In my review of ENDGAME VIRTUOSO ANATOLY KARPOV, I pointed out that endgame books came in five categories:
1) Encyclopedic (BASIC CHESS ENDINGS, FUNDAMENTAL CHESS ENDINGS, and even DVORETSKY’S ENDGAME MANUAL were part of this group).
2) Entertaining (VAN PERLO’S ENDGAME TACTICS)
3) Scientific (FINAL COUNTDOWN)
4) Instructive (ENDGAME STRATEGY, SILMAN’S COMPLETE ENDGAME COURSE, the STARTING OUT series, etc.)
5) Hero Worship (VASILY SMYSLOV: ENDGAME VIRTUOSO, CAPABLANCA’S BEST CHESS ENDINGS, and ENDGAME VIRTUOSO ANATOLY KAPPOV).
Clearly, VAN PERLO’S ENDGAME TACTICS falls under the second category. The positions that appear are fun, at times even shocking (it’s magic!), and are often accompanied by humorous prose that can easily put a smile on your face.
It’s important to mention that VAN PERLO’S ENDGAME TACTICS won the biggest award in the world for chess books: The ECF Book of the Year Award (it used to be called the British Chess Federation Book of the Year Award/BCF, but apparently they just changed it). In 2006 Van Perlo beat out both Kasparov (MY GREAT PREDECESSORS V) and Rowson (CHESS FOR ZEBRAS). That’s stiff competition, and is all the more surprising since endgame books usually don’t get the nod. Clearly, VAN PERLO’S ENDGAME TACTICS is something special!
Aside from its entertainment value, VAN PERLO’S ENDGAME TACTICS also gives you an interesting kind of instructive bang for your buck. Though you might know of all the basic tactical themes from your middlegame studies, the endgame offers up some odd tactical ideas that only apply in this final phase of the game (pawn promotions, strange King jigs, etc.). Thus, going over the examples from this book will prove to be quite instructive, while also being lots of fun.
Ger Van Perlo died in 2010. However, an odd thing happened. I’ll quote the NIC website: “By chance, in 2013 publisher New In Chess discovered a previously unnoticed and unpublished extra batch of endgame tactics collected by the legendary Dutch correspondence grandmaster” [Van Perlo]. As a result, the book has gone from 480 pages to 608, and is even better than the original 2006 award winner.
Highly recommended for players from 1200 to grandmaster.