Friday, August 04, 2006

Endgames in Paris

Meandering through Paris, we've found a few shops that specialize in chess-related goods. The best by far is Variantes, which had an amazing selection of overpriced books. I have yet to make my way to the chess hustlers on the Seine.

Since I drew a game I should have won in my last 45 45 game, I started learning a little something about the endgame (in addition to Circle 2 which I've also been diligent with). So far I've spent a couple of hours learning mate with the knight and bishop. It is tricky. But not just for me. Consider the quote from Chess Endings Made Simple:
This is the only difficult mating combination. You may think it is easy, but it is not. At a rapidplay tournament in south London I saw an international Master fail to mate with Bishop and Knight. In the end, after many movezs during which it was clear he did not know how to proceed, he stalemated his opponent.
How many knights know this ending? Has it helped? What rating were you when you first learned it cold?

I am typing on this awful French keyboard (,qny things qrenùt zhere they qre supposed to be!) so will probably not post again until I get home. Happy king hunting to all!!!

9 Comments:

Blogger Dinomike100 said...

I personally don't think the bishop and knight checkmate is that important to learn unless you are trying to go from 2000 to 2200 or something. I think mastering king opposition/king and pawn endgames is extremely important. Also, how to stalemate against a rook pawn or that bishops of opposite color in the endgame (not middlegame) are often drawn even if one side is up a pawn or two. Then there's always rook and pawn endgames, though those can be fairly tricky :(. Anyway, I think that with the endgame it's best to start with the pure basics because even if someone is an intermediate at chess in general, the endgame should be learned from the start. I often play against people up to 1600 that don't really know king opposition, and end up salvaging or earning a half-point. I don't think I've had bishop and knight come up in around 1,000 games.

8/04/2006 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

Most people find a reason why they don't learn this endgame. But it is ideally suited for when you take a break of heavier matter. If you play it out against the computer, it takes about 3 days before you know it. I learned it for the second time this winter. Indeed you are probably not going to get it on the board this life. I will review it next week I think. I don't want to look stupid when I need a last full point for my masternorm:)

8/04/2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger sciurus said...

I've been thinking about the importance (or unimportance) of this type of ending, too. I do realize that studying endgames is important for becoming a good chess player. I also think that usually it is best to start with the basics. But elemental mates are not a very interesting thing per se although they can be tricky such as in the B+N case mentioned here. In fact, I am right now in the process of trying to learn the B+N ending myself. However, the fact that the probability that I ever get to play it in a real game is very low gives me some motivation problems. Are there any good side effects of studying elemental mates like improving the ability to coordinate pieces? Or is it a mostly "academic" problem? What do you think?

8/04/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

As I work on it (I have made a bunch of mate in 3 problems and mate in 5 problems in Fritz just for starters) I realize this is a tough pattern to learn!

I figure it probably can't hurt to know it, and I'm on vacation. I just feel I should know all the major piece mates. But pawn (and esp rook/pawn) would probably be a better use of time.

8/04/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Dinomike100 said...

I have to admit: doing 3-5 move checkmates should greatly improve your calculation abilities, as well as tactics. I heard a fairly good player (I think he may have been a master) say that bringing home the checkmate for this type of position is worth learning. However, they said that the real hard part is being able to force the enemy king into the same color corner as your bishop if your opponent knows to go for the other corner. They said this part is mainly a long memorized 'trick'. I guess I'll just be happy with knowing that if I'm on the defending side, I'll go for the 'wrong' corner.

8/04/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...

BDK,
On my shelf is a set of chess pieces from Variantes, that I bought in 1995. Nice to hear the store is still around. Ah Paris. If things haven't changed, you might be able to pick up a game in the Jardin du Luxembourg, I think. Actually I can't remember.

Anyway, as far as the bishop, knight ending.....two words...Karsten Mueller. I just recently bought his endgame CD and the section on this mate is an excellent one. I was able to master the patterns fairly quickly. The CD also has the basic endgame principles as well. It's only 24 bucks if you are a USCF member.

I don't know how important it is for your play, but it is beautiful to conduct, especially against Fritzy.

8/05/2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Devil Knight,

Bon Soir!

Hope all is well in Paris. You must go play the chess hustlers. It's an experience you will treasure.

I learned about 4 variations of the N+B mating pattern. All of them work - you will need to know it. I was at a tournament a few weeks ago where a player had to do just this.

8/07/2006 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger King of the Spill said...

I know the B+N ending and do not think it is particularly important. What does seem very important about it is learning not to stalemate your opponent. "Draw wariness" is something that eventually will effect someone's rating past beginner level, and even strong players fall prey perpetual traps in the middlegame.

Secondarily that ending can teach you about losing a tempo, prophylactic moves, and the Bishop's long diagonal.

If you learn all those things without the B+N ending, it probably won't hurt your rating =).

8/10/2006 03:57:00 AM  
Blogger transformation said...

eric, you must be just back by now? and hope that this day finds you well. i am intrigued by this book chess endings made simple. sounds very good.

as for the B vs. N. ending, my approach is this. while you won't see this ending, so that the need to have this technique of directing the K. into the correct corner is a necessary feature, the mental exercise of learning it is what matters. no more than football players will never have to run through tires on the field, just 320 pound men who might not be that slow!

i went through all the pandolphini problems, and enjoyed it immensely. then when i read through chernev's practical chess endings, it started to look a lot more familiar. in an OBP game, i had a B and two P verus a lone B. those prior studies allowed me to know where to put my K and B.. hard to win? no. but not easy if you don't know how.

my coach told me to get and study Mullers Secrets of Pawn Endings. i told him that i ALREADY had studied a lot of pawn endings, but he explained that this book would teach me to calculate EXACTLY, and in so doing, boost confidence: "there is no chess more certain than pawn endings". so its more on the calculation exercise front, and less that you might see all these set ups.

lastly, he told me to read shereshevsky's Endgame Strategy. after coving the basics on your end, these two books are wonderful. the latter i consider to be VERY hot. once i get through more of CTS and ctArt3.0, i plan to inhale these two books.

lastly, sorry for inclusion. i deleted my last comment. i could have more cleanly emailed you privately.

dk

8/14/2006 02:53:00 PM  

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