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Every Russian Schoolboy Knows: Practical Endgames - Part 1

Opening: E16: Queen's Indian

Player(s): Urkedal, Onischuk

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 1: The rook endgame from Urkedal-Onischuk is standard fare. Three on three on the K-side with an extra pawn on the other side with the defender's rook ideally placed behind the pawn is one of the most frequently seen endings. The reason for that is simple - the defender actively seeks this kind of position as a bailout from a difficult position. Indeed, most of the time he should be able to reach a draw more or less comfortably by following a well-known pattern of cutting off the king, attacking pawns with the rook, while preparing the eventual counterplay with his own king supporting pawns while his rook is sacrificed at the last moment. However, a lot depends on the K-side pawn structure. In our example, Black didn't have the time to set up the ideal pawn formation with the move h7-h5, and therefore run into serious trouble. Objectively speaking, the endgame after the correct 46.a6! may be lost for Black.

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