Book Recommendations and Reviews

MustafaMoiz

I was at my local bookstore and I found several books on chess which I was unsure of. I wanted to know what others thought of them.

I have been playing chess all my life but have only recently started studying it more seriously. I like to start from the basics always and enjoy books which are more helpful and less arcane. These were the books I thought looked promising.

Chess Pattern Recognition for Beginners by Van de Oudeweetering

Chess Basics by David Levens

Complete Book of Beginning Chess by Raymond Keene

Starting Out: Chess Tactics and Checkmates by Chris Ward

Gambiteer I Gambiteer II by Nigel Davies

303 Tricky Chess Tactics by Fred Wilson and Bruce Albertson

365 Master Lessons by Andrew Soltis

300 Most Important Chess Positions by Thomas Engqvist

A to Z Chess Tactics by George Huczek

The 100 Endgames You Must Know by Jesus de la Villa

notmtwain
MustafaMoiz wrote:

I was at my local bookstore and I found several books on chess which I was unsure of. I wanted to know what others thought of them.

I have been playing chess all my life but have only recently started studying it more seriously. I like to start from the basics always and enjoy books which are more helpful and less arcane. These were the books I thought looked promising.

 

Chess Pattern Recognition for Beginners by Van de Oudeweetering

Chess Basics by David Levens

Complete Book of Beginning Chess by Raymond Keene

Starting Out: Chess Tactics and Checkmates by Chris Ward

Gambiteer I Gambiteer II by Nigel Davies

303 Tricky Chess Tactics by Fred Wilson and Bruce Albertson

365 Master Lessons by Andrew Soltis

300 Most Important Chess Positions by Thomas Engqvist

A to Z Chess Tactics by George Huczek

The 100 Endgames You Must Know by Jesus de la Villa

Wow, they carry more chessbooks at a bookstore in Pakistan than they do at stores like Barnes and Noble in the US.

I always liked Andy Soltis's books. He is a good writer. He has written a column for the last 40 years for Chess Life that is one of the most enjoyable parts of the magazine.

MustafaMoiz
notmtwain wrote:
MustafaMoiz wrote:

I was at my local bookstore and I found several books on chess which I was unsure of. I wanted to know what others thought of them.

I have been playing chess all my life but have only recently started studying it more seriously. I like to start from the basics always and enjoy books which are more helpful and less arcane. These were the books I thought looked promising.

 

Chess Pattern Recognition for Beginners by Van de Oudeweetering

Chess Basics by David Levens

Complete Book of Beginning Chess by Raymond Keene

Starting Out: Chess Tactics and Checkmates by Chris Ward

Gambiteer I Gambiteer II by Nigel Davies

303 Tricky Chess Tactics by Fred Wilson and Bruce Albertson

365 Master Lessons by Andrew Soltis

300 Most Important Chess Positions by Thomas Engqvist

A to Z Chess Tactics by George Huczek

The 100 Endgames You Must Know by Jesus de la Villa

Wow, they carry more chessbooks at a bookstore in Pakistan than they do at stores like Barnes and Noble in the US.

I always liked Andy Soltis's books. He is a good writer. He has written a column for the last 40 years for Chess Life that is one of the most enjoyable parts of the magazine.

Yeah I've found Pakistan generally has a wide variety of books at least compared to North America.

I'll look at the Andy Soltis book in detail then, see how appealing it is. Funnily enough, the named seemed too showy and I wasn't considering that specific book until you recommended the author.

kindaspongey

"... the 2000+ player for which 100 Endgames You Must Know is really intended ..."

https://web.archive.org/web/20140708105702/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review645.pdf

"... Players from 2000 up to International Master will find 100 ENDGAMES YOU MUST KNOW quite useful." - IM John Donaldson

http://www.jeremysilman.com/shop/pc/100-Endgames-You-Must-Know-78p3863.htm

https://www.newinchess.com/media/wysiwyg/product_pdf/9026.pdf

kindaspongey
MustafaMoiz wrote:

… Chess Pattern Recognition for Beginners by Van de Oudeweetering ...

https://www.newinchess.com/media/wysiwyg/product_pdf/9069.pdf

kindaspongey
MustafaMoiz wrote:

… Gambiteer I Gambiteer II by Nigel Davies ...

https://web.archive.org/web/20140626195205/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen102.pdf

https://web.archive.org/web/20140626183418/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen105.pdf

kindaspongey
MustafaMoiz wrote:

… Starting Out: Chess Tactics and Checkmates by Chris Ward ...

https://web.archive.org/web/20140708233323/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review569.pdf

brother7

Before making a recommendation, I looked at your rating on here. Based on that, your time is best spent studying tactics.

There are three tactics books on your list.

I do NOT recommend A to Z Chess Tactics by George Huczek because tactics should not be taught in an alphabetical way. Tactics should be taught functionally and built up from simple to more complex.

That leaves the other two tactics books:

Between those two, I would choose 303 Tricky Chess Tactics. After going through that book, you can move on to Starting Out: Chess Tactics which I feel is a slightly more difficult and comprehensive presentation.

To be honest, if you are focused on improving your chess, my #1 recommendation would be to go through the Chess Steps. Start with Step 1. Purchase the manual + all the workbooks for that step (4-5 workbooks per step). Then go through it lesson by lesson and do ALL of the exercises in the workbooks. The real value are the workbooks... there are so many exercises that if you do them all, you cannot help but to improve.

I'm doing the Steps program myself. I'm an intermediate player but am going through all the Steps and workbooks starting from Step 1. I'm currently on Step 2 and will finish it in perhaps two months.

MustafaMoiz
kindaspongey wrote:

"... the 2000+ player for which 100 Endgames You Must Know is really intended ..."

https://web.archive.org/web/20140708105702/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review645.pdf

"... Players from 2000 up to International Master will find 100 ENDGAMES YOU MUST KNOW quite useful." - IM John Donaldson

http://www.jeremysilman.com/shop/pc/100-Endgames-You-Must-Know-78p3863.htm

https://www.newinchess.com/media/wysiwyg/product_pdf/9026.pdf

From the reviews I think 100 Endgames You Must Know seems really interesting but it does say its particularly useful for 2000+ players which isn't me. Do you feel I should hold off on this one then?

MustafaMoiz

Okay from this what I am understanding is that the book covers certain gambits very well but really skates past others and that's the case for both Gambiteer I and Gambiteer II. So its usable for a good understanding of those gambits he's really covered in detail and for a brief introduction into the ones he skates by which you can then study in further detail from another source. This seems like an attractive book which will not deliver as much as is promised, so maybe I should hold off on this one?

MustafaMoiz
kindaspongey wrote:
MustafaMoiz wrote:

… Starting Out: Chess Tactics and Checkmates by Chris Ward ...

https://web.archive.org/web/20140708233323/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review569.pdf

Okay this one seems really interesting. I think I'll get it and save it for later because of brother7's comment. I do tend to like more casual writing styles

MustafaMoiz
brother7 wrote:

Before making a recommendation, I looked at your rating on here. Based on that, your time is best spent studying tactics.

There are three tactics books on your list.

I do NOT recommend A to Z Chess Tactics by George Huczek because tactics should not be taught in an alphabetical way. Tactics should be taught functionally and built up from simple to more complex.

That leaves the other two tactics books:

Between those two, I would choose 303 Tricky Chess Tactics. After going through that book, you can move on to Starting Out: Chess Tactics which I feel is a slightly more difficult and comprehensive presentation.

To be honest, if you are focused on improving your chess, my #1 recommendation would be to go through the Chess Steps. Start with Step 1. Purchase the manual + all the workbooks for that step (4-5 workbooks per step). Then go through it lesson by lesson and do ALL of the exercises in the workbooks. The real value are the workbooks... there are so many exercises that if you do them all, you cannot help but to improve.

I'm doing the Steps program myself. I'm an intermediate player but am going through all the Steps and workbooks starting from Step 1. I'm currently on Step 2 and will finish it in perhaps two months.

Okay I understand the reason for rejecting the Huczak book. I think I'll get both the other books because I understand what you're saying about the Chris Ward book but kindaspongey gave a link to a review and I did like the style so I'll get it and read it after 303 Tricky Chess Tactics.

I'm looking into the Steps program, it does seem good. Do you feel it is all that much more useful than going through chess.com's own resources? I'm guessing the best part is that its organized, which makes it easier to stay on track. I just don't like the long lines written.

Ke3 g5 3. f4 exf4+ 4. gxf4 g4 5. f5 f6 6. Lf1 La4 7. Pc5 Lc1+ 8. Kd4 Ld

 

Of course this makes perfect sense and that's how it should be done, I think I've always done better with diagram explanations though.

Nwap111

I would start with chess.com's resources.  Good place to start. 

RussBell

Good Chess Books for Beginners and Beyond...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/good-chess-books-for-beginners-and-beyond

kindaspongey
MustafaMoiz wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:

... "... Players from 2000 up to International Master will find 100 ENDGAMES YOU MUST KNOW quite useful." - IM John Donaldson

http://www.jeremysilman.com/shop/pc/100-Endgames-You-Must-Know-78p3863.htm

https://www.newinchess.com/media/wysiwyg/product_pdf/9026.pdf

From the reviews I think 100 Endgames You Must Know seems really interesting but it does say its particularly useful for 2000+ players which isn't me. Do you feel I should hold off on this one then?

My guess is that you would be better off with something like Silman’s Complete Endgame Course.

http://theweekinchess.com/john-watson-reviews/theres-an-end-to-it-all

https://web.archive.org/web/20140708103149/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review594.pdf

https://www.silmanjamespress.com/shop/chess/silmans-complete-endgame-course/

Dirk_A

I only read 2 books from my 12 books and they were absolutely recommendable:

Chernev: Logical Move (Tactic, Strategy, Opening all in one)

Tactical exercices at chess.com and

the book: Weapons of Chess: An Omnibus of Chess Strategies

Buy only a few books but study them several times. Advice of a weak player!  :-)

 

kindaspongey
MustafaMoiz wrote:

Okay from this what I am understanding is that the book covers certain gambits very well but really skates past others and that's the case for both Gambiteer I and Gambiteer II. So its usable for a good understanding of those gambits he's really covered in detail and for a brief introduction into the ones he skates by which you can then study in further detail from another source. This seems like an attractive book which will not deliver as much as is promised, so maybe I should hold off on this one?

The thing that struck me is a comment in the second review that the "target audience" is "players rated 1500-2000".

kindaspongey
Dirk_A wrote:

… Chernev: Logical Move ...

https://web.archive.org/web/20140708104437/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/logichess.pdf

RussBell
kindaspongey wrote:
MustafaMoiz wrote:

Okay from this what I am understanding is that the book covers certain gambits very well but really skates past others and that's the case for both Gambiteer I and Gambiteer II. So its usable for a good understanding of those gambits he's really covered in detail and for a brief introduction into the ones he skates by which you can then study in further detail from another source. This seems like an attractive book which will not deliver as much as is promised, so maybe I should hold off on this one?

The thing that struck me is a comment in the second review that the "target audience" is "players rated 1500-2000".

The Gambiteer books by Nigel Davies are opening repertoire books.  Repertoire books do not attempt to provide thorough or comprehensive coverage of an opening, but rather feature selected lines consistent with the mofifs which the author feels are playable.   These books also tend to be more readily "digestable" by the average amateur player.  The quality of such books range from very good, in many cases, to mediocre in a few.  For those wanting to simply get started playing an opening, a repertoire book can be a good way to begin - for example, Vincent Moret's "My First Chess Opening Repertoire for White" (which I highly recommend) is a perfect example.  See my review of this book on Amazon (as 'RLBell', or in my blog article cited earlier in this thread)...

https://www.amazon.com/First-Chess-Opening-Repertoire-White/dp/9056916335/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3GSZC4IPX92MX&keywords=my+first+chess+opening+repertoire+for+white&qid=1562929946&s=books&sprefix=my+first+chess+open%2Caps%2C192&sr=1-1

also reviewed by John Bartholomew on Chessable...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f41ZbPq9OpE

By the way, an excellent, instructive introduction to gambit openings, including the Evans Gambit, are the 3-volume series "The Alterman Gambit Guide" by Boris Alterman.  These are targeted primarily to the beginner-intermediate player...

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=boris+alterman&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

kindaspongey
RussBell wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:

The thing that struck me is a comment in the second review that the "target audience" is "players rated 1500-2000".

The Gambiteer books by Davies are opening repertoire books.  Repertoire books ... tend to be more readily "digestable" by the average amateur player.  The quality of such books range from very good, in many cases, to mediocre in some.  For those wanting to simply get started playing an opening, a repertoire book can be a good way to begin - for example, Vincent Moret's "My First Chess Opening Repertoire for White" (which I highly recommend) is a perfect example.  ...

It seems to me that repertoire books vary greatly in their target audience. For the reader, I suspect that the degree of digestibility depends considerably on the degree to which the reader fits the profile that the writer had in mind. If a book is intended for 1500-2000 players, it might not work so well for someone below 1100. I am not aware of a rating range for the Moret books, but perhaps samples and a review can provide a potential buyer with a sense of whether or not they are what is wanted.

https://www.newinchess.com/media/wysiwyg/product_pdf/9033.pdf

https://www.newinchess.com/media/wysiwyg/product_pdf/9050.pdf

https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/vincent-moret/

"... For beginning players, [Discovering Chess Openings] will offer an opportunity to start out on the right foot and really get a feel for what is happening on the board. ..." - FM Carsten Hansen (2006)

https://web.archive.org/web/20140627114655/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen91.pdf

Some of us think that it can be useful to use books like First Steps: 1 e4 e5 and First Steps: Queen's Gambit
https://www.newinchess.com/media/wysiwyg/product_pdf/7790.pdf

https://chesscafe.com/book-reviews/first-steps-1-e4-e5-by-john-emms/
https://www.newinchess.com/media/wysiwyg/product_pdf/7652.pdf
as sources of games with explanations intended for those just starting to learn about an opening.