Tuesday, May 24, 2022

It starts with the endgame

 According to Capablanca:

“In order to improve your game, you must study the endgame before everything else, for whereas the endings can be studied and mastered by themselves, the middle game and the opening must be studied in relation to the endgame.”

And he is right.

I'm making good progress with "100 endgames you need to know". I have build the concepts for the first 10 chapters. And it got me thinking about the middlegame. Especially about my hypothesis about the sitting ducks. In recap: the pieces are too fast to chase them. The natural targets of the chess game are the slow moving pieces. I.e. the king and the pawns. The king is a target right from the onset of the game, while the pawns must be tricked into becoming a target.

This vision simplifies the way I look to the opening and the middlegame. In stead of looking for the most brilliant move, I look for simple plans that concerns the enemy king and pawns. That prevents me from overloading my mind by a search for brilliant moves that aren't there. It gives the moves a framework. If you have no plan, you have no way to judge whether a move is good or not. So you keep looking. With a plan, it is simple. A move supports your plan or it does not.

Of course I need to learn a lot. But at least I have found the starting point. I know what to learn and how to learn it. And my play is already totally changing. It is becoming less ambitious. But with more direction. As my opponent at the club said yesterday: you gave me precisely enough rope to hang myself. The games become longer. And they cost way less energy. And time. I'm loving it.

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