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Speaking of Books

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Through insider sources I've been keeping tabs on the best-selling chess books at one of America's largest online and offline booksellers. (No, not just checking their popularity rankings online, which vary dramatically due to complex and rigged formulas.) "Chess for Dummies" outsells the rest, with the classic "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess" close behind. Both of these outsold the new Kasparov "My Great Predecessors" book if you take the average of its first few months of availability. Of course the massive "Predecessors" hardback costs two to four times as much as the others.

There has been a great deal of conjecture over which chess book is the best selling of all time, with most plumping for "Fischer Teaches..." That would certainly seem to be fair claim based on how well it still sells. Chess historian Edward Winter has discussed the various claims in his Chess Notes column (ChessCafe.com) and compilations.

The top chess books far outsell the top bridge books. On the other hand, the top-selling non-fiction book, "The South Beach Diet," sells 250 times the top chess book, "Dummies." The good news is that the Dummies book, by Jim Eade, is an excellent primer. Even better is GM Patrick Wolff's book "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess". Put decorative paper dust-jackets on them if you're embarrassed to read them on the bus.


Hi Mig,

Perhaps you've gone over this before (or before and before and before), but what is your list of best chess books? or could you pass on someone else's list?

A fan, Stuart

ps. In an impulsive online-moment I purchased the BIG ALEKIHINE book thanks to you. Haven't gotten it yet, but trusting its good!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 7, 2004 2:34 AM.

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