Van Perlo’s Endgame Tactics wins Book of the Year Award

0 | Chess Event Coverage
The book Endgame Tactics by the Dutchman Ger van Perlo, published by New in Chess, has won this year's English Chess Federation Book of the Year Award. This 'Booker Prize of chess literature' is a wonderful decoration for 72 year old Van Perlo and his publisher. As far as I can see it's the first time that somebody from The Netherlands has won this prize.

What kind of book is Endgame Tactics? Because I don't have a copy yet, I'll let the publisher speak:

"Endgame tactics is an affordable guide that reduces the psychological burden of endgame instruction by showing that endgames are actually quite enjoyable ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú because of the tactics! (...) By enjoying the entertainment of real life endgame tactics, and (at least for the moment) forgetting about theoretical positions that seem distant from everyday practice, the amateur player learns to love the endgame. Endgames are fun, and Endgame Tactics proves it."

So a book on endings, but not as boring as they say about books on endings. (I'm not saying this, by the way, but still I think that Van Perlo's book could well be a nice read.) It's a book with examples like this one:

"We elaborate on this theme with Badestein-Otto, Wernigerode 1952. Here also, things look simple and conveniently arranged. So Black merrily set off with: 1...Ke2 2.Re8+ Kd3 The ascent of the ladder, a well-known theme in endgame theory! 3.Rd8+ Ke4 4.Re8+ Kd5 5.Rd8+ Ke6 6.Rf8 Now pay attention. After the trium phant 6...f1Q it is actually perpetual check or a long king walk to try and avoid stalemate. Black saw this and avoided the trap with an underpromotion, always funny: 6...f1R and there the fairy tale ended for White."

The jury of the Book of the Year Award had decided that this year's contest would be between Chess for Zebras by Jonathan Rowson and Endgame Tactics by Van Perlo. The first book was already treated extensively at this website. A truly fenomenal book, in our opinion here at Doggers-schaak, which at the end couldn't beat Endgame Tactics!

The judges of the Book of the Year award said:

"Collections of game positions for solving or instruction are not uncommon. Unfortunately many are computer generated with cursory instruction or comment added. This is emphatically not the case here. Von Perlo is a Dutch correspondence grandmaster who collected over a period of 30 years tactical end games that appealed to him. He cast his net wide and most of the 1105(!) positions were unknown to the judges. Von Perlo had a good chess eye for attractive situations and wrote about them in a humorous and entertaining manner. Above all he writes with wicked glee about the changes in fortune that lie in wait on the board for all players.

The New in Chess team has edited and organised the material so that there is considerable instructional content in the book. But the winning factor for the judges was the sheer entertainment value - a rare commodity in the chess world these days."

The selection of 'cheerful endings' has been published before (in the nineties) in Dutch: a series of four books called Spelen met eindspelen. Peter Boel and Wim Andriessen of New in Chess rearranged the material and made changes and additions. After that everything was translated into English and this process finally led to what is now the Book of the Year.

Van Perlo (photo: New in Chess) The 72 year old writer himself didn't contribute to this process. In May last year he suffered from a cerebral infarction and now mainly stays in a rest home. His family told him the good news last night, about which his wife Jos?ɬ© shares with us:

"We kidnapped him, to a Chinese restaurant. There he said: 'Yes, now I'm here but I do not know why at all!' Then we told him about the prize. He was speechless. He didn't expect this and was completely flabbergasted. He does realize what it all means. We're very happy with it!"

Van Perlo was an accountant but has always published a lot about chess, e.g. in Schaakschakeringen. At the time he spent years and years collecting these endgame examples and commenting on them.

The publisher reveals that in the meantime several grandmasters use the book as a warm-up for tournaments. Just this, but of course especially the prize, is a wonderful decoration for Ger van Perlo.

>> here you can see sample pages of the book in PDF

>> here you can order the book

A (not complete) list of winners of the Book of the Year Award ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú in other words Van Perlo's predecessors:

2005: My Great Predecessors 4. Garry Kasparov. 2004: Pal Benko My Life, Games and Compositions. Pal Benko and IM Jeremy Silman. 2003: My Great Predecessors 1. Garry Kasparov. 2002: Fundamental Chess Endings. Karsten M?ɬºller & Frank Lamprecht. 2001: My Best Games Vol 1: Games with White. Viktor Kortchnoi. 2000: Queen's Gambit Declined. Matthew Sadler. 1999: Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy. John Watson. 1998: My Best Games of Chess. Viswanathan Anand. 1997: The Mammoth Book of Chess. Graham Burgess. 1996: The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Bronstein, David & Tom Furstenberg. 1995: John Nunn's Best Games. John Nunn. 1994: Frank Marshall, United States Chess Champion. Andrew Soltis. 1993: The Oxford Companion to Chess. Hooper, David & Kenneth Whyld. 1991: Secrets of Chess Training. Mark Dvoretsky. 1988: Secrets of Grandmaster Play. John Nunn & Peter Griffiths.
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