Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Do You Read ChessCafe?

I admit it. I'm an avid reader of ChessCafe for quite a number of months now.

ChessCafe has a wealth of information available and each month, I eagerly await 4 columns in the following preferential order:

1. Endgame Corner by Karsten Müller
2. The Instructor by Mark Dvoretsky
3. Checkpoint by Carsten Hansen
4. Arbiter's Notebook by Geurt Gijssen

I tend to give a cursory look to the other articles. However, it is usually the first 2 articles I tend to give the most attention to.

By the way, did I ever mention that I love endgames? Ok, I absolutely LOVE endgames and studying endgame theory.

This month I received a bonus. Dvoretsky devoted this month's article to endgames and in it, he mentioned how even famous Grandmasters mess up their endgames.

Among the list of guilty parties include Magnus Carlsen and Mark Taimanov who failed to draw certain endings and messed them up.

Of particular note in the article, Dvorestky notes,

"It’s just the same in chess: knowledge of endgame theory does not guarantee that you will know how to play the endgame."

How very true. I can tell you of the number of times that I thought I knew the endgame theory and had it down pat and that I should be able to handle this endgame when it happens. Not so, there always appears to be chinks in the armour and it's extremely important to tighten up and know where these chinks are so they can be eradicated. And I found that my knowledge of endgame theory is still not up to scratch. Knowing and playing them are 2 different matters altogether indeed.

In the endgame, where time is usually a precious commodity, it is vital that you can play the moves as perfectly as possible and as automated as possible. Not only does it place your opponent under severe pressure to find the correct moves, but it also gives you that little "edge" to capitalise when your opponent makes a mistake.

If you have the time I strongly encourage you to read the article, , it's a real eye opener.


  1. for the last six years, i can say that i have read virtually EVERY single chessCafe article and, where not practicable, certain skimmed them all. all of them. i even force myself to make a passing glance at borish article (many are not!) on some weird upstate new york master who played in some tournament in 1925...

    i met Hannon Russel here. he has very good russian and, if i recall, studied it at--was it?--Yale.

    i dont know for sure, but guess or seem to recall he is a 2100 or 2200ish chess player.

    as they say in the south (of the USA):

    "Not dumb".

  2. Well, I normally don't even go to ChessCafe, but I will make it a point to go more often now. There I have bookmarked it, thanks for the suggestion.

  3. I check Chesscafe on a regular basis, in particular the columns by Mueller, Heisman, and Hansen. And any book reviews they have. There's lots of good stuff on that site.

    And I found that my knowledge of endgame theory is still not up to scratch. Knowing and playing them are 2 different matters altogether indeed.

    This is particularly true when you don't have much time left on your clock - it becomes really easy to mess up even a supposedly "basic" endgame in time trouble!

  4. dk: wow. quite an accomplishment to read all the articles! i can't even bring myself to do that.

    wang: do try to give it a shot once a month. i tend to find small little gems in some of the articles. cheers!

    chessaholic: i tend to read the book reviews and their book reviews are pretty good. in fact, i think they have probably the best reviewers of chess material anywhere.

  5. Silman's site also has a lot of good reviews here, check it out.