I just read through Logical Chess Move by Move by Chernev, and this has really lit a fire under me for more annotated games. I really enjoyed the splendour of the games presented. Time to buy another games collection!
So, if you had to have only ONE annotated games collection, would it be
1) Understanding Chess Move by Move (John Nunn)2) My 60 Memorable Games (Bobby Fischer)3) Zurich International Tournament, 1953 (Bronstein)4) The Mammoth Book of the World's Greatest Chess Games (Burgess, Nunn, Emms)5) something else?
The only one of your first 4 choices I've read is #2, and it's awesome.
500 Master Games of Chess - Tartakower & Du Mont
Absolutely in a class of its own, but sadly only available in Descriptive Notation, I think.
I see it's available as a free pgn download at chessgames.com, but only for premium members.
I'm no expert but I'd say that Nunn's Understanding Chess Move by move is the closest to Chernev's Logical Chess: Move by Move. Maybe a bit more advanced. I don't have either book though, so I could be wrong.
Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games, which I own, is a pretty good book. It's a bit over my head in several parts of the book, but an enjoyable read nonetheless. You can really get a sense of Fischer's chess style (and his humor).
Zurich 1953 is, based on what I've seen on the Internet, probably one of the greatest game collection books ever. I don't have it, but if I were to buy just one more book, I'd buy that one. My guess is that it has pretty advanced stuff, but I'm sure even a patzer like me can get something out of it.
Finally, we come to the Mammoth Book of the World's Greatest Chess Games, which I also own. It's definitely a great book, but it's also pretty darn advanced. The annotations are very substantive, even more so than in Fischer's book, but sometimes, I get lost in the forest of variations that the authors plow up. Obviously, more advanced players will find the mountain of analysis at critical points in the games very useful, but for me, reading "Line 3c2" just makes my head spin. Nonetheless, the games are all very interesting and I always put the book down feeling like I've learned something new (whether I have indeed learned something is another story). I'd recommend this over Fischer's book, but not by much. And it's just my own personal opinion.
So, in summary, if you want something similar to the Chernev book, go with Nunn. For more advanced reading, you can't go wrong with any of the other three. I believe that Chernev has another great games collection book. 62 Chess Masterpieces, or something like that. That's probably an easier read and it'd probably be easier to get something out of it.
I hope I helped.
@aidin299: Yes, I would have to agree with you there. I was actually referring only to the four books that the OP mentioned.
Thanks for your feedback everyone! Almost TOO much!
Now I'm torn between:
1) My 60 Memorable Games2) Understanding Chess move by move3) Chess, art of Logical Thinking4) Zurich, 1953
If Logical Chess Move by Move is at the level that you find useful, then many of the books listed above are too advanced for you. Fischer's 60 Memorable Games and Zurich 1953 are great books, but the notes are not aimed at unskilled players.
For your level, the two game collections I would recommend that have the most instructional value that you can use right away would be "The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played" edited by Chernev and "Masters of the Chessboard" by Richard Reti. Please trust me on this. If I was stranded on a desert island I would take the Reti book.
"How to Be a Class A Player" by Alex Dunne is also surprisingly good; he talks directly to you in everyday language.
If you want to study some great attacking games with easily understandable and fun notes I would recommend "Keres Best Games of Chess 1931-1948" edited by Fred Reinfeld and "Frank J. Marshall's Best Games of Chess" by Marshall.
@aidin299: I wouldn't call the paper "cheap", as that depends on the taste of the reader, but my book (the most recent edition, with 125 games) looks like it was printed on recycled paper.
I'd honestly be surprised if I could absorb 5% of the book. A fun read, but certainly not an easy one by any means.
I like NM Splane's post above. I would recommend taking a look at the books he recommended, as he pretty much confirmed what I already observed.
Godspawn asked why I recommended How to Be a Class A Player.
It contains 35 games. Every game features an A player against a B player so you get to see games by the kind of players you face everyday.
It talks a lot about the mental preparation side of the game, how to psych yourself up. This type of discussion is highly unusual in chess books and I thought it was quite useful.
Most games in the book are decided by some kind of stupid move, so you get a lot of lessons in punishing blunders, again unlike collections of GM games where the mistakes are subtle.
He also talks a lot about opening preparation, discusses the opening in each game, and talks about the aims you should have in mind when choosing your own opening repertoire.
I've read through the entire book five or six times. I think it is most useful for me, as a master, in redeveloping an eye for tactics whenever I've taken a long layoff from chess.
Thank you for the recommendations, NM Splane. I actual struggle with the kind of thing you mention frequently. For instance, an opponent may make an error in the opening or a positional concession later in the game, and I recognize that I've got the upper hand. There are times when I'm not able to "convert" it to a meaningful advantage. "I'm winning... I know it. Now what do I do to exploit it?" takes up more of my time than simply getting there in the first place. Perhaps the inner dialogue of a similarly (or slightly higher) rated player would be of more benefit.
Unfortunately I don't see the Dunne book on Amazon, so I'll have stalk it on ebay/used b-stores. Meanwhile, I'll grab the other Chernev book.
@aidan -> I'll save your list and use it as reference for further studies too! Thanks for providing it.
Mrsuitcase, there are plenty of copies of Dunne's book on abebooks.com (and its UK analogue). I am intrigued why I have not heard this book recommended before.