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Secrets of Pawnless Endings [Paperback]

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Item description for Secrets of Pawnless Endings by John Nunn...

In this follow-up to his highly successful book, "Secrets of Rook Endings" John Nunn turns his attention to endgames without pawns. These occur surprisingly often in practice and are extremely tactical in nature. This book unites man and machine in the searh for ultimate answers. The computer databases created by Ken Thompson, formerly of Bell Laboratories, can state with certainty the correct result of any position with five pieces or fewer. John Nunn has extracted the most important information from these databases and presented it in the form of guidelines and specific key positions, which can be more readily digested by the human mind. With most competitive games nowadays being played to a finish in a single session, this knowledge may prove invaluable over the board. Since the first edition of this book was published, the databases for many six-man endings have been created, resulting in some surprising and paradoxical discoveries. The coverage has therefore been expanded to include the most interesting features of these endings.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   352
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.34" Width: 5.9" Height: 1.19"
Weight:   1.09 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   Gambit Publications
ISBN  190198365X  
ISBN13  9781901983654  

Availability  0 units.

More About John Nunn

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! In their desire to preserve as much of the communityA[a¬a[s history as possible, authors John Nunn and Judith Nunn Alley searched for people across the country with family ties to Galax. Those who have willingly made their family photo albums available share in the act of preserving the history of this beautiful little town in the mountains of Southwest Virginia.

John Nunn was born in 1955.

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1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > Board Games > Chess
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > General
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Reviews - What do customers think about Secrets of Pawnless Endings?

Endgame Student  Jan 11, 2006
I would strongly recommend this book. Most of the more serious chess books discussing the endgame make for difficult reading and this is no exception. That's not meant as a criticism, just an observation. Having said that, I have made it a personal mission to solve the Q v. R endgame on Chessmaster and this book has the most detailed discussion of that particular endgame I could find. (It also contains R v. N, which is also in Chessmaster.) Indeed, whereas other books like Fundamental Chess Endings by Muller and Lamprecht or Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual might devote a page or two to that ending, Nunn devotes 30 pages. The book covers only 12 main endgames, but it covers them exceptionally well. For those endgames, I'd recommend this book over any other book I've seen. It has two additional chapters entitled "Other Five-Man Endings" and "Six-Man Endings" but these are nowhere near as thorough as the first twelve chapters.
Square-dance of 4 and/or 5 pieces. (Not pawn.)  Oct 14, 2005
This is the second book or 3-volumn set that Dr. John Nunn annotates from Dr. Ken Thompson's 4- and 5-piece endgame database. As the title suggests there is no pawn in this study. This book is the most interesting one among all three. There are lots of piece permutations.
Unlike the Rook ending book, this one does not have the practical tips at the end of every sections. The reason is most of the presented positions are practical ones that could happen in real games, while the R ending contains many test and study positions. Nonetheless, after giving a short generalization of a position is "mostly" win or draw, Nunn provides us many standard set-ups to look for when we are the offensive or defensive ends. For examples: in the R vs. B ending, he categorizes the defending King position as: a) in the center, b) in good corner, c) in bad corner and d) on the edge of the board.
The first 3 sections cover the 4-piece endings, a major piece versus the lesser piece. (R vs. B, R vs. N, and Q vs. R.) The two simple set-ups, Q vs. B and Q vs. N, are not presented because they are "simple", straightforward and covered in other books. Curiously, against an expert player about 2 years ago, I got a Q vs. her N; I could not force the win! I did not know how to position the K and Q; her N-fork was always a threat.
The next 4 sections are the battles between the correspondent major pieces, where the strong side has the assistance of one minor piece. (Q vs. Q + B, Q vs. Q + N, R vs. R + B, and, R vs. R + N.)
The next 5 sections are where the Q tries to outshine the combinations of 2 less pieces. (Q vs. R + B, Q vs. R + N, Q vs. B + N, Q vs. 2B, and Q vs. 2N.) The first two are generally drawn unless the Q can force checkmate or win unprotected pieces early. In the last three, normally the Q can win rather easily unless the defending side can force some tempi and build a fortress immediately. It's good to memorize these set-ups in case of emergency.
The last thinly section covers two interesting endings. First is Q vs. 2 major pieces (Q vs. 2R, Q vs. Q + R, and Q vs. 2 Q.) The first type is usually drawn. In the last two, the weaker side could force stalemate if the stronger side is not careful. The next endgame type is the R vs. two pieces. (R vs. 2R, R vs. B + N, and R vs. 2B.) The 2R usually wins. The B + N combination sometimes could hold back the Q by building a fortress; therefore the R can win in only a very special case. On the defensive end, the R can always gives himself up for a minor piece to avoid any later regret. To end the book, Dr. Nunn gives a humorous position where both on the B's are on the same color, mutually protect each other. Usually, it means that the R can't take any B, but in this special case the R wins.


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