Friday, January 04, 2013


I finished the first 6 chapters of Silman's complete endgame course. That doesn't mean that I master all the positions that are needed already. But the reading made it possible to map the endgame problems of CT on the chapters of the course. CT gives a clue about the frequence of occurrence of certain endgames. When I combine the information of SCEC and CT I get to the following list of material distribution:
  • KpK
  • KpKp
  • KQKp
  • KRpKR currently in progress
  • KBpKp
  • KNpKp
  • KppKp
  • KRKp
  • KppKQ
The topics in italics are already known pretty well by me. At the moment I'm working on KRpKR endings. The order of the list is based on the frequency of occurrence in actual games in combination with growing complexity.

At the moment I'm reading chapter 7. The first 6 chapters provide the building blocks. The 7th chapter is meant for expert level. Although it is a bit above my head, it indicates whereto matters are going to develop. In chapter 7 you learn to decompose a complicated position into it's constituent building blocks. It gives a clear indication how well you must know the building blocks. Very thoroughly that is. Reading chapter 7 gives as a consequence direction for how to study the first 6 chapters. That is to say, just solving the problems in CT for any material distribution isn't enough, you must build a strategy how to attack such problems.

That is what I tried to explain in the previous post. It isn't enough to work out a general approach how to lead a pawn from the fourth rank to promotion, but you must have a clear idea of the exceptions too. The exceptions must be grouped together logically and for every group of exceptions you must develop a strategy. Only then you can hope to be able to decompose complex positions into their simple building blocks later.

It will take a vast amount of time to get that far. But the analysis of my own games with the aid of IM Piet Peelen clearly points in this direction. My opening and middlegame treatment are reasonable. I'm tactically doing well enough and I know how to attack a king. But in the transition from the middlegame to the endgame there is a big hiatus. It's time to fill that gap and to become a more allround chessplayer. It will take some time before this new knowledge will be converted into points, there is no doubt about that. But I'm sure I will love to have another option when tactics and kingside attack are not possible. Another option than offering a draw or drowning in time trouble, I mean.


  1. To (ex)change at the right time to a good endgame was a method of capablanca.
    A statistic about which endgame is more often is not easy. It is related to the used openings.
    Example: At "open" games you have often open lines. Open lines have to be used by rooks so at games with open lines the rooks get often exchanged so rook endgames are more common with closed games.

    I think a good learning strategy is to learn intense your own last OTB - Endgame.

  2. Hi,

    wonderful chessblog, I will start follow your development continiously. Seems like you've played chess as long as me and we seem to be rated at the same level.

    I'm also studying the Silman's Endgame book right now and will try to use your idea with CT Endgame Theory section for learning it as well.

    Keep up your good work, and good luck!

    Stockholm, Sweden

  3. Like Aox said, the opening choice influences the statistics already.

    But even if you play all sorts of openings:
    Richard (owner of CT) reduced the amount of KRpKR because otherwise there were too many of them (people would complain to see this ending too often).
    To offer a bigger variety (served puzzles) he reduced the rook endings.

    knight endings are some sort of pawn endings, too, because you cant win a tempo with a knight. That makes rules of opposition in a knight ending similar.

    Before you get into a KBpKB ending, you often had a KBRpKNR or KBRpKBR ending on the board. Then - at a critical moment - you had to decide if you want to go into a rook ending or a B vs N ending.
    That makes the knowledge of rook endings even at times important where you did not enter a rook ending. Your decision to avoid a KRpKR ending was base on your rook ending knowledge, too.

    With that logic I came up to the conclusion, that half of all endings require rook ending knowledge.
    So really cover this kind of ending very well!