Annotated Game Collections / Books (comprehensive -ish list)


Working through annotated games is a guilty pleasure of mine, as is collecting books.  So I've found myself collecting printed game collections, even if many of the games are far above my playing ability.  Oddly enough, I find myself enjoying them there always seems to be something to learn, even if I cannot yet grasp the highest lessons.  

Following is a list of books I've been able to source either through my local library or at a decent price through booksellers.  Obviously, I haven't worked through all of the games (that would take me a lifetime), but I have played through at least a couple of games from each collection otb.  For the most part the annotations have been of good quality (at least I could understand them...maybe they are simplistic for others) and the alternatives line given logical.  I should admit that I prefer narrative annotations to just lists of alternative lines, as I find the former far more fun to read.  So I hope at least someone finds this list useful.

And please contribute any other collections worth reading and/or looking out for.

PS:  I've also listed a few at the bottom that I found disappointing...not necessarily in terms of the game but in the presence/quality of notes provided.



My Best Games vol 1-2 (Alekhine)

My Life, Games and Compositions (Benko)

The Art of Bisguier (Bisguier/Berry)

One Hundred Selected Games (Botvinnik)

Botvinnik’s Best Games vol 1-3 (B)

Botvinnik-Bronstein Moscow 1951 (Botvinnik)

200 Open Games (Bronstein)

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Bronstein)

Secret Notes (Bronstein) (bio plus)

Capablanca’s Best Chess Endings (Chernev)

The Immortal Games of Capablanca (Reinfeld)

Mikhail Chigorin (Adams)

From My Games 1920-1937 (Euwe)

My 60 Memorable Games (Fischer)

Both Sides of the Chessboard (Byrne/Nei)

Chess: The Search for Mona Lisa (Gufeld)

Twenty-five Annotated Games (Hubner)

Ivanchuk Move by Move (Tay)

Vassily Ivanchuk: 100 Selected Games (Kalinichenko)

Bent Larsen’s Best Games (Larsen)

Lasker’s Greatest Chess Games 1889-1914 (Reinfeld/Fine)

How Karpov Wins (Mednis)

Karpovs Strategic Wins 1-2 (Karolyi)

Kasparov’s Fighting Chess 1993-1998 (Karolyi/Aplin)

Kasparov’s Fighting Chess 199-2005 (Karolyi/Aplin)

On My Great Predecessors vol 1-5 (Kasparov)

On Modern Chess parts 1-2 (Kasparov)

On Gary Kasparov parts 1-2 (Kasparov)

Grandmaster of Chess vol 1-3 (Keres early games, etc) (Keres)

Paul Keres Chess Master Class (Neishtadt)

Viktor Korchnoi’s Best Games (Korchnoi/Others)

Viktor Korchnoi My Best Games Vol 1: Games with White (K)

Kramnik My Life and Games (Kramnik/Damsky)

Frank Marshall (Soltis)

Paul Morphy A Modern Perspective (Beim)

Nezhmetdinov’s Best Games of Chess (N)

Tigran Petrosian His life and Games (Vasiliev)

Pillsbury’s Chess Career (Sergeant/Watts) (thin notes)

Selected Games of Lajos Portisch (Varnusz)

CJS Purdy’s Fine Art of Chess Annotation vols 1-3 (P)

How Purdy Won ℗

My 120 Selected Correspondence Games (Read)

Reshevsky’s Best Games of Chess ®

The Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein vol 1-2 (Donaldson/Minev)

Akiba Rubinstein: The Later Years (Donaldson/Minev)

Rubinstein Move by Move (Franco)

Schlechter’s Chess Game (Crain)

Chess Duels (Seirawan)

Fire on Board (Shirov)

My Best Games of Chess 1935-1957 (Smyslov)

Smylsov’s Best Games vol 1: 1935-1957 (S)

The Best Games of Boris Spassky (Soltis)

Spassky’s 100 Best Games (Cafferty)

Jon Speelman’s Best Games (Speelman)

Chess on the Edge vol 1: 100 Selected Games…Suttles (Harper/Seirawan)

Taimanov’s Selected Games (Taimanov)

The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal (Tal)

Tal-Botvinnik 1960 (Tal)

My Best Games of Chess 1905-1954 (Tartakower)

Three Hundred Chess Games (Tarrasch)

Johannes Zukertort (Adams)


Karlsbad 1907 (Marco/Schlechter)

Vienna 1922 (Evans)

New York 1924 (Alekhine)

Nottingham 1936 (Alekhine)

The Soviet Championships (Cafferty/Taimanov)

Zurich 1953 (Bronstein)

The First Piatigorsky Cup (Reshevsky et al)

The 1974 World Chess Olympiad (Keene/Levy)

Montreal 1979 (Tal et al)

Reggio Emilia 2007/2008 (Marin/Garrett)

Portoroz/Ljubljana Grandmaster Chess Tournament (Hort)

Chess Olympiads (Foldeak)


The Mammoth Book of the World’s Greatest Chess Games (Burgess et al)

Decisive Games in Chess History (Pachman)

Instructive Modern Chess Masterpieces (Stohl)

The 1000 Best Short Games of Chess (Chernev)

500 Master Games of Chess (Tartakower/Du Mont)

The World’s Greatest Chess Games (Fine)

Masters of the Chessboard (Reti)

Learn from the Legends (Marin)

Learn from the Grandmasters (Keene)

The Battle of Chess Ideas (Saidy)

Chess from Morphy to Botwinnik (Konig)

Modern Chess Brilliancies (Evans)

Winning Chess Brilliancies (Seirawan)

Extreme Chess: World Championships 1935 1937 1972 (Purdy)

64 Great Chess Games: Masterpieces of Postal and Email Chess (Harding)

Games of World Correspondence Chess Championships I-X (Harting)

Fifth Correspondence Chess World Championship (Berliner/Messere)

Wijk aan Zee Grandmaster Tournament 1975 (Kavalek)




Combat: My 50 Years at the Chess Board (Bernstein) (largely dump, brief notes)

Paul Keres: Photographs and Games (not annotated)

Complete Games of Mikhail Tal vol 1-3 (Thomas)

Korchnoi’s 400 Best Games (not annotated)

Karpov’s Collected Games (Levy) (very light notes)



[Although many instructive books contain annotated games, these volumes consist almost entirely of annotated games, although in many cases the annotations are geared toward specific lessons rather than general notes on the games.] 


Logical Chess Move by Move (Chernev)

Combinations: the Heart of Chess (Chernev)

Dynamic Chess (Coles)

How to Defend in Chess (Crouch)

Winning Unorthodox Openings (Dunnington)

Creative Opening Chess Preparation (Eingorn)

Decision Making at the Chessboard (Eingorn)

Chess Master vs Chess Amateur (Euwe)

Chess Strategy for Club Players (Grooten)

Exploiting Small Advantages (Gufeld)

All About Chess (Horowitz)

200 Modern Chess Traps in the Fianchetto Openings (Howson)

Winning with the Najdorf (King)

How to Become a Deadly Chess Tactician (LeMoir)

An Opening Repertoire for Black (Marovic/Parma)

Chess: The Art of Logical Thinking (McDonald)

Mastering the French (McDonald/Harley)

How to Beat Bobby Fischer (Mednis)

Strategic Chess (Mednis)

222 Opening Traps after 1.e4 (Muller/Knaak)

Fundamental Chess Endings (Muller/Lamprecht)

Understanding Chess Endings (Nunn)

Understanding Chess Move by Move (Nunn)

How to Play the Goring Gambit (Schiller)

Catalog of Chess Mistakes (Soltis)

Risk & Bluff in Chess (Tukmakov)

Mastering the Chess Openings (1-4) (Watson)

Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy (Watson)

Simple Attacking Plans (Wilson)

The Road to Chess Improvment (Yermolinsky)




Antology (sic) of Chess Beauty (Belov et al)

Barmen 1905 tournament book

Simagin (Woodger)

Avderbach game collection

Grandmaster at Work (Kotov/Adams)

Szabo’s Best Games

Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games

Paul Keres: The Road to the Top and The Quest for Perfection

The Nemesis: Geller’s Greatest Games

Aaron Nimzowitsch: On the Road to Chess Master, 1886-1924

Judit Polgar Teaches Chess (vols 1-3)

Power Chess: Great Grandmaster Battles from Russia (Keres)

The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played (Chernev)

The Greatest Ever Chess Endgames (Giddins)

Gyula Breyer: The Chess Revolutionary (Adams)

Art of Positional Play (Reshevsky)

Botvinnik-Smyslov (Botvinnik)





My library is similar to yours!


My library has over 60 chess books and I own about a dozen,with seven to still get to.....but....that list is amazing! I also enjoy going over books of these types.I understand the positions and take it slow.My only concern(probably common among chess enthusiasts) is being able to remember all this stuff during games.....It probably sinks in on a subliminal level over time as you get experience......At least I hope so........Great post!


Morning mate. Nice collection.

There are many you could add! There are three book on Simagin - but they are very difficult to get hold of. Also Averbach's two books - you would like his best games volume, as the notes are very much of the 'narrative' kind.

The Keres collected games volume is what it is - a collection of all Keres' known games, with some rare photographs. There is a similar 2 volume work on Petrosian. Such books have their place too.

In my opinion the greatest of all tournament books is Barmen 1905 - again very hard to get hold of.

One general collection to look out for - Belov et al 'Antology (sic) of Chess Beauty - it has informator style notes, but is a book that I use often.

Cheers - Simaginfan.


Thanks for the nice replies.  

@simaginfan - Those are some wonderful recommendations.  I agree about the Keres book.  It is a nice book, just not what I was looking for.  

I will look into the other volumes you mention.  Is there a particular Simagin book you recommend (in English)?



There is, but it is out of print. You might find a copy somewhere with an internet search. It is by Aidan Woodger, - sorry, on phone so can't check. Szabo's best games book is one that I recently recommend, and I believe you can still get copies - it is outstanding!👍 Glad you have the Konig book, which is fascinating and forgotten. One to mention is the Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess games, which is one of my most used reference works, and I know that Kamalakanta managed to get hold of one recently at a giveaway price. Could rattle on for ever, but best go do more important things!


Hi! Just passing by!


This is the Oxford Encyclopedia

kamalakanta wrote:

Hi! Just passing by!


This is the Oxford Encyclopedia


Afternoon mate!!😁👍


The best collection of Kere's Games is the 2-volume set, with comments by Keres, and edited by John Nunn:




A new volume just came out with 125 games by Geller, annotated by Geller! Excellent book! (New in Chess)



On Nimzowiotsch, the authoritative work seems to be "Aaron Nimzowitsch, On the Road to Chess Mastery, 1886-1924" (probably a second volume coming up. It is an ancredibly rich book, both in biographical content and in the game annotations. A classic!


Got to go. To be continued!


@darwinwasright - I have Reshevsky's Best Games of Chess and Selected Games of Portisch (by Varnusz).  The Reshevsky paperback is falling apart but I really enjoy Reshevsky's notes.  I will look for a book on Averbakh's games.  Can you recommend anything on or by Kotov?  For me, the quality and ease of following the annotations is probably the most important aspect, as I can find many of the games themselves online.  Thanks!

@simaginfan - Thank you once more!  I will keep an eye out for the books.  

@kamalakanta - Wonderful suggestions, thanks.  I will look into those.  

It's nice to meet others who share an interest in these collections....



One last thing before I go for the day:

Judit Polgar Teaches Chess,. Vols. 1,2 and 3 are really excellent!

The annotations remind me of the great Teachers, such as Tartakower, Nimzowitsch, Bronstein and Tal. The games are well annotated, and the stories about each game are super-interesting!





endgame347 wrote:

The Mammoth Book of the World’s Greatest Chess Games (Burgess et al)

One of my favourites- great thread bro and a really amazing collection, thanks for sharing

I'm pretty sure that's the first book of games I got, too.  It's hard to beat...the authors did a great job making the notes accessible to even beginner players like myself.  We could use more collections like that.


I've enjoyed "Power Chess: Great Grandmaster Battles From Russia" several times. It's a collection of 22 columns that Keres wrote for Chess Life magazine.


These out-of-print books deserve to be converted to interactive chess books ala Convekta:

Mikhail Tal Games 1949 - 1962

Mikhail Tal Games 1963 - 1972

Mikhail Tal Games 1973 - 1981

Mikhail Tal Games 1982 - 1992

4 Volumes - over 2700+ games in figurine notation with minimalist annotations by Russian GMs including Benjamin Khalifman and Sergei Soloviev - published by Chess Stars




After cleaning the office today, I came across a few volumes stacked separately that I should add to the list:  

Games of World Correspondence Chess Championships I-X (Harting)

Fifth Correspondence Chess World Championship (Berliner/Messere)

Wijk aan Zee Grandmaster Tournament 1975 (Kavalek)




Thank you for providing this list! I also greatly enjoy annotated game collections. I play mostly online but for study I still like the old fashioned way of holding a printed book with one hand and moving the pieces (both game moves and variations) with the other hand. I see a couple of Irving Chernev titles listed so I would add "The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played." That was where I first saw some great classics like the Capablanca-Tartakower game from New York 1924. That game is also featured in Steve Giddins' "The Greatest Ever Chess Endgames," another collection I often study.      


I want to bring into focus Soviet chess books that were re-published by Moravian Chess in the Czech Republic.

The OP has three of their first works, Botvinnik’s Best Games, Vol.1-3. The games were selected and annotated in a minimalist fashion by Russian GMs. Eventually they published ALL of Botvinnik’ games (with the bonus of his writings) into another set of 3 volumes.

Smyslov, Alekhine, Steinitz and Capablanca have received the same treatment, as well as other masters who were not world champions.

So many books, so little time.


@chessroboto - Thanks for the link.  I really like the Botvinnik's Best Games trilogy.  The annotations are minimalist in the sense that they don't devote much space to alternative lines and such.  What they do very well, though, is to summarize positions and explain moves quite frequently, which I find helpful as an untrained player.  

Do the other books by Moravian use a similar style?  If so, I will look into them.  

@safetyorsurprise - Great suggestions...thanks!  I really like Chernev's books and completely overlooked them.  It happens that I have "instructional" books shelved separately from game collections, but Chernev's and a few others really are just excellently annotated game collections.  I will need to sort through those.  

Offhand, I think Watson's Mastering the Chess Openings (1-4) and Muller's Fundamental Chess Endings fall into that category, though the latter offers more alternative lines than narrative notes, so while useful isn't as much fun for me.  

I haven't read Giddin's book but will have to look for it.