Chess is a game that requires players to constantly analyze and calculate potential moves, both for themselves and their opponents. Developing strong calculation skills is essential for success in chess, as it allows players to accurately predict the consequences of their moves and anticipate their opponent’s responses.
While there are many resources available for learning about openings, endgames, and other strategic aspects of chess, fewer resources focus specifically on improving calculation skills. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best books available for those looking to improve their chess calculation abilities.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, these 9 books can help you develop the analytical skills needed to become a stronger chess player.
What is chess calculation?
Many players think that calculation and tactics are the same, but they are wrong. Tactics are the direct way to find a win. You play 3-4 moves and get the winning position or even find some mating patterns.
The calculation is a long process that requires a deep thinking process, and you have to understand many aspects of the position. Usually, tactics only come into middlegame as there are many pieces on the board. The calculation is a need in every position, whether it’s middlegame, endgame, or sometimes in the opening.
The main difference between a weak and a strong player is calculation. Those who have accurate calculation skills can find some way to win the position.
Why should you work on chess calculation?
Following are some of the reasons why you should work on chess calculation.
Accurate prediction of outcomes: By improving your calculation skills, you can better predict the outcome of your moves and those of your opponent. This allows you to make more informed decisions and develop more effective strategies.
- Accurate prediction of outcomes: By improving your calculation skills, you can better predict the outcome of your moves and those of your opponent. This allows you to make more informed decisions and develop more effective strategies.
- Avoiding blunders: Blunders can quickly cost you the game, and many of these mistakes are due to poor calculation. You can minimize the risk of making costly errors by improving your calculation skills.
- Better defense: Strong calculation skills allow you to better defend against your opponent’s attacks. You can develop more effective defensive strategies by accurately predicting their potential moves and responses.
- More complex tactics: As you improve your calculation skills, you will be able to handle more complex tactics and combinations. This will enable you to take advantage of opportunities that you may have previously missed.
- Greater confidence: When you have strong calculation skills, you can approach the game with greater confidence, knowing that you have the ability to accurately analyze the board and make informed decisions.
Best Books to Improve Chess Calculation
Following are some of the best books to improve chess calculation. Some of the books might be too difficult for beginners and intermediate players. I have provided recommended level in the description, which will help you to find a suitable book.
As I say every time, you should only purchase 1-2 books at a time, complete them and then only purchase another book.
- 27 Best Chess Books for Beginners
- 20 Best Chess Books for Intermediate Players
- 20 Best Chess Books for Advance Players
Improve Your Chess Calculation by RB Ramesh
This book won the best chess book of the year 2022 award. GM Ramesh divided the material of this book into five categories as follows.
- Level 1 – 1200-1600
- Level 2 – 1600-2000
- Level 3 – 2000-2400
- Level 4 – 2400-2600
- Level 5 – 2600+
Obviously, you can study everything from this book, but better to follow the book according to your level.
This book is the first part of the series Ramesh chess course, where more books will come up on different topics.
I particularly liked the 6th chapter, named improving calculation by solving studies, etc.
This book is recommended for anyone, but 1500+ chess players can take maximum benefits.
Grandmaster Preparation Calculation by GM Jacob Aagaard
The calculation book by GM Jacob is one of the world’s best-selling chess books. This book is targeted at 2200+ FIDE-rated players, or, you can say, master-level chess players.
He covered various chapters in the book. The most difficult chapter is about difficult positions.
This book is perfect for 2000+ chess players who are serious and have a great knowledge of middlegame positions.
Chess Calculation Training series by GM Eduard Romain
GM Eduard wrote a series of 3 chess books called chess calculation training. In the first part, he focused on middlegame and puzzles. In 2nd book, he focused on endgame techniques, and 3rd book is about the endgame.
These books are extremely useful for players ranging between 1200-2000.
Forcing Chess Moves: The Key to Better Calculation
Written by Charles Hertan, this book is all about forcing moves. Sometimes you only get one chance, and that’s all. You must take advantage of that point to save your game or claim victory.
Forcing moves books mainly focused on basic chess principles of check, capture, and threat. By following these basic rules, you can play chess quite easily.
This book is perfect for 1800-2100 chess players. Below 1800 players can also find this book suitable.
Think Like a Super-GM
This is a very interesting book by Super Grandmaster Micheal Adams and published by Quality Chess. The author analyzed 35 positions in this book using a very different technique.
They chose a few players with different rating strengths, and all of the players solved the same positions, which Adams solved within a certain time limit.
Then they have given the entire thought process of 4-5 players with different ratings.
This book is one of the best and most unique chess books I have seen recently.
This book also got the award for best chess book of the year.
Finding Chess Jewels: Improve your Imagination and Calculation
GM Michal Krasenkow wrote this book which is again filled with many chess puzzles. He chose 200 chess puzzles with mostly high difficulty levels.
Finding chess jewels is recommended for 2000+ chess players, but 1500 and above chess players and study and take advantage of this book.
Grandmaster Training Camp 1 – Calculation! By GM Sam Shankland
A latest and fresh chess book by GM Sam Shankland. Sam initially launched a video chess course with the name Shankland’s Chess Calculation Workbook on Chessable.
In this book, he analyzed 300 chess positions wisely chosen for players between 1600-2400.
This book is an edited version of his chessable course. So if you have already purchased his chessable course, don’t purchase it again.
Mastering Chess Middlegames
A chess classic by Alexander Panchenko. Alexander is a very famous chess coach from Russia. This book is divided into 12 chapters with some examples and puzzles.
He also included positions to play section where you can play rapid games on certain positions for practice.
A great chess book is recommended for every chess player. Whether you are 1000 or 2400, this book is for you.
Mating the Castled King
With 160 chess exercises, mating the castled king is the best chess book for intermediate chess players. This book focuses on the basic chess principle, attack the king!
After solving all the puzzles, you will notice a difference between your tactical vision. Definatly it will benefit you in the long term.
This book is recommended for players below a 2100 FIDE rating.
All of the above-mentioned chess books will help you to achieve more success in chess calculation.
If you are looking for some online tools, the following are the best ways to improve your calculation.
- Chess.com Puzzles
- Lichess Puzzles
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