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Master Path Study Plan: Endgames

Master Path Study Plan: Endgames

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Oct 1, 2016, 12:00 AM 1 Endgames

Target Skill Range: Advanced Path (Rated 1899-1999)

Tasks:

  1. Improve your understanding of piece imbalances in the endgame.
  2. Study common endgame types which arise from your opening repertoire.
  3. Win queen versus rook.
  4. Improve your endgame calculation.
  5. Outplay weaker players in the endgame.
  6. Study the endgame play of the following masters.
  7. Practice deconstruction.

Your endgame skills are growing, but there's still room to improve. The following critical endgame tasks will help you raise the level of your endgames to that of an aspiring master. It's all a mix of theoretical and practical skills. Some positions you must know! Some positions you cannot know and you must draw on strategic understanding.

1. Improve your understanding of piece imbalances in the endgame.

Approaching the master level, you are no longer concerned with simple piece imbalances like bishop versus knight. You know that stuff. It’s time to move on to more complex material imbalances.

2. Study common endgame types which arise from your opening repertoire.

Sometimes playing an endgame well and properly simply means being familiar with that particular endgame. No endgames are more important than the ones that are likely to arise from your openings. Begin thinking about the transition from openings to your endgames by watching GM Dejan Bojkov break down one of the most important opening-to-endgame transitions out there today—the Berlin Endgame

    3. Win queen versus rook.

    Mastering difficult theoretical endgames is a challenge that aids not just in playing that specific endgame, but in playing all similar endgames. One of the most common and difficult endgames that you are likely to see is the endgame queen versus rook. Learn to win this endgame with this explanation from GM Sam Shankland.

    Now put your understanding to the test against Stockfish. Good luck!

    4. Improve your endgame calculation.

    Many assume that “tactical” players like Shirov and Kasparov are not good endgame players. In fact, such players have delivered many great endgame wins. Calculation is a prized skill in the endgame and such players have always excelled in this area.

    Why is calculation so important in the endgame? The limited number of moves means that one can calculate far, far deeper than is possible in the middlegame.

    Improve your endgame calculation with these videos and lectures from ...

    5. Outplay weaker players in the endgame.

    You are playing a class player hundreds of points below you, they have plopped down twenty moves of opening theory, you have no advantage, and pieces are rapidly disappearing from the board. How are you to win this?

    The last reserve of the stronger player is the endgame. Learn how to gradually outplay your opposition with the series from GM Melik Khachiyan.

    Complete the following lesson by GM Gregory Kaidanov.

    Accumulation Of Advantages

    6. Study the endgame play of the following masters.

    7. Practice deconstruction.

    It is essential to understand the typical endgames from the openings and middlegame pawn structures that you play in order to be able to access which piece trades lead to a favorable endgames. One excellent method for learning which piece combinations work well in an endgame structure is deconstruction.

    Deconstruction simply means playing out a position in an opening line you play until you reach a typical middle game structure. Then remove all the pieces and play out the pawn endgame until you determine who it favors. Gradually add back the pieces in different combinations until you have a feel for which pieces combinations suit the side of the position that you play. Is a light-squared bishop endgame favorable? What about a rook endgame or a queen endgame? An intimate understanding of the emerging endgames and practice in those endgames will enormously improve your evaluation of trades and exchanges throughout the game.

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