Irving Chernev (January 29, 1900 – September 29, 1981) was a chess player and prolific Russian-American chess author. He was born in Pryluky in the Russian Empire (now in Ukraine)[1] and emigrated to the United States in 1920. Chernev was a national master strength player, and was obsessed with chess. He wrote that he "probably read more about chess, and played more games than any man in history."[2] Chernev's deep love for the game is obvious to any reader of his books. He wrote 20 chess books, among them: Chessboard Magic!; The Bright Side of Chess; The Fireside Book of Chess (with Fred Reinfeld); The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played; 1000 Best Short Games of Chess; Practical Chess Endings; Combinations: The Heart of Chess; and Capablanca's Best Chess Endings. In 1945, he and Kenneth Harkness wrote An Invitation to Chess, which became one of the most successful chess books ever written, with sales reaching six figures. Perhaps his most famous book is Logical Chess: Move by Move, first released in 1957. This takes 33 classic games from 1889 to 1952, played by masters such as Capablanca; Alekhine; and Tarrasch, and explains them in an instructive manner. An algebraic notation version was published by Batsford in 1998, with minor alterations to the original text. Chernev died in San Francisco in 1981.[2]

His wife's name was Selma Kulik. They had a son, Melvin Chernev.[3]


  • Chess Strategy and Tactics (with Fred Reinfeld); Black Knight 1933[4]
  • Curious Chess Facts; Black Knight 1937[4]
  • Chessboard Magic!; Chess Review 1943[4]
  • An Invitation to Chess (with Kenneth Harkness); Simon & Schuster 1945[4]
  • Winning Chess Traps; Chess Review 1946[4]
  • The Russians Play Chess; McKay 1947[4]
  • The Bright Side of Chess; McKay 1948[4]
  • Winning Chess (with Fred Reinfeld); Simon & Schuster 1948[4]
  • The Fireside Book of Chess (with Fred Reinfeld); Simon & Schuster 1949[4]
  • 1000 Best Short Games of Chess; Simon & Schuster 1955[4]
  • Logical Chess: Move by Move; Simon & Schuster 1957[4]
  • Combinations: The Heart of Chess; Crowell 1960[4]
  • Practical Chess Endings; Simon & Schuster 1961[4]
  • The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played; Simon & Schuster 1965[4]
  • The Chess Companion; Simon & Schuster 1968[4]
  • Chess in an Hour (with Frank J. Marshall); Sentinel 1968[4]
  • Wonders and Curiosities of Chess; Dover 1974[4]
  • The Golden Dozen (later renamed Twelve Great Chess Players and Their Best Games); Oxford 1976[4]
  • Capablanca's Best Chess Endings; Oxford 1978[4]
  • The Compleat Draughts Player; Oxford 1981[5]
  • 200 Brilliant Endgames; Simon & Schuster 1989[4]


  1. ^ Who Was Who in America, With World Notables: 1982–1985, Vol. VIII (Marquis-Who's Who, 1985), p. 75.
  2. ^ a b Arnold Denker; The Bobby Fischer I Knew and Other Stories; Hypermodern Press 1995
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t [2] Library of Congress
  5. ^ Edward Winter; Kings, Commoners and Knaves: Further Chess Explorations; Russell 1999