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Chess Shops

There are lots of places to buy books, sets, and other chess materials online. Below are some of the better and more useful sites....

Books and CDs

USCF Sales / Chess Cafe
Chess Cafe took over sales for the United States Chess Federation and has expanded its inventory accordingly. They offer excellent service, extremely speedy delivery (especially on the East Coast), quality products, and a user-friendly website (though the "search" feature could be improved). Chess Cafe also publishes some excellent books under their own imprint. However, the prices here--for USCF members--are generally only a dollar or two less than retail and generally retail only for non-members. It is a good place to shop, though, and you can always remind yourself that your purchases help the USCF.

Overstock.com offers the most extensive listings of remaindered or wholesale items, including chess books. If you generally buy new mass market titles at bookstores like Barnes & Noble or Borders, you will find this a great place to shop since you'll get what you want for $5-$10 off retail. And, based on my research, this appears to be the best place online to buy recent titles that have been printed in large quantities. For example, a websearch on "The Chess Advantage in Black and White" by Larry Kaufman showed that they had the best non-used price available at $12.56 (a $6.39 savings over retail, and $5.39 better than USCF with Member Discount). If you want to browse, try searching on "chess," or try "chess books." Most titles are directed at beginners (the best mass-market audience after all), but there are also highly specialized and older titles, including chess histories and opening books. So there is always the chance of finding buried treasure. The savings over Amazon are not huge, but they are significant and can add up if you are ordering several books. In many cases, they will even share with you the price differential with Amazon at their site in a little box, so you have to admire their consumer focus. I do not know how long they take to ship at their discount rate, but I assume it would not take as long as Amazon. So it looks like a good place to shop, and it comes highly recommended by a Kenilworth club member who says he shops there frequently for chess books.

Chess Central
Offering an interesting selection of their own electronic chess materials, including unusual databases, Chess Central also resells boards, sets, CDs, programs, and books at good prices. A very good website for shopping and browsing, full of other content and free downloads. I have ordered from them several times with great success. Check it out.

Fred Wilson Chess Books
If you are ever in New York's "chess district," you will have to drop by Wilson's shop at 80 East 11th Street, Suite 334. It's tucked away in an old office building. And though it's a small space, it has a surprisingly rich collection of new and used materials for sale. Check out his catalogue online. You never know what he'll have, so it pays to check back occasionally or to contact him with requests.

The best all-purpose book portal around. The site includes reader reviews and a network of used and out-of-print booksellers. Prices are as cheap as you can get outside of more specialized wholesalers. But I have found a marked drop off in delivery times with Amazon of late, especially if you choose free or inexpensive shipping options.

Chessco (Thinker's Press)
One of the best off-beat printers and distributors of chess books, with lots of interesting older and used material as well.

Wholesale Chess Store
One of the best places for club or tournament purchases, with excellent discounts for those who buy in bulk and, in my experience, excellent customer service. They ship from the West, though, so be aware that regular mail orders can be a little slower to arrive to the New York area. They have some excellent products and their prices (especially for chess sets and other equipment) are great. Highly recommended.

One of the best places to go to track down out-of-print or tough-to-find books from used bookstores. The Abe Books shows the inventory of many shops around the world, including many not listed in Amazon's network. Highly recommended.

Edward Labate has an extensive stock of older and out-of-print titles, including most of the old (now classic) inventory sold by Chess Digest before Ken Smith passed away. He also offers steep discounts on selected contemporary and wholesale titles. It would be worth a visit just to review his inventory, which is relatively unique and certainly interesting. He is, however, not set up for e-commerce (so you need to send him a check -- very old-fashioned). I had a very good experience with ordering, but another club member did not have the best experience. I think he runs the whole show himself, so if you catch him at a busy time your order might be slow.

The well-known auction site is also a fun place to shop for old chess books and bargains. You never know what treasures will wash up here.

A great meta-search engine for finding the best price on books.

The Chess Player by Georgi Orlov
An interesting site featuring articles, instruction, and opinion, with a book shop too. I know very little about the site, but Orlov has an excellent reputation as a player and the Convekta materials are great.

Previously Chess Assistant. A good variety of material, including downloadable databases, analyzed games, and other instructional material.

ChessBase Shop
Links directly to their CD shop, where you can pick up the latest versions of Fritz and friends for your engine collection.

Chess House
This chess reseller has a nice website with lots of material.

Chess Express
An excellent and user-friendly website from the well-known Ann Arbor, Michigan establishment.

Chess Store / Classical Games
An excellent British shop with good books plus useful information and reviews. Also available through Jeremy Silman's site.

Chess and Bridge Ltd., The London Chess Center's Shop
An excellent source, especially for Batsford Books.

A well organized but limited chess shop.

Schachverlag Kania
German-language book site.

Like Chess Central, this British site offers some of their own CDs and downloads of games and analysis in unusual lines.

Bad Bishop Videos and DVDs
An excellent collection, mostly devoted to the openings.

Schachversand Niggeman
German bookseller.

Editorial Paidotribo
In Spanish. Click the link for "Ajedrez." An extensive selection of books.

Caissa Italia
Italian language editions of popular and classic titles.


You can order direct from publishers, and with some small publishers this may be your best way of getting their books. More importantly you can get great information about upcoming books from these sites.

Batsford Chess Books
This British publisher puts out some of the best titles. See upcoming titles and sign up for their newsletter for even more info.

Chessco (Thinker's Press)
One of the best off-beat printers and distributors of chess books.

Cardoza Publishing
Associated with Eric Schiller. Produces a number of mass market titles.

Everyman Chess Books
Publishers of truly excellent books, from Kasparaov's Predecessors series to opening monographs and all sorts of things in between.

Gambit Publications
Publishers of wonderful opening books and other materials.

Bad Bishop Videos
Two wonderful series of instructional chess materials.

Excellent, academic-quality publisher of chess history and biography.

Moravian Chess Publishing
Publisher of wonderful chess histories and classic reprints. Anyone interested in the history of chess should know about this site.

Sahovsky Informator
The publishers of ECO and the Informant series of chess books and CDs.

Syzygy Books
A variety of interesting opening books here (and a great word to know for Scrabble).

Other Materials

Wholesale Chess Store
The best shop for bulk purchases of teaching, tournament, school, or club supplies.

Chess Forum
Excellent selection of chess sets and other items.

The House of Staunton
Distributor of high quality sets and boards, including Jaques sets.

Chess House
A nice website with lots of material.

Chess Express
An excellent and user-friendly website.

Chess and Bridge Ltd.
The shop associated with the London Chess Centre.

Chess Store / Classical Games
An excellent British shop. Also available through Jeremy Silman's site.

Polish Wooden Chess Sets Exporter
The best wooden sets in the world are made in Poland. This seems to be one of the better places to buy them (unless you are visiting Krakow any time soon).

Updated 07.07.2005 | Contact Michael Goeller