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bananaman1 20 ( +1 | -1 )
good chess books? I'm a begginer looking for my first chess book. I need some suggestions you could
look at my games and tell me what you think I'm bad at. Most say I need a good
openings book and suggestions?
soikins 131 ( +1 | -1 )
Opening book? That is the last thing you need!

1) you need an introductory book or article that simply states the main rules or opening play (development, don't move the same piece twice etc.). Actually such things are easy to find on the internet.

2) You need a good tactics book. Read these two de la Maza's articles and you will understand what sort of a book:

Some dicussion about the method is found on GameKnot too:

3) After some time, when you worked on point 2), you should also pick up some endgame book and work with examples form it in the same way de la Maza teaches workink with tactics.

4) Whan you have developed your "muscles" (calculating skill, tactical pattern recognition skill, elementary endgames) you can start working on positional principles. Here Jeremy Silman is a good author to start with.
thalagor 55 ( +1 | -1 )
I believe that soikings suggestions are too much meat on the bones, I feel that if you're new to this game that seems to be a bit much. I'd suggest that you go through the drills and tests in Chessmaster 9000/10th edition, after which you should practise simple tactics (ie easy level).
But that's just my personal opinion, could very well be proven worse than soikins suggestions.
snakeplissken 9 ( +1 | -1 )
the finest all-round manual on the game The Game of Chess
by Siegbert Tarrasch

The finest all-round manual on the game.

bananaman1 24 ( +1 | -1 )
rephrasing When I said beginner that was probbaly the wrong word. It should be something
like intermediate player. I've played ever since I was little and now I've only lost 5
out of close to 100 chess games at school this year.
migchess20 7 ( +1 | -1 )
Good Book You must study My Sistem of Nimzowish. It is very interesting
So long
peppe_l 55 ( +1 | -1 )
IMO If you are an intermediate player, simply forget part 1) from an excellent advice posted by soikins and continue to parts 2-4 (book on tactics, book on endgames, book on positional play). Before "completing" parts 2-4 buying opening book(s) is pretty much waste of time.

"I've played ever since I was little and now I've only lost 5 out of close to 100 chess games at school this year."

It sounds like you need to find stronger opponents :-) You can learn much more from losses than from wins...

apastpawn 137 ( +1 | -1 )
I differ somewhat Having coached quite a few intermediate level players and many advanced beginners 1200 or so Elo. What I see is a lack of opening awareness.

It is usually not enough to simply understand developement and opening principles. What they want and can understand next is an opening system where they comprehend what to do next. In other words "ok I've done the opening - now what?" This is where the should strive to learn what the concept of the opening is and what its strenghts and weaknesses are. Thus tactics come into play.

I know I'll get some flack for this opinion, but this is the way I learned as I almost memorized Horowitz's book - Chess Openings, Theory and Practice as a teen. If you can't hold your own in the opening then its tough thereafter.

I do agree with Soikins that general chess principles and tactics are paramount for a good chess knowledge base. Also knowledge of basic endgames will be usefull.

A basic book on openings I suggest would be Winning Chess Openings by Bill Robertie [available at most libraries]. Review this and see what openings appeal to you. The opening "bible" I like is Stardard Chess Openings by Eric Schiller. Next the Everyman Chess (publisher) books on Starting Out:The _____ . These cover all the major lines for the opening chosen.

My Humble Opinion,


i_play_slowly 327 ( +1 | -1 )
For immediate results I took a look at some of your games and agree with those people who suggested that the opening is a potential growth area for you. There are two steps you could take that would result in immediate improvement, if you cared to take them. Firstly, at the bottom of the page for each of your active games, you will see "Game DB." I strongly suggest that you let this database guide you until you can navigate the opening on your own. Using a database is not considered to be cheating. offers another database that might be even more reliable, although not nearly as convenient.
However, blindly following other people's footsteps will not make you a better chess player. It is important to understand the ideas behind the moves. Secondly, then, I would suggest using the Game DB in conjunction with Reuben Fine's classic rules for the opening:
1) Open with either the e-pawn or the d-pawn.
2) Wherever possible, make a good developing move which threatens something or adds to the pressure on the centre.
3) Develop knights before bishops.
4) Pick the most suitable square for a piece and develop it there once and for all.
5) Make one or two pawn moves in the opening, not more.
6) Do not bring your queen out too early.
7) Castle as soon as possible, preferably on the king's side.
8) Play to get control of the centre.
9) Always try to maintain at least one pawn in the centre.
10) Do not sacrifice without a clear and adequate reason, eg.:
it secures a tangible advantage in development
it deflects the opponent's queen
it prevents the opponent from castling
it enables a strong attack to be developed
These rules will usually illustrate the reasons why some moves in the Game DB are both more popular and more successful than others. If you see a move in the Game DB that appears to illustrate or demonstrate any of Fine's guidelines, it is likely to be a sure choice. Of course, Fine's rules also work well independently of any database. Whenever your position is not to be found in a database, let them guide you. At some future point in your development you might well scoff at them, but I would suggest that following them for now would be a strong intermediary step.
Regarding books: If you're the sort of person who hates wasting money(!), I would recommend browsing any book for a long time before you bought it. Perhaps a chess book spoke very strongly to someone here at Gameknot, but it might not speak clearly to you. The quarrels that have erupted among the people who have responded to your post gives some indication of what I'm talking about. Nimzowitsch's "My System," for what it's worth, struck me as an extremely dry and disorganized collection of ideas, like a chess almanac
If you see Chernev's "Logical Chess" anywhere, I recommend that you include it among the books you browse. This book is regarded as one of the classics, and it has been the first serious chess book for many aspiring chess players--it is practically a rite of passage. The book is very clearly written and gives a wonderful demonstration of everything a chess player needs to know if he or she is to begin playing well.
"So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (1Jo 4:16).
peppe_l 235 ( +1 | -1 )
Let's take Some examples from your recent games here at GK.

Let's begin with this one:

1.d4 b6 2.c4 Bb7 3.d5 e6 4.e4 exd5 5.cxd5 c6 6.d6? c5?

6...Qf6, winning a pawn.

7.e5 f6 8.Nf3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Nc6 10.exf6

What has happened? IMO you failed to follow general opening principles - develop your pieces, make sure your King is safe (!). Still, thanks to some inaccurate moves by your opponent, after 10...Qf6 IMO the position is unclear. But...

10...Nxf6?? 11.Qe3+ Be7 12.dxe7

Losing a piece (11...Kf7 12.Bc4+ leads to mate). And 12.Bc4! first was even stronger. Sure, you resisted till move 49 but the point is against any intermediate tournament player you need a miracle to survive after move 10. Studying openings won't help, if you overlook a loss of piece in move 10, you can play 20 theory moves and overlook a loss of piece in move 21. The result will be the same.

Ok, here's another example:

1.e4 c5 2.Bc4 e6

2.Bc4 wasn't so good but 2...e6 was a good response.

3.d3 d5 4.exd5 exd5

Very good so far. You opted for Sicilian and played a strong pawn break (3...d5). General principles are more than sufficient here, 3...d5 is rather obvious move for ALL chess players :-) No need for opening theory.

5.Bb3 b5

Dangerous threat - c4, winning a piece. But once again, developing your pieces (according to general opening principles) was good. No need for opening theory here either.

6.Qe2+ Qe7?? 7.Bxd5

Leaving d5 hanging and losing a piece (there is no way to save the rook!).

What happened here? Your opponent won by playing an INFERIOR move and seeing the pawn you left en prise. Imagine studying latest Sicilian theory till move 25. Then your opponent will deviate before move 5 and you are on your own again...

One more game:

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5

Scandivavian opening.

3.Nc3 Qc6??

Not seeing one move ahead. Classical tactical motif (pin) wins your Queen. I know there are people who claim the best way to stay out of harms way is to memorize 3...Qa5 is "theory" - but you will only survive one move longer. Sooner or later theory ends and chess begins.

You DON'T need to know 3...Qa5 is better than 3...Qc6. You need to SEE one-move threats like the next move. And IMHO studying tactics (pins, forks, etc) is the best way to see them in your future games.


What is your biggest weakness? IMHO not seeing this move coming.

Yours sincerely,

bananaman1 26 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanx soikins_id thank you very much for the links under number 2 they are very helpful to
me. i_play_slowly_id thank you for the advice from Ruebon Fine I am considering
buying one of his books "The Ideas behind the Chess Openings." Thank you also for
the encouragement in the end.
bananaman1 1 ( +1 | -1 )
Test id=bananaman1_id
bananaman1 3 ( +1 | -1 )
? how do you link someone's name
thunker 38 ( +1 | -1 )
I'm just an average player, but I like Fine's "Ideas Behind the Chess Openings" very much for opening theory. For general theory I like J.R.Capablanca's "Fundementals of Chess" and "A Primer of Chess", and for more advanced theory I like Hans Berliner's "The System"
For pawn structure theory, I think Kmoch's "Pawn Power in Chess"
Now, if only I could put the principles in PRACTICE! :-)
chilliman 29 ( +1 | -1 )
I have never read it but... maybe I should.

"Catalog of Chess Mistakes" by Andy Soltis. Available now on ebay:
crazycanuck 51 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess books ............... to read. An absolute must is Basic Chess Endings by Reuben Fine. Almost any player can pick up any where's from 25 to 100 points on the ELO rating system. Everyone reads the opening theory but guess what, they forget that to win the game it almost always requires you to go to the endgame. That is where a lot of players are lacking in theoritcal knowledge. I for one will be reviewing my endgame practices. I know that I can play a much better endgame then Ihave been lately. IMHO
cairo 50 ( +1 | -1 )
I have the following recommandations for chessbooks:

The System - A world Champion's Approach to Chess by Hans Berliner / ISBN 1 901983 10 2 / Published by Gambit.

Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch / ISBN 0 486264 86 6 / Published by Dover Publications.

Die Endspiel Universitšt by Mark Dvoretsky / ISBN 3-935748-02-7 / Published by Chessgate 2002. (The book is in German, but most likely you can get in English as well)

Best wishes