Beginners often spend too much time memorizing opening moves without an understanding of opening fundamentals. The beginner will become easily confused when his or her opponent varies from memorized lines. Therefore, beginners are well advised to initially avoid memorizing opening moves.
Endgame theory is well established. Whereas, opening theory changes with each new innovation. Therefore, you can be confident that time spent learning endgame theory will not be wasted. Besides, it is easier for the beginner to comprehend the movements of few pieces then of 32 pieces. Openings teach you openings. Endgames teach you chess!
One thing is clear, a student of the endgame will usually reach a happy ending.
There is one simple secret of endgame play that experts know, but few beginners understand. The secret is knowing the result of an endgame without having to calculate all the moves. Of course, one must also know the general method required to reach that result, but only the general method. Brute force calculation of all variations is not necessary to win most endgame positions. Simply knowing what positions are favorable and why is good enough. The players who understand the secret can judge when to trade down from the middle game into the endgame simply by knowing what endgame positions are favorable without deep calculation.
It is necessary to play tactically correct moves even in the endgame. Accurate moves in the endgame are required even when the general method or technique is simple. The endgame is no place to make a hasty move. Even a slight slip of the finger can make all the difference between a win, draw, and a loss.
The secret to endgame play is revealed here, but shhhhhh. Please don't tell anyone, or else this server will be overloaded. To illustrate the power of "the secret," I offer this example of a queen and pawn endgame.
It is not sufficient to just acquaint yourself with these "secret" positions. You should be able to calculate with profound ease and clarity the final result though far removed from the end of the game. I have carefully selected these "secret" positions from among those most commonly found in actual play. I will not waste your valuable study time here teaching some rare position that you may never see over the board.
Good study habits are important. You should study not more than a few positions in any one sitting. It is not enough to merely acquaint yourself with the lesson positions. You must learn their secrets well for best results. Practice these positions and their variations on your own chess board. Practice them from both sides of the board. You may be surprised how often you can swindle a favorable result from an opponent who is less schooled in endgame "secrets."
Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake.
Savielly Grigorievitcyh Tartakower (1887-1956)