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Top 10 Chess Books to Read Without a Board (Nonfiction)
Bedtime reading, beach reading, hammock reading.

(March 2007) Bedtime reading, beach reading, hammock reading. Most chess books require a chess set and board to get the most out of them. Here are a selection of books, all of them nonfiction, that delve into the role chess plays as a cultural icon.

1. 'The Immortal Game, A History of Chess' by David Shenk

'How 32 Carved Pieces on a Board Illuminated Our Understanding of War, Art, Science and the Human Brain ? Why has one game, alone among the thousands of games invented and played throughout human history, not only survived but thrived within every culture it has touched? What is it about its thirty-two figurative pieces, moving about its sixty-four black and white squares according to very simple rules, that has captivated people for nearly 1,500 years?' (from the dust jacket)

2. 'The Kings of New York' by Michael Weinreb

'An unconventional group of kids at an unconventional school located in the heart of the most unconventional city in America is making headlines, with a chess club. Murrow has one of the most successful youth chess teams in history. But what transforms a bunch of underprivileged children into the best chess players in the USA? Is it the school, the coach, hot-house tuition, or just sheer genius kids? Michael Weinreb was determined to find out.' (from Amazon.com's Synopsis)

3. 'Bobby Fischer Goes to War' by David Edmonds & John Eidinow

'Edmonds & Eidinow reexamine the story we recollect as the quintessential cold war clash between a lone American star and the Soviet chess machine -- a machine that had delivered the world title to the Kremlin for decades. Drawing upon unpublished Soviet and U.S. records, the authors reconstruct the full and incredible saga, one far more poignant and layered than hitherto believed. A mesmerizing narrative of brilliance and triumph, hubris and despair.' (from the front flap)

4. 'The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth-Century Chess-Playing Machine

'This is the true account of the 18th-century mechanical man, powered by clockwork, dressed in a Turkish costume, and capable of playing chess. Created by a Hungarian nobleman, the machine-man known as The Turk traveled Europe and America, made the acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin, Catherine the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Edgar Allan Poe.' (from the Amazon.com Book Description)

5. 'Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy' by Frank Brady

'Considered by many the most extraordinary phenomenon in the history of chess and perhaps the strongest player who ever played the game, Robert James "Bobby" Fischer is also, undeniably, one of the most controversial.' (from the back cover)

6. 'Curse of Kirsan' by Sarah Hurst

'Chess can be an obsession that takes over your life, whether you are a wood-pushing novice or a superstar grandmaster. British journalist Sarah Hurst was infected with chess fever at the age of 20 and spent seven years exploring the mysterious world of the amateur and professional player. In pursuit of interviews she slid down an icy hill in Hastings to catch a Chinese women's world champion, chased Garry Kasparov around London, and roamed the Russian steppe with Kalmyk Buddhists.' (from the Amazon.com Book Description)

7. 'Chess Facts And Fables' by Edward Winter

'Chess has developed such a large body of myth and folklore that sorting fact from fiction is not easy. As with Edward Winter's previous volumes this work (from a new publisher) features in-depth research into chess lore, corrections of popular misconceptions, biographical notes on famous players, and authenticated quotations. There is a rich selection of forgotten games, and many items include contributions from the author's correspondents worldwide.' (from the Amazon.com Product Description)

8. 'Master Pieces: The Architecture of Chess' by Gareth John Williams

'From the earliest carved sets, chess piece design has captured the essence of wars and revolution, peace and religion, technology, art and sport and has mirrored civilization's development across the globe. Master Pieces look in detail at some of the most influential sets, spanning 1,000 years of design from five continents, and tells the story of the development of one of the greatest games on Earth.' (from the back cover)

9. 'The Chess Artist : Genius, Obsession, & the World's Oldest Game' by J.C.Hallman

'Is both an intellectual journey and first-rate travel writing dedicated to the love of chess and all of its related oddities, writer and chess enthusiast Hallman explores the obsessive hold chess exerts on its followers by examining the history and evolution of the game and the people who dedicate their lives to it.' (from the Amazon.com Book Description)

10. 'Birth Of The Chess Queen' by Marilyn Yalom

'Birth of the Chess Queen examines the five-hundred-year period between the chess queen's timid emergence and her elevation into the game's mightiest piece. Marilyn Yalom, inspired by a handful of surviving medieval chess queens, traces their origin and spread. In a lively and engaging narrative, Yalom draws parallels between the birth of the chess queen and the ascent of female sovereigns in Europe.' (from the front flap)

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