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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 16 April 2006
Echoing the sentiments of all those who have already written in support of Chernev's book, this is indeed an essential book for anyone whose passion for the game of chess has developed beyond a casual understanding of the tactics of the game, towards an understanding of strategy.

Readers will be surprised to find that the annotated games are mostly taken from the first half of the twentieth century with the oldest having been played in 1891. Some may be disapointed by this, feeling a book first published in 1957 can have little relevence the the contemporary player - yet the games provided have an elegance and a simplicity (and by this I do not mean they lack intelligence) that games played in the modern era can sometimes provide only through a very deep understanding of the game. In short, it is easier to learn from these games.

The annotation is a joy. The step by step approach of annotating each and every move brings the games alive, making the to and fro stategies employed by each player during a game easily understood.

The book is faultless as a first step towards a wider understanding of the game and though Chernev's analyses may seem quaint to the contemporary expert they provide an excellent grounding in strategy.

For those who are looking for books for children, Chernev is an eloquent writer who may stretch a child's volcabulary as much as their chess knowledge, without being unduly taxing.

In short, a wonderful book.
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on 4 February 2004
I have about 15 chess books and most have their good points. But of all the books I own, I think this is the one I'd miss more than any other. There are several books with annotated games (those from Alekhine and Fischer for example), but generally the annotations are from one of the players, who usually overrate their own performance.
This book is quite different. The number of annotated games is only 33, which is not much over half those from Bobby Fischer's famous "My 60 memorable games". But because the number of annotated games is smaller, just about every move is annotated in great detail. Even the first move of the match, say e4 is annotated in every game its played in. Of course there is some repetition in this case, but it drums into one's head why e4 is a good move.
It really is a very good book indeed.
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on 22 October 2002
A book I have not once regretted buying, written as a second chess book, it is very nicely laid out and contains 33 games with the explanations of each move with variations, the 33 games progressively advance in skill, taking you through step by step.
Irving Chernev writes in a very pleasing and entertaining manner, and you can actually feel you're becoming better, it's great!!!
He teaches the opening moves of games such as: Queens Gambit, Kings Gambit, English Opening, French Defense, Stonewall attack, Ruy Lopez and much more!
The learning potential reminds me of what a great book this is, as you move through each game he reviews what happened in the last game, so it really sticks in your memory.
If you're searching for your first book on chess, I personally recommend that you take a look at "THE RIGHT WAY TO PLAY CHESS", [...] this book really gives you a great insight into what can be achieved with chess, the moves, games, strength of the combinations of pieces, your middle game, your end game and much more!
Best of luck and Enjoy!
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on 26 September 2002
One of the most well known chess books around, with good reason. Chernev spent years selecting a collection of games he felt illustrated the principles of playing good chess. Most of the games are from the early 20th century and as such tend to be "simpler" than modern games so it is easier to see the ideas and principles in action. The analysis of the games really drills home basic ideas and most people I know who have read this book found it a great great help. The analysis perhaps doesn't go to a very deep level and the subtlety of some moves is missed but to complain about this is to miss the point of the book - to show by example how to play competently (and sometimes brilliantly!)
This book will be a great help to any novice or intermediate wanting to improve their play and I feel even advanced players would gain from reading this, even if only from an entertainment point of view.
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on 3 March 2014
I see this book in a second hand shop; I was impressed; for a few pound more, I placed an order via Amazon.
This book cover a variety of different openings; works it way through the complete game, and give reasons for every move made, yes: every move, compared to other books which give comments after so many moves.
I am half way through: "How to reassess your chess" but had to put it aside for this book.
The author also explains how to create weak points in the enemy camp and put this to good use. Through out the game, there are many back up diagrams, so you can't go wrong.
I do feel I am a reasonably good player, but did lean some tips from this book, the comments he makes are easy reading. The author gives a few variations of opening, but does not blow your brains out, like some books which give too many variations.
details are given right through to the end game.
If you are just learning chess, this is the book to go for, it will take you to a reasonable standard in a short time.
I wish other grand master could follow the same book format as this author; this is a great book, go for it.
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on 29 November 2006
This is the best chess book I have ever read! The book is aimed at new and improving players. So why is it so good?

Chernev takes the reader through 33 master games explaining each move; yes every single move. Chernev explains the thoughts of the masters and explains key concepts with a clarity that no other writer has ever equalled. He uses a mixture of explanations in English and chess variations in perfect balance.

As each move has a comment you may think that some comments would be repeated, but this is where Chernev excels. He uses quotes, asides and witty comments to infuse his writing with a lively chess sparkle that will leave you wanting more.

Chernev has selected games from past masters that clearly show a particular area of strategy which works well for instruction. This book will improve your chess and along the way it will entertain and delight. Buy it now!!!
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on 19 December 2010
This gem has all Chernev's addictive enthusiasm and is a fine read. Written pre-computers and now alive in algebraic notation it's a book anyone should enjoy alot. For intermediate players or better, yes it may be straightforward. I was tempted to give it 4 stars. But descriptions are at times a bit too lenthy and a bit the same on opening moves like Nf3 among others. Also, Chernev's quaint hatred of moves like 'h3''a6' chasing Knights away crops up more than once but isn't actually fully correct. We now know chess is even more diverse and flexible than once thought and if Kasparov among other GM's has often used such h3 moves then they can't be all bad. However, overall the book remains the most readable and arguably best of it's type. Belongs in any collection.
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on 19 April 2002
This book was suggested to me by a fellow member of my chess club, although it was written some considerable time ago,all the advice contained within is still relevant.Chess theory has developed greatly since this book was written,however, the basics remain the same. The book takes thirty three classic games and explains every move. This is very valuable because a novice playing through famous games may not appreciate the subtlties of the moves without an explanation. My game has improved since studying this book , I now now understand why cerain standard moves are made. Buy it and watch your ratings soar!
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on 8 March 2001
What can one say about this Classic of the Classics. If you want to improve your chess, and let's face it, you wouldn't be here if you didn't, then THIS is the book for you. Absolute class. I'm reading for the second time now and my rating, on an internet chess site, has risen from an average 1620 to 1720 in about two weeks. When I've finished reading it I'm going to start again and hopeful see my rating improve further.
Every move explained! in simply and direct terms, not in boffin talk that only boffins dig. It make chess easy and fun - chess, as we know, is only fun when you're winning. It's also a little known secret that those who know the know know this is the book to know. After you've read this (many times) go on to others, but get the gritty and sublime basics first. I'd like to thank Raymond Keene for introducing this book to me in his Sunday Times column.
Pure Class. Although I may just regret telling you....
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on 22 May 2003
So you know the rules, you've played a bit, you've read some books on chess and become bored. Where to go from here? Buy and Read This Book!
Learn some simple basics that will improve your game 100%, learn the art of combination and winning attacks, learn the rules of powerful defence.
The book is a joy to read, the games a delight to follow, you won't want to put it down. I felt the book had been written just for me, for my weaknesses and the gaps in my play.
I cannot recommend this book too highly - five stars is not nearly enough!
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