- The killer Dutch
- The King’s Indian Attack: move by move
- Opening repertoire: Nimzo and Bogo Indian
- Smerdon’s Scandinavian
- Modern Chess Openings
- Play the French
- Opening repertoire: the English
- Anti-Sicilians: move by move
- Play the London system
- Play h6 in the French
- First steps: the Queen’s Gambit (Everyman Chess)
- Starting Out: King’s Indian Attack (Starting Out – Everyman Chess)
- Play the Accelerated Dragon
- Queen’s Gambit Declined
- The Veresov: move by move
- First steps: 1 e4 e5 (Everyman Chess)
- Play the Sicilian Kan: A dynamic and flexible repertoire for Black
- Beating 1 e4 e5: A Repertoire For White In The Open Games
- Mastering opening strategy
- The triangle system
- Fighting the Ruy Lopez
- 10 great ways to get better at chess
- Attacking chess: the French (Everyman Chess Series)
- Chess developments: the Sicilian Najdorf 6 Bg5
- Starting out: d-pawn attacks
- Attacking with 1 d4
- Dark Knight System: A Repertoire With 1…Nc6
- Opening repertoire: the Petroff defense
- Chess developments: the Pirc
- The Benko Gambit: move by move
- Tango! A dynamic answer to 1 d4
- Play the Catalan
- Beating Unusual Chess Defences: 1 e4: Dealing With The Scandinavian, Pirc, Modern, Alekhine And Other Tricky Lines
- Play the Grünfeld
- The Torre attack: move by move
- Bundle: gambiteer
- Taming the Sicilian
- Disreputable opening repertoire
- Why we lose at chess
- Alekhine alert!
- FAQ about chess openings books
Chess openings books: when learning to play chess, it’s important to use all the tools available. Practicing on a regular basis and studying grandmasters’ strategies are essential steps. But there is one more option that will also help develop your skill. Buy a good chess opening book or download it, whatever suits your demands better. Any format works great as long as you diligently hammer at it.
And, of course, the more you read, the better. Every author has their own unique approach to the game. It’s especially easy to notice when you get to higher levels of play. You’ll dive into the diversity of variations possible for just one combination. Unlike a basic openings book, a more advanced one may dedicate many pages to one sequence.
However, even the best chess opening theory books describe the same principles. The way they explain it can be different though. Some editions provide clearer commentaries and illustrations. That’s why we put together this list of the best books on chess openings. You can use it to choose the most comprehensive and readable options. This way the process of learning chess may become a bit more interesting.
There are several categories of books that touch on the topic of openings in chess. Here they are:
- Dedicated to one particular opening. Basically, these types of books are the most accessible to the general beginner in chess. You’ll find a lot of material covered regarding individual systems of openings.
- Giving a structure or repertoire. Such books usually include several openings, related to the same strategic approach or pawn configuration. Generally, the author’s intention is to guide the player to the middle game without too much fuss. And maintaining playable positions, no matter how the opponent plays.
- General advice or guidance for openings. In this category of books, you won’t find a deep analysis of any opening system. Instead, you’re given the ideas behind them. It‘s a good way to get a better understanding of the opening play.
- Encyclopedic format. Books of this sort tend to be as comprehensive and all-around as possible. They aim to include the maximum amount of openings without going too deep into explanations. Usually, you see a short description of moves, yet no underlying principles are disclosed.
Now we can get to the best chess opening books for beginners and experienced players. We aimed to cover different types of literature. This way you can definitely find the most helpful ones in your particular case.
The killer Dutch
As a grandmaster, Simon Williams successfully used the Classical Dutch in many serious tournaments.
Here the author explores the given opening on a very deep level. Besides, he gives an entire repertoire with the Dutch Defense for Black, created on his own.
There are tests at the end of each chapter. So you can evaluate how well you’ve acquired the major concepts.
The King’s Indian Attack: move by move
Here we encounter an interesting format provided by Neil McDonald. The book continually challenges the readers to check themselves with questions.
The Q&A method ensures the material is acquired properly. Besides, the given format keeps the reader actively engaged. It allows us to assess the progress while learning. It’s a great way to assimilate knowledge and enhance your skill.
The book represents quite a common system of development used for White. It can be applied against various defenses.
Opening repertoire: Nimzo and Bogo Indian
A world-renowned player Sielecki reveals a collection of moves for Black. They concern Bogo-Indian and Nimzo-Indian types of defense.
In both of them, the author concentrates on lines with a dark-squared strategy for Black. As a consequence, we get a systematic approach, which makes the repertoire easier to understand.
All the variations are connected to one common theme.
Written by an expert David Smerdon, the book shows an unusual approach to the Scandinavian.
It turns out the opening can be utilized as a weapon to attack! The presented repertoire is an advanced version of what he successfully applied for many years.
The author examines the essential games, shares modern theory, and reveals his own ideas.
Modern Chess Openings
This is a legendary work by Nick De Firmian. It’s a highly reliable and efficient tool for serious learners.
You will discover cutting-edge theory and lots of information on modern matches. If you are willing to grow, get familiar with the Modern Chess Openings book. Queen’s Gambit, French Defense, and plenty of other most common openings are explained there.
The book is also suitable for knowledgeable chess players wanting to stay up to date. It’s a solid source of recent innovations concerning chess. Make sure you have the latest edition as it’s been re-edited for over 50 years.
Play the French
This highly approved work of John Watson provides a repertoire to play for Black. The book is entirely dedicated to the French defense. So if you often use it in your game, it’s a must-read.
The author gives the option to play against all White’s possible moves. He arms us with not just one, but multiple choices to play the main lines.
Opening repertoire: the English
If you prefer to have numerous middlegame positions, the English is your choice.
David Cummings presents a whole repertoire for this opening. He identifies the most potentially powerful methods to treat Black’s main moves.
Also, you’ll meet efficient ways to deal with extraordinary sidelines.
Anti-Sicilians: move by move
The book represents a convenient platform to learn the Sicilian Defense and its possible continuations. A chess master Cyrus Lakdawala provides all-around descriptions of White’s reaction to the opening.
As you play it, you should be fully prepared for various moves of the opponent. Through illustrative games, you get the idea of the positional ideas for both sides.
The tactical aspect is also thoroughly highlighted.
Play the London system
Just like the previous book, this one’s written by an international chess specialist Cyrus Lakdawala.
Here the author examines another opening system, which is especially popular at the club level. The development plan for White is really simple. And you can use it against almost any type of defense.
Play h6 in the French
The work is written by Alexis Harakis who is a FIDE master. He gives a full overview of the underplayed move in the French 3…h6.
It’s the author’s pet subject that he’s been exploring for over 15 years.
First steps: the Queen’s Gambit (Everyman Chess)
In terms of format, this is the best book for learning openings from scratch. It’s completely dedicated to one opening system.
A professional player A.Martin reveals the intricacies of the gambit.
Starting Out: King’s Indian Attack (Starting Out – Everyman Chess)
It’s a great guide by John Emms that explains the basics of the popular opening.
Apart from telling the theory, the author shares his personal considerations regarding the key lines. You’ll find the essential strategic and tactical ideas for both Black and White.
For example, a common issue with move orders is covered there.
Play the Accelerated Dragon
One of the most common options in the Sicilian for Black is the Accelerated Dragon.
Here Peter Lalić provides a repertoire built on this line. He presents a solid development system that helps create consistent and clear plans. As a result, you can apply this line in your game with confidence.
Queen’s Gambit Declined
Here an experienced chess player Sadler reveals the ideas behind the given opening.
He describes all the main variations applied in practice and explains the key ways of development.
The Veresov: move by move
This is another book in the Move By Move series. This time, chess specialist Jimmy Liew invites us to explore his favorite opening.
The Veresov is able to direct the game into relatively unknown territory. As a result, the opponent will have some problems dealing with this move sequence.
First steps: 1 e4 e5 (Everyman Chess)
This starting combo is so popular that the resulting collection of openings forms a category.
It’s called Open Games. John Emms presents a beginner openings book explaining the concepts behind this type of opening.
Play the Sicilian Kan: A dynamic and flexible repertoire for Black
This edition makes a convenient platform for learning in an easy and interesting way.
You don’t memorize the moves, but rather get an understanding of the ideas behind the Kan. Johan Hellsten examines this variation of the Sicilian and shares his substantial experience.
Beating 1 e4 e5: A Repertoire For White In The Open Games
A well-known Grandmaster John Emms provides a repertoire to play after 1 e4 e5.
The lines he shares are based on a reliable development system with an aggressive approach. You can deploy them against practically any Black defense.
Mastering opening strategy
This is a highly acclaimed work by chess writer Johan Hellsten. He explores a broad variety of principal subjects including pawn breaks, development, attacks, and various defenses.
Also, there you can read about common mistakes and the preparation stage. It belongs to the best chess opening books for intermediate players. However, curious beginners may find it interesting as well.
The triangle system
The author Ruslan Scherbakov explores the Semi-Slav Triangle.
It’s an interesting method to fight the all-time-favorite Queen’s Gambit. Among Black’s tools, there’s also the Noteboom variation.
It’s a rapid counterattack that gives the player a chance to dictate the rules.
Fighting the Ruy Lopez
Sharing his vast experience of dealing with the Lopez, a master Milos Pavlovic offers options.
You’ll find solid and reliable continuations for Black built on the famous Marshall Attack. This work belongs to the best chess opening repertoire books dedicated to one opening system.
10 great ways to get better at chess
A renowned trainer Nigel Davies provides working methods to get better in the game.
He tackles all aspects of chess and shares his thoughts as a grandmaster. Over the years, many of his students significantly grew their skills through wise guidance.
Attacking chess: the French (Everyman Chess Series)
The book contains an ambitious opening repertoire to play for Black in the French.
The author Simon Williams is known as an innovative player. And he suggests interesting lines. They embody a combination of talented attacks and a traditional structure of the opening.
Chess developments: the Sicilian Najdorf 6 Bg5
The main focus of the book is on the trends concerning one particular opening system.
International master Goh Wei Ming discusses the essential lines and modern theoretical additions. If you wonder where to get this chess openings book, Amazon has you covered.
Starting out: d-pawn attacks
This is a comprehensive guide to d4 attacks written by Richard Palliser. He gives full coverage of the riskiest attacking options for White. Namely, the 150 attacks, the Barry, and the Colle-Zukertort.
Recently, these three set-ups became hugely popular, particularly at the club level.
Attacking with 1 d4
This book of chess openings follows the topic of the previous example.
Angus Dunnington offers an all-new repertoire built on the e4 and d4 starting moves. He constructs easy-to-learn, yet efficient systems to play against Black.
Dark Knight System: A Repertoire With 1…Nc6
As a FIDE master, author James Schuyler shares his vast collection of moves with 1…Nc6. The provided system is a powerful combination of several openings resulting in an independent tool.
Opening repertoire: the Petroff defense
Here Cyrus Lakdawala uses illustrative examples to explore this extremely complex opening.
If you want a modern and thorough analysis, pick this chess opening book. Download a free electronic version “The Petroff Defence by Artur Yusupov” or enjoy a paperback from the store. Both options are available.
Chess developments: the Pirc
The given opening is covered by James Vigus from the most modern perspective. The edition includes all major lines, novelties in theory, and interesting fresh ideas.
The Benko Gambit: move by move
Get a solid grounding on the tactical aspects of the Benko with Junior Tay. He is known for his expertise and creative approach to the opening.
So you’ll discover a whole bunch of new ideas concerning the matter. It belongs to the best opening books for novices to learn the given combo.
Tango! A dynamic answer to 1 d4
The theory master Richard Palliser tells about the uncommon Black Knights Tango. The reader gets a solid grounding on the key strategies and traps in the opening.
Play the Catalan
If you’re looking for the best openings book to study the Catalan, consider this work.
Nigel Davies provides a thorough study of this sophisticated opening. Get the idea of the tactical and positional approach by Black.
Beating Unusual Chess Defences: 1 e4: Dealing With The Scandinavian, Pirc, Modern, Alekhine And Other Tricky Lines
Here you get a whole assortment of various lines to play against 1 e4. Andrew Greet explains how to deal with tricky openings involving this move.
Play the Grünfeld
This dynamic opening is quite popular nowadays. An expert in this area Yelena Dembo provides workable, yet not so complex lines to apply for Black.
This is the best book of chess openings regarding the Grünfeld in terms of simplicity.
The Torre attack: move by move
Similar to other editions in the series, this one fully covers one opening in detail. Richard Palliser encourages to learn and practice the skills explaining the key elements.
In terms of format, it’s the best book to learn chess openings by Nigel Davies. Divided into two parts, the work provides a hard-hitting e4 repertoire for both sides.
Taming the Sicilian
This opening is a highly ambitious and common option for Black. Nigel Davies develops a convenient system for White to tackle this sequence.
Disreputable opening repertoire
This all chess openings book teaches Black to become initiative after the 1…e5 move. It’s an adventurous collection of lines by Jonathan Tait that covers theoretical and practical aspects.
Why we lose at chess
The main mistakes in the game are properly explained by Colin Crouch. Also, you’ll find out how to avoid them or, at least, make them less often.
A former American Champion at chess Timothy Taylor shares a dynamic repertoire for Black. Also, he breaks down all of White’s available options.
As a final recommendation, we’d like to emphasize the convenience of the chess opening book database. Using your computer to improve at the game makes the learning process much faster.
For example, a chess opening book BIN. Download this format and you’ll be able to see the sequences played in real-time. It’s a modern and handy tool available for everyone.
Besides, it can become a great addition to your paperback manuals. You don’t have to be a computer geek to use a chess engine opening book. Download it from a reliable source and enhance your education process!
FAQ about chess openings books
Opening books are a great tool to learn playing chess. They’re graded by levels, so you can easily find one that suits your current skill. Also, some of them discuss one particular opening. While others explain the topic in general and emphasize the principles for all sequences.
This is a highly popular book on chess developed for dedicated learners. It contains a lot of knowledge concerning the openings including the most recent innovative ideas. If you are serious about chess, this is a must-read.
There are almost 300,000 books on chess registered in the United States. A considerable part of them involves openings. Because it’s an essential stage of the game that greatly influences the result.
You should use all the tools available to learn chess openings. Study the theoretical aspect from books, then practice in real games. In order to get a better understanding, use chess engines and e-books with interactive examples.
There is no exact data on the number of openings grandmasters know. But they certainly know all the common sequences and their variations. Besides, growing your skill is a lifetime process. There’s always something new to learn in this game.