Understanding the endgame is fundamental to playing good chess, and at its heart lie positions where just kings and pawns remain on the board. Even when a pawn ending is not actually reached, the players must often assess ones that could arise from an exchange of pieces. And an error calculating a pawn ending is normally fatal.

Questions of pawn-structure, and thus decisions made early in the game, can be fully understood only when we appreciate how they impact the possible pawn endings.

This book takes a practical angle, so is the perfect complement to Gambit‘s best-selling Secrets of Pawn Endings, which examines their theory. Experienced trainer Bogdanov examines a wealth of pawn endings where strong players made significant errors, and draws lessons and rules of thumb from them. While we are enjoying the entertaining material in this book, we are painlessly absorbing endgame principles and improving our intuitive decision-making skills. We learn how to calculate and identify key positional elements, and appreciate the beautiful tactics and paradoxical ideas that are unique to the world of pawns.

The Nunn Convention is used throughout the book, and all the material has been checked in detail with modern NNUE-based engines with access to seven-man tablebases.

Topics include:

International Master Valentin Bogdanov has vast experience as a chess trainer, and is from Ukraine. His pupils include Moskalenko, Savchenko and Drozdovsky, and he has acted as a second for the well-known grandmaster and theoretician Viacheslav Eingorn since the late 1970s. For 50 years he has been a teacher at the chess school in Odesa (Ukraine), and in 2016 won the European Over-65 Championship. In the same year he also qualified as an International Arbiter and has since then officiated over a great many chess events in his country. This is his fourth book for Gambit.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

Watch a YouTube video in which GM John Nunn presents a sample from this book.

“An interesting and fascinating world often unfolds within the game of chess. Ukrainian master Valentin Bogdanov points out that pawn endgames are the basis of all other endgames. That makes sense, because from most endgames opportunities arise to settle to pawn endgames. This book has a practical angle and is therefore a nice addition to Gambit’s bestseller Secrets of Pawn Endgames by Müller and Lamprecht” – Herman Grooten, www.schaaksite.nl

“This may be the best book on pawn endgames I have yet come across” – Andre Harding, www.chess-essentials.com

“Covers a fundamental part of the game in a most unusual way... the first book devoted entirely to the subject. The positions given in this book, without exception, are challenging – to put it mildly! Some great players are shown to be mortal. Offers plenty of high quality examples to solve, with detailed solutions” – IM John Donaldson

“Bogdanov and the translator Graham Burgess have put together a well-written book that can help amateurs play better pawn endgames in a relative short period of time... clear, concise and educative” – Miguel Ararat, Florida Chess Magazine

“A thorough course ” – John Elburg, chessbooks.nl