Chess Book Reviews

On this page I will have a link to all of my book reviews. These books are all reviewed from the point of view of:

Will this book be useful to an extremely talented and serious chess player in the range of 2000-2500+.

I will not be including any books for beginners. The only books I will review are those which I have read from cover to cover. Note that it’s exceptionally unlikely that any opening books will be included in these reviews, as these generally provide the least bang for your buck for a serious chess player, as one could simply use Chess Base software combined with the most recent games from databases instead.

If you have a child rated above 2000+, you should buy them the books on the list and when they have time have them read the book and work on it from cover to cover. The large majority of these books include many puzzles for solving, as I believe this type of format is the most engaging for nearly every type of player. This is in sharp contrast to those books that are simply a bunch of collected games with analysis. This is the reason why old classics such as Bronstein’s famous Zurich 1953 tournament book are not on the list. I just don’t think they are as helpful or as engaging as the more modern books, and as time is limited, I think it makes the most sense to just dive into the absolute best stuff.

Also note that I am extremely selective when it comes to what I consider to be a good book. Very few such books are released each year and I am going to include only the absolute best. Also note that I will only include books in which I have read them in their entirety, and attempted to solve every puzzle within the book.

IM Greg Shahade’s Highly Recommended Books: (rating levels the book is appropriate for)

Mastering Endgame Strategy: Johan Hellsten (1800-2500)

Mastering Chess Strategy: Johan Hellsten (1800-2500)

School of Future Champions Volume 1 – Secrets of Chess Training: Mark Dvoretsky (2000-2700)

School of Future Champions Volume 4 – Secrets of Positional Play: Mark Dvoretsky (2000-2700)

Chess Lessons: Vladimir Popov (2000-2600)

Grandmaster Preparation – Positional Play: Jacob Aagaard (1900-2600)

Grandmaster Preparation – Strategic Play: Jacob Aagaard (2000-2700)

* I still have to fully read and review Aagaard and Dvoretsky’s other books, but I imagine that many of them will make this list

4 thoughts on “Chess Book Reviews

  1. Those Hellsten books are gold and I wish more people knew about them. The endgame book is the main reason that I know anything about playing endgames (other than theoretical positions).

    The other books I keep praising are Yusupov’s 9-book series with Quality Chess. They’re also mostly exercises, so I figure you would dig them too. Someone who is already 2000 could plausibly skip the first three, though Aagaard advises starting at the beginning and I certainly got a lot out of the early ones.


  2. Greg hasn’t read any of these books or he would know that Dvoretsky says in this very series that he would no longer work with women after his stint as Nona’s coach in the Women’s World Championship because “they don’t do any work.” Greg should boycott all misogynistic writers if he’s to be honest. Funny thing is, he hasn’t even read the books, and openly talks about how lazy he is as a chess “student.” He doesn’t read books and this is apparent. Greg isn’t able to cope with the fact that 90% of strong chess players are right wing because they favor personal responsibility and small government. Greg should actually do his homework for once.


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