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Everyone who has encountered playing chess at least once in their life knows how difficult this game is. Moreover, professional players always spend incredibly lots of time practicing and learning from coaches. The good news is that the majority share their experience and knowledge in their books. That is why this article is dedicated to the best chess books for intermediate players that should be read if you want to improve your skills and achieve high results. There are 16 of them that are arranged in a list from the most to the least famous and successful.
Top 16 Famous Chess Books from Best to Worst
Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
The key feature of Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess is its structure that doesn’t resemble a regular book that you can read. Here you need to think thoroughly about your current step in order to proceed with others. By answering correctly, you gain your knowledge of mastering chess art. Otherwise, you repeat until you get the correct answer with the prompts that are given by the writers. Such a method is called “programmed learning” that will definitely bring you nice results.
- There are lessons on how to attack the opponent
- An efficient method of learning
- The book works for children, too
- Some pages may be printed upside down
- There may be too difficult cases
Chess Strategy for Club Players: The Road to Positional Advantage
The main task of any chess player is to identify the key position of the figures and develop the strategy right after the opening. That’s why this book will come in handy for any level player. Here the readers will learn how to analyze the current positioning of the figures and deal with them.
The book was written by Herman Grooten, an international master from the Netherlands. He has been into this sport for more than 35 years and has enough experience to share with other amateurs or even professional players who require some guidance.
- You are coached throughout the whole book
- Structured and easy-to-understand information
- There are not enough challenging tasks
How to Reassess Your Chess: Chess Mastery Through Chess Imbalances
This is another source of knowledge where you can get as much valuable information about mastering chess as possible. Here you will get hints on not only solving a particular situation and dealing with other steps but also on the way of thoughts on why it should be done in this way. And, don’t worry, all the details are well explained, so there shouldn’t be any misunderstandings.
The copy is a point of view of an international master Jeremy Silman who does coach you step by step. So you will never make a mistake, or at least you will find out how to sort it out.
- There is lots of necessary information
- The prose is tempered with jokes
- In some cases, the answers to a certain situation can be found only a few pages later
- There is not enough information on openings as well as mid-game situations
CHESS: The Ultimate Chess Tactics and Strategies
CHESS reveals almost all the secrets of this game and even more. In particular, here you will see the insights of Bobby Fischer and other famous masters. Besides, you will be supplied not only with the practical information that can be applied to the game but also with supportive tips. In fact, it teaches you to accept losing so you can learn from your mistakes. And, it will make you understand why sacrificing is an important step in a game and how the invisible ones help you win.
All the necessary information about this game from A to Z was collected by Andy Dunn and Aleksandr Smirnov. And they did a great job that is proved by millions of readers.
- The information is given right from the beginning, so it even works for entry-level players
- Lots of useful tricks
- There are some mistakes throughout the book
Chess!: Lessons From a Grandmaster
This guide is specially dedicated to beginners who transform into intermediate-level players at the end. The book describes the history of this ancient game so you can understand how it was designed and what influenced it. In other words, you’ll learn this game from the inside. There are also lots of educational tasks that become more difficult gradually only when a player masters the previous ones.
The guide was developed by a Belarusian American grandmaster, Yury Schulman, and his student. Together they made an ideal set of techniques and cases that will help all level players to think like a grandmaster in any game.
- Useful tactics
- Lots of practical exercises
- Nice structure of lessons
- The design and text may seem slightly childish
Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games
This set of exercises may seem too easy to solve because of some basic information such as game rules included in the book. However, you shouldn’t underestimate it at all. It has a good selection of tasks with their solutions. Some of them will help you to checkmate in one move, mate in two moves, or simple endgames. Most of the tasks were collected from the real championships by the author László Polgár who is a famous chess teacher from Hungary.
- There are lots of useful life hacks
- Nice structure of the book
- The notation to each puzzle is not algebraic but universal, which may be difficult to understand
Ruy Lopez Tactics: Chess Opening Combinations and Checkmates
The skill of tactics is not an easy task to deal with, so Tim Sawyer trains you how to develop it from the very beginning when you open the book. It teaches you Ruy Lopez, which means the Spanish Game. However, you should be prepared for the algebraic notation that sorts any exercise or game out.
Each exercise given in this book is followed by a precise description that tells who is going to win and why. Thus, if you want to extend your knowledge of playing chess, it should be your pocket guide.
- Lots of exercises
- It explains the most popular opening in detail
- You should have some background in order to understand this book
Silman’s Complete Endgame Course
Unlike the previous guides, this set of exercises is dedicated to the endgame that is really crucial. It shows you lots of ways on how to deal with it and proves that you haven’t lost the game yet. The only thing you should do is to concentrate on the pieces you have on the board and make the right step. An example of that can be found in this guide.
Jeremy Silman, an American international master, shared his own experience in the book. Thus, be sure that you’ll find the exercises that have already been on the real championships.
- The information is well arranged and even divided by the rating strength
- It helps improve the speed of your reaction greatly
- It is really large physically
Logical Chess, Move by Move
Once you’ve learned some basic principles of chess, you may need to improve your logical skills. For this purpose, Logical Chess, Move by Move is a great source of where to get the required information. Here you will observe 33 whole games, from the opening to the endgame, describing each step and the reasons for that.
The author, Irving Chernev, is an American chess player with Russian roots. He dedicated his life to chess, so spending tons of time playing numerous games, he obtained the title of chess master.
- A very detailed explanation of each move with other alternatives
- It teaches you how to think while playing
- There are many errors in the notion
Complete Book of Chess Strategy
This is the second book on the list written by Jeremy Silman, but it also deserves special attention. In fact, it is arranged alphabetically, so all the chess terms are easy to access. Moreover, their explanations are easy to digest thanks to both style of writing and examples they come with.
This must be the most convenient guide that should often be kept beside and checked once you encounter a problem.
- The tactics are divided by the level of difficulty
- Convenient arrangement of information, which is easy to track
- There are lots of typos
Tactics Time!: 1001 Chess Tactics from the Games of Everyday Chess Players
Tim Brennan, the author of Tactics Time!: 1001 Chess Tactics from the Games of Everyday Chess Players, believes that to achieve the best results in mastering chess, learning from the examples that happen to masters only is not enough. In fact, the book ensures that every non-professional will learn how other amateurs play by analyzing their mistakes and steps in a game. These things will help you to better your logic and speed skills and finally gain victory every time you play.
- The tasks are very common
- The way of writing is easy to understand and it doesn’t make you feel bored
- The referenced links mentioned in the book don’t exist anymore
Chess Fundamentals by Jose Raul Capablanca
Amateurs always try to imitate their favorite chess player’s method. One of the famous players was Jose Raul Capablancа, a prominent world chess champion and grandmaster known for his fast thinking. Before he passed away in 1942, he released his book where he shared his methods and recommendations that will make you think like him. Moreover, he always thought about winning a game, so all the genius’s secrets are also collected here.
- Easygoing style of writing
- The book includes the algebraic notation
- The English version of the guide may contain some inconsistencies
Chess Tactics for Intermediates: Know the Basics Stronger to Become a Better Player
There is a high chance that everybody who has learned the basic tactics by heart does practice them a lot but doesn’t understand in depth them. That’s why Chess Tactics for Intermediates: Know the Basics Stronger to Become a Better Player is necessary. Here you will find more than just simple explanations. In fact, you will improve your skills and widen the scope of thoughts that will lead you to the win.
- Lots of useful tips
- Extended theoretical knowledge
- Lots of grammar and spelling mistakes
Applying Logic in Chess
Unlike lots of books for chess players available on the market, Applying Logic in Chess has a slightly different and unusual structure. It does show the examples of how the pieces stay on the board, but it also depicts the causal link of each move in certain cases. At first glance, it may seem too difficult, but the author states that knowing these patterns will help you anytime.
By the way, the book was written by an American author, Erik Kislik, who obtained the International Master title at age 24. Isn’t it an awesome result that proves that everything is possible?
- The recommendations contribute to improving logical thinking
- It is helpful for both beginners and professionals
- It’s too voluminous and it has lots of repetitions
Best Lessons of a Chess Coach by Sunil Weeramantry
The person who taught a champion is definitely the one who should be followed if you want to know how to play chess. The thing is that Sunil Weeramantry coached the youngest American grandmaster, Hikaru Nakamura. Thus, reading Best Lessons of a Chess Coach where Sunil tells you how to improve your analytical skills and logical thinking during the game is highly likely to lead to the highest results.
- All the steps of 10 games are precisely described
- The reader will be coached throughout the whole book
- There are a limited number of examples
The Chess Player’s Bible: Illustrated Strategies for Staying Ahead of the Game
Every chess player wants to become a master. And it’s a really long journey until they get The Chess Player’s Bible. Here you will find all the necessary information including combination, tactics, and sacrifices. Mastering all these will make you a professional player, which leads to obtaining a title.
The author, James Eade, knows this game inside and out since being a master of chess, he also arranges tournaments. However, he’s famous for his writing about chess, too, which is proved by the quantity of released and sold editions all around the world.
- It teaches all the fundamentals of chess
- Convenient 3D illustrations
- The book may require an additional source where openings are explained
Every copy is a labor-intensive process that is always accompanied by difficulties and engaging stories. That is why BooKKooks has collected some interesting facts about some of the mentioned-above books. Here they are:
- James Eade’s The Chess Player’s Bible (2004) and Chess for Dummies (1996) have been translated into 8 languages.
- Sunil Weeramantry was not just a chess teacher for Hikaru Nakamura but also his stepfather.
- Despite the fact that the main author of Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess is Bobby Fischer, a chess grandmaster from the USA, he was just the key person who shared his experience with the other 2 authors. The latter developed the whole book, implementing programmed learning techniques.
- László Polgár, the author of Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games, raised 3 famous sisters who are chess champions. The youngest sister Judit is considered the strongest chess player among women of all time.
- Jeremy Silman, the author of How to Reassess Your Chess, was a chess consultant for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and a few other films.
Of course, learning may seem too difficult when you just start. But why don’t you look at this differently? In particular, you shouldn’t take the process too seriously, but instead, try to temper the intensity with rotation techniques or processes. For sure, it will also bring you nice results, but studying will be more pleasing. Besides, don’t forget to practice the recommendations of the masters and grandmasters of chess that you can find in the books mentioned in this article.