Silman is a tremendous author, in that he knows what to explain and how to break things down.
Jeremy Silman’s endgame project was creating quite a buzz months before it was published. Once out of print, January 31, 2007, the mammoth 530-page manual started collecting praises and excellent reviews. Excerpts presented bellow.
Designed to “speak” to a player in a very personal way, Silman’s book teaches the student everything he or she needs to know at his or her current rating level, and builds on that knowledge for each subsequent phase of the player’s development. Starting at the beginner’s level, all basic mates are dearly and painstakingly explained. After that, the critical building blocks that form the endgame foundation for all tournament hopefuls and experienced tournament competitors are explored in detail. Finally, advanced endgame secrets based on concepts rather than memorization are presented in a way that makes them easy to master.
There are few individuals in the chess world more respected/liked than Jeremy Silman. Whenever he is lecturing at a chess tournament, he always attracts the largest turnout. Why? Well, part of the reason is his personality. He is just a natural showman who presents his material in way that is as entertaining as it is instructive.
Not only is he funny, but he has a way of connecting with his audience that few can match. Having been to several of his lectures over the years, I can tell you that one of his secrets is that he never talks down to his audience. He answers a question from a 1200-player with the same seriousness and respect as from a 2300-player. He is able to do this because unlike many GMs/IMs, he hasn’t forgotten what it’s like to be a struggling class player.
Okay, so the thing looks good I hear you saying, but what about the content? I mean, Kournikova looks great, but she never won a major tournament. Well, you can rest easy as Silman’s revolutionary concept applies to the material as well. How so? Instead of the usual format of breaking the endings down by type, Silman has done something I’ve never seen before: broken the material down by rating! No kidding. He says in the intro that his goal was to “offer instruction that’s tailor-made to fit a player’s individual rating group.”
I’m surprised no one thought of this concept before – dividing study material by approximate rating. Of course it’s a great idea. Silman is a tremendous author, in that he knows what to explain and how to break things down.
Additionally, the book itself is lovely: heavy paper, nice font, good amount of white vs black space (sounds trivial, but these things are important when you are spending time reading a book)
If you are 1600, don’t assume that you already know everything in the previous chapters! You should, but as Silman points out, endgame knowledge tends to lag behind playing level. For some, “re-education” may be necessary.
On the other side of the coin, don’t assume you need to wait for your rating to catch up before tackling the next chapters. I have taught all the material through class C to much lower-rated students. As long as you have mastered the material along the way, you can confidently press on.
Silman’s Complete Endgame Course will likely take its place among the classics.
GM Joel Benjamin
Overall, the layout of the book is superb, examples clear and all in all there is little left to desire from a chess book. What I like most about this book is the writing style Silman has, perhaps he has gone softer over the years but this book is really a joy to read. There is nothing of that condescending tone he had on Amateur’s Mind or giving orders “Thou Must Learn This!” he had on HTRYC.
Patzer’s Mind Blog
One of the best endgame books I’ve ever seen. The idea to divide material according to rating group is great!
GM Gregory Kaidanov
I’m shamefully reluctant to heap more praise on this book, because I don’t want my opponents to have read it (ho, ho!) but I can’t hold back. I’ve had this book for about a month now and it has done something for me that no other chess book as ever managed- that is, to make me really interested in endgames. Its format is superb. Alas, now everyone will be reading it and whatever advantage I might have because of it will be nullified.