Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev
This classic chess book of annotated games written by prolific chess author Irving Chernev explains the purpose of each and EVERY move of every game, one move at a time. (This website won't do the book justice; you need to reserve the book and play through the games as Chernev describes the action!) It teaches chess concepts, principles and rules of thumb; the reasons behind the move.
Logical Chess is recommended to intermediate players and mature, advanced beginners with excellent reading comprehension who can follow alternate lines and five-move combinations. However, even the great Mikhail Tal read Logical Chess to brush up on fundamental principles. (Tal surely did not learn anything new; it served as a reminder. Grandmasters like Tal study the games of other strong players everyday. Amateurs should also use this approach.) Even with every move explained step-by-step, Logical Chess is NOT an easy book the first time through! It is not a beginner's book, although most book dealers portray it as such. Logical Chess is 243 pages long with no diagrams -- clearly not a book for beginners.
Logical Chess was originally printed in descriptive notation and reprinted in algebraic notation. It comes highly recommended by chess instructors. It is an excellent book for self-study after one has a solid grasp of the rules, fundamentals and aims of chess.
As usual, I have taken the liberty to list Chernev's games by ECO code instead of the actual numerical order that appears in the book. I have grouped the double king pawn open games first, the single king pawn semi-open games second, the double queen pawn closed games third, and the Indian defenses last. The reader will also note that in some instances I have inserted my own supplemental games by the same player or ECO code... more vegetables in the pot of stew.
Before attempting Logical Chess, I recommend that true beginners read the following books three times each (yes, at least three times because it gets clearer -- easier, smoother with each reading as information is assimilated with prior understanding). Successful chess is PATTERN RECOGNITION. Such books will teach the beginner basic patterns they must consistently recognize to win the game. With each additional reading, the beginner gets better, quicker, smoother at recognizing the reoccurring patterns in chess such as forks, pins, skewers, discovered attacks, batteries and forced checkmate arrangements. One reading will not suffice for mastery!
The point is, if the chess beginner struggles with the book list below, Logical Chess will prove too difficult as well. There's little or no value in reading a chess book that is too difficult to comprehend. One's playing ability and understanding must approach the same level as the book is written for. A grammar school student does not read books written for the senior high school!
1) Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by Fischer's friends (Various checkmates on the back rank that must not be overlooked)
2) First Book of Chess by I.A. Horowitz and Fred Reinfeld (More comprehensive than Fischer's puzzle book; introduction to openings, tactics, and endgames that promote pawns to queen or knight.)
3) Chess Tactics for Beginners by Fred Reinfeld (Practice basic captures piece by piece; it includes but does not over-emphasize checkmates)
4) How to Force Checkmate by Fred Reinfeld (300 famous checkmates in 1-3 moves; it starts off easy but gets more difficult)
5) An Invitation to Chess by Kenneth Harkness and Irving Chernev
6) Self-Taught Chess by Milton Finkelstein. (This book may be hard to find. Chess in Ten Easy Lessons by Larry Evans is easy to find but the game examples are not easy and the puzzles are too easy.)
7) Win in 20 Moves or Less by Fred Reinfeld (73 short games)
8) Win at Chess by Irving Chernev and Fred Reinfeld (A MUST READ!)
9) The Art of Checkmate by Renaud & Kahn (A delightful classic)
10) Combinations by J. Du Mont. (A forgotten gem that will raise one's level of analysis.)
* I will double check all book titles and authors for correctness shortly (November 2016). Yes, all of these books are still included in my huge chess library.
These chess puzzle books (written in descriptive notation) with diagrams on every page can be solved by starring at the book -- no board is necessary. To solve the puzzles, consider all the possible forcing moves:
1) All possible Checks, Captures, and Pawn Promotions on the next move. Also, "Attack A More Important Piece" such as aiming thy bishop at the opposing queen or pushing the pawn at a knight.
2) Then consider future Threats to Check, Capture or Pawn Promotion in two or three moves. (Sometimes a simple quite move is made first that limits the opponent's response, such as seizing control of an open line or blocking a backward pawn to prevent the opposing king's escape.)
Repeatedly solving puzzle books from the list is how one develops tactical vision of reoccurring patterns. Gaining a material advantage by capturing and removing the opponent's army one unit at a time without losing your own is a huge advantage, often on the path to victory. In most games, a certain number of captures must occur to clear off defenders and make way for invasion before a checkmate can happen. The general with the larger, entirely mobilized army should win if he's careful yet aggressive!
To develop strategical considerations -- a long term plan when forcing tactics are not available -- the learner should play through many annotated games that explain the reasoning behind the moves. Books that have a collection of annotated games from first move to last (like Logical Chess) must be read while seated at a table with a chessboard to play out each move on the board. Just make the move given in the book and continue to follow along move by move. The reader sees what is happening and how the position changes with each turn as the author explains the why.
In fact, many would suggest using two chessboards when conducting a self-study: one board tracks the actual game sequence written in the book, and the second board is for considering alternative moves different from the original game sequence. The units on the second board often get pushed out-of-sorts when a creative mind debates the various possibilities that could have been played instead. Fortunately, it easy to return to the actual printed game sequence because it remains standing in the proper place on the first board. The first board never varies from the actual move order of the game given in the book. The second board serves as the "jumping off" point to look at other possibilities. Many readers prefer to use a standard regulation board as the first board, and a much smaller pocket-sized portable set as the second board.
All 33 games from Logical Chess are included below. My randomly selected supplemental games are marked with the symbol $.