50 Must Reads

some chess books worth reading

Jimmy Adams, Baden Baden 1925 International Chess Tournament: The Arrival of Hypermodern Chess (Yorklyn: Caissa Editions, 1991)


Alexander Alekhine, My Best Games 1924–37 (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1939)


Frank Brady, Endgame: Thee Spectacular Rise and Fall of Bobby Fischer (London: Constable. 2011)

Endgame by Frank Brady

David Bronstein, The Chess Struggle in Practice: Candidates Tournament Zurich 1953 (London: B.T. Batsford, 1980)


David Bronstein and Tom Furstenburg, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (London: Cadogan Chess, 1995)


Irving Chernev, Logical Chess Move by Move (London: Faber and Faber, 1969)

EPSON MFP imageIrving Chernev, The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played (London: Faber and Faber, 1966)


J.H. Donner, The King: Chess Pieces (Alkmaar: New In Chess, 2008)


Bobby Fischer, My 60 Memorable Games (London: Faber and Faber, 1969)


Boris Gelfand, Positional Decision Making in Chess (Glasgow: Quality Chess, 2015)


Richard Forster, Amos Burn: A Chess Biography (Jefferson: McFarland, 2004)


Joe Gallagher, The Magic of Mikhail Tal (London: Everyman Chess, 2000)


Svetozar Gligoric, Fischer v Spassky: The Chess Match of the Century (London: The Chess Player/Fontana, 1972)


Werner Golz and Paul Keres, Chess Combination as a Fine Art (London: Pitman Publishing, 1976)


William Hartston, The Kings of Chess: a history of chess traced through the lives of its greatest players (London: Pavilion Books, 1985)


EPSON MFP imageJohn Healy, The Grass Arena (London: Faber and Faber, 1988)


David Hooper and Dale Brandreth, The Unknown Capablanca (B.T. Batsford, 1975)


David Hooper and Ken Whyld, The Oxford Companion to Chess (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992)


Curse of Kirsan

Sarah Hurst, Curse of Kirsan: Adventures in the Chess Underworld (Milford: Russell Enterprises, 2002)


Garry Kasparov, My Great Predecessors Part II: Euwe, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal (London: Everyman Chess, 2003)


Garry Kasparov, The Test of Time (Oxford: Pergamon, 1986)


Raymond Keene: Aron Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal (G. Bell and Sons, 1974)


Raymond D. Keene, Leonid Stein – Master of Attack (London: TUI Enterprises, 1988)



Raymond Keene and David Levy, Chess Olympiad Skopje 1972 (B.T. Batsford, 1973)


Ernst Klein and William Winter, Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match (London: Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons, 1947)


Tim Krabbé, Chess Curiosities (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1985)


Bent Larsen, Larsen’s Good Move Guide (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982)


Bent Larsen, Bent Larsen: Master of Counter-Attack (London: B.T. Batsford, 1992)


Edward Lasker, Chess Secrets I Learned from the Masters (London: Hollis and Carter, 1952)



David Lawson, Paul Morphy: The Pride and Sorrow of Chess (New York: David McKay, 1976)


Aron Nimzowitsch, My System (London: Bell & Hyman, 1979)


Rashid Nezhmetdinov, Nezhmetdinov’s Best Games of Chess (Yorklyn: Caissa Editions, 2000)


John Nunn, John Nunn’s Best Games (London: B.T. Batsford, 1995)


Lev Polugaevsky, Grandmaster Preparation (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1981)

purdy cover

C.J.S. Purdy, The Search for Chess Perfection: The Life, Games, and Writings of C.J.S. Purdy (Davenport: Thinkers’ Press, 1997)


Richard Réti, Modern Ideas in Chess (New York: Dover, 1960)


Jonathan Rowson, The Seven Deadly Chess Sins (London: Gambit, 2000)

Chess Duels

Yasser Seirawan, Chess Duels: My Games with the World Champions (London: Everyman Chess, 2010)


Eduard Shekhtman, The Games of Tigran Petrosian Volumes 1 and 2 (Pergamon Chess, 1991)


M.I. Shereshevsky, Endgame Strategy (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1985)


Vasily Smyslov, 125 Selected Games (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1983)

le maitre de l'attaque small

Victor Soultanbéieff, Le Maȋtre de l’Attaque: 100 parties de Soultanbéieff (Paris: Au Pion Passé, 1974)


Mikhail Tal, Life and Games of Mikhail Tal (New York: R.H.M. Press, 1976)    Read Stuart Conquest’s fine review.

Life and Games and Tal

John Watson, Play the French (London: Cadogan Chess, 1996)


John Watson, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances since Nimzowitsch (London: Gambit, 1998)


Simon Webb, Chess for Tigers (London: B.T. Batsford, 2005)


Peter Wells, The Scotch Game (London: Batsford, 1998)


Edward Winter, Capablanca (Jefferson: McFarland, 1989)


Edward Winter, Chess Explorations (London: Cadogan Books, 1996)





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