An evening with Mr. Shereshevsky

In keeping with my attempt to learn the parts of the game I’ve so long neglected, I’m working my way through Endgame Strategy by MI Shereshevsky. Quote from the introduction:

Dvoryestky considers it essential to know the classics, to analyze complicated practical rather than theoretical endings, and to find general rules and principles of play in complex endings. And in theoretical endings it is sufficient to know whether the ending is won or drawn, and to have a rough impression of the plan of play.

Hooray, no more drudgery with Basic Chess Endings.

So these “general rules and principles” that Shereshevsky examines are things such as the idea of two weaknesses, “do not hurry!”, how to consider exchanges, surpressing counterplay, and so on.

At the same time, he reiterates that there really aren’t hard-and-fast rules – only tools that can help unlock the secrets of a simplified position. Or at least help you find a decent move…


7 thoughts on “An evening with Mr. Shereshevsky

  1. DK – coincidentally I was just on your blog discovering that you’re also working with Mr. S.

    Originally it came to my attention through Jacob Aagaard’s book Excelling at Technical Chess, which cribs a lot from Shereshevsky (and is quite forthright about it). Aagaard summarizes very effectively and weaves in some other lessons and some new games; I just think that absorbing everything in Shereshevky’s book will further cement the concepts. And the games are interesting and explained well, I think.

  2. the thing about endgames that i’ve seen is, you have to know where the king moves, and it’s different if he is on the edge or in the middle, and other stuff like that. it might be basic for you guys who are all high rated and such, but i have no freakin clue what i’m doing, so it’s all still a mystery to me. it’s like a complete different game with different rules and moves….i will probably buy they shereshevsky book now that you mentioned it and what DK said about it up there in his comment.

  3. Chessloser, check out this statement in the original post:

    “And in theoretical endings it is sufficient to know whether the ending is won or drawn, and to have a rough impression of the plan of play.”

    Endgame Strategy (and after it, his 2-vol set on “Mastering the Endgame”) are terrific books, but if you don’t have the fundamentals down, you won’t profit as much from them.

    If you’re serious about not having a clue, you might want to hit Averbakh’s “Chess Endings, Essential Knowledge” first, and once you understand everything there move on to the other material.

    BTW, I find it ironic that the idea of studying the classics is attributed to Dvoretsky, as the chapter on studying the classics in Dvoretsky’s own book (“Training for the Tournament Player”) is written by Shereshevsky.

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