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What are the best chess books regarding theory and such for beginners?

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Beginners don't need theory with the possible exception of general rules such as 'control the center' and "don't move the same piece twice in the opening." There are several threads here on those topics. –  Tony Ennis Feb 10 '13 at 14:24
Fishes, it's not clear exactly what you intend with the word "theory." I could imagine different intended meanings. Could you elaborate perhaps? –  ETD Feb 10 '13 at 14:42
Also, there are many stages of "beginner", from literally not knowing the rules to being a tournament "D" player. Which interests you? –  Tony Ennis Feb 10 '13 at 15:29
Best way to learn chess, is to get a good book which is well annotated, like Fischer's my best 60 games, or Alekhine's 3 books annotated by himeself also, and just play over the games but read the analysis after each move to understand why the moves are made. Any other, well annotated chess games book will do. The important part, is to read the annotations (analysis) to understand why a move are made and what the player was thinking when they made it. –  Nasser Feb 10 '13 at 17:45
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

A book often recommended to beginners is Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev. It contains 33 games with text explanations for every single move.

Dan Heisman also recommends other books in his web site, here are a few:

  • Chess: The Art of Logical Thinking - Neil McDonald
  • A First Book of Morphy by del Rosario
  • Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played - Irving Chernev
  • Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur - Euwe and Meiden

[edit] Here's a PGN file of Logical Chess that you can play through using a game viewer like Scid vs. PC while you read the book. Or you can just use a regular chess set.

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It's a bit old, but I cut my teeth on "Chess Fundamentals" by former world champion JR Capablanca. Moreover, it's one of the few books in the public domain, so you can access it online.

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Be careful, though: some editions don't have diagrams, which makes it quite difficult to follow the text. –  Pete Becker 2 days ago
And many of the available editions have errors in the diagrams, which is potentially worse! –  Henry Keiter 20 mins ago
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To take the beginner up a notch "My System" by Aron Nimzowitsch ... it goes over basics of theory like open files which even a beginner can get a feeling for. This book will move the person to an advance beginner or to intermediate (with practice). The skills in the book are essential. Here is a link to download the classic: http://www.taflfelag.is/assets/files/Nimzowitsch,.Aron.My.System.(21st.century.ed).pdf The sort of companion to "My System" is "Chess Praxis" which gives games to see the applications of the concepts in "My System". That would probably be a next book. If you want something for the total beginner then something like "A Primer of Chess" by Capablanca Be sure to learn all the basic endgame mating combinations (queen, rook, bishop-bishop, bishop-knight) as well.

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