Updated on February 7, 2024
GrandMaster Priyadharshan Kannappan shares his top 10 chess book recommendations for players seeking to enhance their skills. Ranging from strategic insights to tactical prowess, these selections cater to players of all levels, providing valuable resources for improving their game.
The 10 best chess book recommendations are not in any order but randomly, so you can pick any book that suits your rating level and start studying it!
GM Priyadharshan Kannappan
Logical Chess Move by Move by Irving Chernev
The book offers a step-by-step examination of 33 master games, emphasizing the logical reasoning and rationale behind each move that the players make. As a result of this, the book enables the reader to understand the players’ thought process and thus provides overall improvement to the reader’s game.
This book helps us understand the reasons for a move played in a grandmaster game and clarifies our logic lucidly.
I would recommend this book to anyone rated above 1200+
The Art of Attack by Vladimir Vukovic
As the title of the book suggests, the book is about offensive play in the game of chess, and how a player can strengthen his skill in this dimension. The book is divided into 2 parts, the first part covering important principles of attacking play, and the second part providing examples of the implications of these principles. The book is overall a great read for anyone who wishes to understand the underlying fundamental nature of chess attacks.
Attack being a very key component in upcoming player’s chess strategy. This book helps in a big way to understand properly the principles of attack and the execution of it.
I would recommend this book to anyone rated above 1400+
How to Beat your Dad at Chess by Murray Chandler
It is a book aimed at beginners in the game. It starts off with basic information like the rules of the game, values assigned to each piece, principles of opening play etc. and gradually moves on to more complex topics like endgame strategy, tactics, etc. The unique thing about the book is that it focuses extensively on how to defeat a player who is more advanced and experienced than you, a beginner, by avoiding common opening traps and preventing frequently occurring opening mistakes. The book can be very useful for someone who is looking to start out their journey in the game.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is an absolute beginner and wants to learn the game in a structured format.
The Best Move by Hort and Jansa
The book primarily focuses on strategic play, as even the title suggests. It studies topics such as pawn structure, piece placement, and planning and provides players about extensive examples of the same. The book is worth a read for anyone who wants to get a better grasp in their strategic and positional play.
This book is for advanced players, and I would suggest it only for players rated above 1700+
The Seven Deadly Chess Sins by Jonathan Rowson
This book enlists the seven typical errors that chess players commonly commit-which Rowson refers to as “sins”. They include playing too passively, placing too much emphasis on your own position, forgetting to take your opponent’s movements into account, and playing too materialistically. With instances taken from both grandmaster play and games played by amateurs, Rowson takes each “sin” into account and extensively discusses the variations of the same. It is a brilliant book for anyone who wished to enhance his thought process in chess.
This was one book which had a very profound influence on my chess improvement as a youngster!
This book is an amazing gem that players above 1600+ rating should study.
Mastering Chess Strategy by Johan Hellsten
This book provides a basic foundation of strategy in all three phases of chess – the opening, middle game and endgame – as well as an abundance of carefully selected exercises to monitor progress. A great read for anyone looking to improve their general play in all phases of the game.
Anyone above 1500 will find this book very useful in their chess improvement journey
Practical Chess Endings by Paul Keres
The book is an essential book that helps to improve the general understanding of players in the endgame strata of chess. Keres deals with all the basic types of positions into which endgames lead to, and the logic in those endgames.
A book that will help anyone who wants to get a better understanding of endings
Winning Chess Brilliancies by Yasser Seirawan
This book by Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan provides a move-by-move account of the best chess games of the last 25 years, played by the world’s foremost chess competitors. It is a must read for both chess entertainment and chess improvement.
The book is mainly aimed at keeping the young upcoming players hooked on to the game, showing the beauty of chess.
My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer
In this authoritative reissue of one of the most important chess books ever written, Former World Champion Bobby Fischer takes the reader move by move through 60 of his most instructive and entertaining games.
I would suggest anyone above the rating of 1400 to benefit from this book
My System by Aron Nimzowitsch
The book is centered on the concept of defensive play. My System is divided into three parts. The first part covers Nimzowitsch’s ideas on positional play, including the importance of controlling the center, the role of pawn structure, and the use of prophylaxis. The second part focuses on overprotection, which Nimzowitsch sees as a key element of defensive play. Pawn chains, blockades, and breakthroughs are the subjects of the third and final part of the book. Many consider this book as the “Bible of Chess”. The book is an excellent read for anyone who plays a more solid game than a riskier offensive game.
I read this book for the first time, when I was an IM. I know I read it pretty late, so I would suggest you to not do the same mistake as I did by reading it late in my chess career.
Highly recommended for anyone who has a basic chess rating.
In conclusion, these ten chess books that I have recommended are a must-read for every chess player who wants to improve their skills. These books offer a wealth of knowledge, from the basic principles of chess to advanced techniques and strategies that will take your game to the next level. As a GrandMaster, I have personally benefited from reading these books and applying the concepts in my games. I hope that you too will find these books useful and that they will help you achieve your goals in chess.