I am an unrated player. I am looking for ways to improve my endgame. I am currently using:

  1. Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual
  2. Pandolfini's Endgame Course

(I am personally finding the former to be tough. So I am planning to revise the second first).

So here are my questions:

  1. Please inform me about other sources I should check?
  2. I have heard about endgame table bases on several occasions. But I felt them to be too much information and not enough wisdom. So I have ignored learning more about them. Please advise me about how to have a systematic principled way of assimilating the endgame tables.
  3. I want to read more about mathematical expositions on chess. I am familiar with works of Shannon and Victor Allis. I want to read what Combinatorial game theorists have to say about chess. I for example know about this research group at UC Berkley. Please share if you know any interesting lead along this direction. (I am aware these efforts digress from the real problem of playing tournaments, but I am of the opinion these would help make a stronger player. Please tell me what do you think).


  • 3
    Endgame tablebases are monstrous data structures used in some computer chess engines, and in theoretical work. As you say, they are entirely information, and zero wisdom. They're not meant to be used at all by human players in real time. Stick to the other stuff (endgame concepts/patterns, etc.). Dec 11, 2014 at 18:16
  • 1
    Peter Lalic has a good endgame playlist on youtube. Dec 11, 2014 at 23:27
  • 2
    I suggest Silman's complete endgame course by Jeremy Silman. It's a great book that starts out simple and gradually steps up the difficulty. I've always heavily favored his way of writing instead of the bland books that aren't necessarily wrong or worse but are a lot harder to get through.
    – bucketman
    Dec 12, 2014 at 9:47

5 Answers 5


The kind of book you need depends on your level and what you are looking for. Dvoretsky's book is of high quality, well-researched, magnificently analysed and ... pretty much useless if you are under 2400. Well, OK, maybe not useless, but I prefer my chess study to be a little more enjoyable than studying advanced theoretical mathematics.

For something more engaging and accessible, I prefer "Fundamental Chess Endings" by Karsten Muller and Frank Lamprecht. It covers the same topics as Dvoretsky, but with less emphasis on highly theoretical analysis and more on problem solving and practical considerations. But I'm below 1600, so my needs may be different than yours.

End game tablebases, as far as I know, is a complete tree of chess positions that have been solved using a brute force technique by evaluating every possible move. There is no practical way for a human brain to remember the terrabytes of data that it contains for use in OTB games. It would be like learning to play Call of Duty by simulating every possible action of every possible player. The data will only be interesting to people trying to create bots.


As a source for other ways to practise endgames may I suggest my own website called http://chessendgames.com, which is dedicated to training and improving endgame techniques. It has an interactive interface where you play against the computer engine. The website allows you to measure your endgame technique improvements while you play.


40 years ago the answer would have been simple - Reuben Fine's "Basic Chess Endings" was the bible of endgames. Even as late as 15 years ago it was the standard reference that I consulted after messing up an endgame I wasn't familiar with.

Nowadays John Nunn's "Understanding Chess Endgames" is my first call when I have questions about a particular endgame. Nunn's books are usually very uptodate in terms of the latest computer analysis and his own analysis is pretty good too ;-).

For learning more about endgames as a book to just sit down and read through I really like "Just the Fact!" by Alburt and Krogius in their Comprehensive Chess Course series.

  • I use Nunn's book too. Its very informative.
    – user1108
    Jan 9, 2015 at 12:24

Both of those books are meant for a much more advanced player. 2100+ at least. There are many more suitable books for players your level.

Silman's Endgame Course is a great book for players 2000 and under as the sections are grouped by your rating and you can just read what is need for your rating group.

John Nunn's "Understanding Chess Endgames is a must for all serious chess players if they really want to improve on their endgame play. The examples are really easy to understand which makes this superb.


There are good books by Karsten Muller. Not sure I wrote the names correctly. I only studied these two endgame books.

  • How to play chess endgames
  • Fundamental chess endings

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