Best Chess Books for Intermediate Players: Top Picks for Skill Enhancement

For intermediate chess players, delving deeper into the game’s complexities and nuances is essential to making progress and improving their skills. One of the best ways to do this is by learning from the experts and studying the game through well-regarded books. So in this article we’ll highlight some of the best chess books for intermediate players that we found through our extensive research.

intermediate chess playing monkey, imagined by midjourney

Best Chess Books for Intermediate Players

Discover our top picks of the best chess books for intermediate players, designed to help you enhance your skills and strategies.

Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess

Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess

This classic chess book is suitable for intermediate players looking to refine their skills and understanding of the game.


  • Clear, easy-to-follow instructions
  • Programmed learning approach
  • Graduated difficulty levels


  • Some content might be too basic for advanced players
  • Pocket-sized format might not be preferable for some
  • Cover quality could be better for the price

I recently picked up Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess and have found its contents quite engaging. The book is designed with a programmed learning approach, which allows players to progress at their own pace. The lessons start with simple end-game scenarios and gradually move on to more complex board situations with multiple pieces.

What I particularly enjoyed was how this book narrows down on essential checkmate strategies, enabling intermediate players to recognize key patterns and execute winning moves more efficiently. However, I noticed that some of the material might be too basic for more advanced players who have already mastered most of these concepts.

One other aspect to consider is the book’s pocket-sized format. While some readers may find this convenient, others might prefer a larger, more traditional book layout. Additionally, the cover quality could have been better given its price point. Overall, Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess offers valuable lessons for intermediate players, but those at a more advanced level might need to look elsewhere for further challenges.

Play Attacking Chess from Move One

Play Attacking Chess from Move One

A comprehensive guide for intermediate chess players looking to boost their attacking skills and gain the upper hand from the get-go.


  • Comprehensive coverage of traps and attacks
  • Well-illustrated with clear, helpful comments
  • User-friendly diagrams on each page


  • Some traps may be too well-known for experienced players
  • A few printing errors reported
  • Lack of page numbers

Play Attacking Chess from Move One provides an excellent resource for chess enthusiasts seeking to enhance their attacking game. The easy-to-use format features a chessboard on each page, accompanied by clear and insightful comments. The author’s extensive knowledge shines through, making it a valuable addition to any intermediate player’s library.

The book, however, may not be suitable for everyone. While it caters to intermediate players, some of the traps included may already be familiar to more experienced individuals. Additionally, readers have reported printing errors and the lack of page numbers as minor drawbacks. Despite these, the well-illustrated, straightforward approach makes it an appealing choice for those seeking to improve their chess game.

Overall, Play Attacking Chess from Move One stands out as a useful tool for intermediate chess players looking to up their game. Its comprehensive coverage of traps and attacks, user-friendly diagrams, and helpful comments make it a valuable resource for anyone seeking to gain the upper hand on the chessboard.

Chess Fundamentals by Jose Capablanca

Chess Fundamentals

This book, “Chess Fundamentals,” is a true gem for intermediate chess players looking to upgrade their skills.


  • Ideal for intermediate players
  • Written by a World Chess Champion
  • Focuses on principles and strategies


  • Not suitable for absolute beginners
  • Occasional annotation errors
  • Some users desire more illustrations

Jose Capablanca’s “Chess Fundamentals” is a fantastic read for intermediate players, as it provides insightful principles and strategies. The author, a late World Chess Champion, shares his knowledge in a manner that will significantly improve your game.

I found the explanations in the book to be clear and easy to understand, even though some users reported occasional errors in annotations. The book dives deep into the opening, middle, and closing game discussions, which are crucial aspects for any intermediate player.

While it may not be the ideal choice for absolute beginners or those expecting a plethora of illustrations, “Chess Fundamentals” remains a highly recommended tool for intermediate players looking to level up their chess skills.

Chess Openings: The Most Complete Manual

Chess openings book cover

This book is a helpful guide for intermediate chess players looking to improve their understanding of opening strategies, though the presentation could benefit from better editing.


  • Comprehensive coverage of multiple openings
  • Benefits beginners and advanced players
  • Compiles knowledge on strategies and principles


  • Subpar editing and typos evident
  • Possible language barrier issues
  • Some users report issues with the Kindle version

The book “Chess Openings: The Most Complete Manual” contains a wealth of information on various chess openings and strategies, making it an invaluable resource for intermediate players looking to expand their game. It covers a wide range of opening moves and provides guidance on the principles behind each of them. As a user of the product, it has improved my understanding of the game and allowed me to make better decisions during the opening stages of matches.

However, one drawback I experienced while reading the book was the presence of editing errors and typos. It seems the author may not be a native English speaker, and some passages require a bit of extra effort to understand. Despite these flaws, the content of the book remains valuable, and I have gained important insights on chess openings and strategies, which have led to noticeable improvement in my gameplay.

The physical copy of the book has some advantages, such as detailed diagrams and clear organization of the content. Unfortunately, some users have reported issues with the Kindle version, which may affect its usability for those who prefer reading digitally. Overall, “Chess Openings: The Most Complete Manual” is a resourceful book for those seeking to improve their chess game, but be prepared to navigate through some editorial issues.

Complete Book of Chess Strategy

Complete Book of Chess Strategy

A valuable resource for intermediate players looking to enhance their chess skills.


  • Comprehensive coverage of strategies
  • Engaging and humorous writing style
  • Helps improve overall gameplay


  • Title may be slightly misleading
  • Not a detailed guide on openings
  • Better suited for players with some chess knowledge

The Complete Book of Chess Strategy is an excellent resource for intermediate players who are familiar with the game and want to elevate their skills. With its engaging and humorous writing style, it provides a comprehensive overview of various components critical to ‘Chess Strategies.’

Although the title may suggest otherwise, this book is not an exhaustive guide on chess openings. It offers a short introduction on each opening with a recommended strategy, making it more suitable as a starting point to explore new openings rather than deepening existing knowledge. Despite this, many readers have found it beneficial in improving their gameplay.

This book is better suited for those who already have a decent understanding of the game. For those who fall into this category, the Complete Book of Chess Strategy serves as a valuable tool in expanding their strategic knowledge and ultimately becoming better players.

Buying Guide

When looking for the best chess books for intermediate players, there are several factors to consider. These factors can help you choose a suitable chess book to enhance your skills and understanding.

Target Audience

Make sure the book is aimed at intermediate players, as different books cater to various skill levels. Ensure the content challenges and teaches you without being too advanced or too basic.

Author’s Credibility

Consider the author’s credibility – their expertise, achievements, and reputation within the chess community. Opt for books written by well-respected and experienced authors, such as grandmasters or chess instructors.

Book Structure

Choose a book with a logical structure that covers essential topics in depth. It should cover aspects such as analysis, tactics, strategy, and endgame concepts. The book should also include diagrams, annotations, and exercises that help reinforce your learning and understand complex positions.

Reviews and Ratings

Check reviews and ratings from other readers to gauge the usefulness and effectiveness of a book. Pay attention to specific comments that mention the target audience and how the book helped improve their chess skills.

Focus on Specific Aspects

If you need to work on specific areas of your chess game, consider books that focus on particular topics like openings, middlegames, or endgames. This tailored approach can help you improve these aspects more effectively.

Also read: Best Chess Books: Top Picks for Every Skill Level


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