Who still studies the basic endgame?

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Last week, a club member of mine (rating around 2250) told me that he almost never studies the endgame nowadays, whereas he used to do this on a regular basis. When games were still being adjourned, he always used to "grab the books" but these days he rarely takes the time to "dive into the endgame". And I suspect this is the case with many chess players.

Actually I think it's not only the fault of the modern timecontrol, which is becoming quicker and quicker, but also the appearance of tablebases that these days our books on endings are merely waiting in vain on their bookshelves, collecting dust. The old ones we possess, like Averbakh, or Smyslov & L?ɬ?wenfisch, we do not trust anymore, and those of John Nunn are, despite its high analytical quality, a bit dry. One of the consequences is that we rarely see the most basic endings, like R+p ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú R, analysed in magazines. Ironically, the appearance of a definite analysis and evaluation of a certain ending, leads to less knowledge and understanding about this ending by the practical player!

That's why it was a pleasant surprise to see the already mentioned John Nunn analysing the rook ending Ljubojevic-Smeets in his report on the NH Tournament in no. 7/2007 of New in Chess Magazine, which was published this week. The game, played in August in Amsterdam, is a pretty basic rook ending and it's nice to see that someone decided to actually pay attention to it. Simply because it's instructive. And of course because Nunn is an endgame lover. Recently he won the world championship Problem Solving with a highly impressive score.

OK, we could have checked the rook ending ourselves in Nunn's own book, or in or own tablebases, but that doesn't matter. Because then we wouldn't have learnt as much. So: thanks John! And, by the way, congrats!

Here's the analysis:

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