For the last few weeks I’ve been busy, trying to make up for my lack of … anything during June. In the process, I’ve produced several YouTube videos of varying quality, and I’ve enjoyed this new medium. I’ve also spent hours going through GM Smirnov‘s course Calculate Till Mate, which is opening my eyes. Let me go through everything and detail what the plan is going forward.
First, I think the videos are here to stay. I’m having far more fun speaking my thoughts than I thought I would, and I’m getting far more engagement than my regular game analysis posts. I mean, frig, I’ve gotten more comments in the last two weeks than I’ve had in the last six months. Maybe that speaks more to YouTube’s ability to reach people more than my meagre SEO skills, but it’s still telling. Continue reading →
Let me start with a simple question: can you solve Lucena’s Position?
This is perhaps the most well-known endgame position in all of chess. If you’ve studied endgames even the slightest, you likely know this position. You can win this with your eyes closed, I’m sure. You just follow the standard winning maneuver and collect your Queen. Absolutely no problem, right?
Ahh, endgames. Perhaps the least understood and least studied part about chess among amateur players. It’s seen as something both mysterious and boring. Mysterious, because it has fewer pieces but if anything is even harder to calculate, and boring, because there are no attacks, sacrifices or tactics available. Games come down to winning weak pawns. Yawn.
Nonetheless, playing the endgame well really separates the good players from the average ones. Personally, I got fed up with winning a pawn or a piece in the middlegame only to struggle mightily converting it into a win in the endgame. I began to study the endgame, and though I remained (and still remain!) weak, I’m stronger than most of my opponents, which lets me win more games.
Let me tell you, studying endgames isn’t very fun, but getting that first win solely because of endgame play makes those hours of study feel worthwhile. In what follows are examples of how I’ve won via endgames. These are my games, and thus they are not perfect, but they show the basic idea in action. Continue reading →