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Look at it this way: If you don't study and gain adequate skills in the basics of openings, tactics/strategies and middle games, how much is the end game really going to matter? Chances are you'd stumble into the end game already at a disadvantage. ;) That's just my own learning process though; to each his own :)
Endings and an understanding of them are a crucial element of learning how to play real chess. Knowing what winning ending positions look like and why they are winning enables players to realize such potential advantages at earlier stages in the game. For example, if you can triple your opponents pawns and isolate them from their counterparts early in the game, you might conceive a plan such as this. " material is even, the main difference in this position is pawn structure, my structure is perfect, my opponents is fragmented, he has isolated and tripled pawns everywhere. Therefore, my plan will be to trade off all pieces, which if carried out correctly should enable me to actualize my advantage and win in a K an P endgame. In other words, a sound understanding of the endgame should allow players to improve their opening and middle game play because they can move towards the endgame while accumulating advantages during the opening and middle game that will decide the outcome of the game in the endgame .
Dilly, then if you are losing games in the endgame then you NEED to study more endgames, then just ignore Silman's advise and study away!!!
In his "Complete Endgame Course", Jeremy Silman gives some instruction on a few basic endgames, then tells his reader to put the book away until he has reached a higher rating. At the rate I'm improving, I'll never be picking the book up again. Was his advice wrong? How can I improve if I can't study more endgames?
I think Silman means : as far as endgame theory goes, you don't need to know more than what is contained in his book, according to your current level. But we're mainly talking about standard positions here, things you're supposed to know by heart, like your multiplication tables.
When it comes to playing, those standard positions are only here to help you find your way in a practical endgame, an endgame where you actually need to think.
People advocating endgame study refer to both standard and practical positions : when you know your standard positions very well (have you tried playing them against a friend or against the computer ?), it's time to tackle practical ones. They appear either in your games (analyze your endgames by yourself) or you can find them in some training book, like the excellent Rosen's endgame training for example.
In any case, if you enjoy studying endgames, by all means, do it !
If you don't trust an author's advice when he tells you not to use his book, you need serious reasons.
My book, my time. I'll decide how and when I use both.
@TheGrobe: My feelings too, I must admit. But I must be fair and give credit where it is due. The reason I want to continue reading Silman's book is that I think it's a really good book that can teach me plenty.
As far as tactical endgames go this one is my favorite and I think it's one of Shirov's best.
I have two of Silman's books, not the endgame one, and I just completed Silman's course on tactics Chess Mentor. I know he is known for positional chess, but right now I am studying tactics, and he had a course with about 100 lessons I just completed.
About Silman, he seems a bit annoying, but you can learn from him.
Regarding advise to not learn certain things if you have a certain rating: I hear this a lot and I tend to take it with a grain of salt. Higher rated players tend to generalize too much when they talk about class players. There can be many reasons why a player does not have expert results, and they don't all have to be that the person cannot understand what is explained to them. You have to know yourself and what you are capable of understanding. Know that there is a risk some of what you read may require context you do not have yet, but you can still learn a lot from reading advanced stuff. I find it is more efficient to read an advanced book with a few things I don't understand, than a basic book full of many things I already know. If you want to read it, read it, there is no down side other than you possibly waste a little time if you don't get it. Even then, it should eventually click with you as you grow.
@ woton. I don't understand. What if black plays Kb6 after 1. Kg7 , how can white hold a draw ?
1...Kb6 doesn't affect white's plan. Once white plays Ke5 black has to either stop white from getting a queen by playing ...Kc7 or attempt to queen by advancing the pawn. No matter what black chooses, white can stop the other from happening, and resulting in a draw.
I think Silman is correct. As previous posts have advised, studying tactics, including endgame tactics, is imperative at your level. To be more specific, studying tactics involves not only be able to figure out the correct answer but recognizing the answer. How do you that? By doing a large number of the same basic patterns repeatedly, like learning the multiplication table. Sure you can add up 6x7, but to do more complicated math you need to know instantly 42.
I think his main idea is to let you absorb the lessons first through playing and encountering such positions before moving on and learning more lessons. Another thing is that through playing more you get to encounter more problems and questions in the endgame that could probably be answered by the later chapters in his book which makes learning more effective.
There are two ideas to understand it. 1. A straight path along a file/rank and a diagonal path connecting two points on a file or rank will be the same. So if the king is on h8 and trying to get to h2, it's the same amount of moves going straight or diagonally. 2. Black can't move to stop white's pawn and move to queen his own pawn at the same time. If he moves with his king that will be one more extra move white gets to move with his.
Thanks for asking. I'd forgotten that one.
I just read the whole book it seems to help A LOT.
Thank you woton and AdorableMongwai. Now I get it !
The less humility you have about chess, the more you need it!
I study one level ahead in Silman's endgame book and it hasn't done anything bad to me.
It really depends on your style whether tactics or endgames are more important, but you should be as good as you possibly can at both (and certainly study them more than strategy or openings).
For a dry conservative player (Capablanca, Karpov, Kramnik style) endgames would be more important, and for a speculative combinational player (Morphy, Tal, Korchnoi) tactics would be more important. But everyone that I just mentioned was a master of both tactics and endgames, and you will have to be too if you want to be any good at chess.
Well I do the same thing. although i am rated high 1400 low 1500 I study the 1600 and 1700 levels. Including two bishop checkmate and all that
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