Review Best Theoretical Endgame Book – Lamprecht & Muller v Dvoretsky

Battle of the Endgame Greats!

Firstly, there are many good books on endgames, focussing on specific aspects of endgame play or one specific ending.

Some examples include John Nunn's series such as Secrets of Rook Endings and Secrets of Minor Piece Endings.

Principally, in this article we are going to look at what we consider the two definitive textbooks on endgame knowledge.

Both books are jam-packed with excellent knowledge and the coverage of the topics is superb. Both are highly recommended but we will appraise which one might be best for you.

Jam Endings

Theoretical Endgame Books - Jam-packed with useful knowledge!

To start, let's look at each book in turn and then compare the overall packages for developing players.

Mark Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual

...the endgame text in the library of all the great players

Ask anyone in the world elite of chess and not only will they have heard of this book, they will likely own in and have spent hours going through the pages to perfect their endgame skills.

Whilst the 424 pages looks a mammoth read, the extra points you will pick up from acquiring the knowledge herein, is absolutely invaluable - we can personally attest to this!

Mark Dvoretsky also has a number of great puzzles to his name as well as a reputation as a strong player in his day.

Sadly he passed into the great congress in the sky where he will be showing some of the former world championships some endgame subtleties in the afterlife. The world will sorely miss his contribution to the chess world.

Pros

  • The book is comprehensive - it covers all major endings and endgame scenarios with clear and interesting worked examples
  • The analysis in the back shows how to solve the puzzles - see the notes below
  • He introduces concepts in a vivid visual way (e.g. "pawns in the crosshairs" in the bishop v pawns chapter)
  • There is a good general section at the end talking about piece activity and other general considerations
  • A logical flow of endgames, starting with pawn endgames, which is the toughest to learn.
  • Helpfully, content is broken down into manageable chunks with lots of subsections to cover the content in detail
  • Overall, the studies chosen are simply beautiful and show chess at its best.
  • Humourously, there's some nice "Tragicomedies" - showing how even the best players can make an error in this complex positions!
  • It's lightweight - great to read by the pool, if you've gone away to have time to enjoy your chess - conversation starter too!
Endgame Library

An essential endgame manual in all chess libraries

Cons

  • Overall, there is an assumed level of ability on the part of the reader which isn't a basic standard of chess-play, which does alienate all but the best and most dedicated players.
  • Explanations for the solutions are written (in line with his background) as solutions to a maths problem - there could be more personality here and a little more feedback to the reader.
  • Unlike the other reviewed book in this article, there is a missing, critical section on how to deliver the basic mates - it is simply assumed knowledge
  • In general, the material is only valuable for a dedicated chess player
  • There should be a guide on complexity to support the learning of the players - these endings are not easy to learn and needs to be some motivation which is missing.

How Dvoretsky is useful in practice

One example is rook endings.

As rook endings come up far too often than most players are comfortable with, Dvoretsky's endgame manual dedicates chapter 9 (which is massive) to rook & pawn versus rook endings.

With lots of good examples and a methodical build-up of knowledge, we learn some key things about keeping the defending king away from an advancing pawn, best of all with a vertical barrier in practice.

In conclusion, let's see if Wesley So finds this knowledge useful (only this week - at the time of writing):

[Event "US Championship"] [Site "St Louis, MO USA"] [Date "2018.04.19"] [EventDate "2018.04.18"] [Round "2"] [Result "1-0"] [White "So, Wesley"] [Black "Onischuk, Alexander Vasilyevich"] [ECO "C84"] [WhiteElo "2786"] [BlackElo "2672"] [PlyCount "89"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 d6 7. c3 O-O 8. Re1 Bg4 9. Nbd2 Nd7 10. h3 Bh5 11. Bc2 Nb6 12. Nf1 d5 13. Ng3 Bg6 14. Qe2 Re8 15. Be3 Qd6 16. Bxb6 cxb6 17. h4 h6 18. Bb3 d4 19. cxd4 Nxd4 20. Nxd4 Qxd4 21. Qg4 Qd6 22. d4 Kh8 23. Rad1 Qf6 24. h5 Bh7 25. dxe5 Qxe5 26. Bxf7 Rf8 27. Qe6 Bf6 28. Qxe5 Bxe5 29. Rd7 Rad8 30. Rxd8 Rxd8 31. b3 Rd7 32. Be6 Re7 33. Bd5 Bxg3 34. fxg3 Bg8 35. Kf2 Be6 36. Bxe6 Rxe6 37. Ke3 Kg8 38. Rf1 g6 39. hxg6 Rxg6 40. Rf3 Kg7 41. e5 Rg4 42. Kd3 b5 43. e6 Rg6 44. e7 Rd6+ 45. Ke2 1-0
Yep, there we go, straight out of Dvoretsky - from 41. e5, black cannot conveniently get his king or rook around in time to prevent e8=Q.

There is very little doubt the technique for this ending was based on something which originated in the Dvoretsky endgame manual!

Fundamental Chess Endings - Lamprecht & Muller

...starting with Dvoretsky, giving it a shine

There is no doubt this text is inspired by Dvoretsky's masterpiece; the structure and examples are from the same template of the original source text.

Then, we deviate in that the authors' coverage of the positions and their analysis differs to the more mathematical approach used by Dvoretsky.

Pros

  • Both authors are highly regarded players and frequently appear on chessbase columns as respected endgame specialists!
  • The book begins with a detailed treatise on how to complete the basic endgames in the most efficient ways, including the dreaded bishop and knight ending - this isn't covered by Dvoretsky.
  • The text is also littered with examples which cement the knowledge well
  • The pace is more deserving of a beginner and very instructive, to support the less able player, which is appreciated
  • King and Pawn endings are covered well, in particular the concept of mined and corresponding squares is better covered here.
  • This is incredible value for money, in terms of the wins you will get from this knowledge
  • Lots of analysis alongside the main analysis, playing through moves many players consider
Ending book too big!

This endgame book is probably too big for your hand-luggage!

Cons

  • It is not a small book or a quick read - this may be over your luggage allowance.
  • Could be more comprehensive for the developing player still by summarising what has been achieved at the end of each section.
  • Clearly a large piece of work but not spectacularly original, given Dvoretsky had come before

How Fundamental Chess Endings is useful in practice

One example is bishop v pawn endings.

Being able to convert a pawn in a matching bishop ending is tough.

From US women's championship also this week, let's see if a pawn can queen using the knowledge from section 4.2 of the Lamprecht and Muller work:

[Event "US Championship (Women)"] [Site "St Louis, MO USA"] [Date "2018.04.23"] [EventDate "2018.04.18"] [Round "6.5"] [Result "0-1"] [White "Foisor, Sabina-Francesca"] [Black "Sharevich, Anna"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2308"] [BlackElo "2281"] [PlyCount "142"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 O-O 8. Rc1 c6 9. Bd3 dxc4 10. Bxc4 a6 11. a3 b5 12. Ba2 Bb7 13. O-O a5 14. Re1 b4 15. Nb1 Ne4 16. Bxe7 Qxe7 17. Ne5 Nxe5 18. dxe5 c5 19. f3 Rfd8 20. Qc2 Ng5 21. e4 a4 22. Bc4 Rd4 23. Bf1 Rc8 24. Qf2 Rcd8 25. Rc2 b3 26. Rcc1 Nh7 27. Nc3 Nf8 28. Qe3 Ng6 29. Nb5 Rd2 30. Nd6 Rxb2 31. Qxc5 Ba8 32. Qd4 Ra2 33. Qxa4 Nxe5 34. Qxb3 Qa7+ 35. Kh1 Rxa3 36. Qb2 Nxf3 37. gxf3 Rxd6 38. Ra1 Rxa1 39. Rxa1 Qb7 40. Qb5 Rd8 41. Qxb7 Bxb7 42. Rb1 Bc6 43. Kg2 g5 44. Kg3 Kg7 45. Rb6 Ba4 46. Rb4 Bd1 47. f4 Rd2 48. fxg5 hxg5 49. e5 Rd5 50. Re4 Bc2 51. Re3 Rd4 52. Bg2 Bf5 53. h3 f6 54. exf6+ Kxf6 55. Bf3 e5 56. Rb3 e4 57. Rb6+ Ke5 58. Rb5+ Rd5 59. Rxd5+ Kxd5 60. Be2 Kd4 61. h4 Ke3 62. Bb5 gxh4+ 63. Kxh4 Kd2 64. Kg5 Bh7 65. Bc6 e3 66. Bf3 Be4 67. Bg4 Bd3 68. Kf4 Be2 69. Bh3 Bd1 70. Bf1 Bc2 71. Kf3 Bd3 0-1
Taking the knowledge from the Centurini position, black could convert this well.

Summary

As a chess romantic, you can't beat Dvoretsky, simply due to the number of chess stars he's influenced and taught (Kasparov, Anand...) and the hard-working student will see results from buying this.

However, it is dry stuff for someone with not as much time and the Lamprecht and Muller piece, whilst being heavier is easier on the eye and written for a human, rather than an accurate academic piece on how to play endings.

We own both and have no regrets - written all over them with our own notes!

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