Monday, July 20, 2015

Build Up Your King and Pawn Endings

White to play
Position 4.8 from Artur Yusupov’s Build Up Your Chess: The Fundamentals

Hooray for me. Last week I was able to pick up a book aimed at sub-1500 chessers and solve at a glance every puzzle the author set in a chapter on king and pawn endings. Yes I am genuinely chuffed about that.

The book in questions was Yusupov’s Build Up Your Chess: The Fundamentals. The first in a 9-volume course, it is - according to our friend Artur - aimed at people with elos several hundred points less than mine. To which I can only say, "Bloody hell, are you having a laugh, Art?" Easy it is not.

If I’d have started out with this book and course when I was a beginner I’d be master standard by now at least. Or I would have quit chess forever after a couple of weeks. One or the other.

The truth is, I didn’t even actually get all the puzzles straightaway either There was one - you can find it at the head of today's blog - that took me a few minutes.

I did get there in the end, but this is the first of three books aimed at people I’m supposed to be much better than already. What are the last three aimed at people with much higher elos than mine going to be like? Maybe one day I’ll find out. For now, I’m happy enough to have nailed all the puzzles in chapter 4 of book one. 

King and pawn Index


Matt Fletcher said...

In fairness, it's aimed at 1500-1800 not sub-1500, though your point mainly stands!

I'm (slowly) working my way through 1800-2100 and there are definitely some very testing bits.

Dan Schmidt said...

Jonathan B is correct; the target audience is supposedly under 1500. The original German title is "Tigersprung auf DWZ 1500", or loosely "Leap up to 1500". Yusupov also notes in the introduction that the first book is based on lessons for those under 1500.

Anyway, the rating ranges for the books are famously inaccurate. I'm about halfway through the whole 9-book series, and can confidently state that the first three books (the ones for U1500 players) played a big part in my progression from 1800 to 2000 (USCF, but still).

Matt Fletcher said...

Sorry Dan and Jonathan, I stand corrected - I could have sworn the audience for the orange books was 1500-1800, not too sure where I got that from.

I'd certainly put the majority of the orange books at around 1800 level (with some lessons a bit higher), and the blue books are mostly the right level for me (2000ish) with some being very tricky.

Do you know whether DWZ ratings translate directly to Elo, or whether they come up a bit lower?

Dan Schmidt said...

No worries, I wasn't sure either until I looked it up again. I agree that a target audience of c. 1800 for the orange books and c. 2000 for the blue ones sounds about right. (You can get something out of them if you're higher-rated, you'll just know more of it already.) I haven't gotten to the green ones yet but I expect them to be around 2200 level.

From looking at one conversion chart, DWZ appears to be 50-100 points stronger than FIDE, which explains a little of the difference.

Anonymous said...

Hello there,
A NWZ rating is definitely something. Germans enter the NWZ at minimum 800 points, in comparison to, say, swiss ratings. A total beginner has there a rating of 1200 when entering the competition.

So, if a beginner swiss player has a 1100 national rating, he must have lost 100 points. In the contrary, a german beginner player at 1100 national rating has GAINED 300 points.

The more games played, the less difference exists between those two national ratings. But 1500-1800 NWZ is already a post-beginner rating, even I might say a decent club player who is no more a chess equivalent to a sitting duck.



SilentKnight said...

I think the target audience of U1500 is appropriate with respect to the tactical chapters, but not the strategy/positional chapters. The endgame chapters are more or less appropriate, but I feel endgame study for the U1500 crowd is almost worthless. The particular problem in question is nowhere near the type of practical endgame problem an U1500 might have to solve over the board. My most "challenging" endgames at that level were winning "only" up the exchange.

I think the benefit of endgame study isn't the chess knowledge itself, but teaching the value of accurate calculation without any hand-waving, which king and pawn endgames are notorious for.