Review by Brian Todd, instructor at Chess4Life

Silman's Complete Endgame Course: Beginner to Master by Jeremy Silman

Most chess players who have perused the huge variety of chess instruction manuals have come to the conclusion that the relevance and presentation of material is critical to their completion of any detailed study program.  Indeed, many volumes of "complete" endgame theory sits on the shelves of many a player, largely unused.

With his new publication International Master and renowned chess instructor Jeremy Silman has created a book for chess players who wants to improve their endgame play, but who find wading through encyclopedic tomes boring and downright painful.  Silman's method in this 500+ page book is to only give players the information they need to advance to the next level in their chess understanding.

While this philosophy shares much with the Lev Alburt methodology, Silman takes his work further by organizing the chapters into "what you personally need to know so your endgame IQ is equal to your playing strength".  Thus, the book is organized into rating classes and each chapter only includes the endgames that are most likely to arise in practical play.

Here you will find a treasure trove of endgame information clearly categorized and readily accessible.  You can jump right to your rating level or quickly move through the beginning chapters, filling in any holes you may have along the way, then take the end of chapter tests to see if you truly have mastered the material presented.

The final chapter in the book presents endgames solely for enjoyment and are not a part of the study program that Silman elucidated in the previous 430 pages.  The endgames are still categorized and are still very instructive.  My favorite comes from Smyslov-Guimard, Mar del Plata 1962.

(solution below)


Solution — 1. cxb6!! Re1+; 2. Rxe1 Qxb5 3. bxa7 Qc6; 4. Rb1 Kh7; 5. Rb8.  1-0