If I haven't killed my opponent before the end of the middlegame, then invariably I reach a position at the begin of the endgame where I have no clue whatsoever. I even have no idea at which side of the board I should look. So no matter how favourable the position, no matter how low the rating of the opponent, at this stage I offer a draw. Always. Often even when one or to pawns ahead. And when the oppenent declines the offer, I 'm invariably lost. I swap rooks which I shoudn't, I advance pawns which I shouldn't etc.. In an attempt to cure this problem I studied theoretical endgames daily for 6 month, without being able to lay the connection with my own games. That's why I abandoned the study of theoretical endings.
Discovery of the practical endgame.
Yesterday I discovered that there is a vast area between the middlegame and the theoretical endings. About 95% of the endgame play takes place in this area of practical endings. From the 16 endgame books that I have there are 15 which focus on the theoretical endings. Since that accounts for only the last 5% of the ending that is pretty ridiculous.
I don't know why those endgamebooks neglect this area. The only thing I can come up with is that you can write in definite terms about theoretical endings, while practical endings don't seem to be so conclusive at first sight. Or maybe what to do in this area is so obvious that I'm the only one on this planet who doesn't see it. Which wouldn't surprise me. Shereshevsky's book "Endgame strategy" is the first one which acknowledges the very existence of such area and that gives some guidance how to handle.
And that is quite a revelation!
The first discovery is the very existence of this area. With hindsight I don't understand why I didn't notice this before. Maybe for the same reason why 15 of the 16 endgame books don't mention it.
The second discovery is that the goal in this area is very evident: queen a pawn! Again I don't understand why I overlooked this obvious point. Maybe the middlegame has an hypnotic effect on me? In the middlegame the threats seem to well up spontaneous when you move your pieces around in an active manner. Here you have to create the threats. Since the pieces have lost their ability to deliver a tactical blow for 90%, this phase of the game is dictated by the pawns.
The third discovery is that the practical endgame is the first and only phase of the game where you can make a plan that has a realistic chance to work. Since the turmoil of the middlegame doesn't interfere any longer.
All good positional advice is aimed at this part of the game. "Get the bishoppair", "accumulate little advantages", "damage his pawnstructure", "give him a bad bishop", "create weaknesses" etc. are all aiming at this stage of the game. No wonder that it never worked in my games! All cryptic statements about the game like "the pawns are the soul of the chessgame" become clear in this phase of the game.
Don't expect that Shereshevky's book can do the work for you. It gives a clue and a few hints, but you have to do it yourself. But I'm confident that I can manage that now I have a start. I will give an example why I say DIY.
At a certain moment, Capablanca could trade off a knight against a good bishop. In the meantime inflicting the opponent with an extra isolani. But he didn't. And the book didn't explain why not. So I set up the position in the computer and tried to play it out. It appeared that the trade made it possible to get the opponents king into action much faster than your own king.
The valuation of the kings distances to the center of action relative to the wellknown advantages of removing a good bishop and causing an extra isolani can't be learned from a book. Only from experience.
There are only 18 days to go to the next tournament. I must focus on the major flaw in my play I just discovered, although it's short time.
In order to learn the utmost from the tourney and to overcome my hydrophobia I take the following pledges during the games:
- I will not take the consequenses of my actions for my rating into account. No matter what.
- I will abstain from complex middlegame play, which is the second flaw in my play anyway, in order to avoid time trouble at all costs. I will play simple chess instead.
- I will not offer a draw.
- I will not accept a draw offered before I have less than 15 minutes on my clock in the last period of the game.
Have a look at my new system against the Caro-Kan.
Have a look at the QID.
Have a look for another system against the French.