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Monday, 10 February 2014

A guide to buying chess books

A key to improving your chess game , is to read chess literature and learn from the mistakes of others. However , you only improve if the literature you are using is up do date and free of mistakes. So how do you choose which book to buy when faced with a choice?

1. Look at books that other chess players have recommended

2. Look up the author(s) , you can look up their elo on Fide or see which other books they have written
    Note that a high elo does not mean that it will be a good book. As some GM's are still actively playing  , they might withold some key information on certain lines/positions

3. Consider what you want to learn , if you want to study endgames buy an endgame manual. On that point , Dvoretsky's Endgame manual is a must have.

4. Consider the notation ,  especially when buying second hand books as older books are not written in Algebraic notation

5. Consider other media , nothing beats cracking open a book and reading , but in modern times , more might be gained from watching a dvd or going through the games in an annotated database

6. If you have bought a book , do not accept everything the author has written as truthful , mistakes do slip in , even in books written by great players. This is especially true for opening books , tactics and some middle game positions

7. Read the reviews , there are numerous sites that have detailed reviews , in which they do point out errors in the book and or wether or not the book achieves the goal it sets out to achieve in the description

8. When buying a Best Games Collection , see wheter or not the games are in a database and wheter or not the games in the book are annotated to a suitable level , otherwise you are better of just using the database instead of squandering money on something you all ready own ( this point can be considered the same as 5 , but thought it worth a seperate mention)

9. The age of the literature , as chess is a continually evolving game , older books might contain outdated lines which have been refuted or lines which at that time were the main lines. It is good to study , but this should be taken into account , as you might actually be handicapping yourself by using this material. Once again this is mainly true for opening books

10. Compare prices , once you have found a suitable book , shop around a bit. Prices vary dramatically from site to site or shop to shop. E-books can also be considered and usually costs a lot less than a hard cover , however nothing beats the crisp feel of paper whilst sitting infront of a chessboard


Goodluck with your future purchases , I hope this clears up some grey areas