Caveman Chess



Recommended Study Materials

There are a number of books, software and online materials that we can recommend to help a player study, based primarily on their strength and study need.  Below are ten key books we recommend and why.

We believe in and focus on a process tied to understanding chess, as opposed to (for example) vigorous memorization.  Using this principle, we focus on endgames, middlegame concepts and opening concepts.  In addition, rather than studying specific openings, viewing entire games that start with that opening so that the opening (and also middlegame and endgame) are viewed in context.

Players who are "enscounced in the novice range" should focus primarily on a few fundamental opening principles, and upon tactics before trying to work on more complex chess concepts.  This means focusing on tactics books where the student and solve puzzle after puzzle.

In the list below, the books have an embedded link that (at the time of update) linked to a site where you could purchase the book.  Many are available on sites such as Barnes and Noble or Amazon.  For some you have to look a little harder because they are currently available only as an international publication, and are often not carried by the common chains in the U.S.

Books to Learn Fundamentals

1 Chess Tactics Workbook Woolum There are many good puzzle books where a player can work through puzzle after puzzle.  This one is particularly good for novice players or for children, since it starts with simple 1-move "finds: and works up from there.  A large good alternative is Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games.

Another good idea is to get several smaller puzzle books - and to put them whereever you have "down time".  By the sofa for when you watch TV, in the car for when you are driven somewhere, etc.  Then do a few puzzles each day during down time.  Doing three a day, and after a couple of months you've done about 200 puzzles - which will almost certainly improve your tactics.
2 Fundamental Endings Fundamental Chess Endings, Karsten Muller, Frank Lamprecht It can be difficult to find a comprehensive endgame book (in terms of the types of endgames covered) that also are portable and comfortable to use.  This book fills the bill!  Another book that I liked along the same line was "Practical Chess Endings" by Paul Keres.
3 Winning Chess Strategy Seirawan Winning Chess Strategies, Revised NEW by Yasser Seirawa Winning chess strategies is a good summary book for chess players on basic strategy.
4 Chess Fundamentals Capablanca NEW Chess Fundamentals - Capablanca, Jose Raul/ Firmian A classic work covering several types of basics, in the ending, middlegame, and opening.  Sometimes its not comprehensive enough on explanation of examples, but general a good and managable work.
5 The Art of Attack in Chess Vukovic The teztbook on attack.
6 Paul Morphy and the Evolution of Chess Theory Shibut PAUL MORPHY AND THE EVOLUTION OF CHESS THEORY - MACON SHIBUT (PAPERBACK) NEW To understand the trek to modern chess, to positional play in open games, and eventually positional play in closed games, one must get a grasp of Morphy.
7 The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played Chernev The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played NEW An excellent instructional work showing examples of different things from grandmaster games.
8 Capablanca's 100 Best Games Golombek Capablanca's Hundred Best Games Of Chess A strong work covering the best games of Capablanca, illustrating some of the simplicity of his play.
8a Alternative: Immortal Games of Capablanca Reinfeld The Immortal Games of Capablanca by Fred Reinfeld (1990, Paperback, Reprint) A good selection of his games, not quite as strong as the above book, but easier to find today.
9 Modern Ideas In Chess Reti Modern Ideas in Chess, by Richard Reti. NEW BOOK Reti was a brilliant player who left us too early.  In this work he argues that the development of the individual chess mind follows an evolutionary path similar to the development of the collect chess mind, and therefore that the study of historical games in order is important.  Euwe later expounded the same concept in "The Development of Chess Style."
10 My Best Games Karpov My Best Games Karpov, Anatoly/ Zaitsev, Igor (Foreward By)/ Stolze, Raymund (Con There are many good game collections, and the best is probably Fischer's "My 60 Memorable Games".  But in this book we get to see simple chess, with Karpov discussing ideas in his notes (whereas Fischer's notes include a lot of variations/calculation.)  So in many ways its better for a player to start with Karpov's book to learn how to think, rather than Fischer's book where one must calculate extensively.

Additional Important Books

There are many classic chess books.  Some offer more in depth coverage and instruction than others.  Here are some classic examples.  We haven't included links on these books.

My 60 Memorable Games Fischer Fischer's annotations were excellent, making this book an opening manual, middlegame manual, and endgame manual all wrapped into one.  But it's not for a novice player.
My Chess Career Capablanca Classic games and good notes; Capablanca sometimes leaves a little too much to the player to figure out.
My Best Games Alekhine This book was orginally published as two separate works: Games from 1908-1923, and 1923-1937.  Another volume, by Alexander, covered 1938-1946.  You can also find the book today in volumes that include 1908-1937, or 1908-1946.
My Great Chess Predecessors Kasparov A classic series of books, covering all the great players
100 Selected Games Botvinnik The best book on one of the greatest champions
Chess Combination from Philidor to Karpov Keene A good book on the evolution of tactics
Modern Chess Sacrifice Shamkovich A good book on understanding tactics
Practical Chess Endings Keres A good book on the fundamentals of various types of endings
Chess Endings: Essential Knowledge Averbakh Another good comprehensive but concise book on endings
Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual  Dvoretsky A good comprehensive but concise book on endings
My System Nimzovich A good book on chess strategy
The Middlegame: Books 1 & 2 Euwe A good book on basic chess strategy

Software and Videos and Websites

Below is a list of software, video, and websites that players use to improve.  The first two items are among the most important, because many other tools can become available through these two items, and the ability to study a range of games is very important.
ChessBase Database Probably the #1 Windows chess database program with many features.  It comes in packages that have different sizes of games databases with it.  It's probably good to get one primary database, but there are many databases available online for low cost or for free - so if you're willing to do a tiny bit of database maintenance you can save some money on database costs. See or
This is also available in a limited "lite" version which is good for a trial.
Exachess Database The #1 Mac chess database, available from This is also available in a limited "lite" version which is good for a trial.
Fritz Playing software Available in a separate interface, or interactive with ChessBase
Houdini Playing software Available in a separate interface, or interactive with ChessBase
Youtube Video There are instructional videos - on tournament directing as well as chess play - that can be found on the web. Video Various lectures on chess topics Opening Analysis A site that does a good job of providing monthly updates on opening analysis
TWIC Games!! provides news, updates and games from the past week
Internet Chess Club     Playing site Probably the best online playing site.,, yahoo and many other playing sites are available. Reference and playing site A good site for reference information and playing
Duels of the Mind Video A series of videos on 12 of the top games of chess ever played, originally broadcast on British TV.
Foxy Openings Video A series of video lectures on various openings