After much thought, I finally acquired Convekta's Total Chess Training 2.
The software on the CD came with the following 5 separate applications:
Encyclopedia of Middlegame II
Chess Tactics for intermediate players
Theory and Practice of Chess Endings
Chess Endgame Training
I've already started working my way through the Theory and Practice of Chess Endings and there is a huge amount of material to digest.
Last Wednesday, out of the 3 rapid games I played, I lost 2. The 2nd game I fell into a blunder of enormous proportions by allowing my young opponent a mate in 4 (oops! LOL). My third game was with Mick Waters. Mick is a fine gentleman and he's a very active and steady player here in Sydney. I see him playing on Mondays at Manly, again at North Sydney on Tuesdays and Ryde Eastwood on Wednesdays.
Mick is a dangerous opponent to face (his rating is about 1500) for me as I've lost to him before. In our game, Mick opened with the French Defence. After 5 moves, I deliberately took Mick out of book and played an unusual line in the Tarrasch variation of the French Defence. We ended up in the position shown in the diagram after some 20 odd moves.
While thinking over this position, I suddenly realised that I have a winning endgame! I didn't like my dark-squared Bishop earlier on and deliberately swapped it off with one of his Knights as my central pawns were on the dark squares. I am exerting a huge amount of pressure on Black's 2 main pieces holding the position. The Knight on c6 and the Bishop on e6. My plan here is fairly simple, use my Knights to attack the Queenside, exchange off another one of his piece and Black will be in trouble. So my first course is to rip his center to shreds with Bxe4 (exploiting the pin on the Queen again). As expected, shortly after, a flurry of exchanges occur. My Knights continue to gobble up his remaining Queenside pawns and I managed to get 2 connected passed pawns on the Queenside in a winning R+4P+K v R+2P+K endgame.
I am indeed thankful to have won this game and 2 months back, I would not have known what to do in this position.