Grandmaster recommended Chess Books

This is a list of books recommended by grandmasters. The list is sorted according to the frequency of the number of times the books were recommended by grandmasters. For each book you will find a list of which grandmasters have recommended it. You can find the links to the original sources for each book and grandmaster by clicking on the link in the [square brackets].

And now without further ado here is the list:

My Great Predecessors by Garry Kasparov

The series of books is about chess history, which has been edited by world chess champion Garry Kasparov. The five volumes of the series are based on annotated games of the great players who preceded Garry Kasparov beginning with the first official World Chess Championship.

I grew up with Garry Kasparov’s book 'My Great Predecessors,' a bible for chess players, and I think that might be the reason why my intuition is so strong.

- Jan-Krzysztof Duda

Recommended by: Magnus Carlsen [magnus2], Wang Hao [hao], Jan-Krzysztof Duda [duda], Vladimir Kramnik [kramnik], Jan Gustafsson [gustafsson], Boris Gelfand [gelfand].

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Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953 by David Bronstein

The book by David Bronstein is about the second Candidates Tournament in Zurich in 1953. As the runner-up, Bronstein gives in the book a unique perspective on the games of the tournament.

Without doubt Zurich 53 by Bronstein! That’s a totally unique book. Not only are the ideas described with words and not simply variations, but it was also unprecedented for a player at his level, number 2 or 3 in the world, to reveal his ideas like that, with great sincerity. It’s a deep and honest book.

- Josif Dorfman

Recommended by: Yasser Seirawan [seirawan], Peter Svidler [svidler2], Teimour Radjabov [radjabov], David Navara [navara], Josif Dorfman [dorfman].

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Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual by Mark Dvoretsky

Probably the best book for endgames. Not only is the book mentioned by many grandmasters as one of their favourite books, but many grandmasters generally praise Dvoretsky as one of the best chess book authors.

Recommended by: Vladimir Kramnik [kramnik], David Navara [navara], Lê Quang Liêm [liem], Boris Gelfand [gelfand], Sam Shankland [shankland].

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My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer

My 60 Memorable Games is a chess book published in 1969 in which the chess grandmaster and later world champion Bobby Fischer presents a selection of his games from the years 1957 to 1967.

Recommended by: Yasser Seirawan [seirawan], David Navara [navara], Pentala Harikrishna [harikrishna].

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The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by Mikhail Tal

Game annotations with many anecdotes and self-interviews from the great attacking player Mikhail Tal.

My copy of this book is in complete tatters! All the pages are falling out, just because it has been read so many times!

- Simon Williams

Recommended by: Yasser Seirawan [seirawan], Pentala Harikrishna [harikrishna], Simon Williams [ginger_gm].

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My System by Aron Nimzowitsch

My system is a chess textbook by Aron Nimzowitsch. It was originally published in 1925 and 1926. The work is one of the early works on hypermodern chess and introduced many concepts which were new at the time.

Recommended by: Wesley So [so], Lê Quang Liêm [liem].

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Tal-Botvinnik 1960: Match for the World Chess Championship by Mikhail Tal

At the 1960 World Chess Championship Mikhail Tal replaced Mikhail Botvinnik as World Chess Champion by winning the match against him. This book is therefore a great insight into the match.

Recommended by: Yasser Seirawan [seirawan], Peter Svidler [svidler2].

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Grandmaster Preparation by Jacob Aagaard

Recommended by: Boris Gelfand [gelfand], Sam Shankland [shankland].

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Kramnik: My Life & games by Vladimir Kramnik

Kramnik: My Life & Games made a strong impression on my as a child

- Magnus Carlsen

Recommended by: Magnus Carlsen [magnus].

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Fundamental Chess Endings by Karsten Müller and Frank Lamprecht

One that I mentioned earlier, Fundamental Chess Endings, helped me quite a bit in playing some key endgames better.

- Magnus Carlsen

Recommended by: Magnus Carlsen [magnus3]

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Garry Kasparov on Modern Chess by Garry Kasparov

The series Modern Chess is the successor of My Great Predecessors.

Recommended by: Anish Giri [giri].

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The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by David Bronstein and Tom Fürstenberg

This book is MVL’s answer to the question, which book had a profound influence on him.

Recommended by: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave [mvl].

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Masters of the Chessboard by Richard Reti

Recommended by: Yasser Seirawan [seirawan].

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Dynamic Decision Making in Chess by Boris Gelfand

Recommended by: Vladimir Kramnik [kramnik].

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Positional Decision Making in Chess

Recommended by: Vladimir Kramnik [kramnik].

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Fire on Board books by Alexei Shirov

Recommended by: Vladimir Kramnik [kramnik].

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Understanding Minor Piece Endgames by Karsten Müller and Yakov Konoval

Recommended by: Vladimir Kramnik [kramnik].

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Secrets of Minor Piece Endings by John Nunn

Recommended by: Vladimir Kramnik [kramnik].

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Practical Rook Endings by Victor Korchnoi

Recommended by: Vladimir Kramnik [kramnik].

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How to Beat Bobby Fischer by Edmar Mednis

Recommended by: Peter Svidler [svidler].

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Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies by Ghenrikh M. Kasparyan

Recommended by: Pentala Harikrishna [harikrishna].

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Winning Chess Tactics by Yasser Seirawan

Recommended by: Lê Quang Liêm [liem].

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Perfect Your Chess by Andrei Volokitin and Vladimir Grabinsky

Recommended by: Boris Gelfand [gelfand].

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The Best Move by Vlastimil Hort

Recommended by: Boris Gelfand [gelfand].

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Rook Endings (Tournament Player’s Collection) by Grigory Levenfish and Vasily Smyslov

Recommended by: Boris Gelfand [gelfand].

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A Practical Guide to Rook Endgames by Nikolay Minev

Recommended by: Boris Gelfand [gelfand].

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The Test of Time (Russian Chess) by Garry Kasparov

Recommended by: Boris Gelfand [gelfand].

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Blunders and Brilliancies by Ian Mullen and Moe Moss

This is one of my favourite all time books. If you want a fun puzzle book to sharpen you up, then this is the book for you.

- Simon Williams

Recommended by: Simon Williams [ginger_gm].

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My Life in Chess: The Search for La Gioconda by Eduard Gufeld

Recommended by: Simon Williams [ginger_gm].

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Classical Dutch by Robert Bellin

Recommended by: Simon Williams [ginger_gm].

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Speed Chess Challenge: Kasparov V Short by Raymond Keene

Recommended by: Simon Williams [ginger_gm].

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Karpov’s Strategic Wins by Tibor Karolyi

The book series follows Karpov from his early years up to being the World Champion.

Recommended by: Anatoly Karpov [karpov]

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Endgame Virtuoso by Vassily Smyslov

Recommended by: Georg Meier [meier]

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Endgame Strategy by Mikhail Shereshevsky

Recommended by: Andrew Tang [tang]

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How Life Imitates Chess by Gary Kasparov

Recommended by: Irina Krush [krush]

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Other Book Recommendations

List of recommendations of non-specific books.

Viswanathan Anand recommends the books of Capablanca [anand]. While Vidit Gujrathi is recommending the books of Garry Kasparov, Anand, Gelfand, Carlsen, Dvoretsky and Aagaard [vidit]. And even Anatoly Karpov says that the books of Garry Kasparov are good books [karpov].

About this list

I wanted to try to find out which is the best chess book. Since I can’t read through hundreds of books and therefore can’t do this rating myself, I thought about how I can still figure out a rating. And this gave me the idea to compile the reviews of grandmasters to find out which book was most often recommended by grandmasters. As of course grandmasters are most concerned with chess they should have found out which is the best chess book. And maybe it wouldn’t even be that far-fetched to assume that they have read hundreds of books.

I hope this list helps you as much as it helped me to find the next chess book to read.

References

[so] Wesley So interview by iChess

[magnus] Reddit IAmA from Magnus Carlsen

[magnus2] Magnus Carlsen Guardian Interview

[mvl] Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Interview

[radjabov] International Master Profile: IM Teimour Radjabov

[giri] An Interview with Anish Giri by Janis Nisii

[seirawan] Interview with Yasser Seirawan

[hao] Interview with Wang Hao and Game Review

[anand] INTERVIEW | 'The only thing that matters is winning', says grandmaster Viswanathan Anand

[duda] Jan-Krzysztof Duda: 'When I Beat Magnus, I Will Feel Like I’m At The Very Top'

[kramnik] Kramnik's list of suggested books

[vidit] Interview with GM Vidit Gujrathi

[svidler] Peter Svidler Q&A: Part 1

[gustafsson] Peter Svidler Q&A: Part 1

[svidler2] Peter Svidler’s Questionnaire

[navara] David Navara: “What helps me is good intuition”

[harikrishna] From Pratipadu to Belgrade: The journey of Harikrishna Pentala

[dorfman] Dorfman: The real talent is the ability to work hard

[liem] Interview with Le Quang Liem

[gelfand] Improve your chess with Boris Gelfand

[ginger_gm] Five chess books that have helped me become a Grandmaster

[magnus3] Carlsen: "I think I'll enjoy chess to the day I'll die"

[karpov] Karpov on his biggest pleasure in life

[meier] Interview with Georg Meier

[shankland] Shankland: “My goal is to be World Champion”

[tang] Interview with IM Andrew Tang (@penguingim1)

[krush] Interview With New York Knights Manager Irina Krush