2011 English Chess Federation Book of the Year

In this major two-volume work, renowned endgame theoretician John Nunn teaches the skills that are most important to success in practical endgames.

Going beyond standard texts, Dr Nunn shows how to apply knowledge of standard endgames to find the right methods in tricky real-life practical situations - even when they differ greatly from the idealized forms given by traditional endgame manuals.

* Identifies new and important motifs which occur repeatedly in over-the-board play
* Tactical elements are heavily featured
* In many examples, previous analysis is corrected
* Focuses on endgames that are susceptible to concrete analysis
* Geared to the over-the-board player - no composed or artificial positions
* Ideas underlying analysis - however complex - are richly explained in words

Nunn shows that lack of familiarity with key ideas can cause important ideas and themes to be missed even by very strong players. We discover that a staggering amount of previously published endgame analysis is simply wrong, and that many of the standard guidelines are at best partially true.

This first volume covers general topics and discusses in detail pawn endings, queen endings and minor-piece endings.

Dr John Nunn is one of the best-respected figures in world chess. He was among the world's leading grandmasters for nearly twenty years, winning four gold medals in chess Olympiads and finishing sixth overall in the World Cup in 1989. He is a much-acclaimed writer, whose works have won 'Book of the Year' awards in several countries. In 2004, 2007 and 2010 Nunn was crowned World Chess Solving Champion, ahead of many former champions.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"Where the book excels is the combination of analysis with excellent and clear narrative which enables the reader to understand the lessons from the well chosen examples. Here Nunn's experience as a world class player and his established writing skills come into play. He is careful to illuminate the difference between computer analysis and the human approach over the board. As a result the instructional value is considerable. To take but one example only, Nunn gives interesting game positions where the maxim "the outside pawn always wins king and pawn endings", would appear applicable. He then demonstrates the circumstances in which it may not apply.
Another major feature is the correction of previous published analysis. This shows what a difficult and complex game chess is and how even strong grandmasters can reach incorrect conclusions both over the board and in published analysis. Nunn has undertaken a considerable amount of work in writing these two volumes. The result is not just an excellent text book, but one which expands our knowledge of chess endgames" - English Chess Federation Book of the Year Judges, Ray Edwards, Julian Farrand and David Friedgood, ECF

"... this three-volume [including Understanding Chess Endgames] series by Nunn not only teaches the knowledge necessary to play most endings at the international level, but inculcates the habits of calculation, imagination, and integration of themes necessary to performance in the highest-stakes portion of any chess game. A valuable approach to training, an indispensable guide to the endgame, and another remarkable achievement for John Nunn." - Derek Grimmell,

"I am blown away by both of these books. They represent the finest writing that has ever been done on the practical application of chess endgames. Dr. Nunn has exhaustively found hundreds of examples from real games, analyzed them, gone over the analysis made by others, and found an astounding number of flaws and outright blunders. In some cases, he finds examples that are falsely repeated from book to book. However, he doesn't just debunk other analysts, he also gives credit where credit is due, and applauds excellent play or analysis. In the case of the second volume, he has opened my eyes to concepts in rook endings that I had never known before. For example, in the case of rook and two pawns vs. rook in just how many cases the weaker party can defend successfully if the player in question knows which defensive ploys to use and when to use them. These two volumes deserve to be shortlisted for any book of the year award. They are instructive, entertaining, and truly brilliant. A milestone in writing on the chess endgame. I heartily recommend them to any and all who are interested in improving their understanding of chess endgames. With the study of these fine books, you are bound to improve your results tremendously. You will never regret it buying them." - Carsten Hansen,

"If've mastered basic endgame theory and are willing to put in some hard work, you'll be handsomely rewarded. ... This is technical, precise, endgame analysis and writing at its finest." - Josh Specht,

"This is an advanced book, the first of two volumes which promise to be the definitive work on practical endgame tactics. ... As always, the clarity and skill of Nunn`s writing makes the subject seem easier that it really is but nevertheless it is well worth the effort. After all, one of the best ways to win a CC game is still to get your opponent and his computer into an endgame!" - John Anderson, British Correspondence Chess Association

"The name 'Dr. John Nunn' vouches for quality, particularly if it stands as an author on the cover of a chess book. ... Working with this book will definitely raise the playing strength - even of experienced players." - Uwe Bekemann, Fernschachpost

"...I think this really is a fantastic book. ... The book's introduction and the first chapter (The Three Key Endgame Skills) are some of the best endgame-related chess prose I've read in a long time. ... Nunn optimistically notes that "I believe that anyone who works their way right through the book will see beneficial results." This is surely true (though isn't it true for almost every serious chess book?), so I prefer to go one step further: anyone who casually reads this book will see beneficial results." - Arne Moll,

"Nunn's principles will pay dividends to players who carefully study the common themes that arise in the endgame." - Cecil Rosner, Winnipeg Free Press

"Definitive, comprehensive, and thoroughly 'user friendly', Nunn's Chess Endings is a strongly recommended addition to personal, academic, and community library Chess reference collections and supplemental reading lists." - James A Cox, Wisconsin Bookwatch

"This is the very essence of good instructional writing. The author surprises you with his expertly-selected material, and does it in such a way that, before long, you are surprising yourself with some new-found dexterity of thinking. The book is a joy to read and cannot be recommended more warmly." John Saunders, British Chess Magazine

"I feel that I have learnt a lot from reading the book and I am sure that I will add to my knowledge as I read it on a second and subsequent occasions. ... the book represents excellent value for money and I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who already has a sound working knowledge of the basics of endgame play and wishes to build on that knowledge." - Alan Sutton, En Passant

"Characterized not only by fine expository writing but also first rate analytical work. Time and time again Dr. Nunn overturns old analysis and evaluations by the likes of such endgame giants as Smyslov and Dvoretsky. ...a first rate endgame book that is sure to improve the playing standard of players from 1800 on up. Highly Recommended" - IM John Donaldson

"I like the contrast between extended prose explanations and analytical lines. Despite the large size of the book and the impressive amount of material, this book is thoroughly accessible to club players and I'm sure that a serious study of the contents will indeed lead to a greater understanding of the techniques and trapdoors of endgame play." - Sean Marsh,

"John Nunn shows in his new book that magical twists and turns can be found in real games and does not include any endgame studies. He points out important ideas which occur often in practical play. As an excellent attacker in his prime, Nunn stresses the importance of precise play and tactics in the endgames. The first volume includes everything without the rooks. The all-rook volume two is scheduled to come out in the fall. Both volumes build on Nunn's previous book Understanding Chess Endgames, a wonderful presentation of 100 key endgame ideas. Nunn's trilogy is published by Gambit Publications and should be a perfect addition to the library of any tournament player." - GM Lubomir Kavalek, The Huffington Post

"John is not only one of the greatest experts about the endgame, he also has the ability to impart that knowledge to the average chessplayer. Past analysis is overturned, showing there is always something new discover... pure enjoyment on every page." - Bab Wilders, Nederlands Dagblad

Gambit books by John Nunn: 1001 Deadly Checkmates, Endgame Challenge, Grandmaster Chess Move by Move, Grandmaster Secrets: Winning Quickly at Chess, John Nunn’s Best Games, John Nunn’s Chess Course, John Nunn’s Chess Puzzle Book NEW EDITION, Learn Chess,Learn Chess Tactics, Nunn’s Chess Endings volume 1, Nunn’s Chess Endings volume 2, Secrets of Grandmaster Chess, Secrets of Pawnless Endings, Secrets of Practical Chess NEW EDITION, Secrets of Rook Endings, Solving in Style, Understanding Chess Endgames, Understanding Chess Middlegames,Understanding Chess Move by Move, Vishy Anand: World Chess Champion (with Vishy Anand).