Former World Champion and legendary chess teacher Mikhail Botvinnik was the originator of the “Every Russian schoolboy knows” chess aphorism, which alluded to the fact that thousands of unknown schoolboys back in Russia - due to the intense training methods they received from a young age - likely knew more about the game than most professionals did in the West.
One player who came through that legendary Soviet training camp is former U.S. Champion GM Alexander Yermolinsky. And each Sunday in his hit show, “Every Russian Schoolboy Knows”, Alex will explain and expand on all the top tips and tricks gleaned from those famed training methods.
Today's show is: Practical Endgames - Part 4
The purpose of endgame studies is two-fold. One thing is to discipline your thinking and teach yourself to calculate carefully to the end, which is essential for endgame play. As the material on the board diminishes, the probability of your opponent making mistakes lessens, and you may not be given another chance to recover. Another part is acquiring a practical knowledge of typical endgame positions that may occur in your games. This four-part series mainly focuses on the latter.
Video 4: Another common endgame theme is Rook vs Bishop. The theory of such endgames is extensive, but well-researched and documented. There's really no reason why any strong player should have any problems playing such positions to perfection, as long as he puts up some work. Yet, time and again, I see examples of unsure handling of this type of endgame from the best players. Videos #3 and #4, illustrate the point. Aronian took many moves waltzing around in what should have been an easy win, if he only thought about how to push the black bishop off its diagonal a - common idea in such endings. In return, his opponent, GM Dubov, failed to spot a clear drawing pattern offered by Levon's mistake 73.g3. In Grischuk-Vachier Lagrave, a routine win was spoiled when Alexander carelessly allowed the black pawn to become a passer. Fixing the opponent's remaining pawn on the same color square as his bishop is always top priority. Grischuk's mistake led to an interesting ending where the win was no longer trivial.