After seeing my choice of Fred Reinfeld last week, today’s selection should not be a surprise. In fact, he co-authored a few books with Reinfeld.
Irving Chernev (1900-1981)
Born in Pryluky (part of the old Russian Empire, now Ukraine), Irving Chernev emigrated to the United States in 1920.
He wrote 20 books, including classics that have been updated to Algebraic Notation from Descriptive Notation.
While I consider Max Euwe the most instructive chess author, there is no one I enjoy reading more than Irving Chernev. His love of chess shines through on every page. Well-chosen examples, insightful comments, and easy reading.
I absolutely love game collections, and Chernev wrote several good ones, including Logical Chess: Move by Move (1957), The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played (1965), and The Golden Dozen (1976). There is also 1000 Best Short Games of Chess (1955).
I was also gifted The Russians Play Chess (1947) by Charlie Ebbecke while I was a member of the Bronx Yonkers Chess Club in the late 1990s. I played through many of the games in this book several times!
But my favorite — and one of my top ten books — is Capablanca’s Best Chess Endings (1978).
If you have trouble making sense of endgame play, take a couple of weeks and play through the 60 games in this book. It will transform your entire outlook on chess. Chernev isolates the final phase of the games and explains in words what is going on. Brilliant stuff.
By my count there are Combinations: The Heart of Chess (1960), Practical Chess Endings (1961), and two earlier books Chernev worked on with Reinfeld: Chess Strategy and Tactics (1933), and Winning Chess (1948).
I’ve always wanted to get my hands on 200 Brilliant Chess Endgames (yes, I have a weakness for endgames!). Other titles include The Fireside Book of Chess (with Reinfeld, 1948), and The Bright Side of Chess (1948).
Irving Chernev wrote a great deal of good books for the improving and average player. His works are easy to read and you can easily spend hours on them without realizing you have done so…