Unlocking a premium feature: Advanced Line Study for all!

By David Kramaley / On / In Chessable news, Features

Have you ever tried to make or import your own custom Chessable book? If you have and you aren’t a PRO member, chances are you’ve run into our “Advanced Line Study” limitation. Guess what? Hurrah! It’s gone for good. Now everyone can enjoy making their own book.

Here is how one of our users described feeling before and after the change.

This limitation was for custom/private books only. Regular members were limited to the study of the first few moves and required an upgrade to study more. If you don’t know what I mean, don’t worry, you probably were never affected by it. Purchased, and freely published books have always been fully accessible. Nevertheless, this change is going to make many of our free members happy, so we thought we’d write this up to let you know. Just in case you were thinking of making your own book! 😉

As Chessable has grown and we have added more PRO features (move depth, soft fail for custom books, etc.), the PRO list has grown more impressive, and rightly so. In this manner, we show our appreciation for the many people who support us financially and save some server resources. However, it’s been a while since we’ve upgraded our regular members to something special, and since we love you guys just as much, today is the day.

So what are you waiting for? You can now enjoy using this part of the site without any limitations whatsoever. Why don’t you give making or importing your own Chessable repertoire a try? If you do, let us know what you think. We are always looking to improve.

Bringing chess books to life: introducing the new features that make it possible.

By David Kramaley / On / In Chessable news, Features

Today is a special day that marks a massive milestone for Chessable. We have taken a remarkable print chess book on openings and made it available on Chessable as a fully interactive online course. This has been part of our vision since day one, and it is now a reality. Our first release is Vincent Moret’s “My First Chess Opening Repertoire for White“, and there will be more to come.

So many great chess books written are often only found in print form. Sometimes they have an electronic copy, PDF or PGN. However, nothing quite compares to having them on Chessable. Here they are imported and curated into an interactive lesson that allows you to dig in and start studying at your maximum potential straight away.

On Chessable, beyond reading, not only do you get to drill the recommendations of highly regarded trainers such as Moret, but you also get to quiz yourself on the material. With the help of spaced review, you maximise the chances you will retain what you have learned. Confused? You can also ask the in-house chess master, or the community, questions about any position in the book. You are not alone.

We aim for this to be the start of a series of exciting Chessable releases, where we take classic and acclaimed print books and release them here to help you maximise your learning potential. What’s your favourite opening book? What would it mean if you could have a second copy here on Chessable so that you could drill the things that matter most? Let us know!

Tell us what chess book you'd like brought to life next.Click To Tweet

We are so excited about the possibilities, and of course, to make it happen, we have had to address some challenges and come up with a few new things.

Here are some new things you will notice around the site that will benefit every book on the platform:

Soft error/alternative moves calculated by an engine.
Even though 4. Nc3 is the text move, you are now free to try other engine approved moves.

Previously, we had this working for endgame books. For endgames, we checked the tablebases and allowed you to play any of the winning continuations. Now, every book can tap into one of the world’s strongest chess engines and check every single opening and middle game position for equivalent moves (eval difference up to 0.20). Therefore, if you play something other than the text move, you will not be penalised with a mistake. Instead, you get to try again. In this manner, you will not only learn the main line recommended by the book, but easily start to recognise and remember viable alternatives. We are testing this out with a few books on the site, before rolling it out to every single book.

Interactive tactics/puzzles can now be included in Chessable books
An example of some puzzles in Vincent Moret’s “My First Chess Opening Repertoire”

For instance, the Moret book offers 64 puzzles that test the knowledge you have acquired. These mini quizzes fit in perfectly with the Chessable format. Moreover, now you do not have to turn a book’s page to find out if you have answered correctly, you can simply get solving! We will soon port this new addition to the 100 Endgames You Must Know book, which has some problems suited to this new format.

Fully explore a position by clicking on the sub-variations where necessary
An example of how the new in-chapter navigation looks

This not-so-new, but now refined feature, allows you to click on a move and change the board position during learning, review and view modes. This has been a long overdue feature that became essential when converting variation heavy print books into Chessable format.

Informational lines (read-only) learning flow changed

Most of us like to learn a book on Chessable simply by clicking the Learn Next button. Previously this would skip all the informational lines, which sometimes are very important. With this new change, the informational lines will be presented to you as part of your normal learning flow. If you do not feel like going through them, you can click Skip and move on.

Remember to tell us what chess book you'd like brought to life next.Click To Tweet

As always, there have been many other changes around the site, big and small. We have fixed bugs, written new features, simplified parts of the site and more. We’d bore you if we wrote about it all. So to summarise, taking a book from print to fully interactive online course has been a great challenge! It has helped us shape Chessable for the better. As we continue to bring you more of these books, we are sure Chessable will keep getting better and better. We cannot wait for the next one. Stay tuned 🙂

Making all of our interactive chess books better than awesome.

By David Kramaley / On / In Chessable news, Start-up life

In his best-selling book Zero to One, billionaire entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel said that:

It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1.

Boy is he right! Many of the things we have done at Chessable have been taking us from 0 to 1. When we started, we had some idea of what we wanted to make, but we could not foresee everything. The more we listened to our community and used the product ourselves, the closer we got from 0 to 1.

These inherent difficulties of creating a new product, combined with bootstrapping and a lean approach, meant that some of our first chess books were lacking just a tad of love. Some features were developed months after the release of these books. While many of these features get automatically rolled out when we write them, some require a bit more human touch.

Because we want every single book to feel like the best chess learning experience you have ever had, today we are announcing our plans to revamp many of Chessable’s oldies. We have begun by completing a new quality assurance of John Bartholomew’s Scandinavian, the classic #teamscandi book.

With John’s book, we have checked all comments for accuracy, added missing comments in some locations, got John to clarify certain positions, improved annotations, re-ordered variations for better study order and more. We have added informational and alternative lines where appropriate, and all in all made sure that the learning experience is up to today’s higher standards.

We plan to work on Chessexplained’s books and GM Alex Colovic’s books next, to allow for the same awesome experience in all of these excellent books. This is not to say they are not great as they are, as the many 5-star reviews will attest. These books are already awesome, but we want to go beyond that!

If you have already bought the book, as always, you will receive all the updates for FREE. However, to reflect the extra work that goes into making exceptional interactive eBooks, some of them may have to have a slight price increase. John Bartholomew’s book was a steal at $9.99 and from today on it will cost $14.99.

However, to give you a chance to jump on board #teamscandi we’ll run a 5-day sale at $7.49. Half price. How’s that? Enjoy (and don’t miss out!).

You can grab John’s book here: https://www.chessable.com/opening-book/im-john-bartholomews-scandinavian/79/

What’s new in Chessable this summer ’17?

By David Kramaley / On / In Chessable news

Chessable is always improving and evolving. Building it has always been a product of passion and love for chess and chess education. Moreover, listening to our users is one of our top priorities, and as a result, we have a product that might change all the time!

Therefore if we were to release an update every time there was something new, you might just get tired of hearing from us! However, this summer many awesome things have happened so I thought I’d write a quick post showcasing the latest features. Let’s start with the newest.

Opening Explorer
https://www.chessable.com/explore/

opening explorer

The new opening explorer will show you winning and drawing percentages based on a database of millions of quality chess games (thanks to TWIC for building up such a collection of valuable PGNs). You can see this information for the first five moves, beyond that its fully unlocked if you are a PRO member. The opening explorer is in v1, and we already have planned improvements for v2 which will allow you to sort by variations in Chessable or Games in Database, whichever you want. As a bonus, the performance and speed of the explorer have been improved for everyone, and you will notice it is now much faster and better than before.

E-mail notifications

We have improved our e-mail notification system so that now you will also receive an e-mail if you people respond to a comment of yours (including book authors). To make it even better, we allow authors to opt-in to notifications on comments on variations or books they have published, so that it is easier for them to respond to your comments or queries. Of course, you can disable these notifications any time via the subscription settings page here.

Analysis board
https://www.chessable.com/analysis/

After the release of 100 Endgames You Must Know we had multiple requests for an analysis board where you could check out various moves and analyse them. We listened to your feedback and released a first version of our analysis board a couple of weeks ago.  As a slightly technical note, this allowed us to start using Vue.js as a technology on Chessable. Vue allows for a better user experience and we hope to soon implement it in other key areas of the site.

Import a PGN Revamp
https://www.chessable.com/import/

We’ve also had a chance to improve the import a PGN page which desperately needed a face lift, together with some functionality improvements. You can now copy and paste your PGN text, or drag and drop a file to the field selector.

We try and keep a list of updates in our FAQ, you can find it here, however, not everything we do makes it on to it. One thing is for sure though, you can expect more and more updates and Chessable should get better and better as time goes by. Stay tuned and thanks for using Chessable!

This map shows your favourite chess playing servers in a game of Risk!

By David Kramaley / On / In Features

I was doing market research when some data jumped out at me, and an awesome idea was born. What if the biggest chess sites were part of an epic game of Risk? Oh, what a mighty battle that would be. I went down the rabbit hole.

This map shows that the chess playing market is dominated by two behemoths, Chess.com and Lichess.org. Chess24 has bravely held some territories but looks set to lose out should some key contested areas not go their way.

Like in a true game of Risk, both Chess.com and Lichess.org hold strongholds in their capital countries. The game of Risk is said to have been originally invented by a French filmmaker in 1957. Similarly, Lichess.org was too born in the country of love, started by a passionate French developer. Therefore, France remains the stronghold of Lichess.org with a commanding presence, outranking Chess.com by over 25%.

Chess.com, which was started by two high-energy American entrepreneurs, has made the most of their capital country. They out-rank Lichess.org in the United States by almost 65%! This advantage has led to their domination of the entire North American continent. They must be getting a seriously awesome army bonus for controlling a whole continent!

Finally, Chess24’s capital is Germany, and despite a strong presence, it is just not enough to tip the scales. They are the first player in this awesome game of Risk (or Risiko) to lose their capital.

If this were a true game of Risk, which side would you pick? Where would you send more troops? What key territories would you be aiming for? Let us know via Twitter @chessable and join in the fun!

 

Methodology

  • The top three most popular chess sites according to Alexa.com were picked.
  • Countries were awarded to players if their Alexa.com rank in that country was at least 10% better than the others.
  • Alexa ranks were accessed on June 7th, 2017
  • Some countries had no data available, even with our premium albeit still rubbish access to Alexa.

 

Disclaimer

This is just for fun. We endorse no one and love all these sites equally as much; we think they are all awesome in their own way. If you haven’t yet, claim your free Chessable account today!


Endgame training with 100 Endgames You Must Know

By David Kramaley / On / In Chessable news, Features

At the end of last year, I admitted that to improve my own game I needed to learn things beyond the opening. I promised all of you that Chessable would release something to make this possible. However, chess is such a complex game that there will always be many things to learn. We had to narrow it down. We wanted something not yet out there and that would be really useful to chess players of all ratings.

In one of my favourite books, Think Like a Grandmaster, Alexander Kotov writes that “playing the ending well is a mark of the good player, and it is no accident that all the world champions have been noted for this ability”. While this classic book is now perhaps a bit dated, things haven’t changed all that much. The current world champion Magnus Carlsen is well known to outclass most of his opponents during the endgame. Despite this, as De la Villa noted in 2008, there is a tendency for players to neglect this important part of chess. I’ve been guilty of that and lost many half and full-points both online and over the board. Therefore, it seemed logical that we needed to change how improving chess players go about their endgame training. Enter Jesus de la Villa, New in Chess, and their wonderful book 100 Endgames You Must Know.

Playing the ending well is a mark of the good player, and it is no accident that all the world champions have been noted for this ability.Click To Tweet

So what’s new? Why is learning endgames with Chessable better than with a print book and a chess board? Well, De la Villa listed many excuses on why players neglect endgames. It seems appropriate to start with these concerns, and how Chessable changes the picture:

Excuse #1: ‘Studying the endgame is boring.’
No longer does this have to be the case. Endgames are perfectly suited to the Chessable learning method. You can compete in the leaderboards, gain awesome badges, and build up your streak. By making learning fun, we hope to help you gain the motivation necessary to “pay your dues to the endgame as all the greats have done” (De la Villa).

Excuse #2: ‘Half (if not 90%) of the endings I look at are quickly forgotten.’
Chessable’s spaced repetition algorithm will make sure you review at optimal points backed by learning science. Once you’ve started to retain the material, our system will quiz you less and less. Once you know them, you won’t have to review more than once every few months, if at all. Quickly forgotten? More like forever remembered!

Excuse #3: ‘I can’t find a book with good explanations’
De la Villa’s book is one of the most recognised endgame books out there. It’s extremely well written and organised content resonates with many. The author just has a knack for explaining endgames. All the original explanations have been imported with the Chessable digital format. Of course, you can also use our new version alongside the print book. If you choose to do so, for the first time be able to keep track of your progress other than via bookmarks!

You can compete in the leaderboards, gain awesome badges, and build up your streak.Click To Tweet

Other than addressing these typical excuses, we’ve also made sure to go above and beyond that. Now, there really should be no reasons why someone doesn’t study the endgame:

The Book is Supported by 6-men Endgame Tablebases
This allows Chessable to know all possible solutions to the endgames presented by De la Villa. We’ve taken certain alternative variations and common blunders and added them as their own endgames. In this manner, you can commit everything that’s important to memory.

Alternative Moves Feature Released
We made and released a special feature. Alternative moves allow you to play a different move to the text move without penalising you. This means that if Re2 and Re8 achieve the same thing, and you play the alternative, the system will recognise this and refresh your timer so that you have enough time to recall the text move.

Aside from everything we have already done, as always, we will be listening to your feedback and improving things to make it all even better. Enjoy!

PS.- To celebrate International Chess Day, tomorrow, New in Chess have been very kind to run a one-week sale for $14.99 instead of the retail price of $19.99. Don’t miss out. Check out this awesome book now.

Updates to the terms of use, privacy policy and payment gateway.

By David Kramaley / On / In Chessable news

While this may not be the most exciting of updates we have had, we are nonetheless quite happy to announce it! We have new and shiny: terms of service, privacy policy and a checkout/payment gateway. Now that they are finally here, they will facilitate the growth of Chessable to achieve our next set of milestones. Spoiler alert: we want to treat you with great chess content made easy to learn by using the Chessable learning system!

For the terms and privacy, we kept our users in mind at every step of the way. We also followed the best practices listed at https://tosdr.org/ to make sure we were doing the best we can for you. Our lawyers understood our concerns, and we think our new terms reflect that we care about our users first and foremost. What’s more, we’ve provided a running summary in plain English! We know some of us may feel a tad overwhelmed by the language of the law. Please do review these documents as they apply every time you access the site. If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail us at hello@chessable.com

Today we’ve also released a new payment gateway. We partnered up with Stripe as our new primary payment partner. This allows us to give you the best customer service possible, even better than with our previous partners. For some of you, it may be that some payment methods you have gotten used to (e.g. bank transfer) may temporarily be unavailable. We are sorry about that, and we do plan to increase our payments accepted in the future. Initially, we are launching with Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Paypal. Another big plus of this update is that we can now accept payments in British Pound Sterling (GBP) and Euros (EUR). Shortly, we may support more local currencies. In the shopping cart, simply use the currency converter at the top right of the page. US dollars remain our primary currency. For all other currencies, there may be a slight mark up due to exchange fees. You are free to switch back to USD if it works out cheaper/better. Our system will remember your preferences. We wanted to give you more choice, more flexibility.

Now that these important updates are out of the way, we are going to crack on working on something more exciting. We promise you’ll love some of the stuff we’ve got coming up!

 

The One and Only: The Very First Chessable Legend!

By David Kramaley / On / In Chessable news

Congratulations are in order for user Bumblebee! Over the weekend, he became the very first Chessable member to get the awesome “Legend” badge. The badge is awarded to members who reach 10,000,000 points (whew!).

This is quite the achievement. To put it in perspective, I am the very first Chessable member and had a couple of years head start. I am still about 5,000,000 points behind Bumblebee! Incredible.

To celebrate the occasion, we made a very special one of a kind badge. We called it “The One and Only” and Bumblebee is the proud owner of it. Since we truly love all of our members, there might be another badge or two, but they won’t be quite what this one is.

First Legend Badge

I briefly caught up with Bumblebee, and I can share with you that he is a casual chess player who purely plays unrated games. He loves studying chess openings on Chessable as he enjoys outplaying his opponents from the get-go. It was a bit surprising to me that he doesn’t play chess competitively. Instead he just enjoys learning what Chessable’s masters have to teach in their books. Presumably, he then plays an unrated game or two like a PRO! Therefore, while we don’t have a rating to share with you, this is what Bumblebee had to say about his progress:

“My inaccuracies, mistakes, blunders, and centipoint loss have fallen. I do think I have improved my feel of the game with a better understanding of undermining, pawn breaks, and weak squares.”

Bumblebee is indeed thinking of joining a chess club soon and getting a rating. We look forward to that day (please do write to us with an update Bumblebee!). We think you’ll absolutely rock your local chess club. Keep going!

The Best Chess Books Ever Written According to 10 Chess Masters

By Bryan Castro / On / In Chess improvement, Features, Learning chess

What are the best chess books ever written? We asked ten titled players this question and this article will share their answers. Because of the open-ended nature of the question, we received an interesting variety of responses.

Let’s jump right into the books and see what the masters had to say about them.

Timeless Classics

Chess books have been around for a long time. Although the quality of the books vary as they do in any genre, there have been a few that have endured through the years and prove to be both educational and entertaining for those who study them. The books in this section fit into this category.

The books are listed in alphabetical order. I have put the player who nominated each book in parentheses after each title.

  1. Chess Fundamentals by Jose Raul Capablanca (GM Nigel Davies)
  2. How to Think like a Grandmaster and Play Like a Grandmaster by Alexander Kotov (IM Levon Altounian)
  3. Ideas Behind the Chess Openings by Reuben Fine (GM Nigel Davies)
  4. Lasker’s Manual of Chess by Emanual Lasker (GM Nigel Davies)
  5. My System by Aaron Nimzowitsch (FM Daniel Barrish)

 

These books illustrated many concepts devoid of some of the complexity of modern chess brought about by decades of theory and computer analysis. This makes them ideal material for instructive purposes.

GM Nigel Davies

For example, commenting on Chess Fundamentals:

“One of the most lucid explanations of certain aspects of chess strategy.”

~GM Nigel Davies

Besides the clarity of instruction in these books, these were the pioneers of chess strategy as we know it. Books like My System by Nimzowitsch explained and built upon strategic concepts that were in their early stages of development and refinement. The fact that these concepts are still valid today are proof of the value of these books.

FM Daniel Barrish was influenced greatly by Nimzowitsch. In his recommendation of My System, Mr. Barrish writes: “A common choice – one of the first books I read and probably the most influential. It’s a classic that was revolutionary at the time and which defines and explains basic positional principles in a lucid manner.”

Similarly, IM Levon Altounian had high praise for the works of Alexander Kotov: “Likely the first book ever written that deals with finding candidate moves, dealing with psychological mistakes, time management and multi-level plan creation. All written in a very easy to understand way thanks to Kotov being a part time reporter at his time.”

These chess books have been the foundation for generations of chess players and I suspect will continue to be so for those wise enough to mine the treasures within these works.

Quests for Improvement

Our next selection of books features books that are reflections from players’ attempts to improve their play. I think these books hold a special place in the hearts of players because they often relate to our own attempts to get better at the royal game.

  1. Amateur to IM by Jonathon Hawkins (IM John Bartholomew)
  2. Lessons with a Grandmaster by Boris Gulko and Joel Sneed (GM Rafael Leitão)
  3. The Seven Deadly Chess Sins by Jonathon Rowson (GM Alex Colovic and IM John Bartholomew)

 

With The Seven Deadly Chess Sins, Rowson investigates in a fascinating way why players lose games. As IM John Bartholomew notes, “GM Jonathan Rowson delves in to the psychological side of chess. Fascinating.”

IM John Bartholomew

Moments of empathy and understanding between author and reader occur often, as these players share their own struggles along with their triumphs as they ascend the chess ladder. For example, referring to Amateur to IM:

“Engrossing, honest read. IM Hawkins describes his path to becoming a strong player. Interestingly, the vast majority of the book is on endgames.”

~IM John Bartholemew

In Lessons with a Grandmaster, the co-authors share the relationship of teacher and student, as the grandmaster, Boris Gulko, instructs his student, Dr. Sneed, through deeply annotated games where student questions master. The effectiveness of this approach is the reason for its appeal to GM Rafael Leitão: “Brilliant idea for a book. Extremely helpful to understand chess better.”

Biographical Game Collections

Chess is about the personalities of its great players as well as about the positions and moves on the board. The following books were chosen I think not only because of the great games and commentary from some of the greatest players ever, but also because of the fascinating (and in one case tragic) lives that these players led. The fact that chess has produced so many interesting figures explains in part the size of this particular list.

  1. Baloven Kaissi (in Russian) by Max Euwe and Lodewijk Prins (GM Alex Colovic)
  2. Chess Duels by Yasser Seirawan (IM Christof Sielecki)
  3. My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer (GM Alex Colovic)
  4. My Best Games by Anatoly Karpov (IM Levon Altounian)
  5. My Great Predecessors (series) by Garry Kasparov (GM Rafael Leitão and IM Christof Sielecki)
  6. My Life and Games by Mikhail Tal (IM Levon Altounian, IM John Bartholemew, and IM Christof Sielecki)
  7. My Life, Games, and Compositions by Pal Benko and Jeremy Silman (WGM Jennifer Shahade)

 

GM Alex Colovic

Being able to grasp the inner workings and mind of one of the greatest players ever is something we as mere chess mortals would love to do. Several of these books, such as Baloven Kaissi do just that.

“An incredible outlook on Capablanca’s games and career with psychological insights from the authors who knew the man personally.”

~GM Alex Colovic

Some of these insights come from the minds of the players themselves, such as Tal’s beloved classic My Life and Games, Yasser Seirawan’s Chess Duals, and Pal Benko’s My Life, Games, and Compositions. Besides some brilliant chess, our panel noted how interesting and entertaining these books were.

IM Christof Sielecki

“Great games, wonderfully written, just a joy to read and browse through.”

~IM Christof Sielecki

Others, such as Kasparov’s epic series My Great Predecessors, share the knowledge and insights of legendary players from a unique perspective. GM Rafael Leitão describes it well: “The best player ever analyzing games by former world champions. Can’t get much better than that.”

We are very fortunate as chess players and fans to have these works by some of the greatest to play the game.

Advanced Training

Our final section of this survey contain books that are written for strong players.

  1. Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual by Mark Dvoretsky (WGM Jennifer Shahade)
  2. Endgame Strategy by Mikhail Shereshevsky (FM Daniel Barrish)
  3. Grandmaster Preparation series by Jacob Aagaard (FM Daniel Barrish and FM Nate Solon)
  4. School of Future Champions series by Mark Dvoretsky (IM Greg Shahade)
  5. School of Chess Excellence series by Mark Dvoretsky (GM Rafael Leitão)
  6. Secrets of Chess Tactics by Mark Dvoretsky (WGM Jennifer Shahade)

 

From the feedback from my respondents, there are two aspects that make these books great. First, the authors carefully selected appropriate material to challenge their readers. The second is the ability to communicate the most important points to be understood and applied. The books on this list embody these qualities.

An observant reader might notice that one author dominates this list. International Master Mark Dvoretsky (who passed away in 2016) was regarded as one of the best chess trainers by many high level players. His selection of training material was one of the strengths of his works. For example, IM Greg Shahade (referring to volume one of the School of Future Champions): “I just love this book, lots of great examples and awesome chapters.”

For WGM Jennifer Shahade, there is an emotional connection to Mr. Dvoretsky’s work, as she shared that she had “fond memories” of Dvoretsky’s Secrets of Chess Tactics. Part of this connection arises from the feelings of confidence and joy from correctly solving the exercises of the author’s solutions.

For some, Dvoretsky’s books were extremely influential:

GM Rafael Leitão

“I studied the early versions of these books (they were published in the beginning of the nineties). They changed the way I saw chess.”

~GM Rafael Leitão

In addition to Mr. Dvoretsky’s books, a couple of our respondents spoke highly of GM Jacob Aagaard’s Grandmaster Preparation seriesAagaard’s books are newer and combine the two key characteristics of selection of material and eloquent communication.

For example, FM Nathan Solon commented on Grandmaster Preparation: Positional Play: “The biggest thing that’s impressed me about the Aagaard book is the number of good examples he’s assembled. One thing I’ve noticed doing lessons is, in general, the less I’m talking, the better. It’s all about the student getting experience. So I think Aagaard’s approach of short but helpful explanations, followed by a lot of exercises, is a good way to go. When I do the exercises I really feel like my chess brain is growing.”

Although many of the other books on our lists above were meant for chess players of all levels, there is a need for training material and instruction for players who have at some level mastered the game. Fortunately, we have both the legacy of the legendary Mark Dvoretsky and newer training works from Jacob Aagaard and others.

Our Panel

Before concluding this article, I wanted to extend my gratitude for the generous participation of the following chess masters:

  1. GM Alex Colovic
  2. GM Nigel Davies
  3. GM Rafael Leitão
  4. IM Levon Altounian
  5. IM John Bartholomew
  6. IM Greg Shahade
  7. IM Christof Sielecki
  8. WGM Jennifer Shahade
  9. FM Daniel Barrish
  10. FM Nathan Solon

Conclusion

Chess players love chess books. It’s part of the culture of chess to read books. Fortunately, there is no shortage of chess books for us to read!

What makes a great chess book? I think from our lists of the best chess books (in our opinion) there are several conclusions we can make.

First, the books contain some great chess! Whether it be the games of world champions or instructive positions in a specific phase of the game, the beauty and truth of chess is on display first and foremost.

Second, some of the best books tell a story. It could be the story of a player’s journey as in Tal’s My Life and Games. It could be the story of the evolution of chess as in Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors series.

Finally, many of the books inspire and teach. You could be a beginner studying the early champions such as Lasker or Capablanca or a master delving into one of Dvoretsky’s training manuals. Either way, the games, positions, and words within these works both evoke your own desire to improve as well as showing you the method by which you can.

Indeed, reading the books are often as enjoyable as playing the game itself!

Your Turn

What do you think is the best chess book ever written?

Has our panel of chess masters missed any of your favorite books?

Tell us what you think on Twitter @chessable.

 

 

Don’t know your next chess move? Ask a Chess Master for FREE!

By David Kramaley / On / In Features, Learning chess

Thinking of your next chess move?
Thinking of your next chess move? Ask a Chess Master for free!

When thinking of your next chess move, like when choosing chess openings, often the only feedback we get is from a computer. Perhaps you are doing one better over the majority of us and also looking at a master’s database. However, is this truly enough to learn chess and improve?

We think that when learning anything in life, the importance of feedback cannot be ignored. Chess Grandmaster Georg Meier says one of the most important things in chess is to “be receptive to feedback”. Olympic medallist Matthew Syed says his coach used to say, “if you don’t know what you are doing wrong, you can never know what you are doing right”. The way to know? Feedback.

Can a computer give you this kind of feedback for your next chess moves? Can a master’s database answer your questions? These tools, while great, aren’t quite able to offer us specific feedback. Are we all missing something by not being able to chat with a stronger player about our chess moves? Might they recommend something less “computery” and more suitable to humans? We think so.

At Chessable, we are passionate about learning chess in the most efficient and awesome manner possible. This is why from today on Chessable students can access our new “Ask a Master” feature (BETA). The best part? You can ask questions for free. Don’t have a Chessable account? You can also make one for free.

It’s simple, to get your question answered, you need one master token. To get a master token, you need to spend some rubies in the store. How do you get rubies? Well, you can earn those by simply logging on to Chessable and studying for a few minutes!  We promise you a chess master, above 2,250 FIDE rating, will answer your question – or you get your rubies back.

Aha, you say! You need to spend something after all, so it’s not free! Well, so far we’ve given away 365,000 free rubies to our dedicated Chessable students. This is over 3,000 free questions that we promise our chess master will answer (he’ll have plenty of coffee to hand)… and for having read on, here are some rubies to get you started  (you must be logged in), pick your next chess move wisely!

Notes
1. You can also buy more rubies for cash if you need a question answered urgently.
2. Here is the FAQ explaining a little bit more about this feature.
3. Our top ruby holder has over 1,000 rubies. Impressive.
4. This feature in BETA, we are pretty happy with version 1, but please bear with us, we are treading new ground here.
5. If the feature is popular, we hope to bring more chess masters on board.
6. Don’t have enough rubies? Don’t worry, you can still ask a question as our chess book authors often answer anyway, no rubies needed!
7. No rubies but still want to upgrade to Ask A Master? Post your question anyway, some kind member might upgrade your question for free! 😉