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I highly recommend Silman's Endgame course.
I don't necessarily have one book but I would recommend one author... Bruce Pandolfini. He has written numerous books on chess basics that I found quite helpful and it was not too high brow to understand. He was also the chess tutor in the Movie, In search of Bobby Fisher
True. His books were extensively used in the former USSR. They were given to kindergartens, and kids made nice paper shuttles out of them.
(I agree with IM pfren's sentiment).
Chess Fundamentals by José Capablanca
And of course Modern Chess Openings. Thats excellent opening book!
Surprised no mention of Reuben Fine's Books. Chess the Easy Way has much of his excellent The Ideas Behind the Openings. Includes elementary endgame situations (not comparable with his famous endgame tome, Basic Chess Endings, which still gives Sillman and Dvoretsky competition) but plenty for non-reference purposes. And good advice in general. Readable, yet not a lightweight beginner's book, although it starts with the rules. Quite thorough.
My choice for one single book to recommend (for a beginner or intermediate player) would be Dan Heisman's A Guide to Chess Improvement: The Best of Novice Nook. I've learned more from that than from any other single book I've read. It covers the widest range of topics I've seen, including thought process, how and what to study, tactics and strategy, psychology and time management, and many others.
My other choice -- I know, only supposed to be one recommendation, but I can't resist because it's such a great work -- would be Pachman's single-volume Modern Chess Strategy, or the multi-volume Complete Chess Strategy version if you can find it. I only have the abridged single-volume work, but many people recommend the three-volume version, which has lots more examples than the abridged version. I'm still working my way through this book, but it's done more for my positional understanding and my ability to evaluate positions and come up with promising plans than anything else I've read.
Hey i only have money for 1 Book! Ok i will just make friends with every player i know and borrow their books. I will start with you as my friend. Help a chess friend in need.
Fine's Chess the Easy Way should be available used for $2 or so. It's a "normal" paperback, not a monster reference tome.
The Game of Chess - Tarrasch
I see a lot of recommendations for chess fundamentals by Capablanca. I agree that this is an excellent but and add to this that it is available free of charges in an absolutely excellent version from e+chess. Just download their free app and you can download the book for free
Simple Chess by John Emms.
It gives you a god positional understanding.
Sorry! I spelt good as god.
I agree about Pandolfini's books.Chess Openings:Traps and Zaps was fun. Also the Endgame Course.I love Silman's books as well. He really breaks everything down move by move. It gets a little tedious when you are looking to spend more time studying the board and less time reading analysis (if you get what I mean).
Capablanca is a great way to go as well.
Thanks for all responses.....tallying up the votes...for my next book....
Thanks, may have a look at that somewhere along the line. :)
That's OK, but if you were anything like me I would have ordered 27 by now...
I'm interesting in getting a collected games of Capablanca. Can I just ask if anyone would recommend The Immortal Games of Capablanca or Capablanca Move by Move. Thanks a lot.
Any book on Capa is a sure shot. Even Chernev's on his 60 best endings. Factly, it may be the sole good book Chernev ever issued.
OK, great thanks, I think I'll go for The Immortal Games of Capablanca. In terms of Chernev, I think I am in love with Chernev! (Logical Chess) I have his second book in the post at the moment. Cheers.
Jeremy Silman and Yasser Sierwan are both great