Which endgame manual?


I've been saying for years that Silman's Complete Endgame Course is one of the three chess books everyone under 1800 should own. It's not as complete as some other endgame books, because it's not meant to be. It's written to make the material easy to learn and remember, not to be an encyclopedic reference.

You'll learn the material from Silman, win some more games below master level, and when you do get close to master level, that knowledge will give you the foundation to study more detailed books more easily.


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Anna Rudolph. it's sound, easy to pick up and she is a brilliant teacher. or of course endgame expert by Igor Smirnov.

hasnoform wrote:

Anna Rudolph. it's sound, easy to pick up and she is a brilliant teacher. or of course endgame expert by Igor Smirnov.

Does Anna Rudolph have a book or a stream where she goes over endgames? What level is the endgame expert by Igor Smirnov?


As a 1600 player I started to read Practical Chess Endings from Paul Keres. It’s a very thorough book and mostly easy to understand. It explains most of (all) the endgames I used to loose in a drawish position, or draw when I was winning.

NotYourAveragePlayer wrote:

Which endgame manual do you recommend and why?

  • Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual
  • Fundamental Chess Endings (Muller & Lamprecht)
  • Silmam's Complete Endgame Course
  • Some other book

I am currently reading Frank Lamprecht and Karsten Muller's fundamental chess endgames.

Thus far I have completed the chapters on Pawn-Endgames, Knight Endgames, Bishop Endgames, Knight & Bishop Endgames. However, I find the material quite dry and I difficult to remember, especially the chapters on bishops and knights.

A lot of endgame work is dry, and there is no getting around that.

I learned endgames long before those books were available, and although it was a lot of work, I loved Ruben Fine's "Basic Chess Endings". In it, there would be a base example, but then often, many other similar examples. By going through it, I saw multiple examples that were similar, thus reinforcing the main ideas of each.

If that is not for you, then probably "Silman's Complete Endgame Course" is a good place to start.

"Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual" is really for players, who are close to the master level already, and it assumes a great deal of previous endgame knowledge.


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I like Silman’s Endgame book as well (I have read through the class B chapter). Agree with RussBell that he has a more engaging, humorous style (I rather enjoy the semi-mocking tone in his strategy books that many seem offended by).

Silman’s Endgame book is more explanatory and needs to be supplemented with appropriate endgame problems that you can find here on this site, on Chess Tempo (can be sorted by theme, pieces, and rating level), a Chess King app called “Chess Endings for Beginners”, and Chessimo.

Regarding Chessimo, I think you can purchase the endgame module separately from the rest of the program ... it has 1440 endgame problems. There is also a module with 190 endgames with commentary, but I don’t know if that needs to be purchased separately from the set of 1440 problems.

You can also get simpler endgame positions to solve out of Pandolfini’s Endgame Course and Endgame Workshop books.

I havent read the other books mentioned but I actually like Dvoretskys endgame manuel a lot. Its true that there is a lot of complicated things in there that are over my head but there are also simpler things that I can understand. Also..there is material that is something between the simple case and the way too complicated for me case....So its a good book to challenge yourself with to try to learn something. .....though I have to admit that I havent read it often.


More often I read Pandolinis endgame course...which is a book aimed at beginners and covers basic endgames....including mating patterns with various pieces and key positions of rook vs bishop and Queen vs rook. I often use it to work on checkmates with Knight and Bishop and bishop pair mates against the king. Another book I read often is practical rook endgames by Edmar Mednis. I often use it to refresh my memory on lucena and philador and other rook endings. He also has a similar book on bishop endings but I havent read much of that one....the parts I did read I liked though.


<sigh> I really meant to study rook endgames this weekend.




This quesiton is also on Chess Stack Exchange by the way: https://chess.stackexchange.com/questions/29027/which-endgame-manual


I threw the question out there to get a few book recommendations (and as a result currently working with Silman's endgame manual). I never thought there would be this much interest!  

I did not post the question on Stackexchange but I am happy to give permission to reuse the question.

Laskersnephew wrote:

Basic Chess Endings represents an almost incredible effort by Reuben Fine in the pre-computer age. Just imagine all the research, copying and transcription involved! But it's more a reference book than a tutorial.

That is a subjective evaluation. Perhaps the other endgame books do get more into explanations and even though Fine`s book has been revised with the benefit of computer analysis, I think that it is still pretty good. Perhaps that fact that it was originally written a long time ago puts the kibosh on it in the eyes of many like many opening books written a long time ago are considered "dated" and/or obsolete.


"... The only real problems with [Basic Chess Endings] are the errors and the fact that it is now very dated. ... the book is now in algebraic notation and the layout has in some ways been improved. ... Perhaps the greatest disappointment ... lay in the failure to correct many of the errors in Fine's book. ... I don't think it is acceptable in the 21st century to produce an endgame book without computer- and database-checking. ... the book can be recommended for Fine's groundbreaking general explanations. Just don't expect complete accuracy or up-to-date endgame theory." - GM John Nunn (2006)

If one decides to go for this, one might want to make sure that one gets the algebraic version, but beware: It is close to 600 pages.


I thought that Pal Benko had updated and corrected Reuben Fine's Basic Chess Endings.

As for recommendations, I still prefer the old pre-computer era books. For theoretical endgames (despite the title), Paul Keres' Practical Chess Endings should suffice for a start, and then in order to learn how to play in the endgame, Mikhail Shereshevsky's Endgame Strategy.

Karsten Müller has been discussed frequently here, but my problem with his writings in general is that he's just spouting variations. He's not very good at verbal explanations, and that makes his works extremely heavy going. Both Keres and Shereshevsky are very good at verbally explaining what's going on.

BonTheCat wrote:

I thought that Pal Benko had updated and corrected Reuben Fine's Basic Chess Endings. ...

GM John Nunn was writing about the Pal Benko revision when he referred to "the failure to correct many of the errors in Fine's book".


kindaspongey: thumbup.png Noted.