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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win! (Read 1468 times)
TD
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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #17 - 12/28/20 at 14:55:10
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Giddins also has a paragraph on this subject, in Chapter 3. "He's a Lumberjack and he's OK".  Smiley

https://www.amazon.de/-/nl/dp/B007HAV2YY/ref=sr_1_14?__mk_nl_NL=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5...
  
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cathexis
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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #16 - 12/28/20 at 13:47:30
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Now that Family Xmas is over and the Relatives have Departed,

A little follow-up to this thread-

Having taken your criticism to heart, and having finally finished Ivashchenko's 1a & 1b, I stumbled on a book that really looks like the best answer to learning more about exchanging pieces: "Your Kingdom for my Horse," by Andrew Soltis. He addresses the potential dangers and novice bad habits you warned about while working through the why's and when-to's of piece exchange. I've only just received it, but it really looks like a great book and just the ticket. I am excited to work through it and have made it a goal to use it as a compliment of sorts to balance my studies with Blokh's, "Combinative Motifs." (Blokh looks tough, but no pain, no gain).
  
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cathexis
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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #15 - 12/13/20 at 12:52:47
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Thank you for taking the time to look at it. I agree. Seems that, "What to do?" is a pretty common issue for novices though. In other vids he does talk about how some of these assessments tend to get internalized with practice and experience.

Andrew
  
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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #14 - 12/13/20 at 11:31:03
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Hi Andrew,

the idea presented in the video is very much work and touching different topics at once. So I doubt it is appropriate for many people. Choosing a random position is a great idea.
  

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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #13 - 12/11/20 at 14:26:46
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Well,

As usual, I asked for feedback and I certainly got it! I would add I was surprised at the passionate replies this generated. But, I am always the first to say that forums are not for the faint of heart. I can certainly see how, if the middle game is a core part of the game, that trying to "skip it" into the endgame could leave a player vulnerable to being exploited for playing like this. Much advice and links to parse through, thanks!

I would be very curious what any of you would think of this approach to the middlegame by Stepan from the Hanging Pawns You-Tube channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGyC1eMEPJM

It certainly seems like a detailed and methodical approach which might be a better alternative to just exchanging like mad. 20 minutes long, but let me know your thoughts if you wish. I enjoy his manner.

My Best,
Andrew
  
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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #12 - 12/11/20 at 08:19:30
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cathexis wrote on 12/09/20 at 22:29:38:
Lately, I've begun to see some glimmers of success, whether playing white or black by doing this: Starting conservatively, 1.e4, 1...e5, etc., then begin vigorously, but not recklessly, exchanging pieces (especially if I can get up by even just a pawn, but minor piece preferred). The goal being to swap off into the endgame ASAP and then rely on my endgame skills to grab the win. We're only talking lower levels of Stockfish like 3 (I know Embarrassed). But, if I avoid blunders, it very often works. And my blunders have definitely begun to become less frequent. At least on this lower level, Stockfish is clearly over his head for once. But I'm not one to believe I found anything new! So I did want to ask the forum if this idea of, "exchange into the Endgame & win" has ever been the bread & butter of greater players? Can you recommend specific players (and/or specific games) that employed these ideas on higher levels? They might be very instructive and helpful. [Or maybe I am just a Patzer! Wink]

As Always, TIA!

Andrew

P.S. I've been debating whether to post this or not because Stockfish 3 probably sounds silly to you guys. But I watched a vid on the Historic Chess You-Tube channel yesterday of a Capa game where the channel owner specifically said it was a habit of Capablanca's to occasionally play just like this. So I decided to risk the embarrassment if it proved helpful.


Very interesting questions and a very thought provoking post. GM Eduard Rozentalis often aimed for Endgames early, his opening repertoire was tailored for it. Swedish GM Ulf Andersson also liked to get to the endgame, off the top of my head I can't really think of anymore Opening to Endgame players. 

If you like endgames might I suggest the Exchange Ruy Lopez  Wink https://www.chessable.com/the-smart-ruy-lopez-exchange-variation/course/48889/

Some players don't like their king being attacked early so they choose openings accordingly, while others encourage attacks on their King by provocative choices etc etc.

We all have our preferences, but it is useful if we all learn to be more universal players able to handle many scenarios competently.
  

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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #11 - 12/10/20 at 19:08:17
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Dink Heckler wrote on 12/10/20 at 17:16:36:
I agree with the tenor of most of the comments. On the other hand, looking at the number of times playing weaker players or juniors where I've sweated bullets for hours trying to manage the complications in a complex middlegame, only to inadvertently end up in a dry, prospectless ending - which I'd then win effortlessly in no time at all, does sway me that 'chopping wood as a playing style' does have its strong merits against the right opponents.

When I sit down against an "unknown", and get into a struggle early on, I always console myself with the thought there must me *some* reason they are not a GM. But you need to test them in all three phases of the game. Skipping straight to the endgame passes up two chances for them to show their true colors.

Probably the only time I would advocate a devil-may-care exchanging policy would be in a blitz *tournament*. Because it does save a lot of clock time and nervous energy.
  
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Confessions of a Wood Swapper
Reply #10 - 12/10/20 at 18:55:51
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I was an inveterate wood swapper (and resolver of tension) as a rising club player even where the trade resulted in a slight worsening of the position.  On the one hand, that made me a tenacious defender and I gained a lot of rating points by drawing against higher rated opponents or even winning when they over-pressed.  On the other hand, in retrospect, as mentioned by others, this held me back quite a bit and undoubtedly limited my potential improvement considerably.
  
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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #9 - 12/10/20 at 17:16:36
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I agree with the tenor of most of the comments. On the other hand, looking at the number of times playing weaker players or juniors where I've sweated bullets for hours trying to manage the complications in a complex middlegame, only to inadvertently end up in a dry, prospectless ending - which I'd then win effortlessly in no time at all, does sway me that 'chopping wood as a playing style' does have its strong merits against the right opponents.
  

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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #8 - 12/10/20 at 16:46:16
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I have strong thoughts on this. Basically it's a cheap and ineffective way to play chess.

I knew an experienced master who was a self-styled "endgame expert". He would play openings like in the Mednis book. But when preparing to play against him, I saw that he wasn't noticeably stronger in the endgame than in the opening or middlegame. By playing rather directly for endgames I think he was worsening his chances overall.

Correct chess should be played without style. You should play the move, or plan, that the position demands. Sometimes that's developing, or exchanging, or sacrificing, or prophylaxis, etc. There is a small place for psychology in this process, but Botvinnik was good at the psychology and most players (e.g. Fischer) are bad at it. Of course everybody *has* a style, but style is something innate that happens to your moves when you are trying to do something else.

When I know that my opponent has a policy of exchanging pieces, this is easily exploited. For example, I can is offer to "let" my opponent exchange pieces in a way that gives me a tempo, gain of space, control of a file, etc. Gary Lane calls it "predict-a-move". Of course if they don't exchange, that doesn't mean that I will. Exchanging-type players can't stand the tension for very long, sooner rather than later they will make the swap and give me my incremental improvement.
  
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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #7 - 12/10/20 at 13:07:31
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ReneDescartes is right.

When I was a youngster I had studied the pawn ending section of an introductory book. As I won many games by this I avoided tactics and suffer today still from the skill gaps I produced. Years of fighting it were only partly successful.

So - don't look at short term success, play complicated middlegames. Even if you lose some games. You will have more fun longterm.
  

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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #6 - 12/10/20 at 11:16:48
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According to Salov, he seems to have been disinvited to major tournaments after falling afoul of Kasparov. I can believe he offended some important people, then was little mourned by other players. And wow, looking at his paranoid rantings--anti-Semitic, crazy crazy.  But what's the deal with Lalic?
  
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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #5 - 12/10/20 at 07:46:39
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Also not to be confused with Ronnie Wood or Edward Woodward ('What do you call a man with 3 planks on his head?')

Gotta love:

1.d4 d6
2.c4 e5
3.de?! de
4.Qd8?! Kd8 =+

...and black coasts home.

Salov? Yeah, was very strong. K&K, then Yusupov and Salov iirc.
Pity what happened to Salov. Bonkers conspiracy theories. Sort you would get if there was a love child of David Icke and Bogdan Lalic. He vanished from chess.

  
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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #4 - 12/10/20 at 00:35:26
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The expression is "chop wood," not "swap wood."

Eagerness to exchange pieces is a classic weakness of style: if you develop the habit of going in for exchanges, it will seriously mess up your game. Euwe even devotes a section to this fault in his middlegame book.

Eagerness to exchange short-circuits the essential positional and strategic thinking process of assessing your pieces. In the opening, if you initiate an exchange, you very often give your opponent increased development or piece activity. And in every phase, it is very important actively to assess the current usefulness of your pieces, to keep the pieces that are most useful to you and exchange off the least useful while doing the opposite for your opponent. 

Exchanging to avoid tactics and attacks (which is what you are doing) is addictive because it will feel as if it's working: you're surviving longer in each game--you almost never lose in 18 moves, and you feel you at least made a fight out of each game. Meanwhile, your other skills atrophy. You become like a boxer who only knows how to clinch. The greatest endgame masters, however, were also amazing attackers.

So when do good players chop wood to enter an endgame? Among other times,

(1) When they know that their pawn structure, material advantage, bishop pair, king in the center, etc. will make their endgame objectively better than their middlegame.

(1a) When their king is under a dangerous attack.

(2) When they think certain opponents in certain match situations will perform better in the middlegame than in the endgame. But this is not what it appears. In the Botvinnik-Tal match 1961, for example, Botvinnik prepared openings to prevent Tal from getting open positions with lots of piece play. True, Botvinnik took some early queen exchanges, but Tal started avoiding them, at some cost--as Botvinnik knew he might. Botvinnik also  allowed Tal to grab pawns. As a result of all this, Botvinnik was able to tear Tal's head off with aggression in favorable middlegame positions, so that by the time an endgame came, it was a good one for Botvinnik.

(3) When they want to make an equal position clearly drawn by reducing it to a drawn endgame they know how to defend. This supposedly prevents the opponent from muddying the waters too much, but even for grandmasters, it's dangerous. Playing for the draw is often known as "playing for the loss."

(4) When they are endgame specialist club players who have studied and explored the endgame deeply. But you're not an endgame specialist because you lose middlegames--you've just been playing players or computers that are better than you. And you're certainly not an endgame specialist just because x computer program happens to be worse at endgames than middlegames. After you've studied some endgame books thoroughly and played lots of endgames against humans (refusing all draw offers), you might ask yourself whether you want to be an expert a this phase of the game.
« Last Edit: 12/10/20 at 15:48:10 by ReneDescartes »  
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Re: Swapping Wood into the Endgame - to win!
Reply #3 - 12/10/20 at 00:00:11
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Valeri Salov suddenly comes to mind as well: an incredibly strong player in the 90s whose public reputation was that of being a boring endgame player, willing to trade everything off and shuffle pieces for 100 moves--or for 162 moves, such as in this game: https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1120564.
  
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