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1. 17 Jun '13 14:31
Let's say hypothetically you're studying a particular endgame(3 pieces including king each side and 7 pawns each side). Let's say you set it up with Rybka and play a real match against Rybka from that position, and end up drawing it in all 10 games.

Is it safe to say that you've mastered that endgame or is it possible that a human might try something you've never seen before(since humans play differently than computers) and just outplay you?
2. 17 Jun '13 16:02
I think it depends on the complexity of the endgame. If the endgame is a theoretical draw, your computer will not find a usefull strategy and just play moves that keep its position level. As long as you don't blunder, you'll manage to hang on till a draw. However, in a complex endgame, a human opponent may steer the game into positions which are harder to solve for humans, hoping he can outplay you there untill you blunder.

In your case, each side has 11 moving pieces, so that's still quite a lot of options, and probably complex. So possibly a human may do better.
3.  SwissGambit
Caninus Interruptus
17 Jun '13 16:06
Originally posted by hamworld
Let's say hypothetically you're studying a particular endgame(3 pieces including king each side and 7 pawns each side). Let's say you set it up with Rybka and play a real match against Rybka from that position, and end up drawing it in all 10 games.

Is it safe to say that you've mastered that endgame or is it possible that a human might try something you've never seen before(since humans play differently than computers) and just outplay you?
Well, you might be missing a win.
4. 17 Jun '13 16:48
Originally posted by SwissGambit
Well, you might be missing a win.
If you're going for a draw, would that be a bad thing?
5.  SwissGambit
Caninus Interruptus
17 Jun '13 18:02
Originally posted by hamworld
If you're going for a draw, would that be a bad thing?
Going for a draw when you have a win is always a bad thing.
6.  sundown316
The Mighty Messenger
17 Jun '13 18:52
I would say against most human players you would have very good chances to convert some of those positions to wins,because no human can play like a computer,and in my 40+ years of playing this here game,I can state that one constant has remained:most players below the rank of master can't play an endgame worth a damn.
7. 18 Jun '13 01:29 / 1 edit
..."most players below the rank of master can't play an endgame worth a damn."

And even Masters have not mastered the endgame....
...Apparently no matter how good you are you never master the endgame.

(by coincidence I have an incredible endgame blunder ready for the next blog
played by someone who was at the peak of his career and claimed by
some to be one of the best endgame players in the world.)

"....most players below the rank of master can't play an endgame worth a damn."

(part II)
I would not say that.
White found a move here that Capablanca, Rubinstein....or even Rybka
would never have played. I would put £100 down on the table and
say none of those would even consider it.

Two non-masters from last seasons White (Somerset) v Black (Middlesex) Match.

Mike Richardt (2026) - Black: Nevil Chan (2122)

White to play

Infact I'd go as far to say that if you showed this position before the game
to the player who played the actucal move he would even see it. It's that deep!

White played...

Nf5!!

OK White went on to lose, but you won't find moves like that in your endgame books.
8. 18 Jun '13 02:37
Originally posted by SwissGambit
Going for a draw when you have a win is always a bad thing.
The annoying thing was, I got into a winning position against the player even I barely knew what I was doing and messed it up and drew.

The only reason I got into that winning position was because my opponent barely had any time to think...he offered a draw and I accepted.

I seriously doubt the next time I get into that endgame I will end up lucky and in a winning position(even though the position is good for me) as it seems tricky to convert to a win in 4/0 chess(5/0 but we had 4 minutes by that endgame)
9. 18 Jun '13 09:44 / 2 edits
I would not kick yourself too much for mis-playing an ending in blitz.
If you screwed up a K & R v K failing to mate in 20 seconds then that
is serious but missing a subtle tempo waster, a triangulation or even
failing to find the correct plan within a few minutes knowing you might
not have the time to complete can be forgiven.

In my experience most just thrash our the moves in blitz to gain clock
time leaving the player winning no time to convert the win.

You don't study endings to be able to re-produce all the technique in blitz.
Is there a book out there called. 'Endgames for Blitz Players.'

(and if you have seen vid's of the good guys bashing out Rook endings
then look again. They are often loaded with errors.)

The good guys say when the middle game is over STOP! take 5 minutes
Suddenly you have this extra piece that has spent the entire game hiding.
You do not have time for that in blitz.

This is about as close as I get to an ending in blitz and even then I managed
to get a mating attack.
Played on Game Knot a week or so ago. I'm White. (5/0)

Once again I sink a Knight in on d5 in my anti Najdorf line.

10. 19 Jun '13 07:02
Originally posted by tvochess
I think it depends on the complexity of the endgame. If the endgame is a theoretical draw, your computer will not find a usefull strategy and just play moves that keep its position level. As long as you don't blunder, you'll manage to hang on till a draw. However, in a complex endgame, a human opponent may steer the game into positions which are harder to s ...[text shortened]... that's still quite a lot of options, and probably complex. So possibly a human may do better.
What if you beat the computer in a 10-game match? If it was relatively simple like a K + B + P vs the enemy king, that might be easy to beat Rybka in, but what about this complex endgame? If I regularly beat the computer in that endgame, is it fair to say that I've mastered that particular endgame?
11. 19 Jun '13 08:02
Originally posted by hamworld
What if you beat the computer in a 10-game match? If it was relatively simple like a K + B + P vs the enemy king, that might be easy to beat Rybka in, but what about this complex endgame? If I regularly beat the computer in that endgame, is it fair to say that I've mastered that particular endgame?
The same argument applies. When the engine knows it is lost, it will play moves to delay checkmate as long as possible. This may or may not be the thoughest reply. A human player could set-up some tricks in a lost position, which either get him mated earlier, or turn it into a win if you fall for it.

A K+B+P vs. K is safe, because there is no counterplay. This means you can still win, despite inaccuracies. However, if these remain in your play, I wouldn't say you mastered it.

By the way, I think humans can only master very simple endgames.
12. 19 Jun '13 08:49
Originally posted by tvochess
The same argument applies. When the engine knows it is lost, it will play moves to delay checkmate as long as possible. This may or may not be the thoughest reply. A human player could set-up some tricks in a lost position, which either get him mated earlier, or turn it into a win if you fall for it.

A K+B+P vs. K is safe, because there is no counterplay ...[text shortened]... uldn't say you mastered it.

By the way, I think humans can only master very simple endgames.

Just so I understand you, you're saying that if I regularly beat Rybka *here*, it does not mean I've mastered this endgame? I wouldn't call this position "lost", but I guess you're right in terms of a human maybe setting up some traps here. But I'm not sure how many traps he could set up though, in this relatively simple position.

Humans can only master very simple endgames? Well, that's depressing... Surely it is possible to increase one's strategic understanding of an endgame?

I would like to think that Capablanca has mastered some complex endgames.
13. 19 Jun '13 09:50
Originally posted by hamworld
[fen]r3k3/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/R3KB2 w Qq - 0 1[/fen]

Just so I understand you, you're saying that if I regularly beat Rybka *here*, it does not mean I've mastered this endgame? I wouldn't call this position "lost", but I guess you're right in terms of a human maybe setting up some traps here. But I'm not sure how many traps he could set up though, ...[text shortened]... n endgame?

I would like to think that Capablanca has mastered some complex endgames.
What I mean is that if you practice your endgames against a computer, you will only have gained experience with the "best" moves/strategies/plans by your opponent. However, there may be other ways your opponent could act, which introduce difficulties not encountered while playing the computer.

So, my point is that seeing only a fraction of the possible replies, you couldn't have mastered the whole endgame (in general). Nevertheless, if you consider a particular endgame simple, practicing with the computer may be sufficient.

I don't find it a depressing thought. Otherwise, chess would have been solved, making it work/study rather than a game.
14. 19 Jun '13 10:27
Originally posted by tvochess
What I mean is that if you practice your endgames against a computer, you will only have gained experience with the "best" moves/strategies/plans by your opponent. However, there may be other ways your opponent could act, which introduce difficulties not encountered while playing the computer.

So, my point is that seeing only a fraction of the possible r ...[text shortened]... g thought. Otherwise, chess would have been solved, making it work/study rather than a game.
So the only way to master that endgame is to analyze everything to death and learn how to win?
15.  Paul Leggett
Chess Librarian
19 Jun '13 13:39
Originally posted by greenpawn34
[b]
In my experience most just thrash our the moves in blitz to gain clock
time leaving the player winning no time to convert the win.

You don't study endings to be able to re-produce all the technique in blitz.
Is there a book out there called. 'Endgames for Blitz Players.'
This may sound a little strange, but Ocean64 and I (along with a 9 year old student) meet every Monday morning for a chess study session, and one of our techniques is "blitz endings"!

We don't do it for many endings, but one example is that we will play the bishop, knight, and king vs king ending at a blitz time control. At this point, all three of us can mate someone with the pieces distributed randomly on the board with 5 minutes on the clock.

All that said, we don't really do it for the ending. None of us have had the ending in a real game, and don't expect to.

Our real idea is to practice using the knight and bishop in tandem, as a form of tactical practice. It's like a martial arts kata, where we go through the forms and motions of the pieces to warm up our brains for the session.

We'll also sometimes practice queen vs rook, queen vs rook and pawn (which is a draw if you know what squares your pawn needs to be on), and some other positions just to keep them fresh.

We don't spend too much time on it (I just made an unintended joke...), but it's a good warmup to start the day just to get the juices flowing, and it's fun.

I will also add as an aside that I think this technique cured my blind spot for backward knight moves. That alone is worth the price of admission for me.