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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Endgame Improvement (Read 36585 times)
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Endgame Improvement
10/29/07 at 08:27:11
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I am the absolute worst endgame player you've ever heard of, and I need your help! I'm a 1900 USCF adult player who has improved mostly by tactical problems. Over the past year I've really improved my opening play with the help of a chess coach and now feel pretty comfortable with that phase of the game. I love, love, love to attack and sac material and up until the last 6-12 months didn't really have to care that my endgame was rubbish (never got there  Roll Eyes ). Now I'm regularly getting into even endgames or endgames where  I have a definite (but not winning) advantage. Then I lose over and over and over. All those great books that end lines with "The rest is simply a matter of technique" might as well say "Feel free to resign now, as you'll never win these positions".

It's not a matter of being unfamiliar with endgame theory (at least what I understand to be necessary for my level). I've studied Silman, Just the Facts, Pandolfini's endgame book and bits and pieces of Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual. I'm perfectly happy to demonstrate K+N+B v K or any of the basic R+P v R positions or even more complicated rook endgames. I know these sorts of problems by heart. K+P endgames? Not a problem. Theoretically won or drawn positions that I can quiz myself on and practice vs fritz are not a problem at all. I can't claim to know all the nuances of these, but once I get to where I can calculate into one of these position, I rarely have a problem. My problem is the late (queenless) middle game to early endgame where I have to devise a plan to improve upon my position. So here's the plan I have devised. Let me know if there are major improvements that I can make:

1. Excelling at Technical Chess - I'm reading through this without a board to understand the main ideas and following the variations as well as I can blindfold.
2. Capa's Best Chess Endgins - Read once I've finished my first quick read through of Aagaard's book.
3. Chess Strategy by Shereshevsky - Carefully study after Capa's book.
4. Here I want to read through a good self-anotated book by an endgame master really paying attention to the endgame play (Rubinstein, Karpov, Korchnoi, Botvinnik maybe?)

Then decide where to go from here. Perhaps I'll have a good enough feel for the way to plan in the endgame that I'll be able to go back and learn more of the theoretical concepts. I'm about 2/3 thorugh Aagaard's book right now and I realize that I have failed frequently because I try to play the endgame the same way I play the middlegame. Apparently dynamics aren't nearly as important! Who knew?
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