Section 4: Strategy and tactics in Endgames
1. Strategy in the Endgame
If one were to compare the three stages of Xiangqi, one would find that the opening and midgame are generally more strategically inclined than the endgame. One could even say that the endgame is generally more tactical inclined. However, when the game is in transition from the midgame to the endgame, in the strategy-oriented stage, it would be more strategy than tactically inclined. That is why a certain gist of the midgame can be felt in the strategy-orirented endgame stage.
One must not be overly concerned with the tactical aspects of the endgame either. In an actual endgame, although it is mostly tactic oriented, the overall strategic considerations are still
needed to act as a compass to guide the game to more favourable grounds. The strategy employed would be simpler than the midgame though.
And although this is common sense knowledge, one must always choose a strategy that fits the needs of the game played. The strategy chosen must be based on very careful analysis of the endgame. An accurate analysis would increase the precision of the moves and thus increase the chance of a successful strategy.
In the analysis of the endgame, the following factors must be taken into consideration:
a) the number and position of the remaining troops for BOTH sides
b) the versatility of the remaining major attacking pieces
(chariot, horse and cannon) for BOTH sides
c) the number and position of the remaining pawns for BOTH sides
d) the degree of safety of your king and the opponent's king.
e) the combined effect that the above factors have on the endgame
for both sides.
Once an analysis is made and several conclusions drawn, one would then proceed to determine the most appropriate strategy. That way, one would have an objective view of the endgame and not
just a subjective or instinctive grasp of it.
In a nutshell, the strategies for the endgame can be divided into:
a) going for the win when advantageous
b) trying for a draw when on the losing end
c) being patient and await for chances if the game is even or a standoff.
It must be reminded that anything could happen in the endgame, and the same strategy employed could have drastically different outcomes as your opponent might have a different gameplan. And many a time you would arrive at crossroads at different stages of thegame. This would be a test of the player on his ability to analyse the game and administer the correct strategy or change his game plan accordingly.
2. Tactics in the Endgame
The endgame is more tactically inclined that strategically inclined as compared to the opening and then midgame. There are basically two reasons for this.
The first reason is :
less number of pieces + increase in room for deployment + more favourable for various combinational play ==> easier for tactics to be carried out.
The second reason is that there are Fixed Endgame Scenarios in the Xiangqi endgame.As the outcome can be predicted with reasonable confidence, strategical considerations would take a backstage to
tactical combination. Through the use of a single tactic of combination of tactic(s) like commanding the important positions, pinning the opponent's chess pieces, limiting the movement of the opponent's king,
making full use of idle moves, trapping the opponent's chess pieces or kings ... one can follow a 'pre-determined'path to victory in sure-win endgames or force a draw in drawish endgames. These ways for winning are the result of extensive study of combinational endgames whereby
universal or nearly universal conclusions can be obtained.
There are many tactics that can often used in the endgame. Some of the commonly used tactics include : attacking, killing, defense, planning to gain material,exchange of chess pieces, limiting the chess pieces of your opponent, aiming for a draw etc.
The rest of the book is dedicated to these various tactics in fixed endgame scenarios.
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First created: 2nd Sept 2012
Last updated: 2nd Sept 2012
GM Liu Dianzhong for making learning endgames a much easier job!
Mr Felix Tan for advice in various aspects of the game.
1. <<象棋新編教程--象棋殘局基礎>> by GM Liu Dianzhong 劉殿中, Qi Jinan 齐津安.
2. <<象棋辭典>> by the late legendary Master Tu Jingming 屠景明
3. <<跟我學象棋 初級教程>> by Wang Guodong 王國棟, Fang Shiqing 方仕慶, Li Yangui 李燕貴
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