Saturday, 9 June 2007

Best endgame guide

I've sung the praises of Averbakh's Chess Endings: Essential Knowledge more than a few times on Chess Tales, but have been reprimanded by one reader for not mentioning Karsten Muller's Fundamental Chess Endings.

The subtitle includes the word 'Encyclopedia' which usually makes me wary, but I have to say the reviews are outstanding and the blurb sounds enticing: firstly it's accessible to beginners (and experts!), providing tuition, principles, and practical play guides as well as reference, and secondly, it benefits from computer endgame tables and analysis to ensure the variations are sound.

Let me know your thoughts if you have a copy. Thanks!

1 comment:

Ryan Emmett said...

Hi Roger.

I don't have Averbach's book to compare, but I have FCE by Muller.

I think it's an excellent book, but it's probably better as a reference book for a stronger player, rather than a book to learn the basics from. I wouldn't say it's a very accessible book in that sense.

I guess it depends to an extent on how you like to learn. If you enjoy a slightly dry, but methodical (i.e. textbook style) approach to learning then you will appreciate it more. However, if the idea of a textbook or encyclopaedia fills you with dread and you prefer something easier to read, then I'd be wary.

It has lots of facinating analysis of real games, showing how even very strong players can fail to find the best continuations in the ending. I would also have preferred a few more puzzles to solve - there are just a few at the end of each chapter. Having said that, if you avoid looking at the analysis first, every position makes a great puzzle.

It's not a book I would recommend at all for a beginner. But more experienced players should appreciate it as a great reference book and useful studybook!

Judging by your recent successes, I'd say you fall very firmly in the latter camp! :)


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