Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Soltis on Pawn Endings

I perused "Grandmaster Secrets: Endings" today by Andrew Soltis. Here's what he has to say about pawn endings:

1. Never to trade down into a king and pawn ending unless you could safely bet your first-born child on the result. The reason is that K+P endgames are 90% *calculation*. No matter how much book theory you know, even a world class player can err badly.

I don't buy it. If I'm a pawn up and conditions look favorable, I'm going to trade down into a pawn endgame--even if I'm not certain about the result. Rook endings are usually more favorable for the defender than the attacker.

It's true that pawn endings can be very difficult.

2. An extra pawn or two is almost always decisive.

3. King position, and specifically opposition, is very important.

4. protected passers > outside passers > pawns > backwards or doubled

5. Spare tempi are important.

If this is all his book teaches about pawn endings, then perhaps his advice to avoid them, is correct for the average reader.   ;-)

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