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  Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master


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United States
Thu Feb 1 2007 6:27PM | edited: 6:28:12 | MsgID: 6115628

I present my review of the following book:

Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master
By Jeremy Silman, Publisher:Siles Press

First of all, I will state my perspective as a reviewer. I started reading Silman's Reassess Your Chess books a few years ago when I started playing rated chess. I found the pair of Reassess books helpful in orienting chess as a book about planning and imbalances. (When I started playing rated chess, I thought I would have to memorize many opening lines. Silman helped me appreciated what chess was really about.)

As I prepare for the Minnesota Open next month as a competitor in the Reserve (U1700) section, I think the Complete Endgame Course will be quite helpful for me. I just crossed back into class C territory. I started reading this book last week, and it is organized into sections of knowledge based on rating.

So far I covered Endgames for Beginner (Unrated-999) as well as Endgames for Classes E, D, and C. (I'll be rereading through the Class C material, as well as study the Class B material in preparation for my opponents at the 1600+ range.) What I found through this reading is indeed a guide of what material is helpful at each of these rating levels.

When I have run tournaments for some beginner students, I will often see one player overwhelming the other in material, but not know how to finish off the game simply and painlessly. I will see random moves by the materially-stronger player which lack direction and coordination. Any student who is at this level will find what they need to easily complete the checkmating tasks expected of them at the <1000 level.

The next two sections cover opposition first at the elementary level and then at a more sophisticated level. This is crucial to understanding how to flex the muscle of the King at the end of the game. This is combined with some King and Pawn endings and a few other elementary endings that are common and easy to understand.

Finally, I read all the material for the class C level. Much of this is new to me (such as the Bishop and Rook-Pawn endgame and the Queen vs King and Pawn.) I had some familiarity with the Lucena and Philidor Positions common in Rook vs Rook and Pawn endings, but rereading this material here helped solidify this knowledge. I plan to commit this to memory so that I do not have to struggle through well-known endgame problems.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone serious about improving their chess who needs to improve their endgame. Silman's writing is clear and witty. There are a sufficient number of examples and diagrams included to illustrate his points.

Feedback welcome from all

Best wishes
Joe Erjavec, Minneapolis, MN
aka JavaJoe36

(P.S. I originally posted this review on one of my blogs. The address of the post containing this review is