Wednesday, 15 August 2007

End game weaknesses

I've identified the endgame as the major weakness of my game at this point. I played four 15mins games last night in a pairs competition at Spondon Chess club. I won the first when my opponent, Malcolm Somers, thought his rook was defended by a pawn, but the pawn was pinned to his king by my bishop. So just took it, and managed to force mate later in the game.

Second game I played Philip Sheldon for the first time. It came down to an evenish pawns and kings endgame, but he broke through and queened a pawn. But after speaking to people afterwards, I could have defended his break-throughs with my king and broke through myself. But I just didn't see or understand it.

Third I played against Mick Orridge, and was a few pawns ahead, but he launched an attack on the king, and I didn't defend correctly, mainly because I didn't know how to.

Fourth game was another first against Sally McIntosh, got down to another very even rook and bishop endgame, but I didn't know what to do and she ended up pinning my bishop against the king.

So I want to work on my endgame, but not sure how to practically do it. I've got Silmans endgame book and will work through it, and have had a quick look through the Averbak (sp.) book. But I'm not sure if they'll help me in practical games.

I might try endgame exercises in Personal Chess Trainer and Chessmaster. I'm not really trying to learn mates with the various pieces, but what strategies to use in general.

Any tips from other bloggers would be appreciated.

I think I'll concentrate on the endgame for a while (but still keep sharp with Chess Tactics Server). I've got a basic opening repertoire now, and it gets me to evenish middle games. My tactical awareness is much better, and I try to develop all my pieces and get good outposts. But when it comes to the endgame I tend to be lost.

I've heard that the endgame is where experience most counts, so am not sure what I can do apart from keep losing winning positions and trying to learn from them. Or perhaps it's just that I'm not calculating correctly and identifying tactics properly when there are fewer pieces on the board.

Apparently the endgame is a lot about 'technique'. But how do I learn this?


ookwelbekendalsemc said...

By getting yourself some good endgame material perhaps? Maybe a book like Silman's Complete Endgame Course.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Likeforests has great endgame material on his blog. Temposchlucker also has a list of useful endgame maxims here.

So far my favorite endgame book is Silman's.

I went to a chess coach about 6 months ago or so, telling him I was really weak in the endgame so we spent a few weeks on endgame topics. After a while he was like, you know your endgame isn't your weakness, it's tactics. Dang. He was right. I wish endgame was my big weakness.

Dean said...

Thanks both, I now realise there is no silver bullet, and it's just a lot of hard work :). I've been working through the Silman book, and have picked up more things, but I think it's just going to be a gradual process of absorbing things bit by bit. BDK, yes I'm still weak tactically, but I was getting frustrated at the time because I spotted all the mid-game tactics in particular games, and got to the endgame with material advantage but didn't convert it to wins.

Something I need to work on is leaving myself enough time in the endgame to calculate the variations, I've tended to get into time trouble after spending too long analysing middle game positions.

Dean said...

Thanks for the link to the Temposchlucker post, lots of good principles!