Strategic Endgame play is the weakest area of my game. This where calculation and forcing moves are of little use, but schematic thinking of where to place your pieces (and their roles), what pawn structure to aim for and what plan to implement come to the fore.
This blog is part of a concerted effort by me to analyse my own game, without the use of a computer.
This is the hardest part of chess study for me, as it's difficult to aim for self reflection. It is difficult to face your short comings, but necessary for improvement.
Whilst I was disappointed to draw this game despite having a better position, it provided me excellent material for self analysis in strategic endgames.
Training Question: Schematic Thinking Exercise
In the above position it is Black to move. For me, this was an important moment to come up with a plan. What plan would you have chosen?
Black is a pawn ahead and I am striving to create a passed pawn. My scheme was to advance f6 and e5. This way I threaten e4 gaining more space and locking White's pawn on the dark squares of e3 and d4 (for my bishop to attack). If white were to play dxe5 fxe5, then I can create a passed d-pawn.
Let's see what occured in the game and the problem I didn't forsee.
Game Continutation (My Wrong Plan)
I didn't forsee that White can set up a blockade on the light squares. My King can not enter his position and I can not create a second weakness. Despite creating a protected passed pawn, I have created the wrong type.
My Suggested Improvement for Black
The above is my suggested improvement for Black. It may well be wrong or improved upon. I welcome any feedback as that is the purpose of this analysis.
My Improved plan is:
* Regroup Bishop to d6 to prevent White King entering at f4.
* Advance f5 to weaken White's control of h5.
* Bring King over to Kingside to prepare g6, thus creating outside passed h-pawn.
* Regroup Bishop to g5 to attack e3.
* Bring King over to Queenside to threaten to enter at c4.
* White can not deal with three weaknesses (outside passed h-pawn, weakness at e3, King entry on Queenside).
Game Annotations and Analysis
Whilst being dissapointed to draw this game from a winning position, analysing this afterwards I learnt much about strategic endgame planning.
* The type of passed pawn you make is of utmost importance. Visualise where your King can possibly break through.* At least be very wary of fixing your own pawns on the same colour as your Bishop. I missed chances to fix his pawns with namely h5.* The outside passed pawn is most difficult for a Bishop to stop.* Be weakness/target focussed. I had chances to create a passed outside h-pawn, target his weak e3 pawn and threaten to penetrate on the Queenside.
If anyone can recommend any good exercise material on Strategic Endgame play it would be much appreciated. This is material where you have to come up with the correct plan, more so than any one specific move.
My previous study material has been
Endgame Strategy by Sheresevsky
Capablanca's Best Chess Endings by Chernev
An Endgame Expert by Smirnov
Suggestions and Improvements welcome