Recommended Books

I'm often asked for book recommendations, so I thought I'd make a list. I've listed them alphabetically by category. For each book, I've summarized the book, given a recommendation rating, and who the book would be most appropriate for. In some cases, and in future cases, I may create a more detailed review article or video.

Also, each book listed has an Amazon link for your convenience. Where I think it's useful, I've also included the Forward Chess link Disclosure: Any books purchased through these links help support Better Chess Training through affiliate sales. I only recommend books that I believe would be helpful or enjoyable to you. In general, I enjoy physical books, but because of cost and convenience, I enjoy certain books in Forward Chess Format.

I also recommend e-books on These are interactive training books and I am a big advocate for Chessable. The links to these e-books are not affliate links and the site does not earn commissions on any purchases. The books I recommend are just good books.


How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman. IM Jeremy Silman's comprehensive book on imbalances give a solid foundation for strategic elements and how to assess and utilize them in your games. Highly recommended for players 1200+.

Winning Chess Strategies by Yasser Seirawan. GM Yasser Seirawan's easy-to-read prose and structured layout give beginning and intermediate players a great foundation in strategy. Highly recommended for players 1000-1400.

Simple Chess by Michael Stean. This book was aimed at players who really just learned the game. GM Stean does not cover every aspect of strategy, but the areas that he cover are easy to understand for beginners and intermediate players. He focuses more on the concepts and less on complicated analysis, which is great for the target audience. Recommended to players up to 1400.


1001 Chess Exercises for Beginners by by Franco Masetti and Roberto Messa. As the title says, basic tactics categorized by theme. Completing this book will provide a solid foundation in tactics. Recommended for players under 1800. Complete this set before tackling the Woodpecker Method. I highly recommend the Chessable e-book (as I do for all tactics sets):

The Art of Checkmate by Renaud and Kahn. A classic book with timeless checkmate patterns that you need to integrate in your chess brain! Read this after Bobby Fischer teaches chess. Highly recommended for beginners up to 1600.

The Woodpecker Method by by Axel Smith & Hans Tikkanen. A comprehensive set of tactics that the authors used to improve their chess. Recommended for players 1200+. Lower rated players will benefit more from 1001 Chess Exercises for Beginners. I also did a more comprehensive review of the Woodpecker Method. Chessable e-book: 


100 Endgames You Must Know by Jesus de la Villa. As the title says, 100 important endgames. This is a good compact book of important theoretical endgames. Very practical. Recommended for players 1200-2000. Players above this level may want to go straight to Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual as most of the 100 Endgames are covered there including more theoretical endgames. This is also available as a trainable Chessable e-book here: 

Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual by Mark Dvoretsky. A good reference manual for many theoretical endgames. Highly recommended for players 1800+. Lower rated players should probably check out de la Villa's 100 Endgames first or slowly work through the more common endgames like rook and pawn until they get stronger. Chessable e-book version:

Amateur to IM: Proven Ideas and Training Methods by Jonathon Hawkins. This book is about how IM Hawkins rose from roughly 1800 level to IM with the intensive study of the endgame. Not a comprehensive endgame manual, but really gets into the mind of a strong player as he shows you how and what he did to improve in the endgame. Recommended for 1600+. Forward Chess Version of Amateur to IM.

Games Collections

How Good is Your Chess by Daniel King. This is a "guess the move" book where you can study some of the greatest players of the 1990's - like Vladimir Kramnik, Anatoly Karpov, and Nigel Short. Very instructive commentary and format. A gem that's great for training for players 1500+.

62 of the Most Instructive Games Ever Played by Irving Chernev. I played through most of these games about 10 years ago. However, I keep coming back to it both for my own enjoyment and to share games with students. Concise, instructive, and well-chosen games. Recommended for players 1100+.

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