Fred Reinfeld was one of the most prolific authors in history, having written or co-written over 100 books. Most were about chess, including books on the opening (Winning Chess Openings), the middlegame (1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations), and game collections (Great Brilliancy Prize Games of the Chess Masters), as well as biographies of Alexander Alekhine, Jose Raul Capablanca, Paul Keres, Emanuel Lasker (co-written with Reuben Fine), Paul Morphy (Andrew Soltis completed and published this book years after Reinfeld's death), and Aron Nimzowitsch.
Most of Reinfeld's chess books, such as The Complete Chess Player, were geared toward novice players. Many players received their first introduction to the game through his books. Reinfeld also wrote books for more advanced players, but they sold fewer copies. In 1996, Reinfeld became the 26th person inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame, and the first inducted primarily for his writing.
Although Reinfeld is remembered today for his writing, he was also one of the strongest players in the United States. He was ranked sixth in the country on the first rating list issued by the United States Chess Federation in 1950, after Reuben Fine, Samuel Reshevsky, Alexander Kevitz, Arthur Dake, and Albert Simonson. Reinfeld won the 1933 New York State Championship, finishing all eleven rounds undefeated, ahead of Fine, Anthony Santasiere, and Arnold Denker. During his career, he won games against grandmasters Reshevsky (twice), Fine, Frank Marshall, and Denker, and drew against world champion Alexander Alekhine.
Reinfeld also wrote books on a number of other subjects, including checkers (How to Win at Checkers), numismatics (Coin Collector's Handbook), philately (Commemorative Stamps of the U.S.A.), geology (Treasures of the Earth), history (Trappers of the West), medicine (Miracle Drugs and the New Age of Medicine), physics (Rays Visible and Invisible), political science (The Biggest Job in the World: The American Presidency), and jurisprudence (The Great Dissenters: Guardians of Their Country's Laws and Liberties). The latter book won the Thomas Alva Edison Foundation Award. In addition to his own name, Reinfeld wrote under the pseudonyms Robert V. Masters and Edward Young. Reinfeld's 19 numismatic works were the subject of an article by Leonard D. Augsberger in the November—December 2000 issue of Rare Coin Review.
On May 29, 1964, Reinfeld died at the age of 54 in East Meadow, New York, reportedly from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm.