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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Rook endings, Mednis or Emms? (Read 12488 times)
passiffity
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Re: Rook endings, Mednis or Emms?
Reply #10 - 08/29/17 at 04:50:55
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ErictheRed wrote on 08/29/17 at 02:49:38:
You're already working through four books; why not finish them and then decide what to work on next?  By then, you may be able to answer these questions on your own.

You may be right.  Had a pretty good idea coming in what I needed, and thanks to the thoughtful responses here now have an even better understanding of what material I should spend time with. 

Thanks again all!  Will report back how things progressed, perhaps it would be helpful to someone beginning a similar course.
  
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Re: Rook endings, Mednis or Emms?
Reply #9 - 08/29/17 at 04:27:02
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 08/29/17 at 00:40:50:
What IsaVulpes wrote is correct as far as it goes, but is not the whole story.
  • Some openings give rise to typical endgames, so studying those endgames will improve your opening play.
  • A solid endgame ability will improve one's confidence in nearly any middlegame. After all, the objective of a well-played middlegame is to reach a won ending. Even a player faced with a "mating attack" can often reach an endgame by shedding more or less material. So whether one is attacking or defending, endgame skill is useful.
  • Endgames teach tactics! Endgame studies are especially good for teaching tactical imagination.

I don't think your endgame study plan is overkill at all. In fact I would add a book on studies. A couple of good ones that should be available are:
  • Jeno Ban, The Tactics of End-games - a real eye-opener for tactics.
  • Sutherland & Lommer, 1234 Modern End-game Studies - just doing the pawn endings will keep you busy for a long time.
There are others.

Thank you for sharing these ideas.  Some of the ones you mention are part of the reason am eager for a well rounded endgame education.

Had planned on taking advantage of chesstempo's endgame studies after completing my first endgame book (Seirawan) but am always interested in knowing about more books for my level and hadn't heard of the ones you mention here, will look definitely into them.
  
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Re: Rook endings, Mednis or Emms?
Reply #8 - 08/29/17 at 02:49:38
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You're already working through four books; why not finish them and then decide what to work on next?  By then, you may be able to answer these questions on your own.
  
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Re: Rook endings, Mednis or Emms?
Reply #7 - 08/29/17 at 00:40:50
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What IsaVulpes wrote is correct as far as it goes, but is not the whole story.
  • Some openings give rise to typical endgames, so studying those endgames will improve your opening play.
  • A solid endgame ability will improve one's confidence in nearly any middlegame. After all, the objective of a well-played middlegame is to reach a won ending. Even a player faced with a "mating attack" can often reach an endgame by shedding more or less material. So whether one is attacking or defending, endgame skill is useful.
  • Endgames teach tactics! Endgame studies are especially good for teaching tactical imagination.

I don't think your endgame study plan is overkill at all. In fact I would add a book on studies. A couple of good ones that should be available are:
  • Jeno Ban, The Tactics of End-games - a real eye-opener for tactics.
  • Sutherland & Lommer, 1234 Modern End-game Studies - just doing the pawn endings will keep you busy for a long time.
There are others.
  
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passiffity
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Re: Rook endings, Mednis or Emms?
Reply #6 - 08/28/17 at 22:40:59
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Thanks IsaVulpes, these are interesting points you make, and they make sense to me so don't doubt them. 

The thing is (and perhaps this is misguided) I already spend much if not most of my study time solving tactics or going over master games trying to decipher middle game plans (take in the tactical shots that always arise) and do try to review my games as much as possible (am allergic to opening study) so, if there is one other thing to add to my studies it's endgames and indeed chess endings are a part of the game I enjoy and find quite fascinating.  To tell the truth, have romanticized the idea of working to become strong (for my level) at this part of the game and from many things I've read, thought this would be very useful even for 4th or 3rd category players.  But from what you explain it seems such study definitely has it's limits in utility even at 2nd category. 

This is a little disappointing, but good to know now before investing a lot of time working on something when efforts could be better spent to help give me a greater understanding of chess and increase my enjoyment, competence and competitiveness at this amazing sport.  Would definitely appreciate hearing more on the amount of endgame study useful for category players.  If am understanding the responses so far it sounds like even the three books Seirawan, Silman and Averbakh might be a little overkill and anything beyond these would mostly be for the pleasure of perusing endgames themselves.
« Last Edit: 08/29/17 at 04:31:59 by passiffity »  
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Re: Rook endings, Mednis or Emms?
Reply #5 - 08/28/17 at 20:33:34
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If you truly don't think you will ever reach 1800 (whyever that would be), I think this is already way too much material; let alone do you need more.
I'm at that level, and I know basic pawn endings (KP vs K, "The outside passer wins", "Connected Passers are god"), to put Rooks on the 7th, that King+Bishop+Pawn vs King is draw if its a wrong coloured promotion square and a rook pawn, how to win Queen vs King+PawnOnThe7th -- and that's about it.

I barely ever reach endgames in the first place (or if, then ones where I'm 3 pawns up or a piece down or somesuch, where knowing endgames or not doesn't really change the outcome of the game), so even those few things I know don't tend to come into play too often -- and outside of Rapid/Blitz, it's generally possible to calculate your way around to a decent continuation.
 
Depending on your opening repertoire, general playstyle, etc that may be different for you, but the general gist stays the same - getting some opening knowledge, positional understanding, and tactics tactics tactics is wayyyy more important than any kind of theoretical (or practical) endgame knowledge IMO; as those things will actually be useful in every game, while endgames you may practice for endless hours and then never reach.

Endgames become important when you (and your opponents) actually make so few errors in the earlier parts of the game that you regularly reach them, AND your opponents actually know enough about them that you need to keep pace (ie if you don't know how to draw KR vs KRP, but your opponents also don't know how to win KRP vs KR, the lack of knowledge doesn't really hurt you); which from my experience isn't the case until a good bit beyond 2000+.
  
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Re: Rook endings, Mednis or Emms?
Reply #4 - 08/28/17 at 20:21:57
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Paddy wrote on 08/28/17 at 19:25:16:
I think Mednis's little book is still a very good place to start exploring the topic of rook endings.

The theory part is digestible, the explanations are good and there are many practical examples of how to apply the theory.

If you can find a copy at a decent price, buy it! - it's a little gem.

Yes, this is another reason wanted to address this now, while it appears the Mednis book is out of print one can still find used copies for under $30 (don't know if that would be true in the time it takes to work through the general endgame books already mentioned). Thank you Paddy.

One other thing am curious about is how much additional material would be adding to that already covered in those general endgame books.  For example would it worth acquiring both Mednis and Emms (or perhaps just Mednis and some other book).
  
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Re: Rook endings, Mednis or Emms?
Reply #3 - 08/28/17 at 19:25:16
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I think Mednis's little book is still a very good place to start exploring the topic of rook endings.

The theory part is digestible, the explanations are good and there are many practical examples of how to apply the theory.

If you can find a copy at a decent price, buy it! - it's a little gem.
  
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Re: Rook endings, Mednis or Emms?
Reply #2 - 08/28/17 at 16:43:23
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Thanks dfan!  Wasn't sure about the level of "Rate Your Endgame" but remember reading that it was a bit easier material to work with then Shereshevsky's "Endgame Strategy." Read a couple reviews on the Hellsten book just now and it also seems geared for fairly high level readers. 

Will probably hold off on endgame strategy books.  Focusing on Seirawn, Silman and Averbakh until feel a certain level of competence with the material they present. 
The rook endgame books weren't meant to be tackled until after I'd done that anyway.

Know there is some material on rook endings in the Seirawan and Silman books as I have these two but have not yet ordered the Averbakh and De La Villa books so don't now what they hold in the way of these type of endings.  Even though a rook endgame book is awhile down the road in my studies I like to look in advance at what will come next and thought that some book on rook endings would surely be recommended with how common these are.
   
  
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Re: Rook endings, Mednis or Emms?
Reply #1 - 08/28/17 at 13:34:17
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For people under 1800, my suggestion is just to read Silman up to the chapter at your level or one more. If you read a more reference-like work (e.g., de la Villa), you will be fooled into thinking that you acquired useful knowledge, but you probably won't retain it, you probably won't be able to execute it perfectly even if you do recall it, and you'll rarely get into positions where it's relevant anyway. I have plenty of issues with Silman's style in general, but just the fact that his book is organized by difficulty rather than by topic makes it the best choice for someone in your situation.

I don't think there's any harm in reading through Averbakh fairly quickly just to get a sense of the topics, but I wouldn't study it closely. Rate Your Endgame is a fantastic book, but it's about practical rather than theoretical endgames, and it would be pretty difficult for you right now. I recall the Emms book as being pretty good, but I doubt it's the best use of your studying resources right now.

If you want a book on practical endgame strategy, I highly recommend Hellsten's Mastering Endgame Strategy, which is what finally made me feel I had a clue about devising and pursuing a plan in the endgame.
  
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Rook endings, Mednis or Emms?
08/28/17 at 01:45:25
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Have read up this topic as much as possible here and elsewhere, Mednis "Practical Rook Endings" or Emms "The Survival Guide to Rook Endings" would seem to be the best way to go for me with the former holding a bit more appeal. 

Am in the process of reading Seirawan "Winning Chess Endings" and will then move onto:
1. Averbakh "Chess Endinds Essential knowledge"
2. "Silman's Complete Endgame Course"
3. De La Villa "100 Endgames You Must Know" and
4. Mednis "Rate Your Endgame"

Am aware that there will be a bit of overlap/repetition here but I'll need it to help absorb and retain this information, and all these books are pretty highly praised.  Here is my question, after having read these books and being a player who will likely never reach beyond FIDE/USCF 1800 (if can even attain those lofty heights) what would you recommed for beginning more focused study of rook endings? 

Please keep in mind am someone who will need a bit of hand holding and spoon feeding to get the most out of studies so books like FCE or DEM aren't likely to serve me all that well if I've interpreted what have read about them correctly.
  
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