Best Chess Books for Middlegame: Master the Middle Game in 2023

Chess is a game of strategy, tactics, and skill that relies on the thoughtful movement of pieces on the board. Mastery of the game requires not only understanding the opening moves, but also developing a strong middlegame to gain a decisive advantage over your opponent. For those looking to elevate their chess skills, books focusing on middlegame strategies can be invaluable resources.

The middlegame in chess is a crucial phase where both players have developed their pieces and the game becomes more complex. During this stage, understanding positional play, tactics, and strategy can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Chess books focused on middlegame provide insight into these aspects, as well as various techniques and strategies to improve one’s overall performance. A well-chosen middlegame book can be an essential part of any player’s arsenal, whether they’re an ambitious beginner or an experienced player looking to refine their skills.

When selecting the best chess book for middlegame development, it’s essential to consider the author’s expertise, the content’s relevancy to your skill level, and the book’s overall clarity. A great middlegame book should not only be comprehensive and instructive but also engaging and easy to understand. Additionally, a balance of theoretical explanations and practical examples will enable the reader to apply the learned strategies in real-life games.

Improving your chess middlegame skills can lead to greater success on the board as you develop the ability to think tactically, make sound decisions, and create opportunities for a checkmate. We have carefully studied and analyzed various chess books focused on middlegame strategies to identify the ones that stand out and can aid players in their journey towards chess excellence.

Best Chess Books for Middlegame

The middlegame is a crucial part of any chess game, and our list below features the top chess books that focus on mastering middlegame strategy and tactics.

Improve Your Chess Pattern Recognition

Improve Your Chess Pattern Recognition

This is an excellent resource for developing your middlegame strategies and tactics, with easy-to-understand concepts and memorable instructions.


  • Well-structured content for easy understanding
  • Focused on frequently occurring game patterns
  • Suitable for various skill levels


  • Some solutions might not be ideal
  • Content may feel a bit disorganized
  • Certain wording choices might be confusing

Improve Your Chess Pattern Recognition is a unique and engaging book designed to help players recognize key moves and motifs during the middlegame. The author has researched patterns that occur frequently in games, making this book a valuable resource for those looking to improve their understanding of common tactics and strategies. Readers have found the text insightful and easy to follow, making it accessible for chess enthusiasts at various skill levels.

However, some readers have noted that certain solutions may not be the most optimal choices or that the book may feel a bit disorganized at times. Additionally, the author’s choice of verbiage might seem strange or confusing to some readers. Despite these minor drawbacks, many have recommended Improve Your Chess Pattern Recognition to others seeking to enhance their tactical skills and gain a deeper understanding of the game’s patterns.

Overall, this book is a compelling resource for chess players looking to deepen their knowledge of the game and sharpen their middlegame strategies. It offers valuable insights into easily recognizable patterns and tactics, making it a worthwhile addition to any chess library.

100 “Middlegame” Chess Puzzles for Intermediate Players (Rating 1200-1500)

100 "Middlegame" Chess Puzzles

A valuable resource for intermediate chess players seeking to improve their middlegame tactics through engaging and challenging puzzles.


  • Covers a wide range of tactical scenarios
  • Clear explanations with diagrams
  • Suitable for players with rating 1200-1500


  • Only 60 pages in length
  • Some puzzles may be too challenging for beginners
  • Not suitable for advanced players

The “100 Middlegame Chess Puzzles for Intermediate Players” book focuses on real-life chess tactics specifically designed to improve your middlegame skills. I found the puzzles engaging and challenging, providing me with ample opportunities to analyze various positions and reinforce my understanding of common tactical themes.

One aspect I particularly appreciated were the clear explanations provided alongside each puzzle, accompanied by diagrams that make it easy to visualize each move. The puzzles themselves cater to players with a rating between 1200 and 1500, which I found to be the perfect range to expand my knowledge without feeling overwhelmed.

However, due to the book’s 60-page length, it may not provide a comprehensive study of all possible middlegame situations. Furthermore, some puzzles might prove too difficult for beginners or too simplistic for advanced players.

Overall, the “100 Middlegame Chess Puzzles for Intermediate Players” is an excellent resource for those looking to improve their middlegame tactics. The high-quality puzzles, concise explanations, and user-friendly layout make this book an enjoyable and valuable addition to any chess player’s library.

Chess Pattern Recognition for Beginners

Chess Pattern Recognition for Beginners

Chess enthusiasts seeking to improve their middlegame should consider “Chess Pattern Recognition for Beginners” as a valuable resource.


  • Easy to understand examples
  • Helps to identify key patterns
  • Suitable for various skill levels


  • May be challenging for absolute beginners
  • Some complex positions
  • Limited range of patterns

“Chess Pattern Recognition for Beginners: The Fundamental Guide to Spotting Key Moves in the Middlegame,” offers readers an accessible method to identify essential chess patterns in their games. The book discusses various chess positions and demonstrates how recognizing these patterns can lead to stronger middlegame strategies.

Although some reviews suggest that the book might not be ideal for absolute beginners, players with a basic understanding of chess concepts can still greatly benefit from the lesson it provides. By following the author’s examples and applying them to their own games, readers can significantly improve their middlegame decision-making process.

The book, however, mainly covers a limited range of patterns, which might leave some advanced players desiring more comprehensive coverage. Nonetheless, this fundamental guide to spotting key moves in the middlegame can bolster the arsenal of players looking to enhance their chess skills. Overall, “Chess Pattern Recognition for Beginners” is a recommendable piece of literature for chess enthusiasts aiming to improve their performance in middlegame scenarios.

Chess for Beginners: The Complete Manual

Chess for Beginners

An essential guide for new players seeking to quickly grasp the fundamentals and dominate the game of chess.


  • Comprehensive coverage of basic concepts
  • Engaging diagrams and a useful glossary
  • Suitable for a wide age range


  • Might not be beneficial for advanced players
  • Limited focus on middlegame strategies
  • Could benefit from deeper explanations

The book, “Chess for Beginners: The Complete Manual to Quickly Dominate the Game, Even if You Have Never Moved a Pawn,” is a helpful resource for those delving into chess. Its step-by-step approach breaks down vital aspects of the game, making it easy for players to understand and apply the lessons.

One particularly strong aspect of this book is its presentation. With many diagrams and visuals, readers can see how their newfound knowledge plays out on the board. Additionally, the glossary helps players become conversant in chess terminology, bridging the gap between novice and intermediate players.

Despite its useful content, “Chess for Beginners” has some limitations. Those who have already mastered the basics may find the book less enlightening, as it primarily focuses on the foundational elements of the game. Furthermore, the book could delve deeper into middlegame strategies and offer more in-depth explanations on certain topics.

In conclusion, “Chess for Beginners” is ideal for those new to the game or seeking to improve their basic understanding. The diagrams, glossary, and clear presentation make it an engaging and informative read. However, those already well-versed in chess and looking for advanced middlegame strategies may need to look elsewhere.

How to Beat Your Dad at Chess (Chess for Kids)

How to Beat Your Dad at Chess

A must-buy for young chess enthusiasts looking to improve their middlegame skills with simple explanations and easy-to-digest content.


  • Easy-to-understand concepts
  • Suitable for beginner and intermediate players
  • Affordable price


  • Can be too basic for advanced players
  • Title and cover may be misleading
  • Not comprehensive enough for serious learners

In “How to Beat Your Dad at Chess,” I found the explanations of chess concepts to be simple and easy to digest, making it an excellent resource for beginner and intermediate players. The focus on checkmate patterns is particularly useful, as it helps build a strong basis for further learning in the middlegame.

However, the title and cover of this book can be misleading, as it is not solely focused on beating your dad or targeting young players alone. The content, though simple, can be helpful for adult learners as well.

As much as I enjoyed using this book, I noticed that it may not be comprehensive enough for those who are serious about improving their chess skills in the long run. It serves more as an introductory guide to middlegame concepts than a complete course.

Overall, “How to Beat Your Dad at Chess” is a valuable addition to the library of young chess enthusiasts and can be a helpful starting point for those looking to improve their middlegame strategies. However, more advanced players may need to seek additional resources for deeper understanding and skill development.

Buying Guide

When looking for the best chess books for middlegame, there are several key factors to consider. By keeping these aspects in mind, it will be easier to find the ideal book to improve your middlegame skills.

Consider Your Skill Level

The first thing to consider is your current skill level. Chess books can target beginners, intermediate players, and advanced players. Make sure the book you choose is appropriate for your level of play.

Check for Clear Explanations

A good middlegame book should provide clear explanations and detailed analysis. This will help you understand the concepts and strategies more effectively. Look for books that break down each concept step-by-step and make use of diagrams to illustrate positions.

Focus on Strategy and Tactics

In the middlegame, both strategy and tactics play a crucial role. A well-rounded book should cover both aspects. Topics to look for include pawn structures, piece coordination, combinations, and attacking the king.

Author Credentials

Authors with a strong background in chess, such as grandmasters or experienced chess trainers, are more likely to provide valuable insights. Their unique perspective and understanding of the game can significantly benefit your learning experience.

Reviews and Recommendations

Finally, consult reviews and recommendations from other chess players or reputable sources, like chess forums or websites. This will give you an idea of which books others have found helpful and might match your requirements.

Remember, the best chess book for middlegame is the one that matches your skill level, provides clear explanations, focuses on strategy and tactics, is written by an experienced author, and comes well-reviewed by the chess community.


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