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  1. 18 Jan '08 04:13 / 1 edit
    The books I've enjoyed the most, because they were extremely well written and because they avoided eye glazing variations (any of these I'd recommend to someone who has trouble getting into chess books but has a desire to read them and learn something from them):

    Chess Tactics for the Tournament Player by Alburt et al. Basically this is chess tactics explained by GMs and with each tactical motif broken down into separate lessons, or chapters, with several examples at the end of each chapter. The examples are not too hard. A book I am reading again, for the second time, it is that good.

    Winning Chess Tactics for Juniors An outstanding puzzle book containing just over 500 puzzles broken down into separate chapters. The chapters are arranged by tactical motif with a final chapter where the puzzles are not grouped by motif. All tactics are solvable within 1-3 moves making it an ideal book for developing pattern recognition since you can do many of them in one sitting and work through the book (and its 500 plus patterns) quickly. This book should be read and re-read, and maybe even re-read again.

    The Art of The Checkmate An easy to read and enjoyable book that is all about the various mating patterns in chess. Its a real eye opener and once you read it you'll start seeing mating patterns you never before knew existed. Also a book I plan to re-read.

    Better Chess for Average Players by Harding. Covers concepts such as attacking, defending, strategy, planning, and endings, each topic being given its own chapter. Another easy read that contains a treasure trove of information for the 1200-1500 rated player.

    Simple Chess by Stean An excellent primer on positional play. Extremely well written and another quick read.

    Best Lessons of A Chess Coach Similar to the above, the author, an FM and top US chess coach, explains (mostly) positional chess by using, I believe, 10 or so sample games that are heavily notated. Makes use of lots of diagrams and you could easily read and follow the book without the aid of a board and pieces. Also contains several additional games to supplement the theme under discussion, though these are largely unannotated and contain no diagrams.

    That should be enough to get you started.
  2. 18 Jan '08 05:19
    In my opinion, you can study all you want, but unless you're putting that knowledge into practice it's all lost.

    Chess is ultimately a visual medium. You have to convert what's in your head into what you see, and that takes practice.
  3. 18 Jan '08 05:27 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by Chesswick
    In my opinion, you can study all you want, but unless you're putting that knowledge into practice it's all lost.

    Chess is ultimately a visual medium. You have to convert what's in your head into what you see, and that takes practice.
    Of course. But practice alone isn't necessarily going to make you any better either. If you're a lower rated player you may be getting all the practice in the world, but you're practicing the wrong things and not even realizing what it is you're doing wrong. Books can help you realize what you're doing wrong and teach you new ideas that all the practice in the world may not impart to you.

    Thus the counter point to what you say about converting what's in your head into what you see is that you must have something in your head first to convert (ideas, knowledge, patterns) and this is where books are valuable.