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Chess books form the bedrock of many chess enthusiasts’ knowledge about the game. As it stands now, several good quality chess books are available in the market for someone interested in chess to procure. If you want to improve your understanding of the game, it is imperative to know which chess books to read to improve your game.

In this article, we will share our pick of the list of chess books that every genuine chess lover should read at least once in their lifetime. These top chess books have maintained their lead in the charts of the world’s most favorite chess books for a long time.

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9 Chess Books That You Should Read

1. How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman

A brilliant book demonstrating, among other things, how to be in a stronger position during a chess game’s middle game phase, Jeremy Silman’s 2010 book is one of the best chess books for beginners. Easy to follow due to the author’s deep understanding of the amateur chess player’s mind, How to Reassess Your Chess comes packed with a lot of in-depth analysis of all aspects of the game accompanied by a humorous tone to make readers enjoy every single page.

Directed at a larger audience, this book is meant for the absolute beginners of the game and the advanced players. A great companion for anyone seeking to brush up on the basics of chess, Silman helps readers get a hold of the fundamentals of chess through this beautiful book.

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2. Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953 by David Bronstein

Primarily seen as being the most extraordinary book dedicated to the iconic chess tournaments of the past, David Bronstein’s Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953, is a pure delight for serious chess enthusiasts. Written mainly during the lead-up to the 1954 world championship bout featuring Mikhail Botvinnik, this book encompasses all of the major chess tournaments of that era in a single volume.

The manner in which the book has been written can be accessed by the average chess competitor. Anyone having a chess rating between 1200 to 2000 and above can draw a lot of valuable information from this work. As is common knowledge, to develop one’s chess skills, studying the great games of the past is imperative. And by having this book in one’s corner, one can effortlessly get access to the same. Plus, the writer has added critical notes along with the game progressions.

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3. My Great Predecessors by Garry Kasparov

When one of the greatest chess players of all time publishes a series of chess books, one is bound to turn around and notice. Such is the case with Garry Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors series of chess books.

This five-volume set carries an analysis of past chess games, coupled with legendary world chess champion Kaspariv’s personal remarks on each and every one of them. He also talks at length about the general history of modern chess. This attribute makes these complete books page-turners.

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4. Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by Mikhail Tal

When it comes to aggressive and highly entertaining chess gameplay, few have reached the level of former world chess champion GM Mikhail Tal of the USSR. A beautifully crafted book detailing the life and times of one of the finest chess players of all time, Life and Games of Mikhail Tal reflects the author’s extraordinary mind.

This book has a gripping writing style, which gets the reader hooked from the very start. Known as the most aggressive world champion the game has ever seen, this book encapsulates Tal’s personality brilliantly. So, go ahead and read this book to learn about some of the most savage chess games ever played on the highest platforms.

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5. Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by Bobby Fischer, Don Mosenfelder, and Stuart Marguiles

Bobby Fischer is considered one of the greatest players ever to grace the game of chess. Naturally, the idea of being able to learn the game from this absolute chess genius is a top selling point. First published in 1966, Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess has proven to be immensely helpful to an entire generation of chess players who have grown up watching or hearing about the exploits of the former world chess champion Fischer.

Counted as one of the best-selling chess books of all time, this book is like a bible for chess aficionados. Even if you are looking for a good list of chess books for beginners, this book should be on your list.

The magic of this book remains intact after several years in circulation. If you have no knowledge about the game, pick up a copy of this all-time classic and read through it. You will be amazed at the depth to which the author goes to explain all the aspects of the game.

6. Think Like a Grandmaster by Alexander Kotov

Much like the title of the book, Alexander Kotov’s Think Like a Grandmaster gives a detailed study of the thought process involved in chess. If you are looking for a book that will show you how to approach a chess match, as well as the mindset required to make the right decisions during the course of a game, this is the book that you should read.

One of the pointers to keep in mind while purchasing this bestseller is its aim at the above-average to advanced sections of chess players. In other words, beginners may sometimes find this book difficult to comprehend. However, with the correct guidance and training, this book has the potential to add some firepower to the amateur-level player as well.

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7. My System by Aron Nimzowitsch

Another classic chess book, My System by Aron Nimzowitsch, was published in 1925, almost a hundred years ago. Still considered a classic chess learning book, My System has maintained its status as one of the top five chess books of the last century.

One of the earliest chess books to be considered an essential read in order to master positional chess play, this book explains in detail concepts such as ‘pawn chains’, ‘prophylaxis’, ‘blockading passed pawns’, and ‘utilizing the center’.

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8. Silman’s Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner to Master by Jeremy Silman

We have one more book written by Jeremy Silman in our list of chess books that everyone should read. This work by Silman focuses on the final phase of a chess game – the endgame. Silman has smartly discussed many types of chess endgame strategies to enable the reader to inculcate those tactics in their gameplay.

Silman’s book brilliantly discusses, illustrates, and elaborates an extensive array of endgame patterns that you can integrate into your style of play without much difficulty. Without having a solid endgame tactic, it becomes tough to upskill one’s chess prowess in the long run. The author has identified this dearth in the amateur chess player’s game and has successfully attempted to address the issue with the help of this remarkable book.

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9. Karpov’s Strategic Wins by Tibor Karolyi 

Last but not least, we turn our attention towards former multiple times world chess champion Anatoly Karpov and the finely written two-volume set based on his legacy.

These chess books demonstrate why Karpov was known as the master of positional play. All aspiring chess players will gain priceless insight into the world of grandmasters and top chess tournaments by skimming through the pages of these highly accessible books.

Now that we have come to the end of our list of top chess books every chess enthusiast should have next to them, it is time for you to know more about the history and origin of the hugely popular strategy game known as chess. Click on the link to find out more about the same.

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