The Chess Reader's Paradise: 100 Must-Know Books to Improve Your Game

The Chess Reader's Paradise: 100 Must-Know Books to Improve Your Game

In the modern era, with the availability of various online resources, video courses, and digital platforms, the role of traditional chess books has evolved. While video courses and online content provide a dynamic and interactive learning experience, chess books still hold significant value and benefits:

In-depth analysis

Too much depth it seems!

Chess books often provide more detailed and comprehensive analysis of games, positions, and concepts than video courses, which may be limited by time constraints.

Thematic exploration

The best chess books are like mentors, sharing their knowledge and insights with aspiring players

Books can delve deeply into specific themes, allowing players to focus on particular aspects of chess, such as endgames, tactics, openings, or strategy.

Self-paced learning

A good chess book is a companion that never tires of teaching and inspiring

Books allow for a more flexible and self-paced learning experience. Readers can take their time to study and analyze the material at their own convenience.

Thoughtful reflection

A chess book is a sanctuary where players seek refuge to learn, explore, and grow

Books encourage readers to engage in active thinking and reflection. The process of visualizing the moves on the board and understanding the written explanations enhances understanding.

Classic and timeless resources

"The legacy of great chess authors lives on through their timeless books

Many classic chess books written by legendary players and authors continue to be valuable sources of knowledge and inspiration.

Written exercises

In the hands of a dedicated player, a chess book becomes a powerful tool for improvement

Books often include exercises and puzzles for readers to solve independently, enhancing critical thinking and problem-solving skills.


The value of a chess book lies not only in its content but also in the inspiration it sparks

Chess books are easily portable, allowing players to study and review chess material even without internet access.

Reference material

Chess books serve as valuable reference material that can be revisited for years to come.

Different learning styles

Some people learn better through reading and studying at their own pace, making chess books more suitable for their learning style.

Unique perspectives

Each chess author has a unique perspective and style of teaching, which can provide diverse insights into the game.

While video courses and online resources are popular and effective for many chess players, chess books continue to play a crucial role in the chess learning journey. Both formats complement each other, and the choice between them depends on the individual's learning preferences and needs.

A well-rounded chess education may involve a combination of video courses, online resources, and traditional chess books to maximize learning and understanding of the game.

We have compiled a list of 100 must-know chess books for players of all levels based on our research, readings, and with the help of AI tools available today. This compilation aims to assist chess learners, eliminating the need for them to do the extensive groundwork. Whether you choose to buy, read, or study these books is entirely optional and at the discretion of the readers. We respect your choice, and we understand that not everyone may want to purchase books or complete reading them.

We have tried not to make any mistakes, but we seek forgiveness if any errors are found in the compilation. Yes, there are thousands of chess books that are also excellent, and we are genuinely sad if we have knowingly or unknowingly missed any, in this list
Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary
Jim Rohn
  1. "My 60 Memorable Games" by Bobby Fischer: Fischer annotates 60 of his best and most instructive games, showcasing his deep understanding and creative play.
  2. "1953 Zurich International" by David Bronstein: An analysis of the 1953 Zurich Candidates Tournament, which produced highly memorable and innovative games by top players of that era.
  3. "Art of Attack" by Vladimir Vukovic: Focuses on aggressive and attacking chess strategies, with numerous examples of successful attacks and sacrifices.
  4. "Life and Games of Mikhail Tal" by Mikhail Tal: Tal's autobiography combined with detailed analysis of his dynamic and imaginative games, demonstrating his attacking style.
  5. "Judgement and Planning in Chess" by Max Euwe: Explores the importance of proper evaluation, planning, and strategy in chess games.
  6. "Fire on Board" by Alexei Shirov: A collection of Shirov's brilliant attacking games, showcasing his fearless and uncompromising approach to chess.
  7. All Dvoretsky, Aagaard, Kasparov books: A compilation of books by these authors, focusing on various aspects of chess improvement, training, tactics, and strategies.
  8. "Secrets of Practical Chess" by John Nunn: Offers practical advice and tips to improve one's chess skills and decision-making during games.
  9. "Anish Giri – My Junior Years in 20 Games": An autobiography and game collection of Anish Giri during his junior years, providing insights into his chess journey.
  10. "Extreme Chess Tactics" by Afek: A book on unusual and challenging tactics to test and improve tactical skills.
  11. "Invisible Chess Moves" by Afek & Neimann: Focuses on hidden and subtle moves that players often overlook but can have a significant impact on the game.
  12. "Winning Pawn Structures" by Alexander Baburin: Explores the significance of pawn structures and how they influence the game's outcome.
  13. "Candidate Moves – A Grand Master's Method" by Bauer: Offers a systematic approach to identify and evaluate candidate moves during a chess game.
  14. "Uncompromising Chess" by Alexander Beliavsky: A collection of Beliavsky's games, reflecting his aggressive and combative playing style.
  15. "Bologan Selected Games" by Viktor Bologan: A compilation of Bologan's instructive games, demonstrating his strategic understanding and strong opening preparation.
  16. "The Woodpecker Method" by Axel Smith: A training method to enhance calculation and visualization skills, involving solving chess puzzles multiple times with intervals.
  17. "Improve Your Practical Play in the Middlegame" by Alexey Dreev: Focuses on improving decision-making and practical play during the middlegame phase.
  18. "Small Steps to Giant Improvement" by Sam Shankland: Offers practical advice for steady and consistent improvement in chess skills.
  19. "The Shereshevsky Method" by Mikhail Shereshevsky: A series providing practical advice on various aspects of chess improvement and training.
  20. "The Correct Exchange in the Endgame" by Eduardas Rozentalis: Focuses on proper exchange techniques and considerations in the endgame.
  21. "Mastering Minor Piece Endgames" by Adrian Mikhalchisin and Csaba Balogh: Explores various endgame positions involving minor pieces (knights and bishops) and how to handle them effectively.
  22. "The Complete Manual of Positional Chess" Volume 1 and 2 by Konstantin Landa and Alexander Sakaev: A comprehensive guide covering positional concepts in chess, from the basics to more advanced strategies.
  23. "Chess Middlegame Strategies" by Ivan Sokolov: Provides strategic insights and plans for the middlegame phase of chess.
  24. "Modern Endgame Manual" by Efstratios Grivas: Covers various practical endgames and techniques for the modern chess player.
  25. "My Best Games of Chess" by Vasily Smyslov: A selection of Smyslov's finest and most instructive games, annotated by the grandmaster himself.
  26. "The Power of Pawns" by Jörg Hickl: Focuses on the importance of pawns in chess and how they can be utilized as powerful assets.
  27. "Advanced Chess School" series by Efstratios Grivas: A series of books aimed at advanced players, covering various aspects of chess play, including tactics, strategy, and endgames.
  28. "Mastering Complex Endgames" by Daniel Naroditsky: Discusses intricate endgame positions and ideas for the advanced player.
  29. "Mastering Chess Middlegames" by Alexander Panchenko: A book that provides guidance and strategies for navigating the complexities of the middlegame.
  30. "Positional Decision Making" by Boris Gelfand: Gelfand shares his insights on making sound positional decisions in chess.
  31. "Dynamic Decision Making" by Boris Gelfand: Explores decision-making in dynamic positions and sharp, tactical situations.
  32. "Positional Chess Sacrifices" by Mihai Suba: A book that delves into the concept of positional sacrifices in chess.
  33. "Lessons with a Grand Master" series by Boris Gulko: A series of books where Gulko shares his knowledge and experiences, guiding readers through important chess concepts.
  34. Yusupov series of books "Build Up Your Chess," "Boost Your Chess," and "Chess Evolutions" (9 volumes): A comprehensive training course designed to improve various aspects of chess play for players of different levels.
  35. "Think Like a Grandmaster" by Alexander Kotov: An influential book that focuses on the thought process and decision-making of a Grandmaster during a game.
  36. "Train Like a Grandmaster" by Alexander Kotov: Provides training techniques and exercises to elevate one's chess skills.
  37. "Plan Like a Grandmaster" by Alexander Kotov: Discusses how to create and execute strategic plans in chess.
  38. "Theory and Practice of Chess Endings" by Alexey Panchenko: Covers theoretical endgame positions and practical endgame play.
  39. "Modern Chess Preparation" by Vladimir Tukmakov: Explores modern approaches to chess preparation and opening theory.
  40. "The Method in Chess" by Mark Dvoretsky: Focuses on various aspects of chess training and improvement, providing practical advice.
  41. "Grandmaster Preparation" by Lev Polugaevsky: A series of books that provides insights into the thought processes and preparations of a grandmaster during games.
  42. "Master of Counter-Attack" by Bent Larsen: Explores Larsen's counter-attacking style and his games featuring dynamic play.
  43. "How to Calculate Chess Tactics" by Valeri Beim: Offers guidance on how to improve calculation and tactical abilities in chess.
  44. "Dynamic Chess Strategy" by Mihai Suba: Focuses on dynamic and creative strategies in chess, emphasizing unconventional ideas.
  45. "Dynamic Pawn Play in Chess" by Drazen Marovic: Explores the importance of pawn play and pawn structures in dynamic positions.
  46. "The Road to the Top" by Paul Keres: Keres' autobiography and a collection of his best games, providing insights into his rise to the top of the chess world.
  47. "The Seven Deadly Chess Sins" by Jonathan Rowson: Discusses common mistakes and misconceptions that chess players make and how to overcome them.
  48. "The King" by Jan Hein Donner: An entertaining and philosophical book on various chess topics, with humorous anecdotes.
  49. "Chess for Zebras" by Jonathan Rowson: Explores the psychological and emotional aspects of chess play, aimed at helping players improve.
  50. "It's Only Me" by Tony Miles: Tony Miles' autobiography and a collection of his games, revealing his unique playing style.
  51. "The Open Game in Action" by Anatoly Karpov: Discusses Karpov's games in open positions and the strategies employed.
  52. "The Semi-Closed Openings in Action" by Anatoly Karpov: Focuses on Karpov's games in semi-closed openings and the typical ideas in such positions.
  53. "The Closed Openings in Action" by Anatoly Karpov: Explores Karpov's games in closed openings and the plans he used in such games.
  54. "John Nunn's Best Games" by John Nunn: A collection of Nunn's finest games, annotated by the grandmaster himself.
  55. "The Sicilian Labyrinth" Volumes 1 and 2 by Lev Polugaevsky: A comprehensive study of various Sicilian Defense lines by a leading expert.
  56. "Russians versus Fischer" by Plisetsky and Voronkov: Provides an account of the legendary battles between Bobby Fischer and Soviet players.
  57. "From London to Elista" by Bareev and Levitov: A behind-the-scenes look at the 2000 World Chess Championship between Kasparov and Kramnik.
  58. "On the Attack" by Jan Timman: Timman analyzes attacking games and provides insights into successful attacking play.
  59. "Creative Chess" by Amatzia Avni: Focuses on creativity and imagination in chess play, encouraging players to think outside the box.
  60. "Surprise in Chess" by Amatzia Avni: Explores surprising and unexpected moves and ideas in chess to unsettle opponents.
  61. "Rocking the Ramparts" by Larry Christiansen: A collection of Christiansen's games showcasing his dynamic and aggressive style of play.
  62. "Endgame Preparation" by Jon Speelman: Offers practical guidance on endgame techniques and preparations.
  63. "The Amateur's Mind" by Jeremy Silman: Focuses on common mistakes made by amateur players and how to improve their thought process.
  64. "Silman's Complete Endgame Course" by Jeremy Silman: A comprehensive guide to endgame play, suitable for players of various skill levels.
  65. "Chess for Tigers" by Simon Webb: An insightful book that addresses the psychological aspects of chess and how to handle pressure during games.
  66. "Taimanov's Selected Games" by Mark Taimanov: A collection of Taimanov's games with annotations and insights from the grandmaster himself.
  67. "Studies and Games" by Jan Timman: A combination of endgame studies and annotated games, demonstrating Timman's deep understanding of chess.
  68. "Secrets of Attacking Chess" by Mihail Marin: Focuses on the art of attacking play in chess and provides practical tips for attacking successfully.
  69. "Foundations of Chess Strategy" by Lars Bo Hansen: Explores fundamental strategic concepts and plans in chess.
  70. "Lessons in Chess Strategy" by Valeri Beim: Offers practical lessons on various strategic themes in chess.
  71. "Learn from the Legends" by Mihail Marin: Analyzes games of chess legends to learn from their ideas and techniques.
  72. "Black is OK" by Adorjan Andras: Provides a repertoire for Black against 1.e4, featuring the Pirc Defense and Modern Defense.
  73. "My Life and Games" by Vladimir Kramnik: Kramnik's autobiography and annotated games, giving insights into his career and thought process.
  74. "I Play Against Pieces" by Svetozar Gligoric: A collection of Gligoric's games featuring his masterful play against piece sacrifices.
  75. "Find the Right Plan" by Anatoly Karpov: Discusses planning and strategic ideas to find the right moves in a game.
  76. "Imagination in Chess" by Paata Gaprindashvili: Explores creative and imaginative aspects of chess play.
  77. "Decision-Making at the Chess Board" by Eingorn: Focuses on the decision-making process in critical moments during a game.
  78. "Achieving the Aim" by Botvinnik: An instructional book that covers various aspects of chess strategy and thinking.
  79. "My 300 Best Games" by Anatoly Karpov: A collection of Karpov's finest games, annotated by the grandmaster himself.
  80. "Domination in 2545 Endgame Studies" by Kasparyan: A book on endgame studies that demonstrate the beauty and complexity of chess endgames.
  81. "Power Chess with Pieces" by Jan Timman: Explores the powerful coordination and usage of chess pieces.
  82. "How to Reassess Your Chess" by Jeremy Silman: A classic instructional book that helps players improve their understanding of chess imbalances.
  83. "Fighting Chess" by Garry Kasparov: A collection of Kasparov's games, showcasing his aggressive and competitive style.
  84. "Master of Defence - Petrosian Tigran" by David Levy and Kevin O'Connell: A biography and analysis of Petrosian's games, highlighting his defensive prowess.
  85. "Instructive Modern Chess Masterpieces" by Igor Stohl: An anthology of modern chess games with instructive annotations.
  86. "Improve Your Chess Now" by Jon Tisdall: Offers practical advice and tips for immediate improvement in chess skills.
  87. "Rubinstein's Chess Masterpieces - 100 Selected Games" by Hans Kmoch: A collection of Rubinstein's best games, annotated and analyzed.
  88. "Risk and Bluff in Chess" by Vladimir Tukmakov: Explores the concept of risk-taking and bluffing in chess.
  89. "Chess Structures" by Mauricio Flores Rios: Analyzes various pawn structures and their impact on the game.
  90. "Under the Surface" by Jan Markos: Explores the strategic and positional aspects of chess, providing practical examples.
  91. "My Great Predecessor" series by Garry Kasparov: A five-volume series where Kasparov analyzes the games of his predecessors and the evolution of chess.
  92. "Garry Kasparov on the Modern Chess" series: A series of books where Kasparov discusses modern chess trends and opening theory.
  93. "Grandmaster Preparation" series by Jacob Aagaard: A series of books focusing on advanced chess training and improvement.
  94. "School of Chess Excellence" series by Mark Dvoretsky: A series of books that cover various aspects of chess training and improvement.
  95. "Art of Piece Play" by Mark Dvoretsky: Discusses the importance of piece activity and coordination in chess.
  96. "Recognizing Opponent's Resources" by Mark Dvoretsky: Explores the art of assessing your opponent's threats and resources.
  97. "Thinking Inside the Box" by Jacob Aagaard: Offers insights into the thinking process of a strong chess player during a game.
  98. "Opening for White According to Anand" series by Alexander Khalifman: A series of books providing opening repertoire for White inspired by Viswanathan Anand.
  99. "Openings for White According to Kramnik" series by Alexander Khalifman: A series of books offering opening repertoire for White inspired by Vladimir Kramnik.
  100. "Opening for Black According to Karpov" series by Alexander Khalifman: A series of books providing opening repertoire for Black based on the games of Anatoly Karpov.
A well-read person is not one who has read many books, but one who has understood them
John Wooden

In the modern era, with the availability of various online resources, video courses, and digital platforms, the role of traditional chess books has evolved. While video courses and online content provide a dynamic and interactive learning experience, chess books still hold significant value and benefits.

while video courses and online resources are popular and effective for many chess players, chess books continue to play a crucial role in the chess learning journey. Both formats complement each other, and the choice between them depends on the individual's learning preferences and needs. A well-rounded chess education may involve a combination of video courses, online resources, and traditional chess books to maximize learning and understanding of the game.

Readers are dreamers, adventurers, and explorers of new horizons
Keep playing and keep learning chess!
Don't forget to smile :)

While we have tried to provide Amazon (India) links to these books, we have noticed that some of the books are still very expensive. In such cases, subscriptions to platforms like and come in handy for learning at a nominal cost while still gaining a lot of value.