One of the hardest things to master in a game of chess is attack. Most players are naturally defensive and there is a shortage of attackers on the ground in competitive chess which makes it harder still. However, there are some fantastic books out there that can help you hone your attacking game. Doing so will give you a substantial advantage on the board and it’s a lot of fun to play more aggressively too.
Let’s have a look at the books that can help you develop your attacking chess!
Attack with Mikhail Tal by Mikhail Tai
Mikhail Tal was probably the finest attacking world champion in history. He was never afraid to take on an ambitious sacrifice and come out on top. Sadly, his playing career was cut short, but this book “Attack with Mikhail Tal” survives and ensures his legacy for many years to come.
He cooperated with the Russian journalist Iakov Damsky on this work in order to make it as accessible as possible and there’s no doubt that he succeeded. If you want a book that entertains as you learn to attack as well as educate, this is the book for you.
You can find and preview Attack with Mikhail Tal by Mikhail Tai on Amazon.
Storming The Barricades by Larry Christiansen
If you want a book that’s heavy on real-life analysis and with a huge amount of detail when it comes to explaining the strategy and tactics that went into moving the games forward – this is it. Larry Christiansen is one of the finest tacticians the game has seen and he brings the modern era to life in the first of his books to feature on this list.
As an American, he is often easier to relate to when discussing the way that he sees the game too. This isn’t particularly challenging as books go and any club player (or above) would benefit from it.
You can find Storming The Barricades by Larry Christiansen on Amazon.
Sacrifice and Initiative In Chess by Ivan Solokov
Solokov is one of the midgame masters in chess and probably the only one currently writing about the game and his thoughts. Inside you will find clear and instructive text which effectively walks you through how to offer and capitalize on sacrificial moves in the game.
His writing is very entertaining and the former number 12 in the world can really help you develop your skills as an attacking player too. Don’t miss his approach to ignoring opponent’s threats by developing stronger counter-threats, it’s invaluable advice that really works.
You can find Sacrifice and Initiative In Chess by Ivan Solokov on Amazon.
The Art Of Sacrifice In Chess by Rudolf Spielmann
Originally published in the 1930s but now modernized so that you can get even more from it. The Austrian Grandmaster Rudolf Spielman understood the importance of sacrifice in the game. In this edition, they’ve removed all the old school descriptive notation and replaced it with the much easier to read algebraic notation which has become the convention now.
Karsten Muller, the German Grandmaster, has also added a huge amount of additional commentary (the book is twice as long as when it was first published) that boosts the power of the content. Oh, and if you get it as an e-book, it’s super cheap too.
You can find The Art Of Sacrifice In Chess by Rudolf Spielmann on Amazon.
The Chess Attacker’s Handbook by Michael Song, Razvan Preotu and Evgeny Bareev
Both the authors (Song and Preotu) are grandmasters, and their take is simple. “Life is too short to play boring chess!” There’s a beauty in the attacking game as well as a hint of excitement that rarely comes out on the board when everyone is playing defensively.
This is the most readable volume on our list. It’s packed with short punchy tips. They break down how to study effectively and draw on a wide range of offboard topics to keep things interesting. If you only buy one book on this list – make it this one.
You can find the The Chess Attacker’s Handbook by Michael Song, Razvan Preotu and Evgeny Bareev on Amazon.
Dvoretsky’s Analytical Manual: Practical Training For The Ambitious Chessplayer by Mark Dvoretsky
Mark Dvoretsky is the greatest chess teacher in the game and as you’d expect his “Analytical Manual: Practical Training for the Ambitious Chessplayer” is an extraordinarily good training manual. However, it’s also one of the most expensive books on our list and you might want to wait until you’ve progressed in the game before investing in it.
There’s something for everybody here and there are problems for beginners to grandmasters. It’s a book that you return to over and over again as you develop.
You can find Dvoretsky’s Analytical Manual: Practical Training For The Ambitious Chessplayer by Mark Dvoretsky on Amazon.
Positional Chess Sacrifices by Mihai Suba
This is Suba’s second book after Dynamic Chess Strategy (which is also very much worth reading). He is a Romanian grandmaster with a lot to offer the attacking chess player. His insights are enjoyable and there is a lot to recommend his approach.
However, he seems to have a substantial over reliance on automated analysis using chess engines at times and we’ve found that a chess engine will often undervalue the power of a good sacrifice and this leads Suba to dismiss moves that might still have been viable. It’s a small criticism, however, and the book is very much worth reading.
You can find Positional Chess Sacrifices by Mihai Suba on Amazon.
Rocking The Ramparts: A Guide To Attacking Chess by Larry Christiansen
Larry Christiansen’s second book on our list is an excellent guide to developing a more attacking midgame. There’s a lot of emphasis on counterattacks and how to develop your counterattack. He explores the openings that bring about each position and he examines the motives behind them.
It’s an intelligent, mature text with rich examples throughout. Any chess player out there would learn something from this brilliantly written book. Sadly, the price tag is going to make many wince and look elsewhere for a more affordable option – they shouldn’t, it’s worth the admission fee.
You can find Rocking The Ramparts: A Guide To Attacking Chess by Larry Christiansen on Amazon.
Attacking Manual 1 by Jacob Aagaard
The English Chess Federation “Book of the Year” along with the second volume in the series Attacking Manual 2 (also by Aagard) in 2010 is a fantastic work.
Aagard comes to the game in terms of dynamics and breaks down each set of principles and how they are relevant to every game of chess that you’ve every played. He shows you how the all-time greats and the modern greats attack and why they do what they do. It’s a vivid and deep account that brings huge rewards to your play.
You can find Attacking Manual 1 by Jacob Aagaard and the second part in this series on Amazon.
Art of Attack in Chess by Vladimir Vukovic
This book is considered to be one of the greatest ever written about the game of chess and if you don’t have a copy, you should grab one as soon as you can.
This is a detailed exploration of how to put pressure on the opponent’s king through attacking play and keep that pressure up throughout your game. This version has also been updated to include algebraic notation throughout which is a relief to those not familiar with the older more florid notation system.
You can find the Art of Attack in Chess by Vladimir Vukovic on Amazon.
So, there you have the 10 best chess books for attack. You should find at least a couple of titles here that have inspired you to read them. Most of these books are not too arduous to get through – learning chess should be fun, after all. Good luck with your attacking chess!