You are here:

Chess/Capablanca's advice


In his book Last Lectures Capablanca advised students to "study the endgame before anything else..." In your opinion is his advise still valid today?

The advice, in my view, is still largely valid.  The only part I might question is studying endgames "before anything else".

In other words, the endgame should not necessarily be an absolute #1 priority for beginners.  But if you DO prioritize endgames, you'll probably appreciate the power and capability of the pieces better than if you start with, say, middlegames.

Not only that (and this may sound like common sense, but a lot of players overlook this!) what is the point of knowing openings and middlegames blow it all in the endgame ?!  In other words, even the best players in the world have been known to take a favorable endgame and transform it into a loss !

On a final note, endgames are A LOT more complicated than most people realize!  Take, for example, rook endings in which, say, each player has a rook and just 2-3 pawns each---trust me---those endgames are often exponentially more complex than many realize.

Bottom line:  yes, endgames should be a very high priority when it comes to improving your chess, but I'm not so sure that they should be #1 over everything else.



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Howard S Sample


First, I can't answer analytical questions on chess because my United States Chess Federation (USCF) rating is definitely below average. However, I am very knowledgeable about chess history and general chess trivia. I've been a chess trivia buff for 35 years! Furthermore, my research and writing skills are far above average! I've been researching chess questions on the Internet for over 10 years and pretty much know where to look for answers to them. My strong devotion to chess will show in many of the questions I can answer for your website. In other words, I can give specific, detailed answers if the need may be.


I have been a USCF member for 35 years (as of next month) and also have a very substantial collection of back issues of chess magazines, not to mention a lot of chess books. I am also familiar with many chess websites, such as ChessCafe and Chessbase. To be quite frank, chess (playing, studying, researching, and so on) has been somewhat of an obsession to me ever since I was about 12. I just can't seem to get enough of it.

United States Chess Federation (since 1975)

Interesting question! If you Google my full name (Howard S Sample) you will see that I have made many contributions to chess websites. I send in questions and comments very regularly although they don't always get printed. Admittedly, I can be a bit picky when writing to correct errors but I've submitted corrections many times (and not just to chess websites). Incidentally, I am also entering the field of freelance writing though, admittedly, I plan to write mainly about issues such as investments, federal taxation, and accounting/finance topics. But freelance writing on chess topics is also a field I'm exploring.

I have two degrees in business, of which one is an MBA (from the University of Toledo).

Awards and Honors

©2017 All rights reserved.