The post with chess maxims is added to my sidebar.
Sometime ago I have dabbled around for 6 months with daily study of the endgame. I always had the feeling that it was not effective what I did. I had no overview over the area. The books I studied could only help me with the details of the study, but none of them gave an overview over the whole area. To work your way bottom up to a topdown overview isn't easy at all in such vast area. I'm not blessed with an innate feeling for the endgame. Or as I use to say it "I must have a great feeling for the endgame since I make always the wrong move, while statistically I should make a good move every now and then."
If you have no overview, you don't know what is important and what not. So you buy a book in good fate that the author will lead you by hand. Not.
The most endgame books are a mixture between a reference work and a book with endgame compositions. And they don't tell you at which moment they are what.
Working your way thru a reference work is like reading an encyclopedia. You never reach the "Z". And most things you read you will never encounter in real life.
For the compositions part: compositions are meant to show you the beauty of the game. To add them in a study book is as weird as adding differential equations to a mathbook about adding and subtracting. Without telling you that it are differential equations.
If I spill my time, I like to do that on my own initiative. If I do 70,000 problems at CTS, I know beforehand that I probably spill my time. But since it is an area that is not trotten by anyone before, I can accept that. Because afterwards I can exclude a whole bunch of speculative theories. That is what makes it worthwhile.
But when my time is spilled by the author of an endgame book, I'm not so forgiving. To make it quite clear: it generally aren't bad books. But the lack of pedagogic insight of the authors make them a spill of time and money for the endgame novice.
And so I abandoned the study of the endgame a few months ago.
The details I learned in that 6 months are probably forgotten. Since I couldn't give it a place in an overall framework. My games show an enormous gap between play and what I have studied. When pondering about my preparation for my next tournament over 3 weeks, I realized that I had to fill that gap though. One way or another.
So I decided to think for myself. Hence I gathered all the endgame maxims I could find, in order to blend them together and to distill a strategy out of it. In doing so I flipped thru the pages of my 16 endgame books. And so I stumbled on the interesting book of Shereshevsky, "Endgame Strategy". I have never read it before but the introduction seems to indicate that it might be what I'm looking for. Here are a few words from the introduction:
"In 1976 I happened to be the second of IM Mark Dvoretsky during the USSR Championship 1st league in Minsk. Dvoretsky adjourned his game with grandmaster Taimanov in a superior position. In one of the lines of analysis a rook ending with f- and h-pawns was reached. Dvoretsky referred to a book on rook endings, and began studying the appropriate chapter. I was surprised: after all, Dvoretsky is a great expert on the endgame. To my question he replied that he knew the basic principles of playing such endings, but did not even attempt to remember lenghty concrete analyses. Later during the tournament we frequently discussed the question of how to study the endgame. Dvoretsky considers it essential to know the classics, to analyze complicated practical rather than theoretical endings, and to find general rules and principles of play in complex endings. And in theoretical endings it is sufficient to know whether the ending is won or drawn, and to have a rough impression of the plan of play."
I'm going to read the book and let you know if it fulfills its promise.
My visualisation exercises are going well. I see about 70% of the board before my minds eye. What is most important, it is light and stable. Which means it doesn't fade away overtime. Maybe visualisation skills can play a role in calculating long variations in endgame play. That would be nice.
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