Best chess books

My 10 favorite Chess books for learning and studying

Here is adescriptive list of what I feel are the best chess books you can buy to study and improve your game.  They are informative and fun to read.

10 .Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master by Jeremy Silman.  This is a great endgame book covering pretty much anything you need to know about endgames, at least everything you will need to know at the strong club level.  The best part is that it is very enjoyable to read.  Silman is funny while being very informative.  He breaks down endgame techniques in as easy to learn way while not watering down anything.  If you get only one endgame book, or are looking for one to start with, this is it.

9.Botvinnik: One Hundred Selected Gamesby Mikhail Botvinnik- Many people think that Botvinnik had a boring strategic style of play; however, this book proves quite the contrary.  Yes, Botvinnik was a solid strategist and had a wall of iron defensive style, but he was a great tactician also.  Many games will show you some amazing play from a well-rounded and headstrong champion.  Botvinnik is one of my favorite players; I love his style and I love his training regime.  He was very disciplined and determined, which is probably why his chess school produced some great champions (Kasparov, Karpov).

8. Practical Chess Exercises: 600 Lessons from Tactics to Strategy by Ray Cheng - A collection of puzzles alternating between tactical and strategic themes.  The layout of the book is great and very easy to use as a practice tool.  Great book to help keep sharp. 

7.Garry Kasparov's Greatest Chess Games, Volume 1by Igor Stohl- Kasparov games are fun to play over and study.  They are very rich with every type of style and play, but of course his tactical vision was extraordinary.  Great sacrifices and dominate play.  I love the game he played when he was 10 years old (Kasparov-Muratkuliev, Baku 1973, game 1 in the book), he showed amazing maturity by foregoing the attack and forcing his opponent into a hopeless endgame .  Definitely one of the best players ever. 

6.My Best Games (Progress in Chess) by Anatoly Karpov- Karpov is my favorite player after Tal.  I actually prefer Karpov’s style over Tal’s; I just love Tal’s passion.  Karpov was a master at the active defense style of play.  Many think his play is boring and staid, but these games show that he had a great strategic style of play that punished the smallest mistake.   He had a fantastic endgame also.  Karpov is great to study to see how to properly play long term strategies, when to play solid and when to strike.    

5. The Reassess Your Chess Workbook by Jeremy Silman- This is the best chess improvement book you can buy.  Jeremy Silman is a great chess teacher and writer.  He has a way of teaching complex idea in a simple way.  Your play will improve I you follow his advice, learn his mantras, and dedicate yourself to practicing. 

4.The Mammoth Book of the World's Greatest Chess Games by Burgess, Nunn, Et al .  A fantastic collection of some of the greatest games ever played.  It includes many classic games as well as modern gems.  It contains high quality analysis and over 100 games, a great value.

3.Tal-Botvinnik, 1960 by Mikhail Tal- Two of my favorite players, with totally opposite styles, clash for the championship.  Once again Tal’s writing is phenomenal.  This book is a joy to read and he takes you along the entire match that it feels like you are right there with him.  The games are great and the analysis is awesome.  Tal was very honest in all of his analysis and I love the fact that he always showed the greatest respect for Botvinnik.  There’s one game where he says after the game he was analyzing with Botvinnik and showed him an elaborate tactical combination that he thought Botvinnik was looking at, but then all Botvinnik said was that he knew the E-file needed to be controlled and he did what he needed to take control.  In other words Botvinnik’s simple strategic idea was more profound than what Tal thought by his elaborate combination.  Tal highly respected this.  A great book and Tal would have both number 1 and 2 on this list but I feel the following book slightly edges this one out.

2. My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer- An amazingly down to earth and passionate analysis of Fischer’s memorable games in his own words.  This book has phenomenal analysis with great strategic and tactical analysis.  The book is truly the work of a genius.  No matter what you think of Fischer, he was a great player and this is a must read.

1.  Life & Games of Mikhail Talby Mikhail Tal.  This book is fantastic.  It’s filled with great games, amazing analysis, and captivating writing.  Tal’s passion for chess pours out on the pages.  His love for the game itself draws you in to each game.  It is also a very entertaining book.  Tal was hilarious and even wrote the book in a question answer style where he pretends to be a journalist’s asking himself questions.  The anecdotes are great and history is fun to read.  The games included are amazing and Tal’s tactical/sacrificial style was amazing.  This is hands down the best chess book ever written.  A must read for anybody who loves chess.