One of the biggest Netflix shows of the year is undoubtedly The Queen’s Gambit. The limited series tells the story of a brilliant chess prodigy, Beth Harmon, who battles her inner demons while proving that a young woman can become a master in a game dominated by men.
The coming-of-age show is based on a novel of the same name, written by Walter Tevis and published in 1983. Tevis himself was obsessed with chess, and struggled with addiction much like his protagonist.
If you’re like me, you finished the series in about a day, and were left wanting more of something you never knew you needed: chess content.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of books on the subject of chess. There are books about famous chess players, the history of the game, how to play, and fictional imaginings centered around the great strategy game. The list of titles below includes both e-books and print books available from the libraries. Follow the links to see the catalog records for more details, how to find the books in the library, and how to access e-books online.
The History & Game of Chess
- Power Play: The Literature and Politics of Chess in the Late Middle Ages by Jenny Adams
- The Book of Chess by Jacobus de Cessolis
- Counterplay : An Anthropologist at the Chessboard (E-Book) by Robert R. Desjarlais
- Philosophy Looks at Chess (E-Book) by Benjamin Hale
- White King And Red Queen: How The Cold War Was Fought On The Chessboard by Daniel Johnson
- Man vs. Machine: Challenging Human Supremacy at Chess (E-Book) by Karsten Muller
- Three Moves Ahead: What Chess Can Teach You About Business (Even If You’ve Never Played) (E-Book) by Bob Rice
- A Cultural History of Chess-players: Minds, Machines, and Monsters (E-Book) by John Sharples
- The Immortal Game: A History Of Chess Or How 32 Carved Pieces On A Board Illuminated Our Understanding Of War, Art, Science, And The Human Brain by David Shenk
- Birth of the Chess Queen: A History by Marilyn Yalom
Famous Chess Players
- Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall — From America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness by Frank Brady
- The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster by Tim Crothers
- Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time by David Edmonds
- How Life Imitates Chess by G.K. Kasparov
- Marcel Duchamp, The Art of Chess by Francis M. Naumann
- A Psychobiography of Bobby Fischer: Understanding the Genius, Mystery, and Psychological Decline of a World Chess Champion (E-Book) by Joseph G. Ponterotto
- Arthur Kaufmann: A Chess Biography, 1872-1938 by Olimpiu G. Urcan
- The Art Of Learning: An Inner Journey To Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin
How to Play Chess
- Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by Bobby Fischer
- The Complete Chess Course: From Beginning to Winning Chess! (E-Book) by Fred Reinfeld
Chess in Fiction & Poetry
- The Death’s Head Chess Club by John Donoghue
- A Partial History of Lost Causes: A Novel by Jennifer DuBois
- The Lüneburg Variation by Paolo Maurensig
- Chess Pieces (Poetry) by David Solway
- The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis (*Note: Not available at Fordham Libraries, but if you have a New York Public Library Card, you can find this book in their collections)
- Chess Story by Stefan Zweig
Bonus: Streaming Film
- “The Seventh Seal” (1957) directed by Ingmar Bergman – streaming via Kanopy (Access IT ID required)
Looking for even more books about chess? There are over 100 in our catalog alone, plus many chess-related periodicals. Explore more by searching the library catalog for the subject term “Chess” (see screenshot below).