Best Book on Multi-Piece Endgames: Endgame Strategy by Shereshevsky, a Review
This is a fantastic book. It is the first book that people pointed me to, when I was trying to improve my endgame play.
The problem was: I learnt theoretical endgames but I was usually outplayed because of my opponent's knowledge of plans and ideas. This was a serious issue. Endgames with many pieces on the board are not mechanical and calculation often takes a secondary role. Plans and ideas are often more important. Besides playing out your own endings, going through well annotated endgames sorted by theme is most certainly the best way to improve strategic thinking. This does not mean that theoretical endgames are not important. They are. My specific weakness was that I was getting outplayed well before any theoretical endgames could arise.
Something about this book feels almost magical. I think that the combination of clear illustrative examples sorted into important themes together with lucid and detailed explanations without unnecessarily complicated variations.
The chapters of this book are as follows:
- Basic Principles of Endgame Strategy
- Centralization of the King
- Role of Pawns
- The Problem of Exchanging
- Do Not Rush
- Schematic Thinking
- The Principle of Two Weaknesses
- The Struggle for the Initiative
- Suppressing the Opponent's Counterplay
- Positions with an Isolated Queen's Pawn
- The Two Bishops
- Queenside Pawn Majority
- Complex Endings
As can be seen, he does not just focus on specific features of endgames, but how to think in them.
Below is an example which I think is highly instructive: