I'm new here and I found a book called Logical Chess by Chernev. Is this a great book to start if you are a beginner and you only know how to move pieces but not how to develop them? I'm having a hard time looking at my games and I do not understand where I'm wrong and why I placed the bishop or knight in the D file,E file,etc. I can understand way better in books than in games with the computer analysis or another method. If this is not a good book what else would you recommend me?

3 Answers 3


Frankly, what you are asking is not a short-term goal. It really is about leaning chess, and it takes many years. When you ask why you are putting pieces on certain squares, that is called positional chess, and most people only start to absorb that after they are considerably stronger than beginner. There is no one, or even a few, books that will get you there.

What you really need to do is start with tactics books. Those are books that have problems that are forced series of moves leading to advantage. When you do enough of these, you will start to absorb some "pattern recognition". Much of chess is learning many positions, and then applying them so similar positions that arise in your actual games. In addition, these tactics books will help you to start thinking ahead, and in particular, to lose less pieces. At the begging level, most often, it is who loses the least pieces, rather than who wins the most pieces.

There are many, many, books on tactics, but if you are beginning, you want very basic tactics books. Do not shy away from books that are aimed at kids. That is more marketing since it really does not matter if you are a kid or adult, and what matters more is your level of understanding, which is limited to how the pieces move.

Here are some books that I use for teaching kids, actually high school kids, so they are like young adults:

Chess Tactics for Students

Chess Tactics for Kids

How to Beat Your Dad at Chess

Power Chess for Kids: Learn How to Think Ahead and Become One of the Best Players in Your School

Let me add one recommendation that I use often to novices: In the beginning of the game, always ask yourself: "What piece haven't I moved yet?" You want to get all your pieces out since it is hard to win if you are playing with one or two pieces, and he is playing with 4-5.


I learned a lot about this subject from GM Yasser Seirawan's book, Winning Chess Strategies, which has a chapter on exactly this topic of where to put pieces.


You can find very basic beginners books that will give you some information. Usually for one or two specific openings. They won't really tell you why explicitly the way the OP states it, but will tell you in general how they fit with the opening.

My experience was that playing over GM games taught me much more than these beginner books. I played over several hundred in a short period of time and found that I had essentially mastered the nimzo as that was played so much in that tournament the games were from and now I intuitively knew what moves were good and had a general idea of the type of position that would result.

So playing over all the GM games you can find on the ONE opening you like will do more to help you. If you do not feel ready for that then read some not quite as basic books on openings and what you should be doing.

Take a look at an online database that gives many moves along with the outcome statistics. Is your choice one of the most popular? Is your choice compatible with a good winning result?

If there were only one totally correct move the game would be dead now.

  • I forgot to mention that I do not understand how to use the knights and bishop in both closed and open positions.
    – wolly
    Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 21:39
  • Not sure what your problem is. How you use them would depend on the position! Do you understand how they move? Can you easily see all the squares they move to at a glance? They still move the same. They still pin and fork the same way. What you do with them depends on the position. How is using them appropriately to that specific position.
    – yobamamama
    Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 21:53

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