Best Chess Books: Top Picks for Every Skill Level

Chess is a timeless game that challenges the mind and hones strategic thinking skills. Aspiring players, enthusiasts, and even seasoned professionals can all benefit from studying chess books that dive deep into the game’s strategies and tactics. There is a vast array of chess books available, catering to different levels of expertise and covering various aspects of the game.

Some of the best chess books focus on opening strategies, while others delve into endgame situations or provide insight into famous players’ games, thus expanding your understanding and appreciation for the complexity of chess. When selecting a chess book, it’s crucial to consider your skill level, area of interest, and the book’s overall clarity, focusing on well-structured explanations and relevant examples.

The perfect chess book should also inspire readers to put theory into practice, helping them gain invaluable experience over the board. Throughout my journey, I analyzed and tested numerous chess books to determine which ones delivered exceptional value, engaging content, and adequate guidance for players eager to improve their game.

Join me as I share my findings and recommendations for the best chess books, facilitating your pursuit of chess mastery in a more enjoyable and efficient manner.

Best Chess Books

Here’s my picks for the best chess books to improve your chess rating as fast as possible.

How to Win at Chess: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners and Beyond

As a chess enthusiast, I’ve compiled my top recommendations for the best chess books to help you improve your game and gain a deeper understanding of this timeless strategy board game.

As a fan of chess and someone who’s always looking to improve, I found “How to Win at Chess: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners and Beyond” by International Master Levy Rozman (also known as GothamChess) to be an engaging and insightful read.


  • Comprehensive coverage of chess fundamentals and advanced techniques
  • Suitable for both beginners and intermediate players
  • Entertaining writing style, full of charm and humor
  • Over 500 instructional gameplay illustrations
  • Chapter-specific QR codes for exclusive bonus content on Chessly
  • Commitment to chess accessibility and education


  • The author is only an International Master, not a Grand Master
  • Less suitable for very advanced players (+2000 rating)

This refreshing and fun guide offers everything you need to know about chess, including essential moves and strategies that will help you start strong and think several steps ahead. The book is divided into two parts: the first half introduces rising players (0-800 Elo rating) to the four key areas of chess—openings, endings, tactics, and strategy—while the second half builds upon these core skills for more experienced players (800-1300 Elo rating).

One of the aspects that sets this book apart is Levy Rozman’s signature charm and humor, making it an enjoyable read for millions of fans. The book also features over 500 instructional gameplay illustrations to help you better visualize the board, as well as chapter-specific QR codes that grant access to exclusive bonus content on Chessly, Rozman’s teaching platform.

Levy Rozman, known for his passion for chess accessibility, has donated $100,000 in scholarship funds for chess programs in education. His YouTube channel, GothamChess, is the largest chess channel on the platform, focusing on fun and educational content.

Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess

Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess

If you’re looking to improve your chess skills, this well-written book with intriguing puzzles is worth every penny.


  • Great for beginners and intermediate players
  • Easy-to-understand strategies
  • Programmed learning approach


  • Some minor printing errors
  • Not suitable for advanced players
  • Not much textual content (mostly puzzles)

As a returning chess player, I recently picked up “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess” to help me regain my skills after a long hiatus. The book does an excellent job in explaining strategies and tactics through a programmed learning approach, which makes it easier for both beginners and intermediate players like me to understand and apply.

The puzzles in this book are engaging and challenging, allowing me to think creatively and find solutions that improved my strategic thinking. The answers and brief descriptions are insightful, helping to reinforce the lessons learned from each challenge. However, I noticed a couple of minor printing errors, but they didn’t detract from the overall experience.

One thing to consider is that this book may not be suitable for advanced players, as it focuses more on basic and intermediate levels of play. If you’re an expert, you might find the puzzles too easy and the content not quite up to your level. Nevertheless, I believe “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess” is an invaluable resource for those looking to strengthen their chess skills and broaden their strategic mindset.

Modern Chess Openings, 15th Edition

Modern Chess Openings, 15th Edition

I highly recommend Modern Chess Openings, 15th Edition for players looking to improve their opening strategies and overall game.


  • Comprehensive coverage of openings
  • Helpful for players at various levels
  • Excellent quality and presentation


  • Some misplaced characters in the Kindle edition
  • Bongcloud opening not discussed
  • Could be overwhelming for beginners

Upon exploring the Modern Chess Openings, 15th Edition, I’m thrilled by the extensive range of openings covered in this single source. The author has done an admirable job updating the content, ensuring it is relevant even for today’s chess players. The detailed explanations and strategies for each opening truly elevate my understanding of the game.

However, I have noticed that the Kindle edition suffers from some formatting issues, with misplaced characters that might hinder the reading experience. Despite this minor flaw, the physical book is well-made and presents information in a clear and organized manner.

In my experience, this book has become an essential resource for expanding my knowledge of chess openings. While it might be a bit overwhelming for beginners, it is truly an invaluable tool for intermediate and advanced players looking to enhance their skills. Overall, the Modern Chess Openings, 15th Edition is a must-have for any chess enthusiast.

CHESS: The Ultimate Chess Tactics and Strategies!

CHESS: The Ultimate Chess Tactics and Strategies!

I highly recommend this book for chess enthusiasts seeking to improve their strategic skills.


  • Comprehensive guide to tactics and strategies
  • Beneficial for players of various skill levels
  • Easy-to-understand explanations


  • Some careless mistakes within the text
  • Potential fake reviews on Amazon
  • Quality of book may not be the best

As a chess lover, I found “CHESS: The Ultimate Chess Tactics and Strategies!” to be packed with useful tips and insights on how to improve my game. From basic pawn movements to more advanced strategies, this book has something for every player.

While reading the book, it was evident that the author aimed to provide clear illustrations and explanations to help players understand the basics and various openings, defenses, and endgame scenarios. Despite some minor mistakes in the text, I believe the book still holds great value for anyone looking to enhance their chess skills.

The only downside to this book might be the quality, as some readers have found the pages to be easily bent, and there are claims of potential fake reviews on Amazon. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book and believe it’s a beneficial addition to any chess enthusiast’s collection.

Chess Fundamentals by Jose Capablanca

Chess Fundamentals book cover

I believe this book is an excellent choice for those looking to improve their chess skills, thanks to its practical advice and timeless principles.


  • Written by a renowned World Chess Champion
  • Covers essential principles and theory for improving gameplay
  • Modern algebraic notation makes it easier to follow


  • Some annotation errors might appear confusing to beginners
  • The book may not be as beginner-friendly as it claims
  • Could use more illustrations for novices

As I dove into Chess Fundamentals, I found myself thoroughly captivated by the insights shared by the late World Chess Champion, Jose Capablanca. He presents the foundational principles and theories that can guide players from all levels to enhance their game.

Even though the book is aimed at beginners, there are instances where it assumes prior knowledge, making it somewhat difficult for an absolute novice to follow. However, I found the modern algebraic notation immensely useful when trying to understand the concepts, as this made it easier for me to visualize the moves.

While Chess Fundamentals is an incredible resource for those seeking to advance their chess skills, the book might benefit from additional illustrations for those who are new to the game. Furthermore, clearing up annotation errors would help beginners avoid any confusion while going through the material.

How To Beat Anyone At Chess

How To Beat Anyone At Chess book cover

I believe this book is a must-have for novice players who aspire to beat their friends in chess confidently.


  • Accessible to beginners
  • Easy-to-understand diagrams
  • Covers fundamentals and basic strategy


  • Not comprehensive enough for advanced players
  • Lacks in-depth coverage of openings
  • Not targeted toward experienced players

Having used “How To Beat Anyone At Chess” recently, I found its simplicity and clarity to be excellent for taking me back to the basics, making me more comfortable while playing against both friends and new opponents. The book taught me fundamental tactics and strategies while gradually introducing me to game theory. A perfect starting point, I recommend this book as a valuable resource for beginners who want to ease their way into chess.

As I progressed through the book, I appreciated the clear presentation and examples, which allowed me to visualize my moves as I got ready for my next chess match. I realized that by following the examples and tips in this book, I became a more disciplined player with a more methodical approach to the game.

However, it’s worth noting that if you’re an experienced player looking for advanced content and insights, “How To Beat Anyone At Chess” might not be the best choice. Although it’s an excellent primer on the basics and essential moves, more advanced players may find the coverage to be rather limited. Nonetheless, for beginners or those who want to build a strong foundation, this book is a great option.

Logical Chess: Move By Move – New Algebraic Edition

Logical Chess: Move By Move book cover

If you’re looking to improve your chess understanding, Logical Chess: Move By Move is a must-have resource that guides you through every move with valuable insights.


  • Every move in the 33 master matches is explained thoroughly
  • Great for beginners and intermediate players
  • Clear and engaging writing style


  • Focused mostly on games from the early 1900s
  • Not ideal for advanced players
  • May feel a bit repetitive at times

While reading Logical Chess: Move By Move, I found the in-depth explanations of each move incredibly helpful, allowing me to get inside the thought process of grandmasters. The book has helped me enhance my chess skills and made me more aware of the underlying strategies I should consider when making moves.

The inclusion of 33 actual master matches with move by move explanations made me feel like I was actually learning from experts. However, as a word of caution, advanced players might not find this book as helpful as beginners or intermediate players since it primarily focuses on games from the early 1900s.

Overall, Logical Chess: Move By Move has improved my knowledge of the game and made me more confident while playing. If you are a beginner or at an intermediate level and want to up your chess game, this book is an excellent resource. Just be prepared for it to feel a bit repetitive at times, owing to its thorough approach to explaining each move.

The Soviet Chess Primer (Chess Classics)

The Soviet Chess Primer cover image

I highly recommend The Soviet Chess Primer as a valuable resource for enhancing one’s chess skills and strategies.


  • Comprehensive coverage of basic to advanced concepts
  • Endorsed by former World Chess Champions
  • Engaging writing style that holds the reader’s attention


  • Binding quality may be inconsistent
  • Some readers might find it a bit overwhelming
  • Content focuses more on tactics than openings

Having recently read through The Soviet Chess Primer, I can confidently say it’s one of the most enriching chess books I’ve come across. Written as a training manual in the Soviet Union, it has stood the test of time and now garners appreciation from chess hobbyists and professionals alike in the West.

One of the things I find most impressive about this primer is its comprehensive coverage of chess concepts. It takes the reader from the very basics to advanced strategies, without unnecessary fluff or distractions. The fact that it has been endorsed by three former World Chess Champions – Lasker, Karpov, and Kasparov – speaks volumes about the quality and effectiveness of this book.

The writing style is engaging and easy to follow, making it an enjoyable read even for those who might be new to the game. Despite being packed with information, I never found it to be a chore to read – in fact, I had to force myself to put it down when it was time for bed. Just be aware that the book’s focus is on tactics rather than openings, which may be a deal-breaker for some readers. Additionally, there have been reports about the inconsistent quality of the book’s binding, although that didn’t affect my personal copy.

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