2012 Chess Books for Christmas

A Christmas wish list for chess geeks!

This is my first annual Christmas chess player’s wish list. Here I’ll review some new chess products, some oldies but goodies, and make recommendations for Christmas gifts for chess newbies and veterans alike.

This is part 1 of a 3-part wish list. This part is devoted to recently published chess literature. In future posts, I’ll present recommendations for older chess books (the classics), and chess equipment and other chess gift ideas. Click here to see part two. Part three is coming soon.

You should know that most of the links in this article are affiliate links, that is, the links are either links to my chess store (links to my Amazon product pages) or are affiliate links to other web pages. If you click on those links and make a purchase, I’ll make a commission. Unless otherwise noted, you should assume I’ll get paid a commission if you click the link and buy something. Thank you very much! 🙂

Recently published chess books

We’ll start with books. One of my chess heroes used to say that a chess player ought to be known for his large library of chess books. You can help your favorite chess player (or yourself) by getting one or more of the following books.

Chess books published in 2012

What it Takes to Become a Chess Master, by Andrew Soltis

Soltis is a popular American Grandmaster and prolific writer. He has an easy and informative style. This book is sure to be high on everybody’s wish list this year for Christmas. Recommended for intermediate to advanced players.

How I Beat Fischer’s Record, by Judit Polgar

If your favorite chess player happens to be a young lady (or anyone else, for that matter), then Judit Polgar is definitely an inspirational role model. She achieved the Grandmaster title at a age younger than anyone had before her, including Bobby Fischer (though her record has since been surpassed). She is still one of the top Grandmasters in the world, and the strongest woman chess player in the world. Recommended for all.

Capablanca: Move by Move, by Cyrus Lakdawala

The author is a strong International Master with 30 years of playing and coaching experience. His subject, Jose Capablanca, a Cuban, was one of the greates players of all time, and was world champion from 1921 to 1927. Capablanca is known as a “natural” chess player, who had a nearly intuitive grasp of any position. His games are still as instructive today as they have ever been. Recommended for all.

Paul Morphy, by Geza Maroczy

Maroczy is one of the strongest masters to comment the games of the great Paul Morphy. Maroczy’s 1909 work has been translated into English from the original German, and is available in only limited quantites at the present time. Recommended for strong players and collectors interested in possessing Maroczy’s masterful commentary on Morphy’s games.

Bobby Fischer Comes Home, by Helgi Olafsson

This book is about Fischer’s return to Iceland, scene of his 1972 triumph over Boris Spassky. Olafsson developed a friendship with Fischer during that time, and wrote about his experiences with Fischer during the final days of the enigmatic chess champion. Recommended for all; it’s not a book about chess, but about Fischer.

Mastering Opening Strategy, by Johan Hellsten

The author, a Grandmaster, has taught chess full time for many years, and put that experience to good use in this book that seeks to instruct chess players about the strategies behind the chess opening. Most players want to know what moves to play in the opening … but it’s far better to have a solid grasp of the fundamental ideas, and a plan based on that understanding. This book will give you that. Recommended for intermediate players and above.

Vishy Anand: World Chess Champion — Life and Games, by Vishy Anand and John Nunn

The reigning world champion teams up with one of the great chess Grandmasters and authors, John Nunn, to produce a collection of his games, with 30 annotated games from 2001 to 2011. Recommended for intermediate players and above.

Point Count Chess, by Israel Albert Horowitz and Geoffrey Mott-Smith

This is a 2012 reprint of an old and controversial classi. The unique approach taken by the authors to assessing chess positions is legendary. Most tournament players have heard of the point count method, and many have used it to good effect. Newly reprinted for 2012, this book is a must-read, if only to expose yourself to the ideas. The original conception was originally controversial, but has been found useful by chess coaches, teachers, players, and even chess computer programmers. The text is printed in descriptive notation. Not recommended for beginners, but should be a welcome addition to the library of players of intermediate strength and above.

Note that this is not a new edition. It’s basically a reprint of the old edition with a new introduction added. The notation is the older English descriptive notation.

Masters of the Chessboard — 21st Century Edition, by Richard Reti

This masterpiece has been brushed up for modern readers, with figurine algebraic notation, and photos added. Reti’s work is one of the great classics of chess literature, and would be worth adding to your library. Recommended for intermediate players and above.

Fighting Chess with Magnus Carlsen, by Adrian Mikhalchishin and Oleg Stetsko

Carlsen is the wunderkind of this generation. Still very young, he has already attained a chess rating exceeded only by Garry Kasparov in his prime (and at this writing, he’s only 3 rating points behind Kasparov’s record). The authors present 64 of Carlsen’s greatest games. Hopefully there are many, many great Carlsen games yet to come.

The next post will be on older chess literature.

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