Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Endgame Stuff Part 7

I think that endgame problems build calculation and visualization "muscle", and are valuable as that. Even if those exact positions are never reached by us class players, it typically demands for longer calculations than opening and middlegame problems.

Although I have little time for anything other than tactics, the recent posts of other Knights have spurred me to post a draft of my endgame problem collection approach.

Rather than looking at specific material vs material situation, I have been looking for problems with multiple themes. Here is my working endgame theme list:

To me, these are just like what forks, pins, and skewers are in combinations. Interestingly, some of the most basic endgame problems involve multiple elements.

The Saavedra position (note: it's the second position from the top) is a good example of what I was looking for in endgame problems, and I would include this an a 7 circles collection in the future. It has multiple endgame elements and multiple tactical threats to boot: a King at the edge, a King not needing to ferry a passed pawn, a restricted King (at move 4 on), stalemate threat, underpromotion, pin threats, skewer threat, double attack, and mate threats.

(Arguably if you find yourself in the Saavedra position as Black against a strong endgame player, 1...Rd6+ would be a mistake. In my opinion, something desperate like 1...Kb2 holds out longer in a Queen v. Rook situation, probably giving a 1% chance of a draw rather than 0%.)

My original idea was to get a collection of 30-40 endgame problems and do 7 circles with them, but I already opted to do that with the endgame section of Heisman's Looking for Trouble. Maybe after doing several circles on TCT I will get back to looking into more endgame problems.


Completed step 3 of TCT - it's getting harder!

TCT Circle
Result step 1: Average score 97 %
Result step 2: Average score 93 %
Result step 3: Average score 93 %

STILL in circle 2 of problems 204-218

I have pandolfini endgame course book which would be good for 7 circle you might find interesting. Osmitz website also has a pgn file on this. I am thinking about going through this after my intial tactic sets
You are right about visualization in the endgame. First you see a lot of empty fields. After some training you start to see that the board isn't empty at all. You see patterns, squares, diagonals you can't pass etc..

Your idea of a toolkit with tools special for the endgame is right. It's quite comparable with the toolkit you need for the middlegame. And I'm sure you are right about it that it can be trained in the same DLM-way.

My main problem in endgames is that I lack the knowledge which positions are drawn or won/lost.
I studied 5 hours on the same position. Then it dawned on me that normal this position would be a draw. But in this very, very, very special occasion it was possible to win because of a subtle fact. Well, what took me 5 hours, could have taken me 1 second if I had the knowledge.
But because endgameproblems often handle about those very, very rare exceptions, it's difficult to get the mainstream idea's out of them.

But I am sure that once digging in it, I'll become addicted to endgames (about the same addiction you seem to beam). But I realize a serious training will take another two years. Right now I'm only preparing and collecting the trainingmaterial,
so Takchess,
where can I find the website of Osmitz?
I do like endgame problems. It's like a logic puzzle with a specific answer, as compared to getting a slight advantage in the opening or middlegame.

It's conceivable that one could take the Euwe endgame book and simply memorize what was winning/drawn/lost for what color. That would be alot of work though.
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