Please recommend a good, entertaining book on how to play chess

Looking for a good, ENTERTAINING book with chess tips.

Keep in mind:

-I suck at chess. I’m not someone that plays three-ten moves ahead in my head (except when very, very drunk). So, it would need to be a book that can give me some strategies to at least stay in the game without being embarrassed. Probably with good defenses, good opens, etc…

-It needs to be entertaining. If the book gets too technical, or bogged down in algebraic notation, I’ll quickly tune out.

No, I do NOT read “Dummies” or “Idiots” books. I’m not looking for links to the Chess page at Amazon; theres got to be hundred of books there.

I want your personal reccomendations (which I value more)!

Thanks it in advance for the suggestions! :smiley:

Try this one:

A very thin book, but one that will keep you working for hours as it exlains why each particular move is good or bad. A lot of eye-openers here, unless yu’ve spen a lot of time at a chess club or being tutored.

I’ve found most chess books to be too filled with notation without enough explanation.

(They run through moves but never explain the “why” behind them…)

This is why I teach an Adult Ed ‘Beginners Chess’ course…

I’d recommend this route if there isn’t a useful club near you (a club is where I really advanced my skills).

There are also some good online tutorials from some chess clubs:

They offer a lot of useful information in English rather than chess moves.


(Just like college professors who excell in their field but can’t teach, many chess authors can play but not convey. Hey, that rhymes!)

I disagree with Calmeacham. I wouldn’t recommend that a beginning chess player study openings. (1) You’ll forget (most) everything without fairly constant study; (2) you won’t fully understand the ideas behind the opening systems and thus will be lost once you’re “out of book”; and (3) since your opponents likely won’t know anything about openings, you’ve got nothing to lose by not studying them in depth.

Instead, I’d recommend studying the endgame and tactics. Understanding the endgame is a boon because (1) you’ll learn how to use the various pieces more effectively independently, which will carry over to other elements of the game; and (2) you’ll learn to recognize a winning position and will know when to trade down. Unfortunately, most endgame books are boring and merely consist of exercises. Bruce Gandolfini does a halfway decent endgame course, but like many of its ilk, it’s boring. So perhaps studying tactics is the way to go; it’s fairly easy to pick up and drastically impacts your performance over the board. Note that I’m referring to “tactics” and not “strategy”: they’re sort of terms of art in the chess world. Tactics refers to sudden piece combinations, and are usually organized by motif: forks, pins, discoveries, skewers, and the like. Strategy is much more abstruse and difficult; really buckling down and learning is something that should wait until you’ve got a grip on recognizing and exploiting tactical positions, and avoiding giving your opponent opportunities to ruin your position with a well-timed knight fork. As far as a good tactics book goes, you’re in luck. Most are written for beginning-to-intermediate players, and thus aren’t all diagrams and notation. A good example of one that has a pretty decent amount of explanation and isn’t a terrible bore to read is Winning Chess Tactics, by IIRC Yasser Seirawan. (I may have spelled his name incorrectly.)

Another option is to skip the books and try computer resources. The Chessmaster series usually has a series of exercises and drills that purports to teach you at a somewhat superficial level all aspects of the game. The later versions even have master games that a player then analyzes for you, explaining why the players moved what where. There’s also rating exams to make you feel pathetic – but at least will help you figure out what to work on.

Best of luck!

Play Winning Chess by Yasser Seirawan is a great book to introduce you to the world of chess and chess strategy. The man’s a great writer and chess player, and explains everything well in an entertaining way.

Bobby Fischer’s book about the endgame is good as well, but it’s mostly chess puzzles. I would reccomend it after reading an introductory-level book.

I recommend “Learn to play Chess with Bobby Fischer”. Big diagrams, easy to understand text (I was 10 years old when I read it) and I learnt a lot of things which I didn’t learn from other books

Hey, Mr. Hand – he’s not just learning chess, he’s just not good at it. A bookk on openings would help. Besides, he vcan always go and read Znosko-Borovsky’s books on chess middles and chess closings.

And I stand by my guns – he was asking for a good, entertaining book on chess. My original entry satisfies that.

just curious…why not? A Dummies book is exactly waht i would recommend The Dummies books are known for being funny (entertaining) - but also informative at the same time - and they’re not really made for unintelligent people either… they just signify a solid introduction to a topic someone is wishing to learn about

Weapons of Chess: An Omnibus of Chess Strategy by Bruce Pandolfini.

Great book, deals with how to use pieces rather than memorizing moves. Taught me to really respect the pawns, once you move them, you can’t move them back…

“Please recommend a good, entertaining book on how to play chess”

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Sorry but the terms “good & entertaining” do not belong in a sentence with “how to play chess” unless there is a NOT inserted in there somewhere.

There are several thousand dry and tedious books on the subject however. There is only so much you can do with a dry and tedious subject after all.

I agree with Degrance. I always liked “The Logical Approach the Chess,” but what I would recommend even more is the PC program Chessmaster 9000. It has tons of strategic and tactical tutorials by Seirawan and others and can give you advice as you play (Not just the move, but the why of the move.) It also has a number of Josh Waitzkin games with his voiceover commentary.

I highly recommend Chess Catechism by Larry Evans. This book is for the almost-beginner who says “OK, I know how the pieces move, now what?”

It has such chapters as: the Ten Commandments for the opening game (develop knights before bishops, try to occupy or control the center, etc.); how grandmasters think (he gives you his flow of thoughts as they occurred during a championship game); the “Seven Deadly Sins” – common errors that beginners make; why two bishops can be an advantage; and many more.

To learn to love the game I suggest Chess for Fun and Chess for Blood. Sample pages here.

For strategy for the beginner I suggest the easily read and understood How to Think Ahead in Chess It is hard to get. But this is available. I cannot stress enough how valuable this book is to the beginner. After this book you will no longer “suck at chess.” After I read it my father would no longer play with me.:slight_smile: