Thursday, July 12, 2007

Great New Book - Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner to Master

If you're a rank amateur like me, you may not even survive long enough to experience the endgame. :-) And if you do, how can you play the endgame well if you rarely get there in the first place?

Perhaps there is finally a solution for the likes of me.

I first heard about this book in an e-mail from Raphael Neff at The Chess House (BTW, I highly recommend Raphael Neff's The Chess House - it's one of the best on-line chess dealers I've had the pleasure of doing business with.)

The e-mail goes on to explain how Raphael's brother Elliot, who develops scholastic chess programs, is so taken with this book that he insists Raphael order and stock it for The Chess House to sell.

Now if that sounds like too much of a clever marketing come-on, you probably had the same initial reaction I did. But after reading Raphael's complete e-mail I was impressed enough to check it out further. So doing a little more research, (Amazon's customer reviews for example), I became convinced this could really be a great book and very much worth having - so much so I've ordered a copy from The Chess House.

In my particular case, two things convinced me to buy the book. First, I don't have a book on endgame instruction and would like to have one, and second, this statement from a customer review of the book:

"[What sets this] book apart from other instructive books, is that this one breaks down the material first according to USCF classes: Beginners, Classes E, D, C, B, A, expert and finally, Master. The Beginner's chapter, for example, is primarily concerned with "overkill" mates such as two rooks plus king vs. king. Class C players get a certain selection of pawn endings, minor piece endings, the Lucena and Philidor positions, and queen vs. advanced pawn. Masters receive examples of "Cat and Mouse," the "Principle of Two Weaknesses," and other more advanced topics. Each chapter builds upon earlier material in a logical and satisfying way, and each concludes with a dozen or two exercises. In this manner the reader can focus on the material that is appropriate for his or her level, and not get overwhelmed by the amount of theory. As that reader progresses along the rating ladder, he or she will then advance to the next chapter. The final chapter is devoted to endgames for pleasure, featuring entertaining and instructive examples from the all-time greats."

Overall, the book scored nearly complete 5-star reviews, except for two 4-star reviews only because of a few typos and other errors in the text (corrections of which are available at Jerry Silman's website.)

UPDATE: Joel Benjamin, over at the USCF site gives the book a very positive review saying:

Silman's Complete Endgame Course offers universal appeal. With a whopping 530 pages, all levels receive significant coverage. Even players who feel themselves beyond the "basics" can feast on the 200 pages of master material. The last chapter, "Endgames for Pure Pleasure," features examples from five all-time great endgame players. Teachers will find plenty of useful positions, or can assign the book to students. Kids and adults will both enjoy this book. Silman's Complete Endgame Course will likely take its place among the classics.

Follow this link to preview and/or order the book.

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