Alberto Chueca, FIDE Trainer & International Master 
chess endgame preparation queen
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What is endgame Preparation in chess?

The endgame preparation in chess is almost as important as the opening preparation for a chess tournament. This is a normal practice for the amateurs that are going into a tournament or even professionals.

You have to know how to correctly prepare your endgames, and this is work that goes along with the opening stage.

Endgames are usually lost for not knowing the general rules, or knowing a practical idea about them. Even the strongest players usually fall for traps or even overlook simple variations to win endgames. Variations they would not overlook if they had studied the endgame theory.

You don’t want this to be your case, you have to prepare for the endgame. We are going to be practical here, we know you will not study every endgame in the book, there are just too many of them.

As the GM Vladimir Malakhov says, I don’t like to study endgames either. But at a certain level is necessary, for simple endgames like rook plus king against king.

However, for other, highly complicated and deeply calculated variations, you don’t need to complicate your life too much.

How important is the endgame preparation?

chess endgame preparation knight

This is the first question we have to do, and we have to know the value of our study. What are the most common, or which endgames have the higher chance of appearing on the board?

These are the firsts two questions you may ask, and you can find their response on the internet. Any database will provide you useful information that you will use in your study.

Now, the following question is a little more personal, but it makes endgame preparation even easier. In the opening you play the most, what are the most likely endgames to appear on board?

Again the answer will be in any database that you use, and you will use it to base your study on.

If you are a fan of the Ruy Lopez, then you must study the endgames that are most likely to appear in the Ruy Lopez opening.

Or course, if you are a beginner in chess or even an amateur that has never studied endgames, you should simply stick with the most basic ones.

We could say king and pawn against the king, knight vs central pawn, two bishops against rook and etcetera.

How to study chess endgames?

chess endgame preparation training

There are many useful options to study your endgames, but you have to choose the most comfortable for you. Of course, we will give you some suggestions, but remember, you have to find the best method that works for you.

One of the best ways to learn in chess is by analyzing games, in general, not only yours. You can use any database to look for the top players’ games and use them for practice.

Use the engine if you like it, the enrichment that you can get from this method is huge. Remember to focus your study on one area of the game, you don’t want to overwhelm your mind.

If you are studying the endgames limit yourself to see just that part of the game, nothing more. Remember that you can also find various chess drills and exercises on the internet.

This is also a good practice to learn, you can set up endgames positions and try to play them against the engine. If you think you can win the gameplay it and try to win the game.

If you fail review the endgame theory and try once again until you find your own winning method. This way you will incredibly improve your level, knowing the endgame phase of the game will give you more confidence.

Replaying previous games

chess endgame preparation

Replaying previous lost games is the undisputed method to study chess games of the master Mark Dvoretsky. This is a master of endgame preparation; he has written some useful books about endgame preparation that we will talk about later in the same post.

He has trained a lot of proficient masters of the chess elite, like Arthur Yusupov, Sergei Dolmatov, and more.

In his books, he presents the realistic and most effective way to learn chess endgames, which is by replaying the games. You don’t necessarily need to play your games; you can use others.

Another really useful practice is to use a chess endgames’ manual to review the theoretical and infallible method to win. Use the manual and reproduce the moves on the board.

But like everything in chess, remembering moves is too difficult for most of us, we are not machines, we are humans. Learn the key ideas of the position, the ideas to win, and the method to do it.

Simplify the method using your words, and don’t overcomplicate things if you don’t have to. The endgame preparation requires time and effort, but it surely is worth your time.

Useful chess books about endgame preparation

chess endgame preparation pawn

From the various books that have been written over the years about the endgames and the endgame preparation itself, here are the best. Following my personal opinion, these are the best books for players of any level.

100 endgames you must know is an incredible title that provides the reader with excellent knowledge about chess endgames. The best part is that accomplishes the term that we stated before: Simple language.

Although it is a chess endgame preparation book is not complicated for the reader, and anyone would understand the ideas. This is what makes this book the best for practicing endgames, especially for beginners.

Dvoretsky’s endgames manual is also one of the best titles that have ever been written about the endgame. This will explain to you more than just simple endgame theory, but practical ideas and lots of examples.

This will tell you the principles of chess endgames to a deep level, and it requires some effort to read, but it’s still pretty good.

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