I am looking for well-annotated books as a follow up to my reading Chernev's Logical chess: Move by Move. I have been playing chess on and off, but not quite seriously.

I am also trying to build my chess library - I currently own Chernev's Move by Move, Weeramantry's Best Lessons of a Chess Coach and reading through Silman's The Amateur's Mind.

Additionally, are there any books that cover the psychological aspects of the game?

I would like to take my game to the next level, so I would appreciate your inputs. Thanks!

  • Please consider an additional tag as your question asks for general book recommendations, not just the ones dealing with psychology
    – shivsky
    Oct 7, 2013 at 23:38

4 Answers 4


I'd direct you to NM Dan Heisman's recommended reading list, specifically his Recommended Instructive Game Anthologies section.


The game collections I always recommend to people graduating from Chernev are:

  • Sunil Weeramantry, Best Lessons of a Chess Coach (you already got this one)
  • Steve Giddins, 50 Essential Chess Lessons and 50 Ways to Win at Chess
  • Neil McDonald, Chess: The Art of Logical Thinking, The Art of Planning in Chess, and Chess Success

All are very well written and annotated, concentrating on the things you should be thinking about as a 1500-level player and not spending paragraphs on the things that would be over your head at this level.

And some anti-recommendations, since I sometimes see these mentioned but I disagree with the choices:

  • Dan Heisman, The World's Most Instructive Amateur Game Book. Some really good stuff here aimed at beginners, but far too much of it is just glosses on computer evaluations. His Guide to Chess Improvement is gold, though.
  • John Nunn, Understanding Chess Move by Move. Seems like a successor to Chernev but far too advanced. Wait until you hit 2000.

A few years ago, I got a copy of Max Euwe's Road to Chess Mastery. I think it is also released in the name, Chess Master Vs Chess Amatuer.I have also read Chernev and Silman books you mentioned. But none has been as striking as reading Euwe's book. Let me give a small description of Euwe's book.

First of all, it is a list of annotated games(around 25 games I think). All games are played by Max Euwe against different amatuer players. Don't be fooled by the 'amateur' tag. These players are really good at chess, they have good tactical vision, good at calculating variations. But they struggle to find the correct plan after playing out the opening moves, which they were mostly learning by rote.

Games cover many different openings. The purpose of the moves behind each opening is explained with great detail. I found that I can hold myself against club players by just following the ideas of openings in this book.

I remember there is a chapter on chess psychology. In fact, on the start of each game, there is a 1-2 page description on several aspects of the game like tactics,strategy,positional play etc. They are really inspiring for an improving player.

Where this book excelled my expectations for me was in explaining the middle game principles. This is where the real game of chess is played. It explains how a master formuates a plan based on certain aspects of a position. Since we are following through the complete games rather than start from a given position, it becomes very interesting reading.**

  • Interesting..I recently saw a copy online (ebay), but passed it up. Will get one.
    – Eswara K
    Dec 22, 2013 at 2:56

There are good books where the annotations are done by strong players, but if you want books annotated by the people who played the games there are few.

I like the second Santa Monica Piatigorsky Cup tournament book with greats like Spassky, Larsen, Najdorf and others, and the Church's Fried Chicken Dallas, Texas 1970s tournament with players like Larsen, Petrosian, Browne and other greats.

If you want something in-depth, check out the Kasparov series on his own games.

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