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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Endgame Strategy for Beginners (Read 1291 times)
RoleyPoley
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #23 - 03/19/19 at 22:28:10
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Jupp53 wrote on 03/19/19 at 21:25:52:
TN wrote on 03/19/19 at 13:31:24:
I would agree that 'Silman Complete Endgame Course' is not the best endgame book for 1900+ players, who are ready to digest more detailed and specific information for endgame theory, technique and practice. However, the initial question was on endgame strategy for beginners, and at the beginner level I think the most important thing is to make sure you know what is relevant at your level, and focus the most time on the aspects that will mostly influence your results.

If I'm being honest, endgame strategy beyond the basic checkmates (including, avoiding back rank mate) probably isn't in the top 10 most important things for beginners to work on. Maybe my definition of beginners varies somewhat compared to the OP's, which may explain the broad range of perspectives.


A beginner knowing pawn and rook endings will make many points by this if he has reached the status of seeing simply hanging pieces.

Seirawan's book is simple and good for beginners, giving a lot of verbal explanations without overdoing this like Silman. Cheaper and prbably much better, if I read the posts in this topic correctly!


I think Seirawan's endgame book is a good shout. Really easy to read and understand. Not as large as the Silman book either, if that matters to someone.

The discussion in this thread about Amateur's mind has made me dig my copy out. Having flicked through it last night, I may actually read it.
  

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Jupp53
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #22 - 03/19/19 at 21:50:12
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Stigma wrote on 03/19/19 at 21:48:24:
By Seirawan's book you mean Winning Chess Endings i guess?

Indeed.
  

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Stigma
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #21 - 03/19/19 at 21:48:24
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Jupp53 wrote on 03/19/19 at 21:25:52:
A beginner knowing pawn and rook endings will make many points by this if he has reached the status of seeing simply hanging pieces.

Seirawan's book is simple and good for beginners, giving a lot of verbal explanations without overdoing this like Silman. Cheaper and prbably much better, if I read the posts in this topic correctly!

By Seirawan's book you mean Winning Chess Endings, I guess?

I was going to comment on the irony that Silman actually co-wrote a lot of Seirawan's Winning Chess series, but I checked and Silman is not credited on the endgame book.

I know many people dislike Silman's verbose writing style, but I actually enjoy it. I prefer his rants to Lakdawala's, for instance. Silman's humorous asides and stories usually are connected to the chess struggle, they're not just random trains of thought.
  

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Jupp53
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #20 - 03/19/19 at 21:25:52
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TN wrote on 03/19/19 at 13:31:24:
I would agree that 'Silman Complete Endgame Course' is not the best endgame book for 1900+ players, who are ready to digest more detailed and specific information for endgame theory, technique and practice. However, the initial question was on endgame strategy for beginners, and at the beginner level I think the most important thing is to make sure you know what is relevant at your level, and focus the most time on the aspects that will mostly influence your results.

If I'm being honest, endgame strategy beyond the basic checkmates (including, avoiding back rank mate) probably isn't in the top 10 most important things for beginners to work on. Maybe my definition of beginners varies somewhat compared to the OP's, which may explain the broad range of perspectives.


A beginner knowing pawn and rook endings will make many points by this if he has reached the status of seeing simply hanging pieces.

Seirawan's book is simple and good for beginners, giving a lot of verbal explanations without overdoing this like Silman. Cheaper and prbably much better, if I read the posts in this topic correctly!
  

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Dum spiro spero. Smiley
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TN
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #19 - 03/19/19 at 13:33:01
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PS OK, you can add the basic pawn endgames as well - King and Pawn vs. King, and  Lucena and Philidor if they have started playing adult tournaments. The rest after that is useful, but not essential.
  

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TN
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #18 - 03/19/19 at 13:31:24
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I would agree that 'Silman Complete Endgame Course' is not the best endgame book for 1900+ players, who are ready to digest more detailed and specific information for endgame theory, technique and practice. However, the initial question was on endgame strategy for beginners, and at the beginner level I think the most important thing is to make sure you know what is relevant at your level, and focus the most time on the aspects that will mostly influence your results.

If I'm being honest, endgame strategy beyond the basic checkmates (including, avoiding back rank mate) probably isn't in the top 10 most important things for beginners to work on. Maybe my definition of beginners varies somewhat compared to the OP's, which may explain the broad range of perspectives.
  

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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #17 - 03/18/19 at 20:02:04
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I wasn't sold on The Amateur's Mind either. The idea is actually a good one: Give the same positions to players on different levels, get them to think out loud while they play them out, and compare.

But I think Silman made one big mistake: He put the examples of "correct" play (GM/master level; the original game the position was taken from) first. It would be much more instructive to start with the weakest players and follow their thoughts without already knowing the "solution", then moving gradually upward to better and better chess. And more instructive still to try to solve each position before seeing how other players approached it.

Jacob Aagaard's Inside the Chess Mind is a better execution of the same idea, with better insight into how players actually think. He explicitly advises solving the positions yourself first, and then presents the attempts of his test subjects (from beginner to strong GM) ordered roughly by how good each attempt was. Though Aagaard's 10 test positions are on average a lot more tactical than those in The Amateur's Mind.
  

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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #16 - 03/18/19 at 19:30:54
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I am a great fan of Lars Bo Hansen's four books for Gambit, so I recommend his Secrets of Chess Endgame Strategy. I also like How to Play Chess Endgames by Karsten Muller and Wolfgang Pajeken.
  
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #15 - 03/18/19 at 18:22:01
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I liked Silman's Reassess your Chess. After reading it, I found that i played some of my best chess at a couple of tournaments despite having had a break from competitive chess for about 2 years on both occassions.

I tried to read the Amateur's mind but didnt really get into it. I've flicked through his endgame book and have it on my shelf. I think it reads well, and if i wasnt too lazy would very much enjoy studying it.
  

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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #14 - 03/18/19 at 18:13:24
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Jupp53 wrote on 03/18/19 at 17:25:14:
Are the Endgame Course and The amateur's mind of equal style and quality?

They are of equal style, which happens to be a style I don't like a lot - very chatty with a lot of emotional content I could do without.

The actual content is much the same as a lot of other fundamental chess endgame books, with the differences that 1) there's less of it (despite the book being physically large) and 2) it is ordered by difficulty rather than by subject. I think the second one by itself makes it much more suitable to beginners than most other similar books. So many times I've seen a 1500 poring through Dvoretsky (and I shouldn't do it myself as a 2000!) when they could be learning material they could actually retain and use. The syllabus of Silman's book makes it worthwhile just by itself, in my opinion. There are other opinions, too, of course, such as:

Quote:
In this case I would recommend to keep your hands off the book, if you really want to learn something.

OK, the original poster now has an additional review to consider. Smiley
  
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #13 - 03/18/19 at 17:25:14
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This topic is a little off track in some answers.

One should separate basic endgame knowledge and strategical endgame knowledge without forgetting they are interconnected. About strategy I'd stick to Stigma and dfan with their hints with one question.

I've read Silman - The amateur's mind, german translation, 2nd edition 2008. There were 13 examples worth taking the board and stones out and the explanations were out of hand. Many words, few content, bad examples repeated again and again. Compared to Grooten's excellent book I would only recommend it to someone who doesn't want to work, but read before sleeping and getting some basic information. I haven't read his endgame book. But the book I read is enthusiastic recommended again and again, like the Endgame course. Are the Endgame Course and The amateur's mind of equal style and quality? In this case I would recommend to keep your hands off the book, if you really want to learn something.
  

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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #12 - 03/17/19 at 08:51:26
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My recommendation would go to 'Silman's Complete Endgame Course' for the explanations of the ideas behind the theoretical positions, as well as the actual endgame thinking. I would question how relevant endgame strategy is for beginning players, but that is another topic altogether.
  

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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #11 - 03/02/19 at 01:15:29
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 03/01/19 at 23:37:45:
I really like Fine's BCE, probably because I actually read it, carefully.


Ah, you and Robert Byrne -- who took about three months to read it at age 16 (finding half a dozen errors).  Much later he still spoke highly of the book.
  
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #10 - 03/01/19 at 23:37:45
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katar wrote on 03/01/19 at 19:08:51:
The best endgame book is the one you actually read.  ...
Best comment since quite a while. I really like Fine's BCE, probably because I actually read it, carefully.
  
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Re: Endgame Strategy for Beginners
Reply #9 - 03/01/19 at 19:26:02
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katar wrote on 03/01/19 at 19:08:51:
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.


Thanks, I also realized that I have to pick one and stick with it so I’m sticking with Hellsten's book
  
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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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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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