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I'm looking at starting to make an otb jump from 2000 to 2200. What I want to know is it better to spend my time studying straight pawn endgames or rook and pawn endgames.
Probably pawn endgames first.
They are very useful for calculation training as well.
I thought both are important.
Strong expert at my club seems to endlessly go through Secrets of Pawn Endgames, Secrets of Rook Endings, and Secrets of Pawnless Endgames books.
Do you know the 12 reciprocal zugzwang positions in pawnless R+B vs R? Burrrr... makes me shudder. I don't own the books myself but from excerpts he's brought up (and reviews online) they seem to be well respected and quite rigorous.
Indeed. But pawn endgames are the result of many endgames after simplification, so it makes sense to start here (even rook endgames can simplify into pawn endgames).
If you don't have to choose, it's probably better to have a look at rook endgames as well, but if you pick only one...
I think it very much depends what you know currently and where your weaknesses lay. In general, I'd expect a 2200+ player to have reasonable knowledge of both type of endings. Of course, logically pawn endings come first but most players also have better understanding of these than rook endings. What one should not do imo is to try to master all of the pawn endings and then all of the rook endings. Rather first learn some pawn endings then some rook endings then come back to pawn endings at deeper level etc.
Rook endings are very usefull for calculation training as well.
pawn endings should be studied first. The main thing to know about rook endings is to play your rooks with aggression not so much with defensive moves.
That's funny, because I've always seen rook endings as pretty technical phases, where calculation were either unecessary or too difficult for me anyway Meanhile, all my attemps to play pawn endgames 'according to principles' have miserably failed.
But okay, I'm no cador at either of them anyway
Yeah, Me neither...
...but I feel that playing pure rook endings on general principles alone also tends to fail miserably. That impression may be partly influenced by exercises in books/software where most exercises naturally tend to include calculating variations but I've noticed that in games also. Calculating rook endings can be more difficult, I'll give you that.
Actually, according to my experience technical endings in general tend to require exact calculation. It's the positions with bit more pieces and/or pawns on board that can be more positional in nature and can perhaps be played more based on one's intuition.
I think a player should know pawn endings first, before any other kind of ending. One of the major endgame mistakes I see people making all the time is simplifying into a losing pawn ending. This especially seems to happen in rook endings, when a player carelessly swaps rooks and loses, when keeping the rooks on would have led to a draw.
Mueller's 'Secrets of...' is an excellent series.
I'd recommend mastering pawn only (no pieces) endings first. The number of things you need to know is finite, and can be mastered pretty fast.
Then I'd move on to piece only (no pawns) endings. Also very finite (perhaps moreso than pawn only) and can be mastered pretty fast -- although QvsR and QvsN can be trickier than you'd think :)
I'd do pawn plus piece endings last because you get into complex positions very fast and can spend the rest of your chess career trying to learn it...and you may never have the time (or take the time) to go back and really master the pawnless and pieceless positions.
There are two other good books I'd recommend on complex endings (in addition to Mueller's series and of course Dvoretsky's manual).
-- "Amatuer to IM". I forget the author's name but he got his title by ONLY focusing on the endgame and has some great ideas on training and planning in complex positions.
-- "Endgame Tactics" by Van Perlo. I use this for studies -- when I want to practice my newly-learned skills in some very tricky positions. Sort of a tactical set for very complicated endgames. Hard to get but definitely worth it if you like endgames.
It is surprising how sometimes class B and class A players often do not know how to play simple pawn endings.
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