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Rook Endgames by Ron W. Henley

Rook Endgames by Ron W. Henley

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GM Ron W. Henley is an American Grandmaster best known for his role as second, analyst and trainer for former World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov in several matches in the 1990s! As Ron puts it: “Rooks are the last pieces to come out and develop, so it's easy to see why more than 50% of the endings in a chess game are rook endings. Rook endings should be mastered by any chess player who wants to improve their game and their results”. In this elegantly crafted video series, you will be guided on a journey to Rook endgame excellence. The video series is divided into 14 videos.




Videos 1 and 2 cover the essential tactics and themes that arise in Rook endgames. These include: Blocking, Deflecting, Rank Cut, Bridge Building, Zugzwang, Triangulation, Boxing-in, Desperado and Fortress. Ron gracefully explains each concept with clear cut written definitions for each tactic, and then proceeds to give real examples of each and how they apply to rook endgames.

Videos 3, 4, 5 and 6 cover the essential strategic themes of Rook Endings. These include: Active King, Delayed Gratification, Active Rook, and Three Rook placements: in front of the pawn, side of the pawn, behind the pawn (Tarrasch’s rule), Exceptions to the rule. 

Videos 7 and 8 cover Endgame Transition: when to liquidate your pieces into an advantageous rook ending. But not only that, when to transition into a rook endgame to save your game! Next, GM Henley covers the next step in transition: that is, when in a rook ending should you liquidate into a winning pawn ending.

Video 9 covers pawn structure. Here, the key concepts covered are how pawn structure affects how you should play Rook endings. Concepts include passed pawns, weak pawns and pawns for counter play. 

Video 10 covers pawn sacrifices. Ron explains the main reasons you’d want to sacrifice pawns, either to activate your rook for offense when you have a superior position or for defensive reasons, to gain counter play.  In total Ron offers 7 rules for when to sacrifice a pawn. A must view!

Video 11 continues to cover pawn sacrifices in rook endgames, but now with the goal of creating a mating net or mating attack. 

Videos 12, 13 and 14 cover piece coordination, converting a material advantage. As well as Probing; the strategic concept of attacking enemy pawns to create weaknesses in the opponent’s position.  Finally, Ron covers how to convert a material advantage into a win. 

In all the videos, Ron takes the utmost care in bringing up and using the most instructive rook endgames ever played. Historical games by the likes of Capablanca, Rubenstein, Botvinnik and Fischer. Modern masterpieces by Kramnik, Polgar, Magnus and simpler games from his own students played on the ICC.

Here are a few sample games used:

  • Wesley So - Mamedov, Gashimov Memorial 2015 
  • Fischer - Spassky, WC Match G16 1972 
  • Korchnoi – Karpov, Candidates M 1974 
  • Steinitz – Gunsberg, New York 1890 
  • Portisch – Petrosian, Candidates M 1974 
  • Alekhine-Bogoljubow, Weisbaden 1929 
  • Keres – Mikenas, 1937 
  • Grischuk – Anand, WC Mexico City 2008
  • Botvinnik-Levenfish, Leningrad 1937
  • Em Lasker – Rubinstein, St Petersburg 1914 
  • Capablanca – Marshall, St. Petersburg 1914 
  • Nakamura – Krush, World Open 2005 
  • Capablanca – Tartakower, New York 1924

         About GM Ron Henley

GM Ron W. Henley is an American Grandmaster best known for his role as second, analyst and trainer for former World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov in several matches in the 1990s.  He has also served as a chess trainer and promoter of leading young women chess players, including Three Time US Women's Chess Champion Irina Krush.  In coordination with the ICC, Ron has recorded a superb 14-video collection on the all-important Rook Endings. Working side by side with an endgame artist like Anatoly Karpov clearly shows in these videos.  Ron shines with his excellent preparation on each topic, his thoughtful picking of games, and the simple yet effective way he teaches you the secrets of rook endgame play. Just like a vintage Capablanca endgame, you’ll be impressed on how Ron makes everything so easy and simple to comprehend.

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Clear and helpful. Review by Birchbark
I had not previously looked at any of Ron Henley's material. I found these videos to be thorough and well explained. (Posted on May 23, 2020)
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Perfect to learn Rook endings without dying in the attempt Review by appian
It is a very well structured presentation of the main the concepts, tactics motifs and strategy
The examples selected are excellent, the explanations are crystal clear and direct to the point
Old technology but the quality of the material worth it, is not easy to find and Endgame lecture that is not boring
Level from Beginner to strong Club player
(Posted on August 13, 2019)
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Very clearly explained. Review by dragonninja99
The videos are beneficial for all levels of players. Once a while, my little one told me, "I saw this variation at GM Ron's videos." (Posted on July 31, 2019)
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top Review by theex
Very well explained with overview and resume! (Posted on August 5, 2018)
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Excellent Review by smudgethelion
Only read the first two chapters, but they are excellent. Some stuff is basic, but there is a nice overlap in themes between chapters 1-2. It’s a very good help for those who haven’t studied rook endgames very much. (Posted on January 8, 2018)
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Excellent product Review by mrwizard
It's amazing how GM Henley has broken down a complicated ending like a rook ending and explained clearly with several 'relevant' examples rather than positions that never occur. Thank you for such a nice lesson. (Posted on January 2, 2018)
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Very good and many hours for the money Review by colle57
As normal by GM Henley one gets a lot of material to work throu. (Posted on August 30, 2017)
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Very Clear Review by TwoEqualsOne
GM Henley has a very clear and engaging method of delivery. I find myself now thinking of his videos every time I am in a rook ending. Very thought provoking. (Posted on August 18, 2017)
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Very helpful Review by mpgs56
The conent really help me to improve performance in rook endings (Posted on July 26, 2017)
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A must for players of all levels! Review by terminator
Even if you're a strong tactical player, you will need to watch this video series in order to convert that crucial point should you find yourself in even a basic endgame scenario. GM Henley outlines all the basic concepts and techniques in a clear and concise manner. (Posted on May 17, 2017)
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