Here are the top 3 chess books that will make you a better chess player. I highly recommend them to any chess players, except the complete beginners (then, it is better to simply play a lot).

Chess: The Complete Self-Tutor by Edward Lasker

When I began chess, a friend of mine who is a really good player told me that this was THE book I had to read. Today, years later, I do agree with him. I learned so much with it...

 

The Complete Self-Tutor by Edward Lasker

The principle of this book is to make you, the reader, active. To do so, the author, Edward Lasker (one of the best player of his time) is asking you a question about a position and offers you several plausible answers.

You have to analyze the position and choose the correct answer. Each answer you to a different page and if you choose a wrong one, the book will explain why it was wrong and let you go back to the question.

This book is incredible in the sense that it makes you think from the very beginning.  Beware the traps, Edward Lasker will not let you rest on your intuition. Also, this book manages to combine parts where you need to understand the position through principles and without calculating all the lines and parts where you need to calculate precisely without consideration for the principles. This is really important as both are needed in chess.

Finally, this book can be read by players of different levels. Intermediate players will go through it quickly trying to get the essence of it. More advanced players may be interested to read it more thoroughly, for example reading the refutation of wrong moves, etc...

The only problem of this book is that its opening part is a bit outdated. You will probably need a book that covers more in detail the opening(s) you are playing in addition to this book.

Get it at Amazon!

Chess: The Complete Self-Tutor (Algebraic Classics Series)
Amazon Price: $89.56 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 20, 2013)

How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman

If you don't know Jeremy Silman, you may have been away from the chess world for too long. This chess writer is a phenomenon, having written several best sellers and having an incredible huge amount of fans and followers.

This book is the one I like best by him and one of the most popular book about chess strategy.

The title is a bit unfortunate in my opinion as this book is not as much about finding out how good or bad you are at chess as teaching you the chess fundamentals. It teaches you how to play real chess.

 

How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman

No firework sacrifices, no opening traps, ... but how to think. What imbalances are in this position? How to use them? In a seemingly quiet position, how do you play? 

There have been several editions of this book, and this is the 4th one. Revised and improved a lot.

Get it at Amazon!

How to Reassess Your Chess, Fourth edition
Amazon Price: $29.95 $17.67 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 20, 2013)

Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur by Max Euwe

As the title indicates, the principle of this book is to analyse some games played between a chess master and a chess amateur. The chess amateur is not a complete beginner and he is not making stupid mistakes like forgetting to move his queen under attack, or not seeing the fork from the opponent's knight. No, the mistakes he is making are more subtle and more about the ones we (non-professional players) are making, without understanding why they are mistakes.

 

Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur by Max Euwe

This is an old book but it is still both really instructive and enjoyable. Why ? Because not only will you get deep analysis about why some moves are bad (even though they are not immediately losing) but you will also see how a master is taking advantages of these mistakes his opponent is making.

I am also generally more fan of re-playing some games than in reading big theoretical books.

My only regret is that the notation and overall edition of this book is old/outdated. Wished they would come with a new edition of it.

Get it at Amazon

Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur (Dover Chess)
Amazon Price: $14.95 $7.96 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 20, 2013)

Conclusion

There are many more chess books that deserve your attention but these were the 3 books which helped me the most. Hope you will enjoy them as much as I did and I wish you the best for your chess adventure.

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