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Best 10 Chess Opening Books

by Ravi Sharma 20 Nov 2022 0 Comments

Chess players have different playing styles so it is quite impossible to select the best ten chess books. 

A positional player might rate an opening book on the Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack on the other hand an attacking player will prefer a book on gambits.

Compiling a list of the best chess opening books depends on chess players' skill levels. The opening book that helps you when you are a beginner will differ from that which you find helpful as a strong club player.

General Chess Opening Books

These chess opening books are highly rated and cover many playing styles and skill levels. These chess opening books cover a broad range of openings and often discuss opening principles. The first two books on the list are for beginners and the second two are for intermediate players.

“Discovering Chess Openings” by John Emms

The major portion of the book is all about learning opening principles and this book should be one of the first chess opening books a beginner reads. 

The principles include the center, development, and king safety. After becoming familiar with what each principle means, the three principles are examined a little deeper in the fourth chapter. Chapter five discusses The role of pawns in the opening is discussed in chapter five. How everything works together in the opening shows in the last chapter.

The importance of understanding the principles of chess ahead of theory is an excellent approach. To find the right move when you find yourself in an unfamiliar opening position. Prioritizing understanding will also serve you well in your middlegame and endgame studies.

“Chess Openings for Beginners – The Complete Guide to Strategies and Opening Tactics to Start Playing Like a Grandmaster” by Craig Medina

This book is designed for beginners, it could serve stronger players by giving them insights into the ideas behind an opening. If you face any trouble while playing against a specific opening, you can learn from this book what your opponent is trying to do.

Especially for beginners, there are a few chapters on how the pieces move, opening principles, advice on two openings never to play, and all the major openings you could consider playing. You will also find tips and tricks within the openings and explanations about why a move is played. Isn’t it Amazing?

“Back to Basics: Chess Openings” by Carsten Hansen

“Back to Basics” helps you take the next level in preparing the opening repertoire. The author offers suggestions on how you can take a better approach, by sharing the mistakes he made when learning the openings. This book guides you on how to decide on openings. 

After learning the opening principles, you can choose your style of play. This book is extremely helpful to consider all the openings. 

For example, open games, semi-open games, closed games, etc. 

In this book, one chapter tells you how to continue your studies and apply what you have learned.

By reading three to four chapters, you would get your money's worth. An excellent read for players who need how to change their repertoire. You would get your money’s worth even if you read three chapters.

“Modern Chess Openings 15th Edition” by Nick De Firmianz

“The Chess Player’s Bible,” is A perfect chess opening book.

An excellent reference book to have for when an opponent plays a sideline or variation you haven’t faced before. A great start to your games. 

Chess engines have made many openings playable that had a debatable opinion and there is simply no way to learn all possible sidelines ahead of time.

The best point is to learn mainly three variations in the openings like MCO will certainly help the mainlines, further, you play, you will come across the sidelines, and finally, you can find the best response.

This will enhance your game to the next level.

Repertoire Chess Opening Books

Although we can choose a single defense when playing with white, we need a more comprehensive approach. Black has several excellent defenses.

That is why Repertoire opening books are helpful if you are well-prepared at the start of the game.

Fortunately, this book was written after the launch of the Chessable course and you will benefit from the material added to the course.

The book complies with three KIS principles:

  • “The chosen lines are simple to learn.
  • It must be possible to find your way if you forget your lines.
  • Choose lines that may not be most critical but uncomfortable for the opponent.”


Christof Sielecki does an excellent job of keeping these principles. The suggested variations are sound and easy to play.

To get an advantage out of the opening nowadays is unrealistic and reaching the middlegame is easier to play with white.

“A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire for White” by John Watso

It tends to favor a more strategic and positional approach but the variations do not avoid tactics or confrontations.

If you make one wrong move, the advantage of going with a strategic repertoire is you are unlikely to find yourself in a bad position. The only real danger is the assessment of the position might drop a little.

The theoretical workload is lighter, it's another advantage of a strategic repertoire over a tactical repertoire. There is much less “must-know” material to keep you from getting a bad position.

A book with a nice balance between mainlines and sidelines that still pose challenges for Black while being safe. If you have a variation that works well, you can incorporate it into this repertoire and have a second weapon against a particular defense.

Chess Openings for Black Explained” by GM Lev Alburt, GM Roman Dzindzichashvili, and GM Eugene Perelshteyn

This book begins by introducing you to the three authors, explaining how to use the book and how to study openings. In this you will get to learn a complete repertoire against all of White’s main moves.

Its valuable features help you to remember the theory, like using blue to highlight critical positions, memory markers, and using larger diagrams for mainline variations.

Before you begin learning the theory of each variation, you get introduced to the ideas and how to defend them properly. A lot of emphasis is placed on understanding why you are playing certain moves.

The  pawns are likely to be explained in some detail. You will learn not only how to make the most of them but also what White is trying to achieve.

Chess Opening Books Based on Specific Openings  

There are innumerable chess opening books devoted to a particular opening. The best two excellent books are covering openings that are relatively light on theory and significantly reduce the chance of you making a costly error in the opening.

It includes a system-based opening you can play with white and a rock-solid defense.

“The Agile London System” by Alfonso Romero and Oscar De Prado

Magnus Carlsen has successfully played the London system, the current world chess champion. This solid chess opening is a universal opening where you can play almost every defense. 

Comprehensive coverage of all Black’s main defenses against the London System. The London System is the ideal opening for you if you are a busy player. But we suggest you might prefer to work on other areas of your game and keep learning chess openings to the minimum. The London System does not require a lot of time to learn.

“Playing the Petroff” by Swapnil Dhopade

After working through this chess opening book, one can consistently reach a comfortable position against 1.e4. Once you achieve your goal, you can begin to outplay your opponent, and there is no better defense to help you reach equality than the Petroff Defense.

Swapnil does an excellent job guiding you through the theory with clear explanations. The rock-solid nature of the Petroff Defense has caused many players with white to look for ways to avoid facing this defense. This comprehensive Petroff Defense chess opening book covers all the most common Anti-Petroff lines.

To Conclude :-

We are so lucky to live in a time where we can access chess knowledge so easily through books. Often the challenge is not finding a good chess opening book but choosing from the many available.

You can choose many excellent websites where you can learn rapid chess games and Yes!! You can improve your game.

For more such articles visit our website -

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