Good chess players read chess books and don't make the same mistakes for the rest of their lives. They try to improve all the time to reach a higher level.
Learn effective opening lines and you will be able to play your first 12 moves or more in 2 minutes or faster.
First check out the downloadable UNIQUE videos created by Grandmaster Igor Smirnov. These high power chess teaching videos are VERY EFFECTIVE and will increase your playing strength rapidly.
For beginners I recommend:
Get "Logical Chess - Move by Move" by Chernev because every move is explained here!
Another good book for beginners that received very good reviews is the Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess.
I recommend the following chess strategy books for advanced players. There are many other good books around, but the following chess books are highly respected among chess players and myself.Jeremy Silman
It is commonly agreed among chess players that the following chess books are very good to improve your chess. Why are these books so good? It is the way how chess positions and chess moves are explained.
Jeremy has a way to explain that makes you understand things very fast. This is a natural gift he has. Some writers have it and some don't.
I recommend his books The Amateur's Mind
"The Amateur's Mind is eminently readable and instruction-rich. Jeremy Silman never disappoints those who seriously wish to improve their game."
Joel Benjamin, International Grandmaster.
... and I recommend:
How To Reassess Your Chess
Get "How to Reassess your Chess" - Click here!
One of the best chess authors is Mark Dvoretsky, who is a well known russian chess trainer (Some say, he is the best chess trainer in the world). His books are full of original ideas taken from his personal archives. You can't buy anything better than that. But it's hard work to study them and you should be a good player already.
Get chess books from Grandmaster Edmar Mednis because he is a very experienced chess writer. But most importantly he is explaining complex chess positions the easy way.
Grandmaster John Nunn, has written some outstanding chess books that are very enjoyable to read.
Polgar - 5334 Problems, Combinations & Games. This is one of the best chess books on Chess Tactics, which organizes 5,334 unique instructional positions! This book is written by the father of the Polgar sisters who all became Grandmasters. The book is widely known and has excellent reviews!-------------------------------------------------------------
Get books written by John Watson, who is a well known chess writer.
You need one of the following chess programs to test your opening variations and analyze your games or look up games in the database.
The most popular chess program is Fritz. I am sure, that every chess grandmaster on this planet uses Fritz to help analyze his games or prepare opening variations or to check the database to find games of his opponent. You can analyze your games with Fritz to find mistakes. Fritz is a German chess program produced by Frans Morsch and Mathias Feist. There is also a version that is called "Deep Fritz" and is designed for multi-processing.
Rybka is getting more and more popular. This program is known for its outstanding playing strength and it plays like a human, so you have a very natural feel to the game. Rybka is the strongest program available, I believe. See ranking list at Computer World Chess Championsship