Best Chess Books on Endgames

Best Chess Books on Endgames

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Table of Contents

If you’re as passionate about chess as I am, you’ll know the saying by Austrian chess player Rudolf Spielmann: “Play the opening like a book, the middle game like a magician, and the endgame like a machine

But how to tackle the endgame, you ask? 

That’s where endgame books come in. 

This article presents a comprehensive breakdown of useful endgame books that will help you move from a beginner to an advanced player.

Remember, regardless of your skill level, understanding the endgame is crucial to your overall success as a chess player. 

Now, let’s dive into our book recommendations.

Endgame Books for Starters

Undoubtedly the best place to start is with Jeremy Silman’s Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master. 

A discussion about chess books is incomplete without a good endgame manual, and Silman’s Complete Endgame Course hits the bull’s eye. 

What sets this book apart is how it categorizes endgames based on player ratings.

It hosts a lot of endgames based on your rating – from the beginner level zero to the advanced 2200. 

Every player rating category has its own set of ‘essential to know’ endgames. 

This means you know exactly what endgame you need to understand as a beginner, an intermediate player, or a master.

Now, while I may not 100% agree with where he puts everything, this book is generally wonderful, explaining concepts clearly and efficiently.

I recommend targeting your endgame study to your chess rating band and then venturing 200 points higher to stretch just beyond your comfort zone.

Another captivating endgame book for beginners is ‘Soviet Chess Primer’

Known for its comprehensive endgame section, it also provides a good start for any emerging chess enthusiast. 

Both these books are designed to teach you the basics concisely and effectively. 

However, while reading, remember not to bite off more than you can chew. Pace yourself based on your current rating level.

You’ll find fundamental endgame concepts such as the Lucena position, the Philidor position, king and pawn endgames, and rook and pawn endgames. 

Sounds Greek to you? Well, that means it’s high time you get your hands on these books!

Leveling Up: Strategic Endgame Books

Every chess player knows that knowing the ‘theory’ is not enough; you also need sound strategy and decision-making abilities. 

Once you’re through with the basic theoretical endgames, it’s time to delve into strategy.

Two noteworthy mentions here are Shereshevsky’s ‘Endgame Strategy’ and Hellsten’s ‘Mastering Endgame Strategy.’ 

Both these books deal intensively with endgame strategies. 

They comprise several detailed positions, endgame concepts, and practical examples that aid understanding.

Both books focus on strategically using your king and any other piece left on the board. 

They tell you when to focus on one side of the board and when to play on both sides for maximum effectiveness.

Further, they discuss vital concepts such as the principle of two weaknesses, the best times to hurry or to slow down, how to restrict opponent counterplay, and how to slowly build up your position.

Both authors provide rich, practical examples that are bound to grip any avid reader and bring up their endgame gameplay several notches higher.

Reaching the Top: Expanding Your Endgame Knowledge

The next step in your endgame journey should be ‘100 Endgames You Must Know’ by Jesus de la Villa. 

This book will help implant a better understanding of the endgame. 

It’s not meant to be a comprehensive endgame manual, but rather a selection of the most important and instructive endgames that every chess player should know by heart. 

The Final Stage: The Masterclass in Endgame Strategy

Last but not least comes ‘Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual’. 

It’s incredibly comprehensive and detailed, dealing with complicated positions that require a strong foothold of chess knowledge. 

Not for the faint-hearted, and not recommended for under 1800.

Ultimately, these books form a level-wise progression, building your knowledge of endgame strategy step by step. 

Remember the key here isn’t to rush through them, but to truly understand and assimilate the strategies and positions presented in the books.

Now that I’ve given you this rundown of endgame books, it’s time to get reading.

Hopefully, future games won’t end in a dire ‘stalemate’ but in a ‘checkmate’, thanks to your newfound endgame skills.

Happy Studying.

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