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 second volume focuses on rook endgames - the most common and important category of practical endgames. Nunn also covers endings with rooks and minor pieces, a wide and rich area of strategic endgame play that is universally recognized as vital for chess mastery, but nevertheless neglected in chess literature.

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

"The book is in many respects different and better than the majority of the other books on the endgames where often the inspiration of the author languishes after a few chapters. ... the reader undoubtedly takes profit even from a passive or lazy reading: so great is the way the author explains complex positions making them easy and appealing to any range of audience..." - Martin Eden, SoloScacchi

"Here endgame guru John Nunn takes on those really bitchy rook, and rook and minor piece, endgames. Together with the well-regarded volume one, this is everything a chessplayer needs to know. The sub-title 'the definitive work on practical endgame tactics' exactly describes the contents, and it reads like a train... " - Bab Wilders, Nederlands Dagblad

"... 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,

"...a work which astonishes ... time after time in this book we see world-class grandmasters trading mistakes in highly simplified positions. In short, another fabulous work by the Doctor, and a volume nobody who loves the endgame would want to be without" - Steve Giddins, British Chess Magazine

"Features instructive practical examples... I stumbled across an interesting encounter of mine (Adams-Shirov, Linares 1997). I actually annotated the game myself some years ago, but passed over much of the endgame section including the key moment without comment. Having read the book this doesn't seem like such a bad idea, as other players' comments are mercilessly corrected, but my sin of omission was even worse as is revealed..." - GM Mickey Adams, Daily Telegraph

"a highly prized, 'player friendly', instructional reference with enormous and enduring practical value for novice and experienced players alike" - James A Cox, Midwest Book Review

"John Nunn has consistently produced top quality works on the endgame. His tremendous knowledge and experience - backed up by the strongest of computers - have created a marvellous volume packed with fascinating examples of practical endgame play." - Sean Marsh,

"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,

"A master piece on endgame play!" - John Elburg,

"Dr. Nunn, in close to 300 pages, provides in this volume a full course on how to play the most commonly occurring endings, those with rooks. There is no theme or idea he leaves uncovered and the reader is left with the firm impression that if they apply themselves they will be able to learn a great deal. They would not be mistaken. ... Having Table Base as a tool is invaluable but translating the information it provides into something humans can understand is a special skill as is the ability to convey that knowledge in clear expository prose. Dr. Nunn possesses all these skills in abundance and put them to good use in what may be his best book to date. Nunn's Chess Endings Volume 2 is a truly first rate book that is sure to improve the endgame play of players from 2000 on up who are willing to give it serious study. Highly Recommended" - IM John Donaldson

"The two volumes together form an excellent reference tool, and for cc players and otb players alike are a valuable addition to their library. I cannot recommend them and praise them highly enough." - Alan Sutton, En Passant

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).