Begin Here

Begin Here

Dec 10, 2010, 7:55 PM |

Are you a beginner? This post is for you. The game I'm sharing here is one I won recently here at "Live". The time control was 20 minutes with 10 seconds added per move.

Intermediate and advanced players will have already learned to appreciate the value of a well-played endgame. This game and a few comments to go with it can help beginners to develop endgame appreciation as well.

I hasten to add that the endgame of this particular game was not particularly well-played. What I think is worth noticing is that one side played the endgame less badly than the other side. Fortunately, whereas I made several mistakes in the endgame, my opponent committed several blunders.

In The Middlegame in Chess, GM Reuben Fine recommends steering toward the endgame when any one of the following conditions hold:

  • you have a material advantage
  • your pawn structure is better than your opponent's
  • you want to stop your opponent's attack
  • the enemy queen is the most mobile piece

In this game, my opponent played the opening so aggressively that our forces were thinning after a dozen moves. I decided to try to go into the endgame under my direction rather than his, hoping that by doing so I could find some advantage. In this case, the endgame began (with the exchange of queens) after move 13.

Until move 49, neither side committed any blunders (computer analysis). This first blunder of the game was the only blunder I committed here. Subsequently, I committed 6 mistakes while my opponent committed 6 blunders. These errors, along with the computer-recommended moves, are identified in the accompanying annotations.


Lastly, if you haven't studied Silman's Complete Endgame Course, then do yourself a favor and begin, the sooner the better. I found, as have many others, that my confidence OTB increased when my ability to play the endgame well improved. Another distinct benefit of improved endgame play for me was the feeling of relief of pressure on my middlegame tactics to decide the game. I've learned, among other things, that I may be able to play the endgame well enough to overcome a small disadvantage.
NB: the Zombies released Begin Here in 1965 in the UK. Critically acclaimed, the album was subsequently released, with some alterations in its contents, in the U.S. as The Zombies. Any resemblance chess players may bear to actual zombies is purely coincidental.