For All You "Crazy" Craig's Out There...

For All You "Crazy" Craig's Out There...

NM CraiggoryC
Apr 10, 2016, 2:49 PM |

If you have no clue what the title of this blog is about, please click here

If you don't know what the image is about, please do yourself a favor and watch Parks and Rec and/or click here

Now that we have that out of the way, how do we get better at positional chess and endgames? Answer: from studying of course! (sorry no shortcuts here). If you're like me, you enjoy studying tactics, dazzling attacks, and even crazy opening variations (like the yugoslav Dragon, Botvinnik variation of the Semi-Slav, Traxler counterattack, etc). How do you make studying the "other side" of chess more fun?

Great question! That's what this blog is all about. But why do you need to make studying fun? When what you study is enjoyable, it sticks with you much longer than when you are forcing yourself to study. Also studying just to study does very little for the would-be student. It's much more important to know WHY the moves are played as opposed to just the moves in the first place.

Tips to make studying more fun and beneficial

  1. Find Endgames and/or Strategic Lessons From Your Own Games:
    Nobody likes losing and/or playing subpar moves. If you find a way you could have improved your own play, it really sticks with you longer than studying theoretical positions or other player's endgames.

How did I lose such a game? Time pressure you might think, and yes that's somewhat true. But the real reason is inexperience in the endgame (I was a teenager at the time of the game). I did not even know the idea of needing to create a passed pawn ASAP in those types of endgames. But what I did learn was I needed to study these endgames or else this type of loss would keep coming around.

2. Go over "entertaining" studies

If you can't solve the below study, don't be afraid to just check out the answer. It's VERY tough!

3. Study Only the Most Important Endgames
A great book is Silman's Complete Endgame Course because it gives everything each rated player should know. You only learn what you really need. Also I have another blog about the Rook Endgames Every Tournament Player Should Know
4. Find the "Beauty" in Strategical/Endgame Positions
"I, for example, do not remember anything resembling the ending that occurred in the Vaganian-Dolmatov game. The young Moscow grandmaster found such a fantastic idea of creating a position of mutual zugzwang with his opponent to move, that certain grandmasters still look at it and are unable to understand it!" -Mikhail Tal
What did Mikhail Tal, the creative attacking genius, find so astonishing about this game? Let's go over the critical 63rd move by Black.
5. Always Know the "Why" behind the "How"
When you understand the reasons for the moves that you're playing, it will stick in your brain and you can use this information to other positions. If you just memorize the moves, you'll be completely lost if even anything in the position changes. In order to find the "why" behind the moves, ask a coach, a friend, stronger player, or play the positions out on the endgame tablebase under the links header. Find any way to find the "why" behind the moves, this is probably THE BEST WAY to get better at chess in general.
As always, good luck in your future chess endeavors! If you any questions, comments, and/or suggestions please feel free to comment below!

Related Links:

Study tips

More Study Tips

Free 6 Man Endgame Tablebase