Chess books help players understand what moves to play and why—an especially useful skill for intermediate-level players. At this point, players are done with learning the basics and have acquired better mastery of the game.
The challenge, then, is to understand the logic in the game and outsmart your opponent.
In this article, we rounded up the top 5 best chess books for intermediate players. We have How to Reassess Your Chess, Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, Silman’s Complete Endgame Course, Logical Chess: Move By Move, and The 100 Endgames You Must Know.
Let’s see how these books made the list and what you, as an intermediate player, can learn from all of them!
What Should You Know As An Intermediate Player?
According to this rating system, intermediate players are generally around 1200 to 1800 Elo. These players already have the most basic skills nailed down and should ideally be working on expanding their knowledge of positional chess.
In addition, they should work towards broadening their logical, defensive thinking and advanced planning. On top of it all, they should also focus on putting all the newly acquired knowledge and strategy to the test.
So, the next question is, where does an intermediate turn to learn all of these? Well, there are many sources to choose from, but one of the best is a book!
Top 5 Chess Books For Intermediate Players
Here are five books to learn more about the game and improve your strategy as an intermediate-level chess player.
1. How to Reassess Your Chess: The Complete Chess Mastery Course
How to Reassess Your Chess is a book by American International Master of Chess, Jeremy Silman. This covers advanced strategies from the masters themselves by explaining the thought process with every move.
Many intermediate players struggle with the middlegame, the most important and trickiest part of every match. The book addresses this and helps players understand how to work through this phase and emerge victorious.
To add to your quest for improvement, apply what you learn in this book and have a chessboard nearby so you can easily play out the strategies and plays the author highlighted.
2. Logical Chess: Move By Move: Every Move Explained
Logical Chess: Move By Move by Irving Chernev is all about logical analysis and mind games in chess. At its core, every single move in any chess match involves logic, regardless if you’re a beginner or a grandmaster.
This book looks at the opening, midgame, and endgame of over 30 games, complete with explanations for the most effective plays and alternative moves. It dives deep into the logic behind every single move you can make on the chessboard and the power of each piece.
Irving Chernev understands that the middlegame is a tough hill to climb. His book takes us through each move to help us understand how we can apply the most logical strategies to get to the endgame and win.
3. The 100 Endgames You Must Know
Jesus De la Villa’s The 100 Endgames You Must Know is a great read to follow up on the information you learn from Jeremy Silman’s Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner to Master.
It puts all of your new skills and strategies to the test by giving you classic endgames to observe, study, and memorize.
The games in this book are taken from previous chess matches played by grandmasters. The author also highlighted some of the most frequent endgames that are likely to show up.
The book comes alive with many helpful diagrams, explanations, practice exercises, and challenges. Jesus De la Villa leaves all readers one assignment to hold on to forever: understand the reason behind your every move.
4. Silman’s Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner to Master
Fourth on the list is another book by Jeremy Silman, Silman’s Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner to Master. We keep talking about the middlegame in the previous books, but this one focuses on the endgame and how to approach it systematically to get that match win.
This book teaches players about the fundamentals of endgame using the reader’s current rating level.
While having the classic endgames memorized is useful, Jeremy Silman believes that it’s easier to get to the endgame successfully by applying learned concepts instead of sheer memory.
5. Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
Chances are, you’ve already heard of Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess! You might be thinking, isn’t this book for beginners? Well, yes and no! Many believe, including us, that this popular resource is terrific for chess players across all levels.
Bobby Fischer is one of the greatest chess players in the world, and this book is a treasure trove of knowledge on the teaching concept called “programmed learning.” You’re allowed to make mistakes and go over the puzzles again until you find where you went wrong and learn from it.
There are players that don’t consider this helpful for those who are past the beginner level. This is mainly because the book doesn’t use chess notations to visualize sequences and strategies. Instead, it uses arrows, diagrams, and even verbal definitions.
However, we think that this resource shouldn’t be overlooked just because it seems like only beginners would need it. It uses real matches played by Bobby Fischer to analyze and understand the problems and solutions, which is still a superb way to pick up new strategies.
That sums it up for our list of the top 5 best chess books for intermediate players. There are still many resources out there, waiting for you to pick them up and start learning.
Books are a great way to advance theoretical knowledge, but you also have to put in the work on the chessboard!
Applying the principles, strategies, and sequences you pick up from these books in your matches is the key to moving up the Elo ratings and improving in the game.