The name Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch doesn’t mean much to today’s players but for many years his book, The Game of Chess, was the best available for those wanting to learn the game. Fred Reinfeld's book,Tarrasch’s Best Games of Chess, was one of Reinfeld’s best books ever. It would behoove the aspiring player to play over Tarrasch’s games from the Reinfeld book as they are good examples for learning the elements of strategy.
While looking through my 1940 edition of The Game of Chess, I discovered the following instructive comment by Tarrasch in his introduction to the section on openings:
I expressly warn (you) against trying to learn by heart the following openings. A terrible thought! (You) must thoroughly assimilate the principles, and then, when (you) have played a game, (you) should study the application of those principles to the particular opening adopted. Thus (you) will discover the inner significance of the various openings. Chess cannot be played from memory but only with judgment and combinative ability. Both can be practiced and strengthened.
This remains good, but often neglected, advice.
Another great Tarrasch book:
For more information on this great player check out Wikipedia's article on Tarrasch.