The Best Classic Chess Books | Dojo Talks

Jesse, Kostya and David rank the classics! – well-known books printed before 2001.

Below is our final list, with links to get each of the books.
1. Tal-Botvinnik 1960,
2. Sixty Memorable Games,
3. Zurich 1953,
4. Test of Time,
5. 100 games,
6. My System,
7. Best Games,
8. Seven Deadly Chess Sins,
9. Road to Chess Improvement,
10. Art of Attack,

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  1. re Tal-Botvinnik 1960, does anyone know whether the serious translation issues pointed out at
    have been corrected in the most recent edition?
    To be honest if we're discussing Tal's books I much prefer 'The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal' for "a good read", while for instruction value I think Nunn's book about Lasker, Anand's games collection and all of Franco's 'Move by Move' books are hard to beat.

  2. This was awesome it was so much fun to watch. You guys made me laugh so many times with the millennials comments. I could watch this for hours. I can't wait until the next book list comes. Shame Kostya was not there I hope he is doing well. Great stuff indeed!

  3. Lol my copy of ‘my system’ has an introduction by Yasser Serawain. It is strange to hear that he would not actually like the book as he speaks very highly of it in this intro.

  4. It's amazing how divided strong players are with My System. People like GM Kraai think it's the best book ever. Some GMs are meh. Then there's GM Short who says, "'My System' is considered one of the greatest books of all time. I've no idea why."

  5. Art of the Middle Game was Keres and Kotov.

  6. What you think about Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy – John Watson ?

  7. Would it have been possible to duplicate the ones you had already adjusted the size of? May have been a bit easier.

  8. About ,, test of time " from Garry , I got it in bulgarian for 3 euros 😀

  9. I miss alot of wonderfull chess books like sheresevsky book, Ludek Pachman, Dvoretsky, Karpov, Keres, Tarrasch,

  10. Great discussion! Btw the Mar Del Plata variation of the KID is in Zurich 1953 (Taimanov vs. Najdorf) and comes from the Mar Del Plata tournament earlier that year.

  11. you guys set a new standard on chess book reviews. amazing!

  12. reading tournament books without knowing who won sounds like a toooonn of fun I gotta try that.

  13. Where can we listen to your discussion of the 6 schools of chess? You mention it in passing but it sounds very interesting.

  14. RE: Endgame Strategy. Dvoretsky writes about it in the intro to his own endgame manual . IIRC he writes Shereshevsky based the book on a series of lectures that Mark had presented at seminars w/ his permission so I presume it's mark's examples and shereshevsky's writing. Dvoretsky also recommends the book in the afterward section of the endgame manual where he gives his thoughts on a wide variety of endgame titles. I have Endgame Strategy coming in the mail, it will be interesting to see what Shereshevsky writes in the intro.

  15. The version of My System (21st Century edition) I saw has an introduction by Seirawan! "It is with the greatest of pleasure that I write the introduction to this edition of Aron Nimzowitsch's classic, My System. The effect of Nimzowitsch's writings and play has had a profound impact on chessplayers since his chess careeer began in 1904." … "It is a book that provokes you to think differently about chess. It challenges you to consider a different approach and urges you to prove or refute Nimzowitsch's ideas. It is also a book that you can read and reread, each time coming away with different lessons and insights, leading to a deeper understanding of the game."

  16. What do you guys think about "Python Strategy" by Petrosian?

  17. Both Botvinnik 100 Best&Alekhine's Best
    are the intellectual equivalent of watching
    Michael Jordan playing basketball

  18. I thought Chess Praxis was much more accessible than "My System"

  19. Wonderful stuff by two highly knowledgable and entertaining dudes

  20. I am with Kostya about "My System", I rather prefer much more "Chess Praxis" …and I am definitely not a millenial…::)) No doubt whatsoever that Nimzowitsch was one of the real seminal genius of modern chess, perhaps the greatest

  21. Lipnitsky's is a jewel, I had the russian version until the english one fortunately appeared

  22. I have a copy of the 37th USSR Championships from 1969 writing in old notation I'm still trying to decode it….

  23. The fact that Lasker's manual of chess isn't on this list is disappointing. One of the best book ever written on chess.

  24. The Kasparov book is worth soooo much online!!!!

  25. 46:50 oh that’s actually my favorite book ever…I just forgot

    Lol, that was hilarious

  26. 48:07
    As a Russian, the way David pronounced it the first time is far closer to what it should be. For sure it's not "Alyoshin". Though it does not compare to what English transliteration did to Nepomniachtchi (dear god, how did you come up to spell it that way)

  27. I heard that Alekhine is pronounced as a facial expression because the translated letter pairs are silent.

  28. I am confused about Think Like a Grandmaster. Everyone simplifies it only to calculation trees and never checking second time. But Kotov covered many more topics and his book is actually awesome. Maybe the problem is with translations – he actually written series of books Think Like a GM, Play like a GM etc. I had translation in Polish where they were merged and some topics were shortened. Maybe most valuable parts are in other volumes. But his books basically says that GM must practice 4 essential skills – evaluating positions, finding plans, finding tactical motives and calculation. It remains true during opening, middlegame and ending. He provides many examples and excercises. He introduced candidate moves technique, he emphasized how evaluation impacts the decisions. He covered learning openings by ideas, not move by move. He even covered topics like handling time trouble, daily regime during tournaments, when to sacrifice for initiative and when not. Some aspect of the game covered by Kotov are not analyzed elsewhere and still he is constantly criticized for one thing – calculation trees.

  29. This video would have been less easy to get lost on if you made each book bigger during its section.

  30. I recently watched this YouTube video. Jesse are you still interested in "The Best Move" by Hort and Jansa? I have a copy let me know.

  31. Have you thought of doing a Dojo Talks about My System? I see so many arguments about it – is it a perfect first book on positional chess? Is it for experts only? What does it have that's still unique when there are so many other books on positional chess? Is "overprotection" actually a thing? Is "discovered check" really one of the eight key elements of chess strategy? Is it the greatest chess book ever written, or should it be banned, like Nigel Short says? It might be good to hear it broken down in detail.

    For my part I kind of agree with Kostya in that I find that reading it is like panning for gold. I get the occasional flash of insight, but also spend a lot of time just sifting through stuff that just seems completely irrelevant or unhelpful – like metaphors that are harder to understand than the points that they're illustrating, or terminology that he doesn't really define, or long explanations of how revolutionary his ideas are and why everyone else is wrong.

  32. If David thinks Kasparov is the second greatest chess player of all time then who’s number one?

  33. It's interesting that you don't rate Chernev's Logical Chess highly at all, but you put his less well known book about Capablanca's endings in your training program. You must rate his endings book much higher!

  34. What is your opinion on Tal's winning chess combinations by mikhail tal and victor khenkin?

  35. I'm not precisely a Millenial but I think I saw a pdf copy of "The Best Move" somewhere in the internet if you are still interested. Great video!

  36. I just purchased the number 1 of the list, Kindle version. Thanks for the video.

  37. Sielecki’s criticized Zürich a lot. He said that a lot of key positions are not mentioned. He showed some random examples and it was really weird. Sielecki didn’t use engines in his review, only his knowledge as an IM.

  38. Something funny about BF Teaches Chess: i am working with chess beginners since 23 years, and the only book that students work from cover to cover or at least consistently over weeks was this book. With only one diagram per page and no need to learn the notation it is easy to go through. And it is not bad for absolute beginners – at least they learn backrank mates 😅

  39. Brazilian players will rate Ludek Pachman’s trilogy on strategy as very high. The book is great, but I think the reason why this book is considered great in Brazil is because there were not a lot of good books on strategy published in Portuguese in the 1970s and 80s.

  40. Bobby didn't write Bobby Fischer teaches chess.

  41. I didn't get much from either My System or Think like a GM. You mentioned Art of the Middle Game (Keres/Kotov) that should have been here.

  42. Your rankings reflect your chess ratings. I don't have the Kasparov book. Four of your top five books are books with complete games only. They're all meant for advanced or higher players. I don't see the usefulness of your book rankings. You should have different lists for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players.

  43. I really enjoy the book art of attack, the list turned out to be amazing

  44. Jesse where do you rank Art of Attack? thanx

  45. I find a few classic books missing:

    Modern ideas in chess – Richard Reti
    Zurich 53 – Michael Najdorf
    The Middlegame – Max Euwe
    World Chess Championship 1948 – Paul Keres
    Keres' best chess game – Paul Keres
    Masters of the Chessboard – Richard Reti
    Dynamic Chess Strategy – Mihail Suba
    Endgame virtuoso – Vassily Smyslov
    Bent Larsen’s Best Games – Bent Larsen
    The Art of Analysis – Jan Timman
    Chess Middlegame Planning – Peter Romanovsky
    Kombinationen – Kurt Richter
    Mastering Chess Middlegames – Alexander Panchenko
    Modern Chess Strategy – Ludek Pachman
    Lasker's Manual of Chess – Emmanuel Lasker
    The Art of Sacrifice – Rudolf Spielmann

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