Karsten Mueller: Chess Endgames 14

8/6/2014 – "There is both good and bad news about GM Karsten Mueller's Fritztrainer series "Chess Endgames". The good news is that a new volume has just been released but the bad news is that it will be the final volume." It is subtitled The Golden Guidelines of Endgame Play and rounds off the whole series with general advice, backed up by well-chosen illustrative examples. Review by Sean Marsh

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Mueller: Chess Endgames 14

Review by Sean Marsh

One of the most valuable jewels in the ChessBase crown is undoubtedly the endgame series presented by Karsten Mueller, which has been entertaining and instructing chess players since 2006. There is both good and bad news about the series. The good news is that a new volume has just been released but the bad news is that it will be the final volume.

The Golden Guidelines of Endgame Play doesn't focus on one particular aspect of endgames. Rather, it intends to round off the whole series with general advice, backed up by well-chosen illustrative examples. It's all about ''rules of thumb'' which, according to Karsten Mueller, ''are the key to everything when you are having to set the correct course in a complex endgame. In this final DVD of his series on the endgame, our endgame specialist introduces you to the most important of these rules of thumb.''

The material is split into two sections: General Rules of Thumb and Principles of Special Endgames.

General Rules of Thumb means things such as activating the king, when to exchange pawns, the best pieces to use when blockading pawns and improving the worst piece.

Right at the start, Karsten makes it clear that ''the art of the royal game'' is not to memorise all of the guidelines ''and repeat them each morning, in front of a mirror'' as chess should not simply about who has the better memory. Rather, it is best to have a sound knowledge of the guidelines and to combine such wisdom with one's own intuition when trying to find the best move or plan.

Here's an example of the General Rules of Thumb, demonstrating the guideline It doesn't matter what disappears from the board but what remains.

Aronian vs. Nakamura, Moscow 2012

White is clearly better with his extra pawn, more active king and rook and impressive and centralised knight. How should he proceed to convert his advantage into victory? Aronian made the correct decision ''from a practical point of view'' as he exchanged his ''octopus knight'' with 40 Nf7+ Bxf7 41 Rxf7. The point is a lot of people may have been put off entering a rook and pawn ending due their general high tendency to end in draws.

It is now a race of passed pawns and Karsten goes on to demonstrate various subtleties as Nakamura's h-pawn hurtles down the board. Aronian probably already had the final position in mind (or something very much like it) as he entered this endgame, which is a good example of Karsten's advice to pair general guidelines with personal intuition over the board.

White forced resignation with 53 Rg2! when Black can never move his rook without losing the h-pawn (provided White doesn't clumsily allow him to do so with check). An instructive example and typical of the type of material to expect in the first part of the DVD.

Principle of Special Endgames offers concrete material on various types of positions featuring very little material. We start off with learning how to checkmate with a bishop and a knight against a lone king, during which the winning side keeps complete control if he sticks to the 'W' method. Then it's on to pawn endings before moving through examples with other pieces, concluding with a very interesting section rook and minor piece vs. rook and minor piece.

The Fischer Endgame, in which a rook and bishop are better than rook and knight, is relatively well known. Karsten introduces us to a new piece of nomenclature - the Andersson Endgame - in which the reverse is true.

Andersson vs. Franco Ocampus, Buenos Aires 1979

Andersson's deep chess vision led him to the move 16 Bxb6! when after 16 ...axb6 17 Nc4 he set about proving that the unlikely looking exchange of bishop for knight was not only justified but also the way to a serious edge.

Fast forward to the end of the game and it's very easy to see that things turned out exactly as he wanted them to. I found this lesson to be one of the most instructive on the whole DVD.

Black resigns, 1-0

Incidentally, Ulf Andersson was in the news again just this week, when he was interviewed by Daniel King at the Tromso Olympiad:

With a running time of seven hours and 27 minutes, there is clearly a lot of material on this DVD. It acts very well as a stand alone release; prior knowledge of the material presented on volumes 1-13 is not necessary. Indeed, this is (somewhat ironically) a very good volume with which to start, giving, as it does, so much instruction based on the basic general principles. For newcomers to Karsten's endgame DVDs it is clear: If you like the style of this one then it would be a good idea to go back to volume 1 and work your way forward from there.

Yes indeed, after eight years this magnificent series has finally come to a natural end. Rest assured that the high quality has been maintained all the way through the 14 volumes.

Order Karsten Mueller Chess Endgames 14 here
or the entire series 1–14 for a special price here

Sample video from Chess Endgames 14

About the author

Born in 1970, GM Karsten Müller has a world-wide reputation as one of the greatest endgame experts. He has, together with Frank Lamprecht, written a book on the subject: “Basics of chess endgames” in addition to other contributions such as his column on the website ChessCafe as well as in ChessBase Magazine. Mueller’s ChessBase-DVDs on endgames, in Fritztrainer Format, are bestsellers. Karsten has a PhD in mathematics and lives in Hamburg, where he has also been hunting down points for the HSK in the Bundesliga for many years.

View all Karsten Mueller DVDs here



Topics: Endgames, Mueller
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