Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Endgames

Tactics

It took me 23 years to get the essence of transformation of knowledge into skill. The obvious area to apply my method is tactics. Tactics are part of going concern now. No need to talk about them at the moment.

I look for other areas of the game where I can apply my newly devised method.

Openings

My openings repertoire is kind of ready. Meaning that all choices are made. I don't think that openings study is a very fruitful way to go. Being hammered off the board in 19 moves in a tournament, is the best feedback you can get for all those pesky variations of an opening. There is no need to invest time and energy in advance. When you are humiliated, it is much easier to learn the details. I will not use my training method for the openings right now.

Middlegame

The middlegame is the place to gain the most improvement in the shortest amount of time. My own PoPLoAFun system is applicable here, and furthermore the Chessable books of CM Can Kabadayi provide the exercises that I can use in combination with my training method. The ideas of Kabadayi perfectly fit into my PoPLoAFun system. Hence the middlegame is taken care of.

Endgames

Remains the question "how about the endgame?". I invested a lot of energy in the endgame in the past. But it never translated into a measurable result. The reason for this is, that most endgame books are talking about practical and/or theoretical endgames. Well, that's nice, and you need that to a certain degree, but it covers only 10-20% of the endgame knowledge you need. What misses is the endgame strategy.

I obtained the book Arkell's endings, a Chessable book by GM Keith Arkell. That is a book that treats the strategy of endings. I had abandoned the study of that book a long time ago though, since it didn't plug the main holes in my bucket by then. But now my study method is ready, and quite some holes in tactics, openings and the middlegame are plugged already, it is time to return to the endgame again.

There are a few reasons for this. The openings I have chosen lead to certain endings, which are not described in depth in the opening books, for logical reasons. Furthermore, I developed a penchant for a good knight against a bad bishop, yet I can't imagine that that is always the best choice. 

I feel I can do better when I learn to steer my middlegames into the best direction, when I know what that direction is. More knowledge of endgame strategy gives me more options to head for in the middlegame. In the meantime, I look whether certain parts of the endgame strategy are trainable with my newly concocted method.

To be continued. . .

2 comments:

  1. I already knew that Arkell guy is extremely good. Luckily I'm finally ready now to study him.

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  2. Mister Lasker opines that the pawn promotion, Zugzwang and Stalemate motifs assume much greater importance as the game progresses toward an endgame. Those specific motifs rarely occur in typical middlegame positions. When first advocating for internalizing MOTIFS prior to internalizing TACTICAL THEMES/DEVICES, I ignored the Zugzwang and Stalemate motifs and gave short shrift to the pawn promotion motif. What you don’t know CAN hurt you!

    If the prerequisite for skill is the capability to “SEE” the pattern(s) underlying the surface-level cues pointing toward the essence of a given position, then a thoroughly internalized knowledge of ALL motifs is required.

    Your insight regarding the importance of endgame strategy vice rote memorization of myriad endgame positions is very helpful!

    Endgames often require precise calculation extending over many moves. Increased tactical prowess provides the basic calculation skills required to play endgames well. I have thought for some time that until tactical skills is acquired, skill above a low level in the opening and endgame (other than some very basic endings) cannot be acquired.

    Perhaps Capablanca's emphasis on first learning to play simpler positions (not necessarily endgames?) before tackling more complex positions (not necessarily middle games?) might have a point after all.

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