If there were only 1 chess book you could reccomend what would it be ?


Sharpen Your Tactics! by Anatoly Lein and Boris Archangelsky

My System by Aron Nimzovich


I dunno, it's not a criticism of the actual book per se, which in it's time was an absolute milestone - I just think it's a sign of the times. Fischer's suggestion "play through every line and footnote in MCO" seems totally laughable and dated in 2012. There may be a very small window of players that may actually benefit from an MCO style tome but I would have thought that nowadays it's either too advanced for a beginner/inexperienced player whereas someone that is seriously preparing openings would more likely use a specailsed opening book for that line/variation, or even a DVD or such like, and at a slightly higher level, Chessbase.


I guess I took the request too seriously. I would never recommend an instruction manual as the only chess book to own. I would much rather learn from a collection of complete games than from a manual. And if it didn't help me to be a better player, at least it would enrich my understanding of chess culture.

Which book is the single best chess instruction manual ever?  My System by Aron Nimzovich. But some people claim that's too hard. Another good one is The Art of Attack in Chess by Vukovic. Both books will reward the serious student who is willing to do the hard work.


I always thought this was the best book to improve ones game - Winning Chess: How To See Three Moves Ahead

Irving Chernev (Author) & Fred Reinfeld (Author)


Great, maybe I'll check to see if I can get one of these books on the cheap :)


Chess Tactics from Scratch.  Martin Weteschnik.  He reviews ALL tatical themes, makes sure you understand each type of tactic and has good puzzles.

Most benefically of all it teaches you to look for the themes or tactical potential OTB.  For example two queens on the same file separated by a peice.. Discovery, double attack etc...

I had trouble with X-Ray tactics. I didn't really know what the H#ll they were and scored poorly in TT.   In your case you should check your tactics trainer to see where your weak spots are tactically and focus on those kinds of tactical puzzles.

I'm currently reading "Winning Chess Tactics for Juniors" and trust me I'm no Junior.  Tactics for breakfast lunch and dinner.


Nowadays, chess tactics can be learned online for free more easily than in books.


Very true.  I was just thinking since the OP is a diamond member he should do more in TT and go through all the engame lessons in Chess Mentor.  Especially the King and pawn endgames.  I'm rated about the same as the OP and most games at our rating level in live will be won or lost due to a dropped pawn or piece, outright blunders, tactics or the endgame.

For a patzer like me though having the tactical themes explained in a book worked better than online.

Something about an actual book helps me learn better, I can just put it on the knightstand (no pun intended) or my briefcase. Does that make sense?


Sure it does! If it works better for you to read it in a book, fantastic! Personally, I go through the tactics on Shredder every night. The tactics there are easy enough, but I try to knock off ~50 a day.


Appreciate all the feedback from everyone...

but as you said Satxusa it is often easier to read a book at one's leisure than to lug around a laptop....


You have a phone? Phones are usually easy to carry around and usually have a host of apps for doing tactical puzzles, including Chess.com's own app.

As for books, I'd agree with My System. Many people hate Nimzowitsch's writing style; I find it endearing. Those who dislike his writing style are probably missing out somewhat on much of his great content.

As for Silman's Endgame Course, personally I prefer Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual, for what I find to be much greater clarity, and a book that "flows" more easily, as Dvoretsky's book is ordered by concepts, rather than by perceived utility for a collection of different rating groups, as Silman's is.


Lasker's Manual of chess comes first in mind.


The first chess book that made any effect on me was Bobby Fischer's "My Sixty Memorial Games." I bought it used for $2.50 in KC,MO in 1973. I devoured it and learned so much from it.


3 books that brought me a lot, and I am only 1750 or so, so i know you will understand them:

Tartakover, read a long time ago and don't remember but know it's good

Reuben Fine on openings

Max Euwe on middle game


Re-reading an old favourite is often a good idea. It might help to give you a deeper understanding.

The Mammoth Book of chess games (spelling?) is a very good collection.


Silman's endgame course is a very fine book- factly, it's just about the only Silman book I would recommend to someone. It won't substitute any of the endgame classics (Keres, Shereshevsky, Averbakh) or the stunning Dvoretsky endgame manual, but it CAN be used as your single endgame learning source.

Sorry to say that I do not regard his middlegame books too highly... I find them plagiarizing, and largely flawed. Get Pachman instead, you can hardly go wrong with such stuff.


Is the single volume dover edition OK or do you need to track down the orignal Pachman volumes?

pfren wrote:

Sorry to say that I do not regard his [Silman's] middlegame books too highly... I find them plagiarizing, and largely flawed. Get Pachman instead, you can hardly go wrong with such stuff.

I agree with pfren that Silman's middle game books are flawed and that he borrows ideas from other writers. (Plagiarizing is harsh -- Silman uses concepts that orginate elsewhere and in many cases he repackages those ideas -- that's not brilliantly original -- but it's not plagiarism either) -- I got a lot out of Silman's middlegame books when I read them in combination with Pachman's middlegame book. Unless I'm mistaken Pachman is one the main people pfren considers Silman to have plagiarized. IMHO Silman and Pachman together do a better job of teaching middlegame than either one alone. At least for me. Silman states his ideas clearly but very dogmatically... Pachman is much more understated. Between the two the valuable part of the chess ideas come thru, at least that's how it worked for me. 

edit* Is the single volume dover edition OK or do you need to track down the orignal Pachman volumes?

The Dover abridgement was good for me...  


Thank you!!

The Middlegame(Book 1: Static Features and Book 2: Dynamic & Subjective Features) by Euwe and Kramer is an excellent alternative to Silman and Pachman. Euwe is one of the best at explaining things in way that the typical chess student can understand.