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  1. 20 Jun '06 12:12 / 1 edit
    I'm after advice. I'm currently playing an evening tournament in London, and having great trouble convincingly converting superior positions in the endgame. What's the best way to learn this skill, does the forum think?

    (Btw, I can post the relevant FENs or PGNs if anyone is *that* interested. In summary, my three recent games where I had this trouble were like this,

    - one I had some pressure in an opposite coloured bishop ending - but drew against a much lower rated opponent - it was probably not enough for a win (although Fritz thinks I was a bit better when I agreed a draw)
    - one I had almost total spatial dominance of a materially equal though BvN ending, Fritz gave it as +2.5 (!) at one point in my favour; I eventually won a pawn but that lead to a R+2P v R+P ending that my opponent drew
    - one (last night) I had a slight edge but missed several sharp opportunities to increase it, and let my opponent back in the game; however, he was after a draw and missed that his rook swap manouver dropped a pawn; that gave me a winning position according to Fritz; rather than convert it solidly I played a cheapo for a mate in one (!) which he fell into - but possibly he could have drawn if he'd not overlooked that...)

    Cheers.
  2. Standard member Ragnorak
    For RHP addons...
    20 Jun '06 12:21
    Originally posted by TommyC
    I'm after advice. I'm currently playing an evening tournament in London, and having great trouble convincingly converting superior positions in the endgame. What's the best way to learn this skill, does the forum think?

    (Btw, I can post the relevant FENs or PGNs if anyone is *that* interested. In summary, my three recent games where I had this trouble were ...[text shortened]... h he fell into - but possibly he could have drawn if he'd not overlooked that...)

    Cheers.
    Post the pgns.

    D
  3. 20 Jun '06 12:44 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Ragnorak
    Post the pgns.

    D
    Okey dokey, happy to.

    First game as black against a lower rated opponent (replete with embarrassing opening by moi) of the level I don't expect to lose to and rarely do, but often draw to (ECF 138):

    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. d4 Nxe4 6. Qe2 Nd6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. O-O b5 9. Bb3 Nfd4 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. Qe4 Nxb3 12. axb3 Rb8 13. Nc3 Rb6 14. Qf4 Bb7 15. Ne4 Be7 16. f3 h6 17. Be3 Re6 18. Nc5 Bxc5 19. Bxc5 Qg5 20. Qxg5 hxg5 21. h3 Rc6 22. b4 Rhh6 23. c3 Rhe6 24. Bd4 f6 25. Rae1 Kf7 26. exf6 gxf6 27. Rd1 Re2 28. Rf2 Rce6 29. Kf1 Rxf2+ 30. Kxf2 f5 31. Ba7 d6 32. Re1 Rxe1 33. Kxe1 Ke6 34. Ke2 Bd5 35. Ke3 f4+ 36. Kf2 Bc4 37. g3 Bd3 38. gxf4 gxf4 39. h4 Bg6 40. Kg2 Kd5 41. Kf2 Bh5 42. Bb8 Kc6 43. Ba7 Kd5 44. Bb8 c6 45. Ke2 Ke5 46. Kf2 Kd5 47. Ke2 c5 48. bxc5 Kxc5 49. Kf2 a5 50. Ke2 Kd5 51. Kf2 a4, draw agreed.

    Second game, as white against a higher rated opponent (ECF 171), I am usually happy to draw against players of this standard, and rarely beat them:

    1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. c4 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 g6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be3 Nf6 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O a6 10. f3 Rb8 11. Qd2 Bd7 12. a4 Qa5 13. Rfd1 Rfd8 14. Bf1 Nxd4 15. Bxd4 Be6 16. Qf2 Nd7 17. Nd5 Bxd5 18. exd5 Bxd4 19. Qxd4 Qc5 20. Qxc5 Nxc5 21. b4 Nd7 22. Re1 Kf8 23. a5 Re8 24. f4 e6 25. dxe6 Rxe6 26. Red1 Ke7 27. Rd4 f5 28. Rad1 Nf6 29. h3 Rc8 30. Bd3 Rc7 31. Kf2 Nd7 32. g4 fxg4 33. hxg4 Nf6 34. g5 Ng4+ 35. Kf3 h5 36. gxh6 Nxh6 37. Rh1 Nf5 38. Bxf5 gxf5 39. Rh7+ Kd8 40. Rh8+ Ke7 41. c5 dxc5 42. Rd5 Rcc6 43. Rh7+ Kf6 44. bxc5 Re1 45. Rxb7 Ke6 46. Rd6+ Rxd6 47. cxd6 Kxd6 48. Rb6+ Kd5 49. Rxa6 Rf1+ 50. Kg3 Rg1+ 51. Kf2 Ra1 52. Kg3 Ra3+ 53. Kh4 Ke4, draw agreed.

    Third game, as black against a worse rated opponent, also of the level I never expect to lose to and am disappointed to draw to (ECF128):

    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 Bf5 7. Qf3 Bg6 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. Qxf6 gxf6 10. Nge2 Nd7 11. Nf4 Nb6 12. a3 Bd6 13. g3 Rg8 14. Nxg6 fxg6 15. Be2 a5 16. O-O f5 17. Kg2 Kd7 18. Bd3 Rae8 19. h4 Rgf8 20. Rh1 h6 21. Rac1 Re7 22. Ne2 g5 23. hxg5 hxg5 24. Rh5 f4 25. gxf4 gxf4 26. Rf5 Ref7 27. Rxf7+ Rxf7 28. Kf3 fxe3+ 29. Kxe3 Nc8 30. f4 Bf8 31. Rh1 c5 32. dxc5 Bxc5+ 33. Kf3 Nd6 34. Rh7 Rxh7 35. Bxh7 Nc4 36. Nc3 Nxb2 37. Nxd5 Bxa3 38. f5 Kd6 39. Ke4 Nd3 40. Nc3 Nc5+ 41. Kd4 Bb2 42. Kc4 Bxc3 43. Kxc3 b5 44. Bg6 Ne4+ 45. Kb3 Nf6 46. Bf7 Kc5 47. Be6 b4 48. Ka4 Kb6 49. Bc4 Ne4 50. Be6 Nc5#

    Imo the second and third are most relevant to my initial problem. Btw, about the ratings: I am currently unrated but probably about ECF160.
  4. 20 Jun '06 13:31
    Originally posted by TommyC
    I'm after advice. I'm currently playing an evening tournament in London, and having great trouble convincingly converting superior positions in the endgame. What's the best way to learn this skill, does the forum think?

    (Btw, I can post the relevant FENs or PGNs if anyone is *that* interested. In summary, my three recent games where I had this trouble were ...[text shortened]... h he fell into - but possibly he could have drawn if he'd not overlooked that...)

    Cheers.
    I'm at work and can't take the time to check out the pgns, but

    1. Opposite colour bishop games are very easy to draw (though sometimes there are winning resources available).

    2. Rook endings are very very tricky and easy to draw if you don't know what you're doing. I would suggest you pick up a high quality endgame book and study the subject a bit.I like Dvoretsky's endgame manual.

    3. I can't comment on this without looking at the position, but you did win it!

    2 OTB tournaments ago, I was playing a guy rated 200 USCF points above me and we came to a theoretically drawn position (7 pawns locked across the board, 1 knight and a queen each). I played a trap - a temporary queen sac that either won his knight and queen or exchanged knights and worsened my pawn structure. I spent 5 minutes calculating that I could hold the draw with the worse pawn structuree and decided I could. He fell for the trap and I won the game instead. All I'm trying to say is that it is worth giving your opponent a chance to screw up and it sounds like it worked for you.
  5. 20 Jun '06 13:47
    Originally posted by zebano
    I'm at work and can't take the time to check out the pgns, but

    1. Opposite colour bishop games are very easy to draw (though sometimes there are winning resources available).

    2. Rook endings are very very tricky and easy to draw if you don't know what you're doing. I would suggest you pick up a high quality endgame book and study the subject a bit.I lik ...[text shortened]... is worth giving your opponent a chance to screw up and it sounds like it worked for you.
    Thanks Zebano, I will look out for that book. But I think my problem is in slightly more complex positions than eg R+Ps, opp colour bishops, etc, as I know most of the standard rules about those...
  6. 20 Jun '06 15:40
    Originally posted by TommyC
    Thanks Zebano, I will look out for that book. But I think my problem is in slightly more complex positions than eg R+Ps, opp colour bishops, etc, as I know most of the standard rules about those...
    The great part about endgames is that they are all about calculation. I will try and look at the games later and see if I can give a few suggestions (chances are good that you're better than me, but I'll try).
  7. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    20 Jun '06 16:30 / 1 edit
    I took a quick look at the first one. I can't see a way of winning it. I assume that you were white. Crafty's assessment never gets above +1.0, the improvement it suggests is 14. Nd5 rather than Qf4 it's best line after 79 seconds is 14. Nd5 Re6 15. Nf4 Rh6 16. Nd3. By move 16 it's assessment is +0.08. I don't think that there was much wrong with your opening play - you had an advantage, the problem is that you needed to be incredibly accurate to avoid black equalizing in the line you ended up in. After that the only move I don't like is 27. Rd1 - I know you want to avoid exchanges, but you concede the e-file and end up swapping the rooks off anyway, Kf2 is better. Once black had equalized he didn't make any serious mistakes so there wasn't any way of playing to win without also playing for a loss...
  8. 20 Jun '06 16:48
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    I took a quick look at the first one. I can't see a way of winning it. I assume that you were white. Crafty's assessment never gets above +1.0, the improvement it suggests is 14. Nd5 rather than Qf4 it's best line after 79 seconds is 14. Nd5 Re6 15. Nf4 Rh6 16. Nd3. By move 16 it's assessment is +0.08. I don't think that there was much wrong with y ...[text shortened]... us mistakes so there wasn't any way of playing to win without also playing for a loss...
    Er . . . I'm after *general* advice about my lack of *endgame* technique - I think maybe you missed the point of my posts. The games are recent examples of this.
  9. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    20 Jun '06 18:09
    Originally posted by TommyC
    Er . . . I'm after *general* advice about my lack of *endgame* technique - I think maybe you missed the point of my posts. The games are recent examples of this.
    Have you perused Excelling at Technical Chess by Jacob Aagaard? It is aimed at developing the skills needed to win theoretically won positions, often with marginal, but clear advantage.
  10. 20 Jun '06 18:13
    Originally posted by Wulebgr
    Have you perused Excelling at Technical Chess by Jacob Aagaard? It is aimed at developing the skills needed to win theoretically won positions, often with marginal, but clear advantage.
    Ooh, thanks, sounds interesting, and no, never even heard of it - have you read it and would you recommend it?
  11. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    20 Jun '06 21:58
    Originally posted by TommyC
    Ooh, thanks, sounds interesting, and no, never even heard of it - have you read it and would you recommend it?
    I've read the text, but not yet worked through all the instructive games. It has helped me to become less willing to concede a draw in materially equal positions where I have an advantage that might be converted into a winning advantage.

    For example, I had black in this position, and am on move. My opponent offered a draw. I refused the offer and demonstrated the superiority of my bishop and my pawns.

  12. 20 Jun '06 22:11 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Wulebgr
    I've read the text, but not yet worked through all the instructive games. It has helped me to become less willing to concede a draw in materially equal positions where I have an advantage that might be converted into a winning advantage.

    For example, I had black in this position, and am on move. My opponent offered a draw. I refused the offer and demonstr ...[text shortened]... rity of my bishop and my pawns.

    [fen]8/pp2kppp/4p3/8/Pn6/1PbB1N2/2P2PPP/5K2 b - - 0 32[/fen]
    That's interesting. I have no problem declining draws though (I declined two such offers in the game I won above, one when my position was getting worse after ...Bf8). I think my psychological attitude during games is most of the times alright, with the God-complex ( "I'm gonna crush him!" ) and the Loser-complex ( "OMG he's a gen1us" ) making increasingly rare appearances.

    The position you posted is interesting too. I had a quick look, this is my opinion. Presumably white would want to preserve his light squared bishop and therefore play 1. Be4 in the diagram; you can get your pawns going with 1. ... f5 2. Bxb7 Nxc2. Your pieces are more active and restraining his a and b pawns for the time-being; on the other hand, if he frees them up it might be quicker for him to get a passer out of the 2v1 on the queenside than it is for you to get a passer from the 4v3 on the kingside. Although if you can blockade them for good with ... a5 maybe they'll never do anything at all - leaving you effectively a pawn up. How did the game turn out, out of curiousity?

    EDIT. Had another look. 1. Be4 b6 and I think you are considerably better... Anyway.
  13. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    20 Jun '06 22:25
    I traded knight for bishop to weken his pawns and create a bishop vs. knight ending. Then, I reduced the mobility of his knight and activated my king. His isolated pawn became an easy target.

    32...Nxd3 33.cxd3 f6 34.Ke2 Kd6 35.d4 Kd5 36.Kd3 Bb2 37.h3 h6 38.Nd2 Bxd4 39.f3 f5 40.Nc4 b6 41.b4 e5 42.Nd2 a6 43.g4 g6 44.Kc2 e4 45.fxe4+ fxe4 46.Nb3 Be5 47.Kd2 Kc4 48.b5 axb5 49.a5 Kxb3 50.a6 Bb8 51.Ke3 Kc3 52.Kxe4 b4 0–1
  14. 20 Jun '06 23:00
    Originally posted by Wulebgr
    I traded knight for bishop to weken his pawns and create a bishop vs. knight ending. Then, I reduced the mobility of his knight and activated my king. His isolated pawn became an easy target.

    32...Nxd3 33.cxd3 f6 34.Ke2 Kd6 35.d4 Kd5 36.Kd3 Bb2 37.h3 h6 38.Nd2 Bxd4 39.f3 f5 40.Nc4 b6 41.b4 e5 42.Nd2 a6 43.g4 g6 44.Kc2 e4 45.fxe4+ fxe4 46.Nb3 Be5 47.Kd2 Kc4 48.b5 axb5 49.a5 Kxb3 50.a6 Bb8 51.Ke3 Kc3 52.Kxe4 b4 0–1
    Ah ok, I misread your previous post and thought it wasn't your move. Nicely played.
  15. Donation !~TONY~!
    1...c5!
    21 Jun '06 00:09
    Originally posted by Wulebgr
    Have you perused Excelling at Technical Chess by Jacob Aagaard? It is aimed at developing the skills needed to win theoretically won positions, often with marginal, but clear advantage.
    I have this book and have gotten into it just a little bit. Another very popular book (and an underground classic) is Shereshevsky's "Endgame Strategy". It's all about strategical thinking in the endgame, and has an abundance of examples of planning in the endgame and converting better positions into wins.