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I am planning a 3 fold study...
Nimovitsch's My system, followed by Modern chess strategies forms the central theory.
However, there are two areas i want to look at:
I have heard of The ARt of Checkmate - which is supposed to be good.
I have Seirawan's endings but looking for something else... something a little more systematic.
could anyone suggest the best source of instruction on:
checkmating, checkmating patters, (rather than the usual mates 4 books)
endgames: a systematic education covering all those rook and pawn, bishop and pawn, etc.
Any help would be great... with reasons behind
"Art of attack in chess" by Vladimir Vukovic is IMHO the best book for studying attack and mating patterns. You can find it on Amazon.co.uk.
I don't know about endings, but any book by Averbakh should be good.
P.S. Fine is know to have a lot of mistakes discovered ove the years, so I couldn't recommend it.
Jonathan Tisdall has a useful list of mating patterns in Improve Your Chess Now, and I would second the recommendation of Vukovic's The Art of Attack in Chess for not only mates, but how to set them up. Paul Keres' Practical Chess Endings covers the most common endgames in a very readable manner. John Nunn's Understanding Chess Endgames is a new book that is supposed to teach the basics. Jesus de la Villa's 100 Endgames You Must Know is another fairly recent book that looks like it might be good.
silman's endgame course is very good i think.
Fundamentals of Chess Endings?
Jupiter_Echoes, One of the things you said you wanted was instruction on checkmating patterns. I think mate-in-one problems can be very good in increasing your ability to recognize checkmating patterns.
Laszlo Polgar's book "Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games" is now published as a paper back edition: http://www.amazon.com/Chess-5334-Problems-Combinations-Games/dp/1579125549
That book contains a great section with mate-in-one problems.
(As shown above the book contains 5334 problems, combinations and games. It was originally published as a book containing training in 5333 + 1 positions. I have that edition myself)
"Dvoretsky's endgame manual" is a very good material for study. It can be hard to read at some stages, though, but such are those complicated endgames, aren't they?
Averbakh's books are also full of errors and more like reference works than "How to (Play chess endings in this case)" books.
Fine's BCE (Basic Chess Endings) is still a great one vol reference book and you could do a lot worse, errors and all. Don't get the "new and improved" AN version which I read still has lots of errors, get the old EN version used if possible. I use it along with Fritz 12 to detect Fine's typos and errors.
Irving Chernev's Practical Chess Endings is a good beginner's endgame book (I mean someone just beginning to study endgames not necessarily a beginner at chess itself)
Paul Keres Practical Chess Endings is good and readable
Euwe & Hooper's A Guide to Chess Endings is also good and readable, more detailed and complex than the other 2.
Pandolfini's Endgame Course is good for someone just starting to look at endgames, despite the typos and board errors here and there.
I'd say study that and when you got all those basic lessons down, move on to an intermediate book.
I also have Euwe and Hooper's endgame book. If one is willing to dig in and work, you'll find it a very solid resource.
One advantage to it is that comes as a Dover reprint, should physically endure, and is not expensive.
Silmans complete endgame course is very well written
I can second two of the above list:
Practical Chess Endings by Paul Keres.
Improve your Chess Now by Jonathan Tisdall.
My other personal favourite that I have been through a number of times is Analysing the Endgame by Jon Speelman. Great book!
May I suggest STARTING with the endgame study - that was my approach and it can help when then looking at opening and middlegame as you know what sort of positions you want to end up with!