Pandolfini's Endgame Course

Bruce Pandolfini

Fireside, New York, 1988

by Steve McRoberts

Of all Pandolfini's books, this is the one I really learned the most from. I took away more useful knowledge from this book than from Seirawan's Winning Chess Endings. Usually I prefer a lot of verbal explanation, but I seem to remember the lessons from Pandolfini's less verbose book much better than I do the lessons from Seirawan's book. I think the reason for this is that Pandolfini has structured some of the lessons in such a way that he presents the core idea, and then elaborates upon it in the next few lessons, so that by the end of the series you're understanding something quite complex (but you arrived at that point by a series of easy steps).

A good example of what I'm talking about is how Pandolfini explains checkmating with the Bishop and Knight (one of the most difficult endings). Endgames 16-24 are used to demonstrate this procedure, and the lessons build upon each other. By contrast, Seirawan tries to get you to digest the entire procedure in one gulp (and I, for one, found that indigestible). I learned concepts here that I never knew existed (despite being an avid reader of chess books). I think there is something here for every level of player up to class A. Plus, the format is fun.

Pandolfini gives each endgame a memorable title (which helps in both understanding the point of the lesson, and in recalling it later).

I found that the way to get the most out of the book is to look at the endgame's title and the diagram, and then try to figure out White's move (or moves). Often this was not possible (for me) but the exercise led me to an understanding of the position and the difficulty involved. When I then read the solution it made a bigger impact.

If you read the reviews of this book on you'll see that most people gave it very high ratings, but complained about the excessive number of typographical errors. Actually, this book had fewer typo's than I've come to expect from Pandolfini's books (but still too many)! I would definitely hesitate to recommend any of his books to beginners due to the high number of confusing typo's which mar his works. However, armed with the following list of typo's and cooks, the book can be highly recommended. By all means buy this book (it's inexpensive as chess books go, and well worth the money) but before you start reading it go through and make all of the corrections noted below; it will save you headaches later!


Typo's and Cooks

Page 35, Endgame 17: The diagram is incorrect; the Black King should be on h8, not h7. Note that 1. Nd7 also works (with all the rest of the moves the same).

Page 36, Endgame 18: Note that the temporizing Bishop move could come first (so that White's first two moves could be reversed).

Page 60, Endgame 37: Move 7 is listed as 7.Ra8+ in two places, but the move does not give check, so cross out the +.

Page 90, Endgame 62: I believe there is a quicker way to mate. Instead of 12. Qa7 (with mate in two), try 12. Ke6 (with mate in one): 12. Ke8 13. Qe7# (or 13. Qc8#).

Page 91, Endgame 63: The text at the top should read "White moves and draws".

Page 112, Endgame 82: The text at the top should read "White moves and draws".

Page 130, Endgame 97: All pieces in the diagram need to be one file to the right. The second sentence should read "After 1. h4 Black's King can get within the "square of White's pawn"

Page 177, Endgame 134: The second-to-last sentence should read: "It allows White's Queen to trap Black's King for two moves, without fear of stalemate, as Black's g-pawn plays to g3 and g2."

Page 179, Endgame 136: move 6 (at the bottom) should read: "6. Rb8 Kb2. "

Page 180, Endgame 137: The lesson Pandolfini gives is, of course, valuable to learn, but there's a quicker way to mate; White has a mate in two: 1. Rd8, Kb1 2. Rd1#.

Page 192, Endgame 147: The text at the top should read "White moves and draws".

Page 193, Endgame 148: The text at the top should read "White moves and draws". Move 3 in the text should read: "3. Nf2+ Kg1." Move 1 on the bottom should read "1. Nf4 f1/Q."

Page 194, Endgame 149: The text at the top should read "W: Kh2" The diagram should show the White King on h2 (or some other square off the first rank). The first sentence of the text should read: "White could go very wrong here, playing 1. Nc5?"

Page 210, Endgame 163: The second-to-last sentence claims that 4. Kb7 occupies the a-pawn's critical square. According to the definition of critical squares given on pages 87 and 88, b7 would not be a critical square for the a5 Pawn; b6 would be.

Page 226, Endgame 177: The text at the top should read "White moves and draws".

Page 232, Endgame 183: In the text, move 3 for Black is given as Qg4+. This should be Qg3+.

Page 237, Endgame 186: The text at the top should read "White moves and draws".

Page 238, Endgame 187: The word before variation (C) in the text should be "or" (not "of").

Page 240, Endgame 189: The last word on the page is "Draw". It should be "1-0".

Page 244, Endgame 193: In the text and on the bottom, the first move is given as 1. Rd2. This should be 1. Rd1. In the text, and on the bottom, the second move for Black is given as Ra2. This should be Rb2.

Page 246, Endgame 195: The text at the top should read "White moves and draws".

Page 256, Endgame 205: The last line on the page reads "(1-0)". It should read "Draw".

Page 260, Endgame 209: The third-to-last sentence has "4. Ra2+," but Ra2 is not check, and the text should probably read: " to meet 4. Ra3+ by 4. Re3."

Page 261, Endgame 210: In the middle of the text is a sentence which begins: "It's pointless for Black to check again, 13. Rb1+". The move should be "13. Rc1+."

Page 263, Endgame 211: In the middle of the text is a sentence which begins: "When Black's Rook backs off the f-file". This should read "e-file".

Page 266, Endgame 213: The fourth sentence of the text begins: "The only threat is the skewer 1. Ra2". This should read "1. Ra1".

Page 277, Endgame 222: Four lines from the bottom, the text reads: "Black's King to retrace his steps: 4. Kb5" This should read "4. Kb6".

Page 280, Endgame 224: The third sentence of the text begins: "His pawn would push to the 7th rank". This should read "His pawn would push to the 2nd rank".

Page 293, Endgame 236: After the second move, the text has "since Black's Knight is now on a dark square, White's King also makes to a dark square". In both cases the word "dark" should be replaced with "light".

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