In my ACIS improvement plan, I mentioned “memorising certain endgame positions with the help of gifs”. Endgames, like everything in chess really, are about knowledge and technique. On the one hand, it’s helpful to know that you can checkmate with a rook against a king, but not with a bishop against a king. It makes your life easier to know that bishops of opposite colour tend to be drawish, or that a queen against a single pawn isn’t always a win. That’s endgame knowledge. Then there’s technique: the actual skill of executing a mating attack with a rook against a lone king; how to achieve a draw with bishops of opposite colours; how to prevent the pawn from queening if you have a queen versus a lone king and pawn, or how to draw if you’re on the side with the pawn. Etc. etc.
I’ve recently posted two endgame knowledge gifs: rook vs rook and pawn on the 4th rank, and rook vs rook and pawn on the 5th rank. I consider those semi-useful. Maybe they’re not that useful, but it’s kinda cool to know such things by heart. And I included some hints as to the technique of how to play those endings. However, those comments are a far cry from actually mastering this type of endgame. Therefore, I need to study and practise the technique involved. The first step towards mastering the technique, I believe, is an endgame narrative. Just as chess is a narrative that progresses from opening to middlegame to endgame, the endgames themselves are narratives. For instance, mating with a rook: you progress from trapping the enemy king in a box with your rook, closing in with your king, and making the box smaller and smaller until mate. Of course, you’ll still have to calculate precisely and be watchful at every step that your narrative doesn’t deceive you. Nonetheless, narratives are extremely useful because they give you at least a hunch as to what kind of moves to look out for.
Therefore, I intend to post gifs of endgame narratives. I shall replay a certain endgame with the help of the Nalimov Tablebase, try to understand with my patzer instincts the essential technique and based on that add a running commentary to the gif. Of course such a narrative cuts out crucial details and ignores important variations, but it should give me at least a general idea as to what type of move sequences are involved in such an endgame. It remains to be seen whether absorbing such a narrative does more harm than good.
So here’s some endgame knowledge (if the Black king is on a red square, it’s a draw, otherwise it’s a win):
And here’s the corresponding endgame narrative: