Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. 09 Jul '12 20:30
    Is it possible to objectively measure endgame skill? If so, how? How can we prove one player is for sure better at endgames than another player? If a player gets in less endgame positions than another player despite playing the same number of games, what does that say about their endgame ability?
  2. 09 Jul '12 22:11
    Originally posted by hamworld
    Is it possible to objectively measure endgame skill? If so, how? How can we prove one player is for sure better at endgames than another player? If a player gets in less endgame positions than another player despite playing the same number of games, what does that say about their endgame ability?
    This is a toughy. GM wise, Capablanca, Smyslov, and Karpov are great endgame players. I have also heard that Flohr was great, and Rubinstein's rook endings are masterpieces! That doesn't necessarily mean that the other world champions are weak. These players just tend to steer toward the endgame more and make it look easy. With amateurs, who knows? Most endgame skills are picked up over time, from experience. I don't think there is a totally effective way to measure it. If it's just between you and say a friend, you could maybe have a play off. Get out two boards and setup a few positions from a book, and see who solves them faster and more efficiently.
    Even then, you won't have an exact measure. It's kind of like openings. Say one guy knows 5 openings 20 moves deep and another knows 20 openings 5 moves deep. Who is the better opening player? One will always play 5 correct moves every time, but the other will play perfectly unless someone deviates from his book. You can't really say one is better than the other. There is no real cut and dry solution, and even if it was, it really wouldn't make a ton of difference. Again, I say the best chance is to set up some endings and see who gets them correct or test each other with other book positions (one take king, other take two bishops and force mate ... switch sides ... etc.).
    Best of all, would be some sort of online or program with an endgame exam ( a book again may help). Something that lets you rate your endgame play woudl be ideal. I think the chessmaster used to have this back in the late 90s. Again, it will still be at least a partly random result, because the player lucky enough to get a position that he is familiar with will have some advantage.
  3. 09 Jul '12 23:16
    EOriginally posted by paulbuchmanfromfics
    This is a toughy. GM wise, Capablanca, Smyslov, and Karpov are great endgame players. I have also heard that Flohr was great, and Rubinstein's rook endings are masterpieces! That doesn't necessarily mean that the other world champions are weak. These players just tend to steer toward the endgame more and make it look easy. With amateurs, wh ...[text shortened]... player lucky enough to get a position that he is familiar with will have some advantage.
    Hmm, I guess you're right. It's just that, how do you know if your endgame knowledge is better than your middlegame knowledge? At what point would you start working on your middlegame?
  4. 09 Jul '12 23:25
    Originally posted by hamworld
    Hmm, I guess you're right. It's just that, how do you know if your endgame knowledge is better than your middlegame knowledge? At what point would you start working on your middlegame?
    The only thing you need to work on for middlegame that isn't covered satisfactorily in endgames is tactics.
  5. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    09 Jul '12 23:30
    Originally posted by hamworld
    Hmm, I guess you're right. It's just that, how do you know if your endgame knowledge is better than your middlegame knowledge? At what point would you start working on your middlegame?
    Try your best to break down your games individually.

    Once you have done so, look at them in the aggregate, and if you see any patterns, they will help you answer your questions.

    A database program such as chessbase can also help with this. Using an endgame key, you can break down a database of your games by type of ending to see how well you do.

    For instance, I have a database of my OTB games. Of the games that made it to an endgame, my performance rating in those games is almost 250 points higher than my actual rating.

    Apparently, my actual rating is below that performance rating because there are a decent portion of my games where I do not even make it to the ending... :'(
  6. 10 Jul '12 00:52
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    Try your best to break down your games individually.

    Once you have done so, look at them in the aggregate, and if you see any patterns, they will help you answer your questions.

    A database program such as chessbase can also help with this. Using an endgame key, you can break down a database of your games by type of ending to see how well you do ...[text shortened]... because there are a decent portion of my games where I do not even make it to the ending... :'(
    I feel for you, man. So I'll just keep analyzing my games. Hopefully, the middle-endgame transitions will be easier to play eventually.
  7. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    10 Jul '12 03:54
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    The only thing you need to work on for middlegame that isn't covered satisfactorily in endgames is tactics.
    Not so, endgames can be extremely tactical and some of the require just as much calculation as the sharpest middlegame position.

    Shirov, who at his peak was probably the best tactician around next to Kasparov, was a notorious endgame junkie. He actually said he didn't study many tactical problems in his development as a player, but that he devoured every piece of endgame literature available.


    Chapter 1 of Shereskevsky's Endgame strategy book has an example of a Capablanca endgame with the title of "schematic thinking." Basically Capa had envisioned where he wanted his pieces placed in order for him to win the endgame, but even in that game (which I'm sure someone here can cite), a discovered attack arose, and tactics came into play.
  8. 10 Jul '12 13:58
    Originally posted by Thabtos
    Not so, endgames can be extremely tactical and some of the require just as much calculation as the sharpest middlegame position.

    Shirov, who at his peak was probably the best tactician around next to Kasparov, was a notorious endgame junkie. He actually said he didn't study many tactical problems in his development as a player, but that he devoured every ...[text shortened]... ich I'm sure someone here can cite), a discovered attack arose, and tactics came into play.
    Wow, I never knew that about Shirov. Yeah, you're right about endgames requiring as much calculation as sharp middlegame positions. I hope to play endgames as well as Shirov/Karpov/Kasparov any one of these guys.
  9. 10 Jul '12 15:49
    Originally posted by Thabtos
    Not so, endgames can be extremely tactical and some of the require just as much calculation as the sharpest middlegame position.

    Shirov, who at his peak was probably the best tactician around next to Kasparov, was a notorious endgame junkie. He actually said he didn't study many tactical problems in his development as a player, but that he devoured every ...[text shortened]... ich I'm sure someone here can cite), a discovered attack arose, and tactics came into play.
    True, this is why I said satisfactory. There are definitely tactics in the endgame but we are not all Shirov and I doubt that he aquired his tactical ability from endgames alone. Notice he says he didn't study "...many tactical problems in his development..." not that he didn't study at all. This probably means that he studied them for 10 hours a week while other GMs in the making were studying them for 15-20 hours a week lol.