol. I, II and III," by Pachman. Shows the first principles of the middle game, principles of pawn play and the center, and the endgame. A good all around primer on all three phases of the game.

    "My Best Games of Chess," by Smyslov. Excellent analysis of high level games by a World Champion. Playing over Smyslov's games will teach you how to win a won game!

    "Three Hundred Chess Games," by Tarrasch. A wonderful, instructional set of games played by Tarrasch. Chess players may enjoy playing through Tal's games, but they learn how to play the game properly by going through this book. Basically a distillation of the whole of chess knowledge through the Hypermodern era.

    "Capablanca's Best Chess Endings," by Chernev. 60 of Capa's best endgames. I've gone through this book many a time and still continue to find instructional value and enjoyment from it. If I'm every planning to be stuck on a desert isle, this one is definitely going.

    "Rook Endings," Levenfish and Smyslov. Rook endings occur in over 50 percent of endings. Master the material in this book and you greatly increase your winning percentage.

    "The Tactics of the End-Games," Jeno Ban. This book is similar to the Averbakh book mentioned earlier. The author demonstrates the importance of the double attack in the end-game, as well as assorted other dirty tricks your opponent might not be considering. Think the end-game is dry and dull? Read this book and you'll never view the end-game the same again.

    "Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies," by G. Kasparyan. Every type of endgame tactic and situation is demonstrated with an encyclopedic 2,545 studies. Some examples: Trapping Minor Pieces, Trapping a Rook, Trapping the Queen, etc. Every great endgame composer is represented in this volume: J. Berger, Birnov, Bondarenko, Bron, J. Fritz, Gherbtsman, Gorghiyev, Gurvich, Halberstadt, B. Horowitz, Kling, Kubbel, M. and V. Platov, Prokes, Rinck, Troitsky and many, many others. This book is a tour-de-force of the endgame study.
  15. 18 Oct '07 01:05
    You definitely need to have Max Euwe's "Road To Chess Mastery" on your list. Also, since we're in the computer age, maybe you should include E-Books and DVDs. Just to give you an example of one of the new ways that people are using to study chess, please check out :

    http://chessmiddlegamemastery.blogspot.com