I’m delighted to announce that the career of America’s youngest and most exciting chess author has just taken another quantum leap forward. Daniel Naroditsky’s new book, Mastering Complex Endgames, has now been published by New in Chess and will be available in the United States within a couple weeks. It can be pre-ordered through Amazon.com, of course. (The above link will take you there.)
As with Daniel’s first book, I was involved in a very substantial way as an editor/consultant. Although my main job was to help Daniel with the exposition, I also went over every single example in the book and often made comments on the chess as well.
That being said, I can tell you that this is Daniel’s book, one hundred and ten percent. His voice shines through in this book even more clearly than in his first one. I know there were people who were amazed and incredulous that a fourteen-year-old could write a book as mature and thoughtful as Mastering Positional Chess. This book is even better.
In Mastering Complex Endgames, Daniel addresses a problem that I think is not adequately covered by most conventional endgame manuals: how to play endgames with multiple pieces. In the context of this book, “complex endgames” means multiple-piece endgames plus queen endgames (because a queen is sort of a multiple piece). This book will give you tons of practical advice on such vexing questions as: How are double-rook endgames different from single-rook? Which is really better, queen and knight or queen and bishop? (The answer will surprise you!) I really think that the chapter on queen-and-minor-piece endgames could be a book all by itself, and it would probably be the most lucid book ever written on that subject.
What else can I say? As in his previous book, Daniel provides a mixture of games from his own play and classic grandmaster endgames. A special treat in this book is his coverage of Anatoly Karpov’s endgames, which have clearly been an inspiration to him. He does refer quite frequently to other commentators, but he is very willing to question their assessments. In fact, I sometimes had to talk him into toning it down a little bit. Sometimes he was so eager to prove that Commentator X was wrong that he would lose sight of what the reader can actually learn from it. I hope that I helped him find a good balance of original and useful commentary.
As for Daniel’s own games, he is refreshingly willing to show us both the good and the bad, to explain what went through his mind during the games and how his approach has changed over the years. One of the problems with studying the great games of people like Karpov is that they can sometimes make it look too easy. Daniel keeps reminding us that it’s not, and there is no replacement for hard work. He has clearly done a ton of hard work himself to write this book.
If you feel lost at sea in the endgame (and who doesn’t?), you owe it to yourself to buy this book. Or put it on your wish list for Christmas. I recommend it for anybody who has a working knowledge of basic endgames and wants to know what is the next step. If you can’t trust me, a completely biased judge, whom can you trust?
P.S. Perhaps this is superfluous, but if any readers are wondering “Who is Daniel Naroditsky?” he is an International Master, the highest-rated 16-year-old player in America, and a former under-12 world champion.