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Best Chess Books

Updated on October 13, 2014

List of the Best Chess Books and Free eBooks

Are you looking for some good chess books? Whether you want to learn the basics of the game, or to read up on some advanced strategies and tricks used by the best chess players in the world, you came to the right place. You will find a list of the greatest chess books as well as ebooks and free .pdf guides available for download, and links to various other chess resources and related websites below.

The Best Chess Book for Beginners

Highly recommended as your first chess book.

If you are looking for your first book on chess, the "Chess for Everyone: A Complete Guide for the Beginner" by a national chess master and teacher Robert Snyder is the perfect choice. The twenty lessons and detailed diagrams cover everything from the basic rules of the game to opening systems, endgame strategy and terms such as the pin and the fork. It is highly recommended as the first chess book, for kids and adults alike.

Great Book on Chess Exercises

A useful chess exercise book with real-life test positions.

This is an outstanding collection of randomized chess puzzles of ranging difficulty and on different themes like attack, defense, threat identification, openings, middlegame and endgame. The positions are realistic, many taken from amateur games. There are no hints - you simply have to make the best moves in every situation. Solutions are explained in concise manner on the next page. This is an excellent chess problem book for the intermediate player.

An Instructive Course on the Endgame

New work by a renowned International Master.

Jeremy Silman is not only an award-winning chess player, but a prolific writer as well. "Silman's Complete Endgame Course" is one of his later books, which focuses on teaching all the necessary endgame knowledge to the reader. The "From Beginner To Master" part of the title is actually very relevant, since this publication is ordered by difficulty; the basic mates are explained in detail at first, and then it eventually moves on to more generic concepts aimed at tournament participants. Only the highest-ranking (2,400+) players won't get much use out of this book.

Classic Chess Strategy Book

A must-read chess book for experienced players.

Nimzowitsch's "My System" is widely regarded as one of the most important and best chess books ever written. It is essential for your improvement as a chess player and is suitable for everyone except beginners. "My System" is a book that introduced the fundamental principle of hypermodernism: controlling the center of the board with distant pieces rather than pawns. The book is divided into three parts: the Elements, where the author explains the basics of his system, the Position Play where Nimzowitsch tells you how to gain positional advantage, and 50 illustrative games for analysis.

The Ultimate Chess Strategy Book

In-depth research of modern chess strategy.

This volume by International Master John Watson is a thorough and profound work, both a refinement of Nimzowitsch's fundamental ideas (which were revolutionary 70 years ago) and a discussion of completely new concepts in positional chess. The first part of the book explores the classical themes and issues raised by Nimzowitsch himself, while the second one discusses modern methods and praxis. This is probably one of the best books on modern chess strategy available today.

Free Chess eBooks

Older works on chess that now belong to the public domain.

If you don't mind reading older works, there are many great digitized chess books available for download free of charge. These publications have been released into the public domain and can be acquired at and many other websites. I've compiled a top 10 list of such books that can be downloaded in .pdf format or viewed in your browser with no registration required.

Links to Useful Chess Resources and Websites

Top chess sites, clubs, online tournaments and more.

  • probably the largest online chess community on the web. A great resource for learning, observing master matches, playing with friends, and participating in tournaments.
  • TheChessWorld: a great place to learn chess with basic rules and tactics, detailed position analysis, video lectures, and articles.
  • FIDE Online Arena: test your skills against the highest-level players, and earn official FIDE online ratings.


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    • profile image

      thegembank 4 years ago

      i have here art of attack in chess by v. vukovic which is helpful in teaching students... anyway nice lists

    • The Philologist profile image

      The Philologist 6 years ago

      Good list, I agree, the sites are a particularly helpful addition.

    • JamesPittman LM profile image

      JamesPittman LM 7 years ago

      Very good list of chess books. The chess exercises book looks really interesting.

    • profile image

      nadyadord 7 years ago

      thank you

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 8 years ago

      I think it's cool that you included that list of public domain e-books.