buy this used and do not pay more than $3 for this book! It's full of fun, famous, games and amusing chess anecdotes and description of famous personalities all with Reinfeld and Chernev's seriously overcooked commentary and annotations. Great fun. It's in descriptive notation (which absolutely destoys a book for me now, despite my having grown up using descriptive.) It was published in 1949 so it's all about the great era of European Chess from roughly 1850 to 1950, just prior to the Soviet dominance (Fischer excepted) of the next 50 years. Worth a look for someone who wants to get some chess history, fun games, corny unfunny chess cartoons, and has three dollars, max, to spend.
I have to post my objections to the AA Troitzky book above. I got ahold of this when I was in my tender developmental stage of chess development & learning. I thought that winning an endgame had more to do with cooking up some complicated and brilliant lengthy combination than simply following a plan that more or less follows from the position you arived at from all the earlier stuff your game. While these compositions are impressive, their practical application is dubious.
This book has given me years of pleasure, also only in descriptive afaik.
Hm, hard to agree with a lot of these being "little-known", but...
I nominate the following. Despite being compiled/edited by a dingus, it has a lot of interesting material from some very good players indeed (it's also where I first came across that unbelievable Kavalek B vs 2 R's game):
I also found this quite good (way back when):
I can't believe people are adding Pandolfini and Keene books to the thread!
Hey, I said the guy was a dink (but the book isn't actually by him, and it's very good indeed).
Most of the stuff with Keene's name probably isn't by him.
Yeah, I'll bet it's all David Levy's doing.
Lol. I not only added Pandolfini, but Reinfeld (who is imho just dreadful) ...
but I swear that particular Pandolfini book (which has almost zero text except a brief introduction) is great. As for putting the Reinfeld book on the list... call it a failed troll attempt
Well, the real oddity is the "little-known" designation.
Great might be pushing it, but here's another little known Pandolfini book that's pretty good.
Keene's early books wern't bad. The one on Nimzowitch is actually good, and even one on 78 World championship reasonable. In that last one broke agreement with Korchnoi by doing a book at all, and spent more effort on it, than being his second.
"Modern Chess strategy" (Edvard Lasker)
Easy to read strategy for beginners.
A very good first book of strategy.
Somebody mentioned "Fundamental Theory" by Ilya Maizelis. Quality Chess is bringing that book out again under the title "The Soviet Chess Primer".
Great decision! I heard good things about it and the contents can already be seen on the quality chess website: http://www.qualitychess.co.uk/products/2/231/the_soviet_chess_primer_by_ilya_maizelis/
Something for the Christmas list!
I have some old Dover books which I really like. They are also cheap and sturdy paperbacks. Hard to beat in the "bang for your buck" department.
The first one is Jeno Ban's "The Tactics of Chess Endgames." A great collection of 239 endgame studies with beautiful tactical points. One of my favorite books.
The second is Israel Gelfer's "Positional Chess Handbook," which is a collection of 495 positions, each one illustrating some positional theme. This book is just chock full of outstanding positional maneuvers and analysis. A master class in positional play.
I nominate "Your First Move: Chess For Beginners" by Alexei Sokolski
I've shown this book to two FIDE masters at different times to ask their opinion. The beginning of the book shows the basics of how to move the pieces and how to read notation. Then it moves on from there to simple tactics. However, when they got a little over halfway through the book, they had a puzzled look on their face and came up with the same question: "This is a beginner's book???!"
Apparently, this book takes you from complete novice to about Class C. There aare complete example games, opening traps, lessons on quick development, endgame basics, middlegame basics, basic openings. It is a nice complete small handbook. Apparently, it was written in a Russian style of learning.
1. Six Hundred Endings by Portisch and Sarkozy - this book (in Russian) was my first endgame book. Since then I've got Dvoretsky, Muller, de la Villa but Portisch/Sarkozy always remains a favourite one. 600 examples of both theoretical and practical endgames, minimal but sufficient explanation, each example can be learned in 10-20 minutes.
2. Killer Moves by George Renko - not a book but tactics training database. Over 1600 beautiful and challenging problems. Most of them are from real games and each problem contains not just one but few tactical motifs.