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Endgames

76,132 Studies by Harold van der Heijden – A mind-boggling effort by the author that took him 3 years of hard work (in perfecting this version alone). The database is in PGN-format. Apart from the initial position and the solution (including sub-variations and analysis) these additional information is provided: the name(s) of the composer(s), the GBR-code which is an index code denoting the chess force in the initial position, place and date of the primary source (tourney, journal, magazine) and whether it is a win or a draw study.

This fourth version of Harold van der Heijden’s Endgame Study Database has more than eight thousand extra studies compared to the previous edition from 2005. Besides, the solutions of many studies have been corrected or updated based on reader feedback.

It is by far the most exhaustive collection of endgame studies available.

Regular chess software such as Fritz or ChessBase or even the free Tarrasch or Lucas Chess can be used to play out the positions.

However to find studies in the database by name, year, source, material balance, and numerous other criteria you may need to use SCID (free) or Chessbase (commercial).

John Nunn and Artur Yusupov believe that chess players can benefit a lot from endgame studies by trying to solve them daily. This trains both one’s essential skills in chess such as – calculation ability, planning, visualization and tactical performance in the endgame which also aids in the middle-game.

Dutch endgame study guru, Harold van der Heijden (above) celebrated his 50th birthday with a composing event, and the winner was the following spectacular effort, by the man many regard as the best study composer currently active in the world – John Nunn

This one is the best…
Try to solve this… And post your answers in the comment box!!

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Pawn endgames can seem easy to play and understand. But even in so simple positions there are many subtleties.

I’m going to show some subtle nuances in king+pawn vs king endgame.

First thing to know is the rule of the square: if the defending king is inside the square of the promoting pawn then he can stop it

Black to move just enters the square of the a pawn with 1…Ke4 and its a draw.

If the defending king is already in the square of the pawn it is important not to push the pawn but reach, with the attacking king, the so called key squares:

Look at this example: b5,c5,d5 are the key square and White to move wins easily with 1.Kc4!!

This way he gets the so called OPPOSITION, Black is forced to move away and give access to a key square

I give a sample line:

1.Kc4 Kd6 2.Kb5 Kc7 3.Kc5 Kb7 4.Kd6 Kb6 5.c4 Kb7 6.c5 Kc8 7.Kc6 Kb8 8.Kd7 Kb7 9.c6 and White promotes and wins.

So it is clear that the battle for the key squares is often decided by which side gets the opposition.

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There are many different kinds of oppositions:

1. Normal Opposition

2. Distant Opposition

3. Very Distant Opposition

4. Diagonal Opposition

Usually all these kind of opposition will in the end get to normal oposition, allowin to fight for the key square of the pawn.

So, it looks simple but in the endgame we will look at now things are a bit more complicated.

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The following position is a study published in 1906 by chess composer Drtina.

White to move and win.

First thing to notice is that Black’s king is already inside the square of the c-pawn.

So, in order to win, White has to reach the key squares (b5, c5 or d5) with his king, BEFORE advancing his pawn.

Key squares will be reached through opposition: to get a win it is important that White reaches a position with King on c4 and Black’s king on c6, (opposition) BUT…. it has to be Black’s move, otherwise the opposition is lost by White!

Let us look at a wrong attempt by White:

1.Kd2 is wrong: how should black reply? Remember the different kinds of opposition!

Analysis of this wrong attempt, and the correct solution will be posted in our next chapter…;)

Meanwhile…have fun!!!

Marina

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76,132 Studies by Harold van der Heijden - A mind-boggling effort by the author that took him 3 years of hard work (in perfecting...