Top 5 Best Chess Books for Beginners: Must-Reads for Newcomers

There are countless ways beginners can learn chess today! However, books are still among the top learning resources.

To pick the best chess book as a beginner, consider your learning goals, the author’s expertise, and the book’s reviews.

You should also ensure the book suits your level and includes real-life examples and exercises.

In this post, we’ll provide you with the top 5 best chess books for beginners. In addition, we’ll help you select the book that suits your needs perfectly!

The Top 5 Best Chess Books for Beginners

Here are our top recommendations:

1. Best Chess Book for Absolute Beginners: Chess 101 by Dave Schloss

If you’re an absolute chess beginner with little to no knowledge about the game, “Chess 101” should be your first read.

In this book, Dave Schloss will introduce you to all the must-know basic chess rules in a ridiculously simple way. He’ll also cover setting up the board, the pieces, and the role of each one.

In addition, it addresses the game structure and provides valuable information about tournaments.

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More importantly, Dave teaches you how to learn chess by yourself and put your knowledge into action.

“Chess 101” is written in simple language that almost anyone can understand. Further, being a small 79-page book makes it a great quick read on the go.


  • Written in simple language
  • Short and to the point
  • Covers all the absolute beginner must-knows


  • Lacks practical examples

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2. Best Chess Tactics Book for Beginners: 5334 Chess Problems, Combinations, and Games by László Polgár

Chess is primarily a strategic and tactical game. That’s why mastering its most common tactics is the key to boosting your skill in the game.

Who better than the renowned Hungarian chess teacher László Polgár to guide you through these tactics?

In his book “5334 Chess Problems”, Polgár presents over 5,000 diverse chess strategies and situations. He expertly guides you on how to address each one in real matches.

The author introduces the problems and their complexities and allows you to solve them independently.

If you can’t do so, you can refer to the easiest solutions to these challenges in the book’s final section.


  • Comprehensive chess learning resource
  • Suits beginners as well as different skill levels
  • Easy-to-follow instructions and clear information


  • A few sections lack the necessary explanation for beginners

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3. Best Openings Chess Book for Beginners: Mastering the Chess Openings Vol.1 & Vol.2 by John Watson

In a chess game, the possibilities in the openings are limitless. This usually overwhelms beginner players causing them to make random moves.

As a result, they end up in a disadvantageous position throughout the game. “Mastering the Chess Openings” book will help you avoid this unpleasant scenario.

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This book is an educational journey that teaches you the most important things to consider in openings.

In the book, Watson will instruct you on what makes a promising or dull opening. Equally important, he’ll guide you on utilizing the best tactics in this phase.

He’ll help you develop a holistic and profound understanding of the openings and the best strategies you can employ.


  • Provides an in-depth understanding of openings
  • Covers a wide range of opening scenarios
  • Written in a clear and accessible manner


  • A few sections include a high level of technicality that is hard for beginners to understand

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4. Best Endgames Chess Book for Beginners: Silman’s Complete Endgame Course by Jeremy Silman

Endgames are the most challenging parts of the entire game; they can be pretty daunting.

You’ve come a long way to reach this stage, and now you need to secure a victory. But how? Mastering endgames is the key.

In his book” Silman’s Complete Endgame Course,” Jeremy Sliman provides a complete systematic approach to understanding endgames.

The book will provide valuable insights into the most common positions in this stage. It’ll provoke your thinking about how to address each one.

It’ll also stimulate your creativity to devise unconventional solutions to the most challenging endgame scenarios.

Further, this book teaches you how to develop the right strategy to checkmate your opponents.

In addition, it equips you with tactics to salvage a draw if you find yourself in a disadvantageous position.


  • Well-organized according to the level of each player
  • Practical and easy to follow
  • Based on real-life matches


  • There are some minor errors and typos in the exercises’ answers
See also  Top 5 Best Chess Books For Intermediate Players

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5. Best Chess Book for Beginner Kids: Winning Chess Strategy for Kids by Jeff Coakley

Children can find learning chess from adult resources tedious due to the abundant abstract explanations and complicated terminology.

Jeff Coakley solves this problem with his book “Winning Chess Strategy for Kids.”

This book is an excellent learning resource for children aged 7–13. It’s filled with fun explanations, artwork, and ample enjoyable exercises to educate and entertain the kids.

The book takes your child from knowing nothing about chess to becoming a proficient player with a good understanding of all the game’s basics.

It’ll also teach them the principles and different strategies of openings, endgames, and middle games.


  • Engaging and fun content
  • Includes a lot of practical examples
  • Concise and to the point


  • Kids might find a few chapters in the book slightly hard to comprehend

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What to Consider When Choosing the Best Chess Books for a Beginner?

Here are the most vital considerations to keep in mind when selecting the best chess books for a new chess player:

  • Your learning goals: What skill do you need to learn now? The basics, endgames, openings, or various tactics? Choose the book that fits your exact learning needs.
  • Applicability: In addition to theory, you should always practice your knowledge. Choose a book with exercises to help you put what you learn into practice.
  • Level of complexity: As a beginner, you need to select a book suitable for your little to no experience. Avoid books that include jargon and complicated terminologies.
  • The author: Only pick books from experienced players, teachers, or coaches.
  • Reviews: Reading a book’s reviewscan help you understand what to expect from it. Ensure to take a look at them.

Wrapping Up

By now, you know the top 5 best chess books for beginners. “Winning Chess Strategy for Kids” would be a perfect choice for a child.

“Silman’s Complete Endgame Course” will help you master endgames. “Mastering the Chess Openings Vol.1 & “Vol.2” are excellent resources to improve your opening strategies.

Need to add winning tactics to your chess arsenal? Give “5334 Chess Problems” a read. If you’re an absolute beginner, “Chess 101” is the way to go.