Which book would you choose?


Endgame Manual is very good I have it on CD


"... before discussing the specifics of Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual [henceforth 'DEM'], a word of warning is in order. I must emphasize that this is a terribly advanced work that I don't think is a very good way for the average player to study the endgame. The majority of the examples are complex and position-specific, and neither the average student nor even strong masters will follow or play over most of the hundreds of positions that are given extensive analysis, not to mention the subvariations derived from those positions. Even when introducing 'the basics', Dvoretsky's approach is often more complex than is necessary for an average student, and in any case such a thick book will seldom be used for the sake of elementary instruction. The majority of the other material is frankly very difficult. So take note: I don't want to be blamed, in praising this book, for your purchasing something that you find intimidating, relatively dull, or otherwise unsatisfying. That said, if you are up to a real challenge and have a great deal of time to devote to reading and playing over examples you will inevitably derive great value from this work. ..." - IM John Watson (2005)






Understanding Chess Endgames by John Nunn



Nunn's Chess Endings, Vol. 1 by John Nunn

"... The introductory volume, Understanding Chess Endings (UCE), is a pretty good endgame book in its own right. ... The current book, Nunn's Chess Endings Volume 1 (NCE1) covers all basic endgames that do not involve a rook. (The second volume, NCE2, covers endgames with a rook.) ... Even after past study of the endgame, I have learned more from UCE and NCE1 than I thought possible. They are not a complete endgame course; among other things, the study of pawn endgames never really ends, and Secrets of Pawn Endings remains a valuable addition to one's endgame training regardless of what other material one has studied. Even so, this three-volume series by Nunn not only teaches the knowledge necessary to play most endings at the international level, but inculcates the habits of calculation, imagination, and integration of themes necessary to performance in the highest-stakes portion of any chess game. ..."



Nunn's Chess Endings, Vol. 2 by John Nunn




In my opinion, the Dvoretsky book is more accessible than you would think given IM Watson's review. I have been going though it profitably and I'm certainly not "advanced".

I would agree with madratter7. I have the book and I’m currently FIDE 1940. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book, since it is mainly just the puzzles that are hard. If you would solve 2-3 puzzles a day, your endgame would improve, but more so your calculation speed and visualization skills which is key to endgame.

Theoretical endings or practical endgame play (i.e. strategy). There are many great endgame books, but you want go far wrong with Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual for the theoretical endgames and Mikhail Shereshevsky's three books 'Endgame Strategy' and 'Mastering the Endgame' vol 1 & 2 for the strategical side.

Personally, I'm not a great fan of John Nunn's writings - I think he lacks quite a bit in the didactic department, but that's probably just me.


I like him...though he does have more vars that anybody has a right to.  You have to hit Shirov to find somebody scarier in that department.

UnaiCorzo wrote:

And is it good for advanced players? I mean, not only for studying the basics?

Umm... yes. Dvoretsky's Endgame book is good even for GMs... it "only" covers the basics, but the basics are hard! Nakamura said a player should be something like 2500 before buying that book (which I strongly disagree with).

For all its information, Dvoretsky gives the basic must know info first... which is in blue ink. This is very accessible, even to new players as sometimes in the blue ink there are no variations, just prose!

But in the black ink you'll find advanced positions and many long variations even though the positions are "basic" e.g. rook and 4 pawns vs rook and 3 pawns with all pawns on the same side.

ghost_of_pushwood wrote:

I like him...though he does have more vars that anybody has a right to.  You have to hit Shirov to find somebody scarier in that department.

That's my gripe about Nunn, really. I can't help feeling that his variations tend towards irrelevance. This is very starkly illustrated in volume two of the Keres' best game collection by Batsford ('The Quest for Perfection') where the last 15 or so games were annotated by Nunn. Keres is a great annotator with plenty of lucid verbal explanations, although he never shied away from variations (far from it). However, they're always germane to the position - just like Tal's. With Nunn, I just get the feeling that he doesn't know when to stop.


That question is sooo easy? Dvoretsky. He gets positive !!! from every trainer I've heard


Go for Dvoretsky. There is no failing grade for not understanding in 1st reading. Read again. After 2nd reading, repeat for 3rd time, fourth and so on if necessary.



I think Silman’s Complete Endgame Course is great. My endgame has drastically improved since reading the book. The great thing about it is that it is divided into sections based on your playing strength.
Newtonian6 wrote:
I think Silman’s Complete Endgame Course is great. My endgame has drastically improved since reading the book. The great thing about it is that it is divided into sections based on your playing strength.

you can study other materials in that silman book. don't let the strength section limit you on what you want to study on that book.


My preference for books to learn endgames:

1) Jesus de la Villa - "100 Endgames You Must Know"

2) Jeremy Silman - "Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner to Master"

3) Mark Dvoretsky - "Endgame Manual" 4th Edition


The UnaiCorzo post seems to be gone now, but, if I remember correctly, the original question was about the choice between the Dvoretsky and Nunn books.


I'm actually very much interested in this topic as I enjoy the endgame, play it reasonably well, and know all of the 'babys first' endings by heart (except knight and bishop.........I've learned and forgotten it more than once). Dvoretsky is a classic, and I've seen several of his beautiful positions worked out in puzzles, lectures, and such. But I can't help but feel like there is a stair-step between all of the basics I know well and the rather terrifying jungle that is Dvoretsky's manual.