Fighting COVID19 with Chess

Fighting COVID19 with Chess


Free Book project:

As a part of our contribution to the chess community during this lockdown, we decided to offer a free book starting early this month. We felt that it's a wise choice to pick something that'll prove to be useful for players of all levels. We narrowed down our search to The Russian Endgame Handbook by Ilya Rabinovich. Till the end of May 2020, you can download the book free of cost on our website using the download instructions at the end of this blog.


An old Soviet quip has it that Western amateurs “play the opening like grandmasters, the middlegame like experts, and the endgame like beginners.” Soviet-trained players would fearlessly steer the game toward the final phase, confident of their superior endgame skill. Ilya Rabinovich’s Russian Endgame Manual is a major reason for this. Rabinovich raises the beginner’s understanding of the endgame to a sophisticated level, starting with elementary checkmates and then moving on to the principles for handling complex endgames and advanced concepts in king-and-pawn endings, such as the theory of corresponding squares. The author pays special attention to frequently neglected endgame themes such as rook vs. pawns, rook vs. a minor piece, and queen vs. rook. First published in 1927 and updated in 1938, this classic work – featuring more than four hundred instructive endings and over three hundred exercises for self-study – served a generation of players at the height of the Soviet School’s dominance. Mongoose Press now makes it available to the English-speaking public for the first time.

The book is a fantastic guide for beginners as well as more experienced tournament players. It focuses mainly on the theoretical aspects of chess endings and begins with the very basic checkmates (Q, R, BB checkmate) and moves to more complicated endgames and their derivatives.
Here's one of our favorite endgames from the book. White to play and win. Find the simple two-part strategy. Based on this theoretical position, we have a slightly more complex example waiting for you.

Figured it out yet? You can try out the moves on the board below.

Phase 1:

Phase 2:
And here's the slightly complex/tricky example I promised:
[White to play and win]

You might be wondering why we picked these odd-looking positions from the whole book. There are more exciting examples that we could have included, but Bishop versus Bishop + Pawn always reminds us of the famous Fischer game (Vs Taimanov, Buenos Aires,1960), which teaches us why studying the endgame is very important.
Fischer had an inferior position throughout the middlegame. It looks as if it was a matter of time before he got checkmated, but luckily Fischer simplified to a slightly inferior Bishop endgame. Fischer knew his endgames and easily converted the game to a drawn theoretical position and perfectly wrapped up with a draw after 87 moves.
[The idea is to stop the pawn from the rear. If you miss the idea, it's difficult to get a draw]
We can also perform such amazing feats if our endgame knowledge is strong; be it converting a losing position to a draw, or winning what looks like an equal position! And The Russian Endgame Handbook is a great place to begin this journey!
Full game: Fischer - Taimanov, Buenos Aires (1960).

Download Instructions:

1. You'll need to register for a free account on

2. After you're logged in, you'll need to add the book to your cart by visiting the book page here:

3. Head to the cart page (On the top of the screen, to your right-hand side, you'll notice the cart icon) and enter the coupon code:     STAYSAFE   

Don't forget to click the small "Apply" button after entering the code.

4. Now you'll notice that the cart value becomes $0. You can now safely checkout. Download instructions will be emailed to you.

Please note that this offer is valid only till May 31, 2020.

If you have any trouble during the process, don't hesitate to contact us. You can always reach out to us on, Twitter, or email.

Stay safe and stay strong! Do share this blog with your friends.

Looking forward,

ForwardChess team.