Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies by Genrikh Kasparyan is a power-packed tome of chess positions in the endgame that show us what real chess ability is all about. A statutory word of caution to readers – this book is for serious chess players only – not for beginners or those who have a cursory interest in chess. That aside, welcome to the land of mysticism in the chess planet.
Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies by Ghenrikh Kasparyan
is a true treasure trove of many of the greatest chess compositions by various authors, including Kasparyan himself. – well organized and presented. No other book even comes close to its level of organization by topics such as ‘two minor pieces trap a Rook’ or ‘two Rooks trapping a Queen’ so that you can look up specific scenarios according to which game play is involved.
I remember as a kid I was forced by my coach to go through some fancy endgame positions (later I came to know that they were called as ‘studies’. He would ask me to look at the positions for 3-5 minutes and eventually (impatient as he was to ignite my interest) he showed the answers to me. It did a lot to boost my imagination and I was hooked thereafter to Chess studies.
Each one of the 2545 positions is packed with chess wisdom and offers valuable tips on how to force your opponent to lose material. Many positions that would be considered a draw in tournament play by average players, are shown as winning, with stunning calculated moves leading to a win (or a draw in hopeless positions) with the dramatic sequence of moves to capture of one or more of the opponent’s pieces.
Some hopelessly lost positions will be shown as drawn or winning! Armed with this knowledge you will gain many new insights. You will realize that chess is not all about rules or mathematics. It is also an art of the highest order.
This book will throw your self-limiting beliefs out of your mind.
If one analyses deeply the best works of outstanding ‘studies’ composers such as Troitsky, Reti, Averbakh, Platov, Kubbel, Rinck and others, one will deepen the knowledge of the geometry of the chess board. This is what is also known as ‘board vision. The greater the familiarity of each square’s correlation with other squares (and the effect of a piece on that square) the better will your strategy be.
If you have never seen a chess study you will be dazzled by one. Get ready to see Chess positions in a new light! So let’s start with one of my favorites:
Interference, in anything but chess, is considered impolite.
I know that the above position may appear to be simple for most of you but that was for the starters!
I remember being entranced as a kid by a few Reti studies in this book, especially a few of those where a Knight dominated a Bishop on a somewhat empty board – funnily the bishop could not find a good square to move! Take a good look at the Reti studies if you choose to buy it.
You might wonder – why are endgame studies important for calculation training? Can we not learn the art of calculation by solving Mate in 2 or 3 movers? The answer lies here: In my personal experience – I myself have never got to like many problems as mate in two or mate in three – what difference does it make whether you mate your opponent in two moves or three? But endgame studies are another matter.
Not only do they create a sense of curiosity, but they are also useful in training you to think along different lines that might come up in your games and honing your calculating abilities by making you think about your opponent’s resources and more importantly making you think out of the box.
An IM who is a good friend of mine told me that he rose in the elo ladder after finishing the Domination book not once but twice! And most of his opponents fell into his traps that he learnt from this very same book!
My mileage was different. Domination will not make you a better player overnight. I was able to implement a few lessons only after a few months of looking up the Domination book. It takes some time as this is not your run-of-the-mill stuff. This one will embed in your chess psyche slowly but surely.
No wonder many books refer to Kasparian as as the greatest Russian composer!
Next article in this regard will be my review of Dvoretsky’s Studies for Practical Players – a hidden gem that needs to be brought to the limelight and which will be a worthy companion to the Domination book.
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