You don’t hear anything new when I tell you that Magnus Carlsen is a fantastic endgame player. He has a habit of winning his games from drawn or slightly better positions.
The diagram position is from his game with white against Shirov. Shirov is well known for his fantastic attacking style. But in this position it’s is clear he has to defend.
Maybe that was not his cup of tea? Shirov played 1. – Bg7? This is a mistake. He could have held the draw with 1. – Bb8 according to Krasenkow in Chessbase Magazine 125.
The question is: how did Magnus win? Solution…
With thanks to Dr. Karsten Müller – DVD Chess Endgames 14 – The Golden Guidlines of Endgame Play
We can learn a lot from endgame studies. Studies show a concept in it’s purest form.
The idea is that all the pieces on the board have a certain function. There is no unnecessary clutter which disturbs the concept.
What I like about endgame studies is that the positions might have arisen from real games in contrast to some compositions where you have to mate in a couple of moves. These compositions often look a bit artificial and couldn’t have evolved from a real game. Therefore I am not very fond of them. Of course this is a matter of taste.
I do like positions that pose a tricky ‘clean problem’. See the diagram. It is white to move. Can he win? If so, how?
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Books on chess openings are hugely popular. Of course it is nice to know how to give your game a kick start. But chess games are rarely won in the opening phase. Unless one of the players makes a silly mistake of course.
Personally I think books on the middle- and endgame are much more interesting and valuable. These books give us better insights in the chess game. If you know in which direction you want to go, it becomes also more easy to decide on your opening play.
There is another huge advantage in studying endgames. In the endgame you learn more about the properties of the chess pieces. Which might come in handy for other phases in the game. In that way time spent on endgame study is not wasted. Even if you do not play so many endgames*. It is in fact very valuable.Read More »