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Best Endgame Book out there !

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #1


    Now, it has been known that apart from tactics the next best thing to improve upon as an amateur [sub-2200 player] is the endgame. But of course, there have been truckload of books teaching endgames from practical standpoint to theoretical one. I have mentioned the choicest books on 'endgame training' and would like all of you to rate them. Of course it might be helpful for a person if some books have a recommended minimum / maximum rating range. [You don't want experts reading Chess for Dummies, now do you? :)]

    So, here is the list.

    a) Mastering the Endgame           -  Flear.

    b) Basic Chess Endings                 -  Fine.

    c) Fundamental Chess Endings     -  Karsten Muller

    d) Endgame Manual                      -  Dvoretsky

    e) Complete Endgame Course      -  Silman

    f) Grandmaster Secrets/Endings   -  Soltis

    g) Capablanca's best chess endings -  Chernev

    I've tried to include most books that people might be familiar with barring very few exceptions. These are the most sought-after books on endgames, so I was hoping people in here would know them well than some unknown ones. Which book would you rather have and why? Or is there a book on this list that you regret having bought? Please do recommend any book, that you find exceptional but is not on this list! Thanks.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #2


    b) Basic Chess Endings                 -  Fine.

    c) Fundamental Chess Endings     -  Karsten Muller

    These are more like encyclopedias than instructional books. Good references, good for advanced players, not good for a first endgame book. Fundamental Chess Endings is newer and corrects several mistakes and oversights from Fine's book.

    e) Complete Endgame Course      -  Silman

    Probably the endgame book people should start with.

    d) Endgame Manual                      -  Dvoretsky

    Looks good. It's next on my reading list.

    a) Mastering the Endgame           -  Flear.

    f) Grandmaster Secrets/Endings   -  Soltis

    Haven't read them.

    g) Capablanca's best chess endings -  Chernev

    Have it, haven't read it yet. From what I've seen by skimming through it, and from what others have said, this isn't an instructional book as in "this is how you play a K+P vs K endgame". Rather, it's a collection of Capablanca games with the annotations focussing on the endgame, giving examples of how Capablanca won in some tricky or unclear endgame positions. Good for inspiration and to see the genius of Capablanca in action, not good as a "how to play the XYZ endgame" book.

    Which book would you rather have and why?

    If you're only going to read one endgame book in your life, and you have to pick one from this list, I'd say take the Silman one. Fundamental Chess Endings is another I'd recommend: quite comprehensive, and an excellent reference.

    Please do recommend any book, that you find exceptional but is not on this list!

    There is one book many people recommend: Chess Endings Essential Knowledge, by Yuri Averbakh.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #3


    I have heard of the massive tome on endgame by Yuri Averbakh. He has written huge books on single aspect of endgames: Comprehensive Chess Endings: pawns , minor pieces, rooks, queen etc. If anyone has those books I am sure you won't have time to read any book on endgame nor would you need one, as according to the name the books are indeed comprehensive.

    Fundamental Chess Endings and Endgame Manual are both equally good as far as I've heard. So I will buy at least one of them in the near future, if not both.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #5


    "100 Endgames You Must Know" by GM de la Villa is very user-friendly and practical. A good place to start, since he covers the basic endings very well.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #6


    I have Batsford chess endings, its a very thoorugh and well laid out book, easy to understand and covers everything you need to know. written by jon speelman who is very well known as one of the best endgame players of the 20th century.
  • 6 years ago · Quote · #7


    Part of the problem is there are too many good endgames books and not enough people read them!


    The Averbakh book Chess Endings Essential Knowledge is what I grew up with. Then I went to Reb's suggestion of Keres Practical Chess Endings--both are excellent. The de la Villa book is on my bed stand and looks excellent. I can not argue against Silman's book either. All of these are excellent ways to learn endgame play. They are not encyclopedic which is a different type of book. There are also some great books on endgame tactics ( van Perlo, Ban are two that come to mind)

    You can not go wrong with any of these suggestions.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #8


    I am really just starting out in my chess playing hobby but Silman's complete endgame course has done more to improve my meagre rating than any other book, training method or teaching tool... etc.

    Now if I can just GET to the endgame in a few more of my games I'm on to a winner!

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #9


    Secrets of pawn endings is fabulous. 

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #10


    Purdy on the Endgame 

    This is a very,very good Book but it's tough to find I think it's out of print now if you see it around in a used book store get this one it's worth the money :)

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #11


    Qubit wrote:

    a) Mastering the Endgame           -  Flear. [Practical complex endgames - 2100+ players]

    b) Basic Chess Endings                 -  Fine.

    c) Fundamental Chess Endings     -  Karsten Muller [Reference - 1700+]

    d) Endgame Manual                      -  Dvoretsky [Standard positions and methods - 2000+]

    e) Complete Endgame Course      -  Silman [Practical positions - all levels up to 2200, better for beginners and intermediate though because lots of prose]

    f) Grandmaster Secrets/Endings   -  Soltis

    g) Capablanca's best chess endings -  Chernev [practical endgame play - all levels]


    I gave my opinion on those books I have used at least a little.

    Some very good endgame books not on your list : Rosen's Chess Endgame training (for training positions), Mednis&Crouch's Rate your endgame ('guess the move' style exercises with challenging yet instructive examples).

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #12


    There are some very good books in my library.  

    Foundation Knowledge

    1. 100 Endgames You must Know - De la villa - This offers simple easy to remember conclusions and summaries on the most common endgames one should know.  Very clear, very good and you can always add to it at your leisure.
    2. Fundamental Chess Endings - Muller & Lamprecht - a good encyclopedia but all encyclopedias can be a bit dry.  I use this to add positions to the 100 endings I must know and to see other similar examples.

    Advanced books.

    1. Endgame Strategy - Shereshevsky - A classic and amazingly good book.
    2. Mastering the Endgame Vol 1 & Vol 2 - Shereshevsky and Slutzky - Classic and superb.
    3. Nunn's Chess Endings Vol 1 & Vol 2 - Brilliant - even GMs learn from this.  Aronian was carrying it around with him for over 3 months!!  Short also said he learned a few things from the good Doctor...Won book of the year awards etc.
    4. Exploiting Small Advantages - Gufeld - I love this book.  
  • 2 years ago · Quote · #13


    Any others?

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #14


    I have been enjoying the Russian Endgame Handbook by Rabinovich which was finally published in English last year.


    Very clear and useful.  There is some errata but it's still worth it.

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #15


    Thanks for the thread, I was looking for somethins like this. Very useful.

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #16


    I am looking for books similar to "Mastering the Endgame Vol 1 & Vol 2 - Shereshevsky and Slutsky" - where typical endgames from openings are dealt with - as these are priced way over my head..any suggestions on alternatives that cover similar topic?

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #17


    The OP said endgame course and I take that to mean a structured systematic study of the endgame. However, I think there are at least two aspects to endgame study:
    1) Technical positions (or techniques)
    2) Endgame strategy, i.e. how to play/what to do.

    So to properly study endgames, you have to study both.

    I think that Pandolfini's book is good in one respect, it demonstrate the technique in chunks and teaches you to recognise and remember critical positions.
    I think Silman's book is at equivalent level with Pandolfini. If OP has already finished with Pandolfini, very little else to learn from Silman (I might be wrong!). Better to move on to a slightly more advanced book.

    For technical endgame positions:
    I have to make a plug for John Nunn who (relatively recently) wrote Understanding Chess Endgames (which I think won a prize?) which is an introd/intermediate course on endgames and followed that up with Chess Endings 1 and Chess Endings 2 which are more advanced. But taken together forms a pretty good course in endgames.
    Provided you like Nunn's style and the fact he has organised the books in short chapter-like chunks. Have a look at the sample pages.
    Of course, as mentioned by Jupp53, there is Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual, of which Aagaard has said you need to learn the 222 endgame positions (in blue) which is the absolute minimum if you are serious about chess.
    As also mentioned, there is the alternative (very good alternative) by Karsten Muller, Fundamental Chess Endgames.
    As also mentioned, there is Jesus de la Villa's book on the 100 endgames you need to know.
    There is also a 2007 book by Chess Stars, Marat Makarov's The Endgame.

    Glenn Flear has written a series of books (culminating in his nuckie or NQE) on the endgame which can be utilised as a course in endgame.
    Similarly, Efstratios Grivas has done the same.
    Edmar mednis has also written a series of books which taken together comprised a course in endgame. He also has a book updated by Colin Crouch Rate Your Endgame, which is endgame by the solitaire method which a ChessPubber here is a geat fan of.

    2) Endgame strategy:
    Here I suggest besides the technical endgames as found in Nunn, Dvoretsky, Muller, Marat, you should also read Muller's How to play Endgames which I believe is his update of the Shereshevsky's classic Endgame Strategy. Of course the latter is also a candidate book and still good after all these years.
    Also Jacob Aagaard's Excelling at Technical Chess is in the same vein.
    There is also Lars Bo Hansen's Secrets Of Chess Endgame Strategy.
    (and others)

    For fun/puzzles there is Ger van Perlo's Endgame Tactics, Polgar's massive endgame book, and also Convekta's book on endgames puzzles, The Manual Of Chess Endings - Chess School 4.

    As an alternative to endgame study as found in books above, i.e., very dry technical positions, and if you are happy to play chess and learn chess with not much of an ambition other than to improve gradually, my suggestion is to learn endgames by playing through annotated games.
    I recently came across Steve Giddins' The Greatest Ever Chess Endgames which is fun. There are similar books like these.
    If you are more serious, then John Donaldson&Nikolay Minev's 2 vol collection of Akiba Rubenstein's games (annotated) is an alternative which has been endorsed by very strong soviet GMs such as Gelfand.
    An alternative to Rubenstein would be Tibor Karolyi's book on Karpov's endgames. Bear in mind you have to like Karolyi's style's of variations upon variations.
    I believe there is an earlier book entitled Endgame Virtuoso but consist of games by Smyslov.

    More advanced/not-comprehnesive stuff: Speelman's Analysing the Endgame; Hawkins' Amateur to IM, and lots more others.

    PS, I like Slobodan Mirkovic's Chess School series but you must put up with very bad english. Part of what makes a good endgame book (or any chess book) is the choice of games, explanations etc, and I think the choice of games and examples in Mirkovic's books are good. Be aware that the books (vols 1-4) are not just endgame books but each comprise of three sections, tactics, strategy and endgame.

    PSS. Endgame is something which needs to be enjoyed for one to persist. I find technical books very dry and have not been able to persist. I am now trying complete games method and will tackle Rubenstein and Karolyi's Karpov games soon. So, find a book you enjoy.

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #18


    People interested in the contents kss-21 lifted from another chess forum may contact the author at :


  • 15 months ago · Quote · #19


    Reb wrote:

    Practical Chess Endings by Keres gets no mention ?  Its a really good book and suitable especially for non-masters imo.

    Yes,of course Keres' book should be definitely in this list

  • 10 months ago · Quote · #20



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