7 Chess Books You Need to Read!

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

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There are too many chess book out there to read in a lifetime, let alone on a leave on a bookshelf! So, one must find a way to balance their time with smart book choices.

In this blog, I will share great chess books that every serious chess player should be familiar with.

The top 7 chess books are as follows: 1. My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer 2. Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual by Mark Dvoretsky 3. Grandmaster Preparation: Positional Play by Jacob Aagaard 4. How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman 5. Silman's Complete Endgame Course by Jeremy Silman 6. Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953 by David Bronstein 7. The Inner Game of Chess by Andrew Soltis

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1.  My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer

Of course, this book is probably on everyone's list out there. Bobby Fischer is without a doubt one of the best chess players of all time. So, being able to get your hands on a book that dives deep into Fischer's mind and his own critique and annotations is invaluable. The analysis is some places are very detailed but Fischer makes everything clear with excellent comments. You should also enjoy the fascinating games in this book that show Fischer's true brilliance. 

2. Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual by Mark Dvoretsky

This book is one of the most, if not the most, detailed endgame manual. This comprehensive book is filled with theoretical positions, analysis, and annotations. Anyone who wants to be a grandmaster of the endgame must read this manual as the information in it is seemingly endless. That being said, this book is not for the faint of heart as the analysis can be overwhelming. To be honest, this book probably isn't necessary for anyone under the rating 2200 as it may become a waste of time going through the limitless lines. Though, this manual is a classic and will remain one of the best books ever written.

3. Grandmaster Preparation: Positional Play by Jacob Aagaard

This book is not as well known as some of the other on list but that doesn't make it any less of a book. The work is also part of the series Grandmaster Preparation which I also recommend. Positional Play is divided into 3 parts: Weaknesses, Pieces, and Prophylaxis. After those chapters is a series of 150 positional exercises that are worth the time and effort to solve. Throughout the book, Jacob Aagaard emphasizes that to master positional chess all you need to do is ask yourself 3 questions: where are my weaknesses?, which are the worst-placed piece?, what is your opponent's idea?. Aagaard goes into each topic quite thoroughly and makes the book easy to read.

4. How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman

This is another one of those books that every chess player probably already knows but for good reason! Silman flawlessly covers all of the basics to positional chess and the book is not only easy to read but also fun. Silman analyzes the imperfections in amateur play and addresses each one in a convenient way. This book is a great read and anyone who has a passion for chess as they will find value from reading it!

5. Silman's Complete Endgame Course by Jeremy Silman

Another endgame book on the list. Yep, knowing endgames are important. This one is not as in-depth as Dvoretsky's manual but that is a good thing! The book has a genius design: endgame material is separated by rating level. Perfect! Why study an endgame when you don't need to? Silman guides you on practical endings and gives quality analysis so you can employ the same ideas in your games with confidence! Once you have mastered this book, then consider moving to Dvoretsky's manual for further instruction.

6. Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953 by David Bronstein

This book is a classic and covers the Candidates' Tournament for the 1954 world championship match against Botvinnik. This tournament book contains an astounding 210 annotated games by one of the tournament players himself. It is an amazing piece of chess history that is worth a read for players of all strengths. His annotations are simple, clear, and understandable. 

7. The Inner Game of Chess by Andrew Soltis

Andrew Soltis has an excellent reputation of being one of the best chess authors out there. He was inducted into the Chess Hall of Fame in 2011 and The Inner Game of Chess is one of his best works. The book details everything a chess player needs to be aware of in order to round out their knowledge of the game. The material is divided into the following: What Calculation Is - and Isn't, Ideas, Trees and How to Build Them, Force, Counting Out, Choice, Monkey Wrenches, Oversights, Rechecking, The Practical Calculator. Soltis goes from the construction of ideas to the calculation and implementation of those ideas that eventually lead to victory. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good read.

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