End, Middle & Opening (or Tactical) Book Recommendations

mcewanm25

(REPOST: I accidentally posted this in the beginners forum, which I realise may not be the optimal place for responses)

Hi all,

I work in a rather unique field which may require long periods of working without access to internet and I am looking for some good books that I could study during these periods to improve. I've only recently found out that my workplace has an annual chess championship which I would be very motivated to win in the coming years and it looks like past champions have been ~2050. This is well beyond my current level of play, but I have only started playing chess again recently after learning the moves as a child.

I'm looking at buying 3 (max 4) books that I could potentially travel with at one time and read over while practicing, I've never done any proper chess study and would like these books to be somewhat reader-friendly but also have the scope to take me up to a high level. I can add more at a later date to make up gaps in theory.

I'm not sure how to break down what topics these books should cover, I was thinking - as the title suggests - one reasonably holistic book on each stage of the game, is that wise? Or should I scrap the opening section for something more tactical?

From what I read on previous threads, Either Silman's 'Complete Endgame Course' or Keres' 'Practical Chess Endings' are recommended - I do note that some people take issue with Silman's....simplicity? Perhaps thinking that it doesn't make the reader work hard enough to facilitate real learning, is this true?

What books have you fellow chess.com member's used to improve to 2000 and beyond?

Thanks all for reading.

P.S I've never played OTB in a competitive setting but I will be joining a club once this lockdown situation eases.

RussBell

Good Chess Books for Beginners and Beyond...

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

asdf234
mcewanm25 wrote:

I'm looking at buying 3 (max 4) books that I could potentially travel with at one time and read over while practicing, I've never done any proper chess study and would like these books to be somewhat reader-friendly but also have the scope to take me up to a high level. I can add more at a later date to make up gaps in theory.

 

 If we did not have the 3-4 books limitation I've recommended the Chess Steps by Cor Wijgerdeen. It is systematic and it works. Addition of the Mix workbooks has made it better.

 One book you should have is the Soviet Chess Primer by Maizelis. It starts from the beginning but the level increases exponentially. You have to be a dedicated student to get the most out of it.

 You should work on tactics. A good instructional book is Learn Chess Tactics by Nunn. You can follow this by "Improve Your Chess Tactics" by Neishtadt.

 I do not like Silman's teaching style but his Complete Endgame Course is his magnum opus. There are other great endgame books as well but Silman presents the material by player level. This is a great choice. It is more reader-friendly than other endgame books but do not forget that there is no short cut to improving. You have to put in the effort and study hard.

  I agree with you that you should not study hard on openings, hence I did not recommend any openings books. Start with 1.e4, reply to 1.e4 by 1...e5, to 1.d4 by 1...d5, follow the basic principles such as moving a piece once towards a center, not bringing the queen early, castling and you will be fine. Try to play as much open games (1.e4 e5) as you can. One thing that will help is to analyze your games afterwards, especially the ones you lost. 

  If you will have access to a Windows PC, then you should also use Lucaschess. It has several engines at different playing levels in addition to exercises. Your new colleagues may not be interested in playing as much as you do so a backup opponent is a good idea. Good luck in your new position, hope it will be better than you expect.

Take care,

sound67

I disagree that a study of openings is not important. You can make so many mistakes there that you'll be struggling to correct in middle game.  I'm not saying that you have to memorize dozens of different variants up to 16 half moves (or more) into the game, but a knowledge of some essential openings is IMHO mandatory. 

asdf234
sound67 wrote:

I disagree that a study of openings is not important. You can make so many mistakes there that you'll be struggling to correct in middle game.  I'm not saying that you have to memorize dozens of different variants up to 16 half moves (or more) into the game, but a knowledge of some essential openings is IMHO mandatory. 

 

Agree but which one is a good single volume opening book? "Small ECO" or similar books are full of lines but no general insight. "How to open a chess game" was printed in 1974, is hard to find although excellent in content; probably the best single volume opening book. "Chess Openings for Kids" is limited in content and leans more towards giving lines instead of ideas. Watson's "Mastering the Chess Openings" is excellent but that one is a 4 volume work wink.png 

 

I did not imply that he/she should ignore openings. Time spent on openings has a low rate of return. The idea of an opening is to get to a playable position. So yes, if one totally neglects opening than he/she will not get to the middlegame for sure. On the other extreme end if one spends too much time on openings, than he/she may get excellent positions out of opening but have no idea on how to play it and then lose again. Please let us not forget that he/she has space for 3 or 4 books. Opening knowledge covered in the "Soviet Chess Primer" will be enough although it is only 7-8 pages long but the general ideas shared there are worth more than memorizing some lines. Just my 2 cents.

karpov4100026

I recommend Yusupov's 9 books collection. It covers all parts of the game.

dannyhume
Seconding the Chess Steps recommendation. Although there are somewhere around 25-30 workbooks, it supposedly covers all of the chess skills needed through roughly the 2100 level in a systematic logical order. Yusupov claims his 10 workbooks cover the 1300-2100 levels, similar to the Steps Method, but the vast majority of comments I have seen indicate that the Yusupov material is way more difficult than the Steps and more difficult than the levels he claims they represent. Also, Yusupov’s 10 books IN TOTAL have fewer problems than EACH of the first 3 levels of Steps and roughly the same number of problems as EACH of the last 3 levels.
ThrillerFan

If you are confininng yourself to 3 or 4 books, you will not get far.  If that is 3 or 4 for 2020 and you will pick up more come 2021, different story.

Assuming the latter, since this will not cover everything, I recommend starting with the following.  I am also under the assumption that you know the basics since you have played online.  That you know how to mate with king and rook vs a lone K, or what a skewer is:

 

1) Silman's Endgame Course

2) The Inner Game of Chess (Andrew Soltis) - This is basically a book on how to calculate deeper.

3) Logical Chess Move by Move (Chernev)

4) A player (not an opening) from before 1950 in the move by move series, like Steinitz Move by Move or Nimzovich Move by Move, etc.

 

Read the first 3 before you read the fourth.  The first 3 can be read in any order.

Leave Openings for 2021.

Runsub4

Looks like you have had some great suggestions. 

I would second that “The Soviet Chess Primier” is a must. I just started it and am amazed at what I am learning.

 

An Annotated book of a world champion is also a must. I am doing Alekhine 300 best games right now and enjoy his thoughts on his own games.

 

Tactics. I do tactics books on chessable which is not a good help for you since you will not have internet. But what to look for, if you don’t know the Arabian, Anastasia, Greco and other basic mating patterns like the back of your hand get a book that drills those.

 

Second tactics book, to many to choose from, and asked and answered here on chess.com

 

mcewanm25

Thanks everyone. I have ordered a number of the books suggested. Notably Silman's endgame course and The Soviet Chess Primer. I'm going to give a couple of hours a day to study and hope to improvew a few hundred elo points before looking at any more reading material. Good luck all.

Runsub4
mcewanm25 wrote:

Thanks everyone. I have ordered a number of the books suggested. Notably Silman's endgame course and The Soviet Chess Primer. I'm going to give a couple of hours a day to study and hope to improvew a few hundred elo points before looking at any more reading material. Good luck all.

The Soviet Chess Primer - I know you will like this one. Great choice and good luck on your chess journey!