Lessons in Pawn Play (Download)
by E. E. Cunnington
Every chess player knows that endgame study is the difference between winning, drawing, or losing. No question or debate, just like everyone knows to take the proper remedy when ill, to win back good health. The trouble is that few enjoy the cure's bitter taste - that's why "syrup" was added to cough syrup, and why Mary Poppins can sing about "A Spoonful of Sugar." It helps the medicine go down!
Here at ChessCentral we've never had a spoonful of sugar, but we have studied chess endgames. We learned endings the old way, with heavy paperback manuals and a board with pieces at a quiet table somewhere, often with an extra analysis board for variations.
Let's be clear: this e-book is better, much better - in fact, our digital version of Lessons in Pawn Play is the chess equivalent to a spoonful of sugar. Anyone who absorbs the material in this book will be cured of the common ills often seen in endgame play. In short, we have sugar-coated the "bitter pill" of mastering chess endgames.
The author is E. E. Cunnington, who wrote many popular chess books in a career that began in the 19th century. Recovering this beautiful portion of our chess heritage was a pleasure, and we find that Lessons in Pawn Play remains today a vital guide to endgames, full of essential knowledge. It offers a sure foundation in the art of chess endings, especially the handling of pawns in this critical phase of the game. Here's what Tim Sawyer wrote about this book nearly 15 years ago:
"Rev. Cunnington has a good handle on practical chess. The pawn play examples he gives and the situations he covers are usually ones that occur often in everyday play. This book covers most realistic situations when there are just a few pawns on the board.
"Beginners typically want to play without 'wasting time' studying. Fortunately for me, I learned my lesson well in 1972 when I failed to win an important (to me) tournament game, because I did not know something that is taught in this book. The half-point I lost took me out of contention for my state high school championship. So after that, I studied. Indeed, every time I study a book like this, I learn new things, or sharpen in focus things I knew.
"For the past 30 years, I would estimate that once a week I have played a game that requires me to know something covered in this book. I have won most of those games - that means about 1,500 wins. How much time do you think my opponents 'wasted' in losing 1,500 games without much study? Save time; study well; win more."
Cunnington is careful to build the reader's knowledge base in an orderly fashion, one step at a time. He begins with basic elements that include general advice and sections on the "opposition," "under-promotion," and questions on when a lone King can stop pawns. All told, Cunnington examines 32 King and pawn endings, 35 Rook and pawn endings, 11 each for Bishop and Knight endings, and 21 examples involving Queens. Among the eleven text files there are chapters as follows:
Chapter 1: The Elements
Chapter 2: Kings and Pawns
Chapter 3: Kings, Queens, and Pawns
Chapter 4: Kings, Rooks, and Pawns
Chapter 5: Kings, Bishops, and Pawns
Chapter 6: Kings, Knights, and Pawns
If you want to improve at chess, then start with the endings - and Lessons in Pawn Play is a shortcut to better endgame play. Repeating Sawyer's excellent epigram, "Save time; study well; win more!"
You will need ChessBase 6.0 or higher, or Fritz (Komodo, Houdini, etc), or download the free ChessBase Reader here. Also: Pentium 1 GHz, 512 MB RAM, Windows 10, 9, Vista, or Windows XP (Service Pack 2)