Chess Book Recommendations from a Chess Expert

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Chess Book Recommendations from a Chess Expert

Discipline is essential in chess and in life. In chess you might see a piece you can take that may seem free for the moment but the change in position could have some consequences for you. Chess improves your critical thinking skills. I think everyone, at any age, should learn how to play chess. Since high school I've been a competitive chess player; playing in tournaments up and down the east coast. I'm also a United States Chess Federation certified chess coach and I've taught many people of various ages the game. Here are some books I recommend for beginning and intermediate level players. 

100 Endgames You Must Know by Jesus De La Villa

This is a great book for players that have been playing chess for awhile and want to get better. The endgame is arguably the most difficult phase in a chess game. Jesus De La Villa, however, does an excellent job emphasizing the practical and breaking things down into well-worded chunks of easily accessible information. 100 Endgames You Must Know offers tests at the beginning and end of the book, which are quite useful diagnostic tools. The book also benefits from De la Villa’s lively writing style, making it more of a fun read than an instruction manual. 

My 60 Memorable Games by Robert Fischer
This is a great book to peer inside the brain of one of the greatest chess players that ever lived, Bobby Fischer. The book gives detailed notes on what the Grandmaster was thinking and feeling during his games. It's accessible to players of average and higher chess strength. There's plenty of analysis, without drowning the reader in endless variations. All 60 games here contain something memorable, exciting and something a chess player of any level can learn from.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess by Patrick Wolff
Patrick Wolff has compiled an excellent book here for beginners over the age of 10. It covers not only how to play, but many of the same tips I've given my students. It's written by a former U.S. Chess Champion and contains over 400 illustrated chess boards and photos. There are plenty of diagrams, plenty of chess puzzles to test your understanding and the book has a tone that is patient and easy to follow without talking down to you. With over 400 pages, this book will surely cover every question a beginner might have about the game. 

The Chess Companion by Irving Chernev
This is a very interesting old book. Written in 1968, it is a concoction of short stories about chess, chess puzzles, a series of "remarkable" games, chess trivia and general chess advice. This book is a real joy to read. Of course one can learn from it and try to convert its contents into instructional/training material, but I don't think that was Chernev's point when he wrote the book. This book is for someone that really just loves the game of chess.                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Chess Strategy for Kids by Thomas Engqvist
Engqvist delves into sharpening your chess strategy and how to study strategies in chess. Throughout the book, the author simplifies some chess concepts in a manner that a modern reader can understand and appreciate. He starts out by giving three main steps to follow to study strategy: 1. learn the basic strategic devices, 
2. recognize typical patterns where strategic themes may occur and 3. incorporate your strategic idea with a broader plan. This book is great for kids who want to improve their chess but also for adults that want to get better but prefer to read entertaining chess books and not ones written like instruction manuals.