100 Endgames: Vital Lessons for Every Chess Player

100 Endgames: Vital Lessons for Every Chess Player


In order to improve your game, you must study the endgame before everything else, for whereas the endings can be studied and mastered by themselves, the middle game and the opening must be studied in relation to the endgame.” - Jose Raul Capablanca (World Champion from 1921-1927)

Our BOOK OF THE WEEK is Jesus de la Villa's classic: 100 Endgames You Must Know.

There is a lot of value in studying theoretical endgames:

  • Increased ability in winning won positions and drawing drawn positions
  • Increased chance of swindling lost position by aiming for a theoretical draw
  • Evaluating practical endgames better (because you can calculate to a theoretical one)
  • Evaluating trades better (you get closer to a theoretical endgame)
  • Improving understanding of static advantages (which are often exploited in the endgame)
  • Helping understand piece harmony in a statically pure form without dynamic distractions

Most club players consider studying the endgame to be boring and have a clear weakness in their endgame play relative to their openings and middlegames. This increases the importance of endgame study because it is easier to increase the discrepancy between you and your peers by studying the endgame than by studying any other area of the game.

The benefits of endgame study are obvious, but where to start? IM Mark Dvoretsky wrote an excellent book on theoretical endgames (Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual), but this book is large and difficult to finish. A lot of the endgames chosen are extremely technical and difficult, so difficult that GM Hikaru Nakamura claimed that a player should be 2450 FIDE before starting this book. 100 Endgames You Must Know is a lot more approachable. Instead of trying to teach you all the theoretical endgames a professional should know, it focuses on the most important endgames (organized by type), making it a lot easier for the club player to digest. 100 endgames you must know starts with a basic test and then systematically teaches you the 100 most important theoretical endgames.

Here are some unannotated examples from the basic test and annotated examples from the theoretical section.

Normally you could buy 100 Endgames You Must Know on Forward Chess for $17.99, but with our 25% off coupon code 100ENDGAMES, you can buy it for only $13.49 now through December 16.

“There’s not much to say about it – you just have to buy it and read it! De la Villa does a truly wonderful job of explaining useful endgames in a calm and measured manner that is clear enough for any strength of player to understand while still being interesting for stronger players. If you’ve never read an endgame book before, this is the one you should start with.” - GM Matthew Sadler

"My favorite endgame book, very clear and concise. If you only read one endgame book it should be this one." - GM Niclas Huschenbeth

“If you really have no patience for endgames, at least read Jesus de la Villa’s
100 Endgames You Must Know” - Gary Walters Chess

“[Former Women’s World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk] said she had really enjoyed De la Villa’s 100 Endgames You Must Know and had made flashcards out of the 100 positions. One side of the card had the position, the solution was written out on the reverse, and she quizzed herself until she knew all 100.” - Elisabeth Vicary, USCF Online

“The greatest strength of the book: breaking things down into well-worded chunks of easily digestible information.” - Marsh Towers Chess Reviews

“A clear exposition of the most important endgames, with exercises to test your knowledge.” - British Chess Magazine

“We all admired 100 Endgames for its clarity and practical value.” - Danny King & Ronan Bennett, The Guardian