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John Nunn vs Sarunas Sulskis
Olympiad (1994), Moscow RUS, rd 10, Dec-11
Four Knights Game: Scotch Variation. Accepted (C47)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: After the queens are exchanged, it's four pawn islands for Black (that's a bad thing) compared to two pawn islands for White (typical) yet Black manages a draw.

"All rook endings are drawn." - Tarrasch.

Well, perhaps at GM level there is some truth in that statement. Otherwise, very few (almost no club players) know where to place the rooks each and every time, and one wasted move in the endgame can be fatal. Add to the fact that the endgame is often played with precious little time remaining on the clock, and many errors will pop up. Tarrasch, the Laskers, Capablanca, and Rubinstein are great players to study the ending from, or any phase of the game for that matter.

Your time spent on learning the endgame will pay huge dividends all the rest of your chess days. Endgame knowledge is concrete and can be applied over and over and over in all types of games, unlike ever-changing opening theory.

When entering a chess tournament, your opponents likely will steer away from your favorite openings that you have prepared but they must risk a lot to avoid an endgame. You will be rewarded many half-points and some full points for mastering the endgame! If you don't lose, your rating won't sink.

One more thing... It's a huge mistake to think you can get by on tactics. Tactics will take you only so far up the ladder, and then you will start meeting well-rounded opponents who see your threats, match you move for move and the game drags on, wearing on you. Then the board shows twice as many pawns as pieces remain and you find your punching power is gone -- there will be no quick knockout. If you want stamina in chess, you better be able to recognize weak pawns and know your endgames.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Any chess player would also do well to study the writings of Grandmaster John Nunn too -- the player of the White pieces above. The quality of Mr. Nunn's books are undisputed -- he is factual and very thorough. However, many of his books are for master-level players (some are printed in the German language). He does have a wide range of high quality published material in print, and out-of-print but available used. See what fits your level.

For club players, I can certainly recommend:
- Learn Chess by John Nunn.
- Learn Chess Tactics by John Nunn.
- Secrets of Practical Chess by John Nunn.
- Tactical Chess Endings by John Nunn.
- 1001 Deadly Checkmates by John Nunn.
(Don't try to solve all 1-5 levels in a chapter. The end of each chapter is hard! Figure out what you can for each chapter, stop when it's too difficult, and move on to the next chapter. When you get to the end of the book, start over at the beginning and see how much you've improved. You'll solve more checkmates the second time through, and much more the third time through. It gets clearer with experience.)

* I dislike recommending opening books, but Nunn's Chess Openings (often called by it's initials NCO) is an excellent reference source. Changing your opening repertoire is one of the worst habits a player can get into. Don't blame the opening when you lose! Be faithful and treat her right.

* I promise the two "Learn" books mentioned above will have some insights in there that you have never thought about before (or have forgotten) even though you already "know" how to play chess. So re-learn it!

* Secrets of Practical Chess covers essential endgame knowledge in 50 pages. Most of what club players really need to know for endings is in the latter part of this book. You can also learn what the letters LPDO mean!

* Now here's my tactical tip just for reading this far, and it's a dandy! [An EAD = LPDO]. You'll have to read Nunn's book to find out what an LPDO is. An EAD is a term I learned from a chess blogger 15 years ago. EAD stands for Equally Attacked & Defended, meaning the unit has one attacker and one defender, or two attackers and two defenders, etc. An EAD can be treated much the same as an LPDO. Essentially, you want to identify all EADs and LPDOs and then try to fork them w/a single move. Otherwise, try to add an attacker or subtract a defender from just the EAD. Now that will earn you some points, because you'll have more targets to identify and manipulate! Remember EAD = LPDO and try to fork them.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: I should have mentioned that PAWN endings are the most important to learn first. It will take some time to learn the rook endings because there are more variables possible. Really, really know those PAWN endings first. When you're able to recognize which PAWN ending will promote, and which is a draw with proper play, without having to move the pieces, then you have the knowledge you need.
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