During this week I started to focus more on a few endings. I noticed that I was getting good positions out of the opening and the middle game. The biggest difference in performance and many losses I had came from poor ending technique. I mean, my ending technique is not terrible, but there’s room for improvement. Even on fundamental stuff! So, I decided to work on this weakness focusing on pawn endings and rook endings. I think that will be plenty for the next two months.
At the beginning of each study session, I practiced a couple Puzzle Rush exercises on Chess.com. Basically, these are easier tactics intended to be answered very quickly (my usual pace is around 2 seconds per move). The goal is to be able to see easy tactics on the fly, which comes very handy in blitz games.
On top of that I decided to work on thematic tactics on Chess.com, on pawn endings and rook endings. I started with problems with a ranking around 1800-2000 and built it to 2100-2300. That really helped me develop more logical plans that spanned across 4/5 moves during this phase of the game. There’s still lots of work to do, but I’m happy for tackling the study of this part of the game now.
The Weekly Practice (01/20/21 to 01/26/21)
This week I continued with the tactics and the videos of rook endings. Andrea kindly shared with me a series of videos he had previously recorded on how to defend yourself in rook vs rook + pawn endings. There are many methods depending on the file (column) and rank (row) of the pawn. Also, it’s important to take into account the placement of both kings. The technique you’ll end up applying should consider all of this.
On Monday 25th I missed the practice session. That day there was an unexpected family situation I had to take care of, and I decided it would be okay to skip the practice. The following day I had my lesson. Other than that, I sticked to the 1 hour session. The first few days I practiced at 7pm (the day I usually have my chess lesson), but there were days I practiced later. The sessions were always fun and enjoyable to do (even if they were challenging -especially the hidden move + simplification tactic exercises!
Theory and Practice
As I started watching the videos of rook endings I thought about the difference between theory and practice. Learning the theory, the technique, is important. But we need to put that into practice. Unless we use a resource that was that in place already, we will need to create opportunities to practice what we are learning. I think this is especially true for technical stuff, such as chess endings.
One alternative to insert positions on Lichess or Chessbase and practice with the computer, would be to use a resource on Chess.com or a similar website or software, in which we move and get an automatic response (but we don’t need to enter the positions ourselves). Also, to get more practice on endings, we can try to transition into that phase of the game very early on, exchanging queens (and minor pieces, depending on what we need to practice), right at the beginning.
That’s all for now! 🙂