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I've been looking at a lot of lists for favorite chess books but it changes with each month's new publications.
So...you are stuck on an island, you've got your favorite dedicated chess computer (with extra batteries) and can have any 10 chess books. You are desperate to improve your chess. You're a 1200 -1400 player and are going to work hard...
What books must you have with you? (This would be great if 1800 plus players could chime in on what books gave them the biggest boost in ratings!)
Thanks in advance!
I am of expert strength personally, and I have to say that I didn't need 10 books to get better at the 1200-1400 level. However, there are five books that do stand out in my mind:
Thank you. I just got the two Purdy books!
Thank you for the suggestions. Thus far:
I have Chess Fundamentals, My System, from your list. I plan on getting the others to prepare for a long winter in Maine enjoying chess! thanks!
I would highly recommend The Middlegame (Vol. 1) by Euwe. The meat of the book gives plans (not variations or database dumps) for both sides for most formations commonly played, also the various themes that are played in specific formations. It's a much easier read than My System.
I would say this book helped me a lot, other than Chess Fundamentals and Endgame Strategy.
I would have to have:
Understanding Chess Endings by Nunn
Manual of Chess Endings
Zurich 1953 by Bronstein
Most Instructive Games of Chess by Chernev
Alekhine's complete games (the Dover version)
60 Memorable games by Fischer
I Play Against Pieces by Gligoric
How to Reassess Your Chess Workbook by Silman (since I already worked through Amateur's Mind)
Anthology of Chess Combinations
That gives me tactics, endings, Middlegame stuff and a bunch of games to study.
Thanks to all that replied, I've been shopping around for books also and am about 1200 or so.
What's the 5th one ?
A very good Book that much helped me in understanding of the Game, but which is curiously little quoted is :
- Rethinking the Chess Pieces (Andrew Soltis)
I just finished the "Chess Exam"'s 10 exams (100 puzzles) and ended up with 1370 rating (I guesstimated from playing Mephisto Milano that I was about 1400. My results from games against it have me about 1400, so the book and the computer were very close. I don't have a full rating with USCF as I have only played a few games in the early 90's).
It highlighted the areas I need to work in, though not to anyone's surprise, the result: tactics. What I found interesting that in the first few sets (of 10) I scored very low; or at least, lower than I expected. I think I was looking for trick answers, but by the 3rd or 4th, I settled in realizing that things weren't set up to trick the student, nor were there attempts to make things 'clever' by the author, but was 'straight chess' positions and I found my scores going up considerably. Had I not scored so poorly on the first 3, I think I would have hit 1400.
I am going to do the author's Chess Exam: Tactics as soon as it arrives. I have finished Logical Chess (I need to go through it again) and am almost done with Polgar's Tactics for Champions (I do a few each night)
Has anyone else used this book, and if so, did you find that its estimated ELO appears to have matched your strength?
Thank you for your post. I did order your suggestions that I did not have, (Silman's endgame) and just got the new "My Search for Chess Perfection" which (I think) is volume 1 and volume 2 in one book. I love Purdy's writings. I had just 'discovered' him around the time that I left chess (due to major life change) and have been fortunate to find a few of his books used and reasonable. Some on Amazon are very expensive. He seems to understand students' thinking better than most.
I am reading now My System by Aaron Nimzovich...Probably the best books and the most influental on chess nowadays.
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