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An old Soviet quip has it that Western amateurs “play the opening like grandmasters, the middlegame like experts, and the endgame like beginners.” Soviet-trained players would fearlessly steer the game toward the final phase, confident of their superior endgame skill. Ilya Rabinovich’s Russian Endgame Manual is a major reason for this.
Rabinovich raises the beginner’s understanding of the endgame to a sophisticated level, starting with elementary checkmates and then moving on to the principles for handling complex endgames and advanced concepts in king-and-pawn endings, such as the theory of corresponding squares. The author pays special attention to frequently neglected endgame themes such as rook vs. pawns, rook vs. a minor piece, and queen vs. rook.
First published in 1927 and updated in 1938, this classic work – featuring more than four hundred instructive endings and over three hundred exercises for self-study – served a generation of players at the height of the Soviet School’s dominance. Mongoose Press now makes it available to the English-speaking public for the first time.
Ilya Rabinovich (1891-1942) was an early Soviet master from Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). A five-time city champion, he tied for first place in the 1934/35 USSR Championship and was the first Soviet player to compete outside the Soviet Union, placing seventh at Baden-Baden, 1925.