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The Survival Guide to Rook Endings [Paperback]

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Item description for The Survival Guide to Rook Endings by John Emms...

For all chess-players - from beginners to grandmasters, and whatever their style of play - one thing is certain: rook endings will arise in a great many of their games. Yet it is precisely in this area of the game that many players give away hard-earned points, either through lack of knowledge or inadequate understanding. Previous books on the subject have been extremely technical and theoretical, and therefore of little use to the practical player. This one is different. John Emms provides the essential specific knowledge, and explains the key concepts, that will enable readers to find the right plan in most common types of rook ending. Rook endings are reached in roughly one in five of all chess games. This volume provides everything you need to know to play rook endings successfully. The author is a battle-hardened professional player, himself the veteran of hundreds of rook endings.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 27, 2008
Publisher   Gambit Publications
ISBN  1904600948  
ISBN13  9781904600947  

Availability  0 units.

More About John Emms

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John Emms is one of the UK's leading Grandmasters and has captained the English Team at two Chess Olympiads. He's a highly respected author of over 20 books as well as an experienced coach who has worked with many top players.
Glenn Flear is one of the most popular Grandmasters on the international tournament circuit. He is an experienced trainer and has coached some of the UK's leading junior players. He is resident in France.
Andrew Greet is a young International Master and one of the UK's most rapidly improving players. In 2005 he scored a perfect 11/11 in the British National League, the first time any player had achieved this remarkable feat.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > Board Games > Chess
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Survival Guide to Rook Endings?

Just one Word  Sep 26, 2007
If i was forced to use just one word for this book, the one and only word that comes into my mind is 'PRACTICAL'.
Use it or lose it. (My experience.)  Oct 19, 2005
I have Fine's BCE for about 20 years, then last year I bought Muller's FCE to keep up with theory. Both of them are too heavy-duty for my class-C level, they are useful some on specific positions. I got Averbakh's Essential as the bridging stone to reach Fine's and Muller. I felt that I needed some focused book for each type of endings, so I got this one. The author said that the frequency of R ending type is about 20%. I guess he's right; therefore it's important to study this type. I have some sad stories about this type of endings.
1) I once reached a double-rook ending with pawns (my 7 vs. player A's 5) on both sides of the board. I had P-majority on both sides. Besides enjoying the advantage and waiting for my opponent to resign, I was also clueless about what to do next. I spent nearly 20 min to meditate and figure out how to progress. Finally, I started moving 3 P's on K-side to attack his 2. With my 5 minutes vs. his 30 min, we entered the blitz chess. Wisely he kept enough pieces to keep the position complicated. He won when my flag fell.
2) One day, this player A obtained a position in single Rook Ending. He got four Pawns on the K-side, his opponent (player B) had 2 on the Q-side; the Kings were on the rear of their own Pawns. So far so good. Player B had his K on second rank, while player A had his K on the back-rank! Player A kept giving useless checks and ignored advancing his un-opposed Pawns. Player B cleverly advanced his K and Pawns at every opportunity. To our horror, player B got his Pawn and R to the 7th and his K was right behind them. And we know the rest of the story.
3) Then later against player A, I again had a single R ending with my 7 vs. his 5 P's. Now I carelessly advanced my P's on the K-side without any preparation to restrict his K on the Q-side. With more active K and R, he got his P to the 7th rank first. I was forced to trade R for his new Q. We reached a new endgame with his R vs. my 2 P's. The rear P was useless. Thanks to his far advanced K in my side, his R now was forced to pin my 7th rank P or give perpetual check. I was lucky to draw this.
Above 3 personal examples show that a little knowledge in R endings could save ½ point!

In this book, after introducing basic R endings (R vs. 1 or 2 P's and then the side with P(s) having a R of his own) in chapter 1, Emms provides 2 chapters on single R endings. Both sides have the same number of P's, and then one side has the advantage of one extra P. Chapter 2 is where P's are on one side of the board; and chapter 3, on both sides. Various P-types (passed, isolated and doubled) are carefully demonstrated. The techniques to attack and defend these Ps are clearly illustrated. Chapter 4 gives an elementary introduction to double Rs endings. Some important themes on how to handle this type are given. As we know multi-volume books covering this topic and single R have been written before. The difference is this time the positions in this book have been carefully checked with modern computer programs for their accuracy.
More than half of the positions in this book are from the GM games. A quick scan through them I see that they can happen in our C-level strength. I don't know how we produce them, :-). Nonetheless, with equal strength and careful play, C-players could reach R or Rs endings with 1 or 2 P imbalance. Studying this book surely gives us some fundamental techniques to handle them reasonably.

This book is very practical. It's more helpful to us, C-players, than Nunn's book. Nunn's is good for academic research. I wish I had taken time to study it before playing the above 2 games. Well, if I play 5 games without losing in the theoretical openings or tactical middle-games, I may have 1 chance to utilize the knowledge from this book. Hopefully, my opponents don't care much for endings, especially the R-type.
Very good.  Apr 10, 2004
Funny thing happened while playing internet chess the other night. After an evenly balanced struggle I entered a simple rook and pawn ending. I was a pawn up, but because I had read Survival Guide to Rook Endings by John Emms I knew straight away that the position was dead drawn. But after a confused series of (totally uneccessary) checks from my opponent, which actually drove my king to a much better location, a drawn position became a won one. Now the point is this: many players are strong in the opening and middle phase of a chess game but much weaker in endgame play. So as average players seeking to improve we should study the endgame. This will add greatly to our playing strength and enable us to win many more games.

All very well to hand out this trite advice, but look at most endgame books! No wonder the amateur player neglects to study them. Well, here is an exception. I'm pleased to say that Emms has authored a very readable guide to rook endings. His explanations of procedure are engaging and very understandable. Rather than presenting diagram after diagram to rote learn Emms gives us the conceptual tools for correct play. Further, Survival Guide to Rook Endings covers much more material than that required for mere 'survival'. Coverage extends well beyond an introductory level - I doubt I will need another rook book (though to be fair I am only a club player). Perhaps very strong players would find this book too basic but I have seen a big practical benefits from studying the material. Each chapter is logical, interesting and rounded off with excercises to help the reader practice. Previous to reading this book I had tried to teach myself rook endings from Kere's endgame book and Euwe's one as well. Both left me cold although both are actually very good chess authors - such is the difficult nature of the subject. Emms seems to have the magic touch however. I only wish I had a copy of Dvoretsky's acclaimed endgame manual so I could compare his handling of rook material with Emm's. All in all a fine effort.

Book Title = Book Contents  May 21, 2000
Basic rook endings, rook and pawn endings (pawns on one side of the board), rook and pawn endings (pawns on both sides of the board), and double rook endings: a very focused 160 pages! Material ranges from the classic Lucena/Philidor positions, to much more complex practical rook endings. I think The Survival Guide can be profitably used both by novices for a concise introduction to rook endings and stronger players (including masters) as a comprehensive review and reinforcement. I also feel that GM Emms presents the material in an interesting, informative and well-organized manner, and maintains his emphasis on practical rook endings. Agreeing that there are other rook endings books, I still believe that you are much more likely to read, enjoy and finish The Survival Guide than most other books.
Best Introduction to Rook Endings  Jan 22, 2000
This book is the best practical introduction to rook endings currently available. It should be useful for players rated anywhere from 1300 to 2300, but is probably targeted at average club players like myself, with a rating of 1800. While there are other rook endings books on the market - Nunn, Korchnoi, Smyslov and Levenfish, ECE - they're all rather esoteric and removed, to varying extents, from the concerns of a practical player. Emms gives one exactly what one needs to know. If one wants to pursue the subject further, one can consult one of the aforementioned tomes.

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