Top 4 Most Overrated Chess Books (and what you should read instead)

1) Margulies, Mosenfelder, Fischer – Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
2) Nimzowitsch – My System
3) Silman – How to Reassess your Chess
4) Dvoretsky – Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual
Dishonorable Mention: Kotov – Think Like A Grandmaster

Recommended Books (affiliate links):
Fischer – My 60 Memorable Games:
Maizelis – Soviet Chess Primer:
Polgar – Learn Chess the Right Way:
Watson – Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy:
Hellsten – Mastering Chess Strategy:
Silman – Silman’s Complete Endgame Course:
Jesus de la Villa: 100 Endgames You Must Know:
Shereshevsky – Endgame Strategy:
Hellsten – Mastering Endgame Strategy:

For a full list of my recommendations, check out this post:

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422 Comments

  1. What would you recommend reading instead of "Think Like A Grandmaster"?

  2. I completely disagree that Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual is overrated. That book is the one of the most effective book for any serious chess player seeking to improve.

  3. There's so many choices I can't pick one book that can do all

  4. The soviet chess primer did not really work as a beginner book, did anybody really find easy enough to follow it? How did you manage to do it?
    I will check it again soon, since I am getting better, but really it was too much for a first book.

  5. What books do you like on pattern recognition?

  6. I totally agree with your list. I would add two books that I consider innovative in teaching:

    1 – Axel Smith & Hans Tikkanen – The Woodpecker Method (Quality Chess)
    2 – Jonathan Hawkins – Amateur to IM (Mongoose Press)

  7. "Bobby Fischer's personal chess diarrhea…" (//・_・//)

  8. So glad you included Silman's book as over-rated. His use of "imbalances" is fine, but his writing style is really not great.

  9. I’m too late to this video, I have read bobby fischer teaches chess and Chess Fundamentals by Capablanca and bought every Jeremy Silman book (completed Amateur’s mind and working through Reassess your chess currently). Now i have to go through all the good books you mentioned .

  10. Hi there this was a interesting primer for improving at chess! Two books you forgot, the first from your American countrymen winning chess strategies Yasser Seirawan looks at counting material and ways to look at positions an d the second book is chess tactics from scratch by Martin Weteschnik gives you a better understanding of tactics thank you kind regards Worrell Robinson

  11. eh, lichess opening explorer and analysis is way better even if you had all of the chess books in the world

  12. Hello there, good day! I'd love to improve my Chess skills. Does the book "Mastering Chess Strategy" by Johan Hellsten contain endgames and gambits? Thank you!

  13. You shared.wonderful advice . Thanks.

  14. Bought Kotov’s book in the 70s. It helped me go quickly from 1800 to 2000.

  15. I started playing chess back in the 'late 70s, and found that the best chess books to use were the ones that did not require the use of a chess board. That book " Bobby Fischer teaches chess" was excellent for those just getting started. And probably the best book series I've ever seen was written by GM Lev Albert. And for chess software probably the best program was" Chessmaster" and later on a program called Chess mentor comprehensive chess course. Unfortunately, in my opinion Chess has gotten a little dry. It's mainly just theory nowadays steeped in memorization. Studying classical games of previous chess masters shows they played from their creativity.

  16. Very many thanks for the suggestion. I will read them one by one.
    Let me share what I think about chess books in general.
    I think and many others think that many chess books are very hard to follow.
    First, not only the matches in the books are the players whose ratings are far higher than readers are.
    So can we imagine , let say how a child understand an adult's thought. So please write a book based on players' ratings. ( Lichess ratings is ok, as many prople don't have FIDE ratings, or give the conversion of Lichess to FIDE ).
    Second, very complicaated and long calculation are very hard to follow especially without the chessboard.
    Third, many books write as follows : "Kasparov vs Karpov 1986 have tried 10. Rc4 Bh6 11. d5 Nf5 12. Qd1 Rc8 etc and proves to be successful. " what one plays is compared to many players in many tournaments, it should be appreciated, but it makes the readers should make a lot of analysis. It is very very hard even at the intermediate level. Please make the analysis more simple and restricts to two or three matches maximum.
    Please consider these points, hope it will make them more useful in the future.

  17. What's your opinion on chess fundamentals by capablanca?

  18. If you say a book teaches you bad thinking, then why explain idea it in your video? Now you're a bad teacher also.

  19. Since 1994, I have read over 200 chess books and have owned over 100. Here are my lists of the 10 best and the 10 worst. Hopefully, they can be of service:
    BEST
    1) 1000 Checkmate Combinations- Victor Henkin
    2) Improve Your Chess Calculation- R.B. Ramesh
    3) The Fireside Book of Chess- Chernev & Reinfeld
    4) Dangerous Weapons: The Sicilian- Emms & Palliser
    5) U Cannot Be Serious!- Basman & Welling
    6) Triple Exclam!!!- The Life and Games of Emory Tate: Chess Warrior- Daaim Shabazz
    7) ATTACK!- Neil McDonald
    8) Magnus Carlsen: 60 Memorable Games- Soltis
    9) My 60 Most Memorable Games- Fischer
    10) Understanding The Grunfeld- Jonathan Rowson

    WORST
    1) Eric Schiller- ANY BOOK!!!
    2) Bruce Pandolfini- ANY BOOK!
    3 ) Secrets of Chess- Lyudmil Tsvetkov
    4) Attacking the Strongpoint: The Philosophy of Chess- Igor Zaitsev
    5) Play 1..b6- Christian Bauer
    6) Gambit Play: Sacrificing in the Opening- Angus Dunnington
    7) Game Changer: Sadler & Reagan
    8) The Ideas Behind The Chess Openings- Reuben Fine
    9) Pirc Alert- Lev Alburt & Alex Chernin
    10) Black Is OK (and any of its sequels!)- Andras Adorjan

  20. Just remember. This guy is only an IM. If he had read the other books he'd be a GM 😉

  21. Daniel Naroditsky's books are my top recommendations for beginners/ intermediates. Although there won't be many tactical moves/puzzles, they are more about a principled game and middle/endgame positional advantages. Really opens up your mind. A lot of amazing concepts and principals that not many people teach you

  22. Agree on My System and Think like a GM. Didn't learn much from either.

  23. Positional Chess Handbook is indeed fantastic.

  24. I really enjoy the Nizowitsch but I do understand that the book is 100 years old and what that intales. I have the Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy so I should be good. I'll be sure to read them both.

  25. Blasphemy regarding My System, which might be slightly antiquated, but its prose is highly entertaining. A passed pawn is a criminal!

  26. If you thought "Thinking Like a Grandmaster" was too rigid, are there any better books out there that cover the art of thinking or calculation that you can recommend. I'm very curious if there is a hierarchy of thought, or if that's a far too simplistic way to go about it. Perhaps instinct and intuition and experience play a far more valuable role in thought process. I like your idea to embrace the natural way the mind likes to jump around. That certainly rings true.

  27. Aren't puzzles books irrelevant in the age of online puzzles? Not only are they faster, but they can be organized by theme, puzzles you missed, and so on. Besides, isn't there an argument to be made that random puzzles (rather than those organized by theme) are best in the long run? Because if your brain is fixated on THE theme, it obviously will find the best move more easily than having to choose between dozens.

  28. One of the books that helped me to get to an expert level was Modern Chess Strategy by Pachman.

  29. can anyone recommend me a pdf of chess openings

  30. Salman's complete endgame course is best endgame book for beginners, for tactics back to basics by Dan heisman

  31. Sounds like the only complaint about the Bobby Fischer book is the title. I think it's perfect for someone new. Cheap, starts with rules of the game, then has tons of puzzles.

  32. Good video. Where can I find those chess pieces?

  33. I feel like a lot of these books deserve a bit of a facelift in terms of graphic design for the covers. Haha.

  34. I just bought the Soviet Chess Primer and the first Susan Polger book. Thanks for the advice!

  35. would you be able to give a private lesson?

  36. what do you think of Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games, personally i like it but is it good in your opinion?

  37. Great video. ChessBase software; do we need to purchase a games database? Which databases to consider?

  38. What book should I read as compliant beginners

  39. I have about half the good and half the bad lmao
    Awesome video man, my goal is a book a month and this helped alot. Thanks!!

  40. Are you rhe one who solves 182 puzzles from Polar (the father) 'book every day?

  41. Thank you for your review and recommendations. Subscribed 🙂 Keep it up !

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