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The Endgame

The Endgame
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This excellent book is a practical battle manual on that most difficult phase of the game of chess, the endgame. Marat Makarov's The Endgame lays no claim to be exhaustive on the subject; rather, it is concise and concentrated and presents a distillation of what it is most important and useful to know.

The material is organized in quite a straightforward manner, over eight chapters. Chapter 1, the most substantial, is devoted to pawn endings. Chapters 2-4 are concerned with minor piece endings (i.e. knight endings, bishop endings and bishop versus knight endings), while chapters 5-7 look at rook endings and endings where the rook fights against a minor piece. Finally, chapter eight examines queen endings. Throughout, the emphasis is on those situations that tend to crop up in practice. So, for example, quite a lot of space is devoted to the common ending of rook and four pawns against rook and three, where all the pawns are on one side of the board.

Along the way, the author introduces a number of key concepts, such as zugzwang, opposition and triangulation; tells how to make use of a material and/or positional advantage; and explains the key strategic principles that underlie most endings. The English translation reads a little awkwardly at times, but is generally acceptable. Two particular quirks are the expression "light pieces" to refer to the bishop and knight (minor pieces is the accepted term, of course) and the use of "that" where "this" would be correct. Some of the ideas in the text are elementary, while others are quite advanced.
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