6:47 AMCapablanca Best CHESS endings
# Publisher: Dover Publications
Date: 2006-05-09 Rating: 5
Chernev's genius in his work on Capablanca's endings is that through the selected examples (which invariably contain 3 or 4 pieces per side with several pawns each) and his explanations of them, the average player can see how to orient himself in complex endgames. Yes, Chernev is WAY too effusive with his praise for Capablanca, but the book is outstanding. The work gives, in exhaustive detail, the planning that enables Capablanca to turn miniscule advantages into wins. It is true that the opponents he played were often not the best of Capa's peers, but they were certainly strong enough to consistently play plausible moves, which makes it better for us to learn from.
This book provides ample evidence of the fact that, as the old quote goes, "Capablanca played with a view to the endgame." I am now convinced that this was undoubtedly true. No wonder Capablanca was considered invincible until his match with Alekhine: his ability to again and again badly outplay his peers in the endgame is frightening. CAPABLANCA'S BEST CHESS ENDINGS has made me a believer in Capablanca (never a favorite of mine): if he were alive today, he would certainly be Elo 2700+, because he would pound all the 2500s-2600s in the endgame so terribly.
With the possible exceptions of Botvinnik and Smyslov, it seems to me that every World Champion after Capablanca was stronger in the middlegame than in the endgame (this is of course not to say that they are weak endgame players!), whether boa constrictors like Petrosian or Karpov, or terrifying attackers like Tal or Kasparov. Spassky and Fischer were universal players, but were at their most dangerous in the middlegame. Chess at the top has become so complicated that maybe there will never be a Champion who wins as Capablanca did. But I, as a mere 1800 player, have noticed that since going through some of this book, I have been able to avoid complications, keep better control of my games, and squeeze MY peers into submission. None of us are World Champions, but by having this book and your opponents maybe not having it, you have a great chance to straight outplay them in the end. There is great scope to play a "Capablanca-type" game against your peers and win without slashing attacks!
When I went to Foxwoods in April, this is the only book I took with me. I went through I think 5 or 6 games before Round 1 and suddenly...I started playing with a view to the endgame. I have managed to keep this up (I went +3=2-1 there and am 3-0 with two games left in my current one-game-a-week tournament). This book has FINALLY given me the confidence to expect victory when up a pawn in the endgame! You won't become Capablanca after reading this book, but you CAN start to play with an eye towards the endgame even in the opening! I'm sorry if this sounds obvious to the stronger players reading this review...I am only 1800...
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