The Best Books of Chess

by Bill Wall


Benko and Fine, Basic Chess Endings (2003).  The bible of chess endings.  584 pages.  In algebraic.


Brady, Endgame (2011).  The rise and fall of Bobby Fischer by the man who knew him best.

Bronstein, Zurich International Tournament (1979).  210 well-annotated games from one of the best tournaments ever.

Bronstein, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1995).  An instructive and entertaining book on Bronstein’s career with 222 games played over 57 years.

Burgess: The Mammoth Book of Chess (1997).   Hundreds of illustrated games with over 1,000 diagrams.

Burgess, Nunn, and Emms, The Mammoth Book of the World’s Greatest Games (1998).  Over 120 of the greatest games of all time analyzed in great detail.

Chernev, 1000 Best Short Games of Chess (1955).  A thousand game won in the openings.  The best book on opening traps.

Chernev, Logical chess: Move by Move (2003).  Get the algebraic edition.  Every move annotated from 33 master games.

De Firmian, Modern Chess Openings, 15th edition (2008).  The bible of chess openings.  768 pages.

Edmonds, Bobby Fischer Goes to War (2004).   A reexamination of the 1972 world championship match between Fischer and Spassky.

Fischer, My 60 Memorable Games (2009).  Algebraic edition of Bobby Fischer’s annotated best games.

Forster, Amos Burn: A Chess Biography (2004).  The definitive work on Amos Burn with 984 pages, 859 diagrams, and 209 photos.  This is how a chess biography should be written.

Hooper & Whyld, The Oxford Companion to Chess, 2nd edition (1996).    An encyclopedia of chess with over 2,600 entries.

Kasparov, My Great Predecessors (2003 to 2006).  Five volumes that cover all the world chess champions written be a former world chess champion considered the greatest of all chess players.

Kotov, Think Like a Grandmaster (1995).  Algebraic edition that describes how a grandmaster thinks.

Lawson, Paul Morphy: The Pride and Sorrow of Chess, New Edition (2010).  The definitive biography of Paul Morphy, one of the world’s greatest chess players.

Nimzowitsch, My System (1991).  The all-time chess classic in algebraic notation.  One of the best books on positional chess.

Nunn, Understanding Chess Move by Move (2001).  30 modern games annotated move by move by one of the strongest GMs in the world.

Polgar, Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games (1995).    One of the biggest chess books ever, 1,120 pages of over 5,000 problems and hundreds of games (including one of mine).

Shenk, The Immortal Game: A History of Chess (2006).  A survey of the game’s history along with the moves played by Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky in London in 1851, known as the Immortal Game.  I assisted and reviewed the book before publication.

Skinner, Alexander Alekhine’s Chess Games, 1902-1946 (1998).  Contains 2,543 games of former world champion Alexander Alekhine, with 1868 diagrams and fully indexed.  It is the most comprehensive accounting of Alekhine’s games throughout his career.

Tartakower & Du Mont, 500 Master Games of Chess (1975).  A vast collection of great chess games from 1798 through 1938.

Winter, Chess Facts and Fables (2006).  395 pages, 219 photos, and 210 diagrams of chess trivia and in-depth research into chess lore and corrections of popular misconceptions.   There is also a good selection of forgotten and brilliant chess games.