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baseline 14 ( +1 | -1 )
Novice to Expert If you were going to recommend minimum number of books to take a player from novice to expert what would they be?
soikins 18 ( +1 | -1 )
Hmmm... I would recommend -- Terry "Baseline" "How do I lose in chess and why I do it". Great book with a hundred games of the author analysed by himself. Very instructive. Thought not published yet...
baseline 6 ( +1 | -1 )
Hmmm.... or "500 bad games of Chess" I could do that one just as easily.
baseline 20 ( +1 | -1 )
but seriously It is reputed that GM Samuel Reshevsky never read a chess book in his life! Except perhaps the books he wrote. So would a book like "Lasker's Manuel of Chess" be enough?
bonsai 31 ( +1 | -1 )
Whatever you mean by "expert", I think it's difficult to get good without playing through the games of strong players/GMs/World Champions (whether in books, databases, etc. - commented might be a very good idea though) and I don't think there's any point in trying to limit the games or books on studies.
baseline 27 ( +1 | -1 )
bonsai I would never really suggest anyone limit their chess experience, but if you had a friend who was a novice and you wanted to give him some books to bring him up to a fide rating of say 2000 as quickly as possible, what books would you give him and in what order.
wadvana 12 ( +1 | -1 )
1. 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate
2. Comprehensive Chess Course Vol 1 and Vol 2
3. Chess Fundamentals
4. How to Reassess your Chess
soikins 268 ( +1 | -1 )
IMO 1) There is no such a book that will make you an Expert.
2) There is a huge quantity of books one different elements of chess, a lot of these books are relly very good.

So all that is required is hard work. As I said -- the best book would be the one you wrote about you own loses. Writing such a book would require hard work. You should analyse your own games using books by other people and the games analysed in them.

For example: You lost a game in Ruy Lopes. You take the game and look for the place where you first left theory. Try to understand why you did it. Take a book on Openings, find GM games in this variation, analyses the games, understand why did the GM's playd differently than you. Look throught the historic development of the line. This will make you stronger not only in this particular line, but will allow you to understand whole structere that you just played in.

Now move on, look at what you did in the middle game -- where did you place your pieces? Did the GM's in the analysed games did the same? Why not? What was wrong with your setup? Why was their setup better? A good book on Openings should give you some idea on it.

Now, take a collection of games (Kasprovs latest books or some other from the huge amount of books on different players, collections og Botvinniks, Alekhines, Capablanaka etc.) take a look how did they play their games in Ruy Lopes. Compare that to your games.

Now look at some charasteristics of the position you had in your game -- two bishop advantage, "bad" bishop, "good" bishop, Open line, pawn structure etc. Take a book that deals with Strategy, Middlegame play, etc. Read the chapter on the element that you see in your game. Compare. If you see how a GM used the open line or two bishop advantage, try to figure out, how (and when) you could do it your own game.

If you survived until the endgame, the it is again very simple -- take a book on the endgames and look how theory recommends to play in such an endgame. Compare to what you did. Understand where you went wrong.

And at last, but certainly not least, if you lost to a tactical shot in the middlegame or missed one on your own, simply work on the tactical exercises. The do it again. Do 20 exercises a day. Solve them again after a week. Thgen again after a month, until you know 1000 combination almos by heart.

Sounds hard? It is. But it is the only way. Play and analyse your games and GM games. Work on tactics. There is no other way. I have some 50 chess books at home. All of them are good, but gives nothing because I don't work with them this way.
migchess20 10 ( +1 | -1 )
IMO2 Estoy de acuerdo con lo que recomienda soikins. there is that we study our realized games.
so long
honololou 5 ( +1 | -1 )
what does expert mean? Does that equate to FIDE 2000?
baseline 94 ( +1 | -1 )
soikins I traveled this road 30 years ago, there were far fewer books to chose from then but some of them were excellent. Your points are well taken and in fact I have and still learn more from analyzing my own games. But, for this to really work you need a steady diet of strong opposition and some people especially here in the USA live far from a source of strong opposition. The way I see it to be good at chess you need to:

1. be able to a**es a position
2. chose appropriate candidate moves
3. calculate variations
4. a**es the positions resulting from your analysis
5. chose the best candidate move.

To a**es a position you need positional and tactical tools you'll need these skills to calculate variations as well.

Samuel Reshevsky acquired these skills by playing thousands of games as a child but I should think that a few very good books would give you a leg up on the whole process.
baseline 5 ( +1 | -1 )
soikins apparently I missed spelled the word "assess" ! lol
baseline 26 ( +1 | -1 )
honololou USCF ratings run alittle higher than Fide ratings I read that it's about 100 rating points so a USCF expert rating 2000 to 2199 would be about 1900 to 2099 fide. So I chose a number right in the middle.
baseline 79 ( +1 | -1 )
Private message from brobishkin:
Hello, baseline!!!
I would state the number of books from novice to expert would be from 10 to 20 books on the various aspects of the game (openings, middle game, endgame, tactics, as well as strategies) with a time consumption of 2 to 5 years depending on the individuals heart and natural abilities...

Private message from baseline:
Hello, brobishkin!
thanks for the message, I have been thinking about writing a article for my website on how to chose your next move. I realized that to assess the position make a plan and calculate and chose from the candidates requires that you come to the board with a number of chess tools. Which begs the question what tools and how do you acquire them?
aqeel 14 ( +1 | -1 )
No Book! I have never read a chess book!



tyekanyk 5 ( +1 | -1 )
You really shouldn't brag about that.
baseline 174 ( +1 | -1 )
Book list I. Basics

Book for Beginners
"Chess for Dummies" James Eade

II. Chess Tools

A.) Openings

"Idea's Behind the Openings" Fine
"Chess Openings for the Average Player" Harding & Barden

"Basic Chess Openigs" &
"More Basic Chess Openings" Gabor Kallai

"How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire" Steve Giddins
"Practical Opening Tips" Edmar Mednis

B.) Middle Game


"How to play Good Chess" Purdy

"Understanding Pawn Play in Chess" Marovic
"Dynamic Pawn Play in Chess" Marovic
"Secrets of Positional Chess" Marovic


"Winning Chess Tactics" Seirawan
"Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess" Fischer
"1001 winning chess sacrifices & Combinations" Reinfeld
"Combinations: The Heart of Chess" Chernev

"The Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book" John Emms
"John Nunn's Chess Puzzle Book" Nunn
"Test Your Chess IQ - First Challenge" Livshitz

C.) Endgame

"Pandolfini's Endgame Course" Bruce Pandolfini
"Just the Facts!" Lev Alburt
"The Tactics of End-Games" Jeno Ban

More Advanced
"Endgame Strategy" Mikhail Shereshevsky

"Fundamental Chess Endings" Muller & lamprecht
"Basic Chess Endings" Reuben Fine

III. How to Chose your Next Move

A.) Assess a Position & Chose Candidate Moves

"Play Like a Grandmaster" Alexander Kotov
"How to Reassess Your Chess" Jeremy Silman
"The Reassess Your Chess Workbook" Silman

B.) Analyze Candidate Moves and Calculate Results

"Think Like a Grandmaster" Kotov
"How to Think in Chess" Przewoznik & Soszynski
kai_sim 18 ( +1 | -1 )
oh my... brag about it?
... gee thats not nice...
baseline, i would be interrested in what you have to say about it, instead of following the lines you/they made up in your/their heads...
baseline 42 ( +1 | -1 )
dear me... kai_sim here's what I think,

I think tyekanyk was addressing ageel.

I think brobishkin is banished from the forums but thought the question interesting enough to send me a personal message.

I think the voices I hear in my head are all mine.

I think soikins has thought of a very good way to improve your game.

I think in chess there is seldom a single answer to any one question unless it's a mate in one.

soikins 48 ( +1 | -1 )
baselines list I just wanted to mention that how such a list would look like largely depends on where one lives. For example I have or have read only few of those books on baselines list. But I live in Latvia, a country that borders with Russia, and I have no problems with russian so... my list would be completely different, only dublicats would be the ones translated from russian like Kotovs or Shereshevskys books.
baseline 83 ( +1 | -1 )
the list Good Point, soikins the list should really be things you need to learn rather than books.for example:

a beginner's book

a book that explains opening theory in concepts rather than variations
a openings reference book
a book that tells you how to put together an opening repertoire

a book on positional theory
a book on that explains tactics
lots of tactical puzzles

a book on elementary endings
a book with more complex endgame theory
a reference book on endgames

a book that explains how to evaluate or assess a position

a book that tells you how to calculate candidate moves efficiently

there are books that combine some of these items.

having a chess coach could eliminate the need for some of these etc.
aqeel 7 ( +1 | -1 )
tyekanyk... Chess is not something you learn..It is some thing you understand -Korchnoi

mrendgame 75 ( +1 | -1 )
the list
There are no amount of books that will make you a Master or Expert
it takes years of practice to learn positional play unless your a gifted
young Alexander Alekhine or Gary Kasparov. You have to play against
strong players alot and only with time and experince you can develop
positional 'instinct' when a player has it they are able to select the
proper course of action when 2 or perhaps 5 moves all look very good :
There are many things that make a Master who he or she is beside
being good with rooks like fighting spirit not quitting or giving up
discipline, being mentally very strong and not cracking under different
kinds of pressure.

soikins 43 ( +1 | -1 )
baseline Now this list seems much better.
I would just like to add:

a book on chess psychology

and for more advanced studies:
collections of Grandmasters games.

I think that this is a complete collection of necessary books, as the player gets stronger tha list becomes deeper rather than wider. For example -- book on a concrete opening, more diversified books on strategy, works of classics etc.
wadvana 40 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree with Mren.. I havent heard of a Grandmaster who become one after reading How to Reassess your chess. I think some creativity is needed when beggining chess. Tactics, reviewing favourite players games and lots of practice. Its so easy to get talked into accepting a thought process on how to play the game - which could stop the natural development of a player.
baseline 211 ( +1 | -1 )
dear friends....l Chess is an easy game to learn but a difficult game to master.

Learning the finer points of chess from books is certainly only one part of the complex art of mastering the game.

As several of you, soikins first of all pointed out you must play the game to learn, and a critical examination of your own games is a necessary part of improvement.
Many players will look at one of their games and stop when they find their first mistake, soikins has rightfully pointed out that you really need to look at the whole game and all of your mistakes. What would be the point of improving your opening skills without developing the rest of your game.

I started to learn chess 35 years ago when there was considerably less chess literature. I learned from playing over master games. Morphy,Lasker, Tarrasch,Rubinstein,Capablanca,Alekhine,Botvinnik,Keres,Bronstein,and Fischer. From reading their annotations I slowly learned Tactics and Strategy, I slowly learned to assess a position, chose candidate moves.

The current trend in chess books are to illustrate concepts through complete games organized in a way to reinforce the learning process. The books by GM Drazen Marovic listed above are a good case in point.

Books, on theory, game collections, playing and analyzing your own games are only a beginning. You can learn from a chess tutor, or coach, or by kibitzing with your fellows at the chess club. The use of a computer's database capabilities has a profound effect on how to study chess. The popular playing programs mean you always have a strong opponent to play. Once you have a computer and access to the INTERNET you don't have to buy the popular programs, There are very good free databases, "scid" for one and you can download thousands of games free from "TWIC" site. You can download "Winboard" for free and dozens of free chess engines to play. Some of these are nearly as strong as fritz "crafty" and "ruffian" for example.

So much information, so little time to assimilate it.
wadvana 43 ( +1 | -1 )
Baselines post is very accurate. It also brings out a point that there is an adundant supply of chess knowledge but players keep skipping from one thing to the next simply because they dont see no immediate improvement. I guess back in the olds days when chess material was limited - there were players who stuck to one plan of improvement and gave it their all to become strong.
atrifix 45 ( +1 | -1 )
IMO There are only around 5 books that one needs to study in order to become a master (listed in no particular order):

The Art of Attack by Vladimir Vukovic
My System by Aron Nimzowitsch
My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer
Endgame Strategy by Mikhail Shereshevsky
Think Like a Grandmaster by Alexander Kotov

Basic Chess Endings by Reuben Fine
Any puzzle book (e.g., 1001 Winning Sacrifices & Combinations by Fred Reinfeld)
soikins 60 ( +1 | -1 )
atrifix Why is Fischer on that list?
In that case here is my suggestion:
"My System" Aaron Nimzowitch, because Nimzowitch was born in Latvia.
"Kemeri 1939 Tournament Book" by K. Behting and V. Petrov -- because it includes Behtings original analysis of the Latvian Gambit, and everybody should play Latvian Gambit.
"Tal's Greatest Games" because it is Tal's games.
"Fire on the Board" by A. Shirov, because Shirov is from Latvia.
"Matison's endgame studies" -- because Matison is Latvia's greatest endgame composer.
"Lectures in Chess Strategy" by A. Koblencs, because Koblencs was Tals coach.
baseline 54 ( +1 | -1 )
OK if were going to limit it to 5 books How about:

1. Three Hundred Chess Games - Tarrasch
2. Chess Praxis Nimzovitch
3. The Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book - Emms
4. Modern Chess Openings - deFirman
5. Basic Chess Endings - Fine

If I could throw in another book it might be "100 selected Games" Botvinnik but then again it might be "Zürich 1953" by Bronstein.

I love Tal the player!! His games are fun and entertaining but I believe Fischer's style is more practical. The study of either of these Giants games can only help your chess.
muppyman 11 ( +1 | -1 )
did we overlook? Irving Chernev's "Logical chess move by move" could be helpful in the early stages I think.
baseline 10 ( +1 | -1 )
no we didn't In "Logical Chess Move by Move" some of Chernev's advise is good but, his annotations are terrible!
tyekanyk 23 ( +1 | -1 )
I know I'll get smacked for saying this, but I won't let it stop me. Aqeel that quote is very true, more than you can possibly understand, and my next comparision should prove my point. Could you discover God without the Bible?
baseline 34 ( +1 | -1 )
tyekanyk It was really Korchnoi who said it~ who knows for sure what he really meant> Perhaps he meant that chess can't be reduced to a formula which you can learn and then proceed to play good chess. Perhaps it is your intuitive side that makes great chess players, But then again who knows for sure.
muppyman 28 ( +1 | -1 )
yay for tyekanyk:) I agree with you tye, because, although chess is very real to those who play it and therefor chess books are helpful, nevertheless chess itself is still an imaginary contest, a make believe world. enjoyable and sometimes comforting, but still just a game. :)
baseline 50 ( +1 | -1 )
muppyman To you chess is just an enjoyable game, to me it is more, much more. I see it as art, poetry, science, history,culture and a tool to keep your mind sharp. Man gained dominance over the world because of his ability to think abstractly, Civilization flourished because man learned to record is thoughts in written form and preserve them for later generations. To ignore the lessons of the past is to suffer the same difficulties our forefathers endured. Often what is true in life is true in chess.
muppyman 42 ( +1 | -1 )
agreed Baseline just to clarify my position let me say that chess is to me all the things you so rightly mentioned also. My earlier comments were made "tongue in cheek" and obviously I should have said so then and there, I was only having fun with tyekank who's post began "I know I'll get smacked for saying this". In no way was I intending to belittle chess, which will always remain the undisputed KIng of activities in my soul.
tyekanyk 26 ( +1 | -1 )
hey muppyman, just because I anticipated the smack-down, you shouldn't feel obligated to serve it to me. I also totally agree with baseline, and Russia is the most concrete example of what a country can become when its national sport is chess.
sugarandspice 26 ( +1 | -1 )
Tyekanyk Now that's a comment that could be interpreted in a whole range of ways :-)! I think though that I'm going to need a brain transplant rather than a library of books to drag me up to any respectable level of chess knowledge/playing ability!
jstack 29 ( +1 | -1 )
Hey baseline! "How about:

1. Three Hundred Chess Games - Tarrasch
2. Chess Praxis Nimzovitch
3. The Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book - Emms
4. Modern Chess Openings - deFirman
5. Basic Chess Endings - Fine"

I am curious why did you put Chess praxis in your list instead of My system?
baseline 25 ( +1 | -1 )
jstack I chose "Chess Praxis" over "My System" on this very short list because I believe you get all of Nimzowitch's important idea's and I think it is easier to learn them by playing through his complete games with his excellent annotations.