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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Endgame Strategy for Beginners (Read 649 times)
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #8 - 03/01/19 at 19:08:51
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The best endgame book is the one you actually read.  Many well-intentioned hobbyists have a collection of endgame-themed shelf ornaments.  The thicker ones can find utility as doorstops, or if hollowed out can securely store valuables.

Perhaps you are the methodical type who prefers a structured textbook.  There are probably 100 good options, but the slim volumes in this category that I personally know and can recommend are Essential Knowledge by Averbakh and Improve Your Endgame Play by Glenn Flear.
Perhaps you are more intuitive and you want entertainment value and "chess culture".  If so, I can recommend Capablanca's Best Endings by Irving Chernev.

The Capablanca book will cover more "strategy" while Averbakh or Flear will cover more theory/technic.

It does not matter much which book you select; it matters that you feel motivated to work thru it.
  

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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #7 - 03/01/19 at 11:38:21
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They're not books, obviously, but Karsten Muller's series of 14 endgame DVDs for ChessBase are excellent, in my opinion. A lot of them deal with specific material distributions (Rook vs Bishop or Rook vs Knight, for example), but there are also several exploring more general themes (Golden Guidelines of Endgame Play or Strategical Endgames, for instance), which might be more appropriate for the OP's requirements. His teaching style, involving continual repetition of ideas and principles throughout a DVD - indeed throughout the entire series of DVDs - might not be to everyone's taste, but I found it engaging and effective.
  
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Stigma
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #6 - 03/01/19 at 00:30:54
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The books dfan mentions are good too. I have Hellsten's book but haven't started it yet, so I hope there's still something to learn in there for me even though I'm well past the beginner stage!

I also have Concise Chess Endings by veteran ChessPublishing columnist Neil McDonald on my shelf. It's a small but thick book which manages to cover many of the most important endgame strategies (plus a bit of technical theory) despite its small size.
  

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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #5 - 03/01/19 at 00:06:04
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RdC wrote on 02/28/19 at 10:20:52:
Stigma wrote on 02/28/19 at 03:01:21:
I always suggest Grandmaster Secrets: Endings by Andrew Soltis. It was the first real endgame book I read all the way through. It's written in an unusual "socractic dialogue" format with lots of humor, and focuses more on thinking methods than concrete theory.



Is that the one where he suggests that a very good approach to King and Pawn endings is not to play them if possible? His point being that if for example you miscalculate a winning Rook and Pawn ending, you may well be able to recover to at least a draw. A miscalculation in a King and Pawn ending can be fatal.


Yes, it's that book. His exact words are, in one of the "Three Commandments of GM Tall:"

Quote:
Thou Shalt Not Trade Down to K+P Unless You Can Safely Bet Your First-Born Child on the Result.

That's good advice for beginners, who often trade off "equal" pieces without much thought and don't realize how final the decision to trade down to a pawn endgame is.

Other high points of the book are the chapter on "mismatches", Soltis' term for the important idea of creating local superiority on one part of the board, even at the cost of going material down globally, and the chapter on queen endings, where we learn that there are two kinds if we're trying to win: Those where our king can find shelter from checks and can stay back and let the queen do the job, and those where it can't and has to come out and join the action.

The book has been criticized for a few analytical errors, for instance in a review here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2IT7JDLM6R8F8/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_t...
John Watson also pointed out a wrong evaluation in a well-known theoretical rook ending in his review. A 2nd edition was published a couple of years later, but I don't know if these errors were fixed there.

The errors are nice to know about (and I guess it's a good idea with many Soltis book to double-check his analysis with an engine or tablebase), but I don't think they should deter anyone from learning the concepts in the book.
« Last Edit: 03/01/19 at 01:35:35 by Stigma »  

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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #4 - 02/28/19 at 23:35:00
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RdC wrote on 02/28/19 at 10:20:52:
Is that the one where he suggests that a very good approach to King and Pawn endings is not to play them if possible? His point being that if for example you miscalculate a winning Rook and Pawn ending, you may well be able to recover to at least a draw. A miscalculation in a King and Pawn ending can be fatal.


If you get to a King and Prawn endgame, it is likely you have very little time left, probably both players surviving purely on the increment (or if there is no increment then honestly calculation probably would not help much there anyway  Cheesy) then both sides would make mistakes and you could also get a win from a losing position as well, especially with passed pawns involved...
  
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #3 - 02/28/19 at 10:20:52
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Stigma wrote on 02/28/19 at 03:01:21:
I always suggest Grandmaster Secrets: Endings by Andrew Soltis. It was the first real endgame book I read all the way through. It's written in an unusual "socractic dialogue" format with lots of humor, and focuses more on thinking methods than concrete theory.



Is that the one where he suggests that a very good approach to King and Pawn endings is not to play them if possible? His point being that if for example you miscalculate a winning Rook and Pawn ending, you may well be able to recover to at least a draw. A miscalculation in a King and Pawn ending can be fatal.
  
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #2 - 02/28/19 at 03:11:06
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The book that finally gave me real confidence that I knew what I was doing in the endgame was Hellsten's Mastering Endgame Strategy. It might be a bit challenging for a beginner but honestly so would any of the other books listed here.

Note that if you are not familiar with basic theoretical endgames yet you really need to get familiar with those too, as a lot of endgame strategy ultimately consists of getting to a winning theoretical endgame. I am not a huge fan of Jeremy Silman in general but Silman's Complete Endgame Course is great for beginners and intermediates, largely because he orders his topics by what you need to know at each rating level, not like a dictionary like pretty much other endgame book.
  
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #1 - 02/28/19 at 03:01:21
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I always suggest Grandmaster Secrets: Endings by Andrew Soltis. It was the first real endgame book I read all the way through. It's written in an unusual "socractic dialogue" format with lots of humor, and focuses more on thinking methods than concrete theory.

You could add the short book A Practical Guide to Rook Endgames by Nikolay Minev - it has some good sections on typical tactical and strategic themes. Only in rook endings of course, but they are the most common type of ending.

After that there are other endgame strategy books that could fit on a post-beginner/intermediate level:

Speelman: Endgame Preparation (though occasionally he goes overboard with some crazy chess problems and a difficult chapter on the Theory of corresponding squares - those parts can be skipped)

Soltis: Turning Advantage into Victory in Chess
Mednis: From the Middlegame into the Endgame


... and eventually more advanced books like the classic
Shereshevsky: Endgame Strategy
  

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Endgame Strategy for Beginners
02/28/19 at 01:37:59
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My biggest weakness right now is coming up with a strategy and finding common ideas like invading with my king and exploiting weaknesses in the endgame. What are some good endgame strategy books for aspiring players? Dvoretsky has good books but I'm sure they're far too hard for me and wouldn't make that large of an impact.
  
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