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Top 5 Best Chess Books for Intermediate Players

best chess books for intermediate players

These 5 best chess books for intermediate players that i have recommended covers all three phases of the game.

First book teaches you opening strategy.

Second book teaches you how to attack

Third Book teaches you middle game strategies.

Fourth book gives you complete endgame course.

Fifth book is a collection of 60 games played by Bobby fischer which teaches you how to implement all the concepts that you have learned in first four book.

So, let’s start…


1. Mastering Opening Strategy

Author: Johan hellsten

When it comes to opening, first concept to understand is development. 

You want to develop your pieces and get castled within first 10-12 moves.

First chapter: Development

in addition to general opening principles, you will learn king and weak points in the opening, faulty pawn advances in the opening and why development gets delayed.

Second chapter: Crime and punishment

This chapter is mainly about what you should not do in the opening.

Early pawn grabbing, queen raids and early attack are the signs of faulty opening strategy.

You will also learn how to punish these strategies if your opponent uses them.

Third chapter: The battle for the center

Once you have developed your pieces, what comes then..? 

Then comes battle for the center. 

If you control the center, it means you control the game.

There are different kinds of center like pawn center, semi open center and center controlled by pieces.

you will learn about every kind of center and how to play them in the this chapter.

Fourth chapter: Restriction

Would it not be wonderful if your opponent cannot follow opening’s best principle?

You can restrict your opponent’s plan and gain an advantage.

Restriction of castling, restriction of specific piece and some more restriction method can be learned from this chapter.

Fifth chapter: A few words on opening preparation

When you start playing well prepared opponent, you will notice that most of them follow a specific opening sequence. Example: In London system you always develop your bishop to f4 and then develop other pieces.

You also want to create a special opening repertoire for yourself. 

You will learn everything about creating an opening repertoire in this chapter.

Conclusion: Understanding these opening ideas are essential for your progress. This book is worth your time and money.

2. Art of Attack in chess

Author: Vladimir vukovic

This is a classical book to improve your attacking skills. 

When i first read this book few years ago, i was able to immediately apply these ideas in my game. 

Attacking ideas are explained in easy language and you will learn this topic in a step by step way. 

The attack against uncastled king:

When you don’t develop your pieces properly and castle early in the opening, then your king may become a target of attack. 

you will see how to attack in this particular scenario.

Attacking the castled position:

When you are trying to attack on the king that has castled, your first priority is to create a weakness near opponent’s king.

Without a weakness, you cannot attack.

Once you have created a weakness then you strategically move your pieces to exploit the weakness near the king.

Mating patterns:

If you know some basic mating patterns then it will be easier for you to attack on opponent’s king.

You will learn essential mating patterns in this chapter.

The classic bishop sacrifice: 

Here, you will learn of what, when and how of bishop sacrifice. This idea will frequently occur in your games.

Attack on fiachettoed king:

In such cases, it gets important to exchange the fianchetto bishop before you can successfully attack on the king.

Sometimes you sacrifice a rook to eliminate the fianchetto bishop.

Defending against the attack:

It’s not enough to know how to attack. 

Many times, you will find your king under attack. 

In such cases, you should know how to defend your king.

Running away with king and exchanges major attacking pieces are two good ideas to save your king.

You will also learn about concepts like focal points in this book.

Conclusion: If you are looking to improve your attacking skills, then this is a good book for you.

3. How to Reassess Your Chess

Author: Jeremy silman

When you are in the middle game, some questions come to your mind like…

Should i exchange my bishop for the knight?

Should i open the c-file?

Is this pawn structure good for me?

This book gives your answer to these questions and many more.

You answer these kind of questions by analyzing the imbalances in the positions. 

What is an imbalance in chess?

An imbalance is any significant difference in the two respective position.

Following different kind of imbalances are covered in this book.

Conclusion: This is an ideal book for understanding the imbalances of middle game which will help you in making good decisions in the middle game.

4. My 60 Memorable games

Author: Bobby Fischer

This book covers 60 games played by Bobby Fischer and best part is that these games are explained by Bobby Fischer himself.

When a world class player explains his thought process, we can learn quickly by understanding how they think during the game. 

In this book, you will find many critical positions presented in the diagram for you to solve. 

Let’s see couple of famous positions.

In this position, It is black to play and win.

Here black sacrifices his knight and played …Nxf2

After, Kxf2 Black played Ng4+ and once the knight comes on e3, black will win material.

In this position, it is white to play.

Here white wants to play e5 to open the diagonal for the bishop and attack on h7 but black can play f5 and exchange the queens. 

So white played…

White played Rf6 to block the f5 pawn and after …Bxf6 white can play e5 to checkmate the black king on h7.

In this position, it is white to move.

Here, white can sacrifice his knight to weaken the black’s defense.

After …bxc6 white can play Rxc6 attacking both the queen and a6 square.

Conclusion: Studying these 60 games will improve your overall understanding of the game, So i recommend this book. 

5. Silman's complete Endgame course

Author: Jeremy silman

This book offers you a complete endgame course from beginner to advanced players.

Author divided this book in 9 parts.

Part one for beginners ( Unrated – 999)

– The staircase method

– The box method

– Stalemate alert

Part Two for class “E” ( 1000-1199)

– What can ( or cannot) mate vs lone king

– Minor piece vs queen

– Understanding the king

Part Three for class “D” ( 1200-1399)

– Beyond basic opposition

– King and pawn endgame

– Minor piece vs lone pawn

– Rook vs lone pawn

Part four for class “C” ( 1400-1599)

– King and pawn endgame (square of pawn, passed pawns)

– Minor piece endgame ( wrong colored rook pawn, Bishops of opposite colors)

– Rook endgame ( Lucena position, Philidor position)

– Queen vs pawn ( Pawn on 6th rank, on 7th rank)

Part five for class “B” ( 1600-1799)

– King and pawn endgames ( triangulation, outflanking) 

– Rook endgame ( connected pawns, 7th rank)

– Minor piece ( two bishops)

Part six for class “A” ( 1800-1999)

– King and pawn endgame ( pawn race)

– Rook endgame ( rook pawn, 7th rank pawn)

– Minor piece endgame ( fortress)

Part seven for Experts (2000 -2199)

– Rook endgame (multiple pawns)

– Minor piece ( bishop + pawn vs bishop)

– Queen endgame ( blockade )

Part eight for Masters ( 2200-2399)

– Principle of two weakness

– The pleasures of a knight

– King is a fighting piece

Part nine Endgame for pure pleasure

– Dominated minor pieces

– Tactics

– Five greatest endgame player of all time

Conclusion: This is a perfect book for you if you are looking for a complete endgame course explained in a step by step way.