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Endgame Theory and Practice Review
keywords: endgame, theory, practice, convekta
Robert Pawlak
Saturday, November 02, 2002

This endgame CD was released at around the same time as Convekta’s other endgame offering (Chess Endgame Training – or CET). I struggled for a while to place this CD into a separate category from CET, but in the end, I am convinced that there is a fair amount that both CDs have in common. That is not to say that there are duplicate exercises between the two (I have not run into any yet). But rather, there are similarities in the types of knowledge and techniques that are being taught.

This CD represents a little better choice for those that want or need plain English explanations, since there are a number of positions with a significant amount of text (approximately 700). It also appears as though an English speaker has edited these. All in all, I think that these examples will be very useful to people that are trying to understand this phase of the game.

In addition to the teaching positions mentioned above, there are a number of exercises (about 600), and 150 or so positions that you can play out against the computer. Of course, there is a built-in engine (crafty) for this purpose. With a little ingenuity, most users could set up tablebase access for crafty, if so desired. See my article on crafty setup in Chess Assistant 5 for more information.

The CD discusses almost all the topics that are typically considered in "classical" texts. For example, the opposition, rook activity, opposite colored bishops, etc. However, the CD is not absolutely complete, since there were a few topics that were not covered (like B vs. Ps, or K+B+RP vs. K). So this course is not quite complete, although it comes fairly close. If anything, it is missing some of the really basic information (like the above), but has excellent coverage of topics the intermediate or advanced player is interested in. To be fair, this is the recommended audience for the CD. But I think the addition of a few more topics could broaden its appeal even more.

Like CET, I would give this CD fairly high marks for organization. Generally speaking, the material is put together in a logical fashion, but there are instances where the order of presentation is a bit strange. For instance, there is a discussion of the opposition, then a discussion of corresponding squares, followed by the rule of the square. I don’t know for sure whether the rule of the square, or opposition should come first (maybe opposition), but I do know that corresponding squares should come near the very end, since many strong players have trouble with this topic. So if you have trouble understanding material, you might want to skip some of the more esoteric sections, and do what you understand first.

I would definitely recommend this CD to the intermediate or advanced player, for whom it is intended. All in all, I think that it represents an enormous effort, and will definitely been a boon to those that are interested in this phase of the game.

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Must insert original CD for occasional refueling.

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