Monday, July 1, 2013

Writing up my Lessons

Today is the last day before going off to coach at the endgame camp we have set up for juniors. So that meant that I had to put the final touches to my lessons and activities that I'm going to run during my sessions. Actually, I'm really looking forward to this, and hopefully we can come away having really enthused some young minds into the joys of endgames. I remember being a young player who never really appreciated endgames, probably because my games never got that far! If I looked at anything it would be attacking games and great combinations from the likes of Tal or Alekhine. I seem to remember being of the opinion that endgames were reached through the means of boring chess being played earlier!

Of course, times change and so do players. As I reminisce I can remember winning games at about 1600-1800 level and the majority of these games ran a similar course where I would win a small amount of material, nurse this through a consolidating period of the game, and then convert in endgames that were not too difficult. As I moved into open tournaments and started meeting stronger and stronger players, I realised that my endgame play was woefully lacking, but at the time (probably the early to mid 1980's) I had no one to help me and the majority of endgame books that I tried to learn from were too dry in their style to appeal to me. So my endgame ability has always been patchy, though I have recently (the past 2 or 3 years especially) worked through quite a number of techniques and examples. I guess that as I approach 50 years of age, my endgames are finally beginning to catch up with my tactical and strategic eye. While as a young player I used to marvel at the great complications in Kasparov's games, I have more recently grown a healthy respect for the play of his arch rival, Karpov. I'll be taking the following book to the camp with me.

Anyway, what I'm thinking about through these reminiscences is that if I'd have had a mentor early in my chess life who had instilled a joy of that part of the game, then I suppose I'd have become that much better as a technical player and may have advanced further as a player generally. While I have no regrets about my life, and chess life, I would like to influence some of my young charges with a healthy respect for, and even a genuine enjoyment o,f endgames.

Yesterday I showed a position that I was struggling in, but where I hastened my own demise. That game was played about 8 years ago, and in that time I have probably done more work on the endgame than in the previous 30 years that I was playing!

Today comes another endgame that was surplus to requirements for the camp. I saw this endgame while watching live games and then it was shown in GM Alexander Baburin's Chess Today.

White to play and win, and I'll post the answer the next chance I get (not sure if I'll have internet access from the camp)

Edit: White came up with the marvelous 1.Kh1! leaving black in zugzwang. 1..Kh4 is answered by 2.Kg2 with no more king moves, and after 2..h5 3.gxh5+ Kxh5 white will march her king to the queen side.


  1. After 2...h5, perhaps easier is 3.h3, when Black's rook must move and White can promote.

  2. Thanks for that, you are absolutely right, and the answer you have given was the same as Alex Baburin's in Chess Today. I was being a bit sneaky, seeing if people reading this blog actually bother with the positions I put up, and now that I have been corrected I see my blog is being fully examined by people.

    Sorry for the duplicity, but I've had lots of views but not many comments :)