Imagine having reached the following chess position after patiently defending with the Black pieces for the last 4 hours of your life at a USCF chess tournament. White has just played King to c5 which will net him a passed a pawn in a King and Pawn ending.
Usually, if a player is the only combatant with a passed pawn in a King and Pawn ending that is sufficient for a victory. This position is an exception. Black can draw if he moves his King to the correct square, but loses in all other variations!
Do you see the idea? If Black plays Ke6 with the idea of shadowing the White King down the c file, he will reach the standard Rook Pawn drawn ending on the other side of the board. After White wins the Black pawn at h5, all Black has to do is get to the magic f8 square which hems in the White Monarch preventing the h pawn from Queening!
One to the central tenets of the Russian School of Chess was to know the basic endings first. With that knowledge in hand, you will have a better idea of the type of endings that commonly arise from the various openings. Too many American players are opening specialists who are weak in chess endings. GM Ron Henley called these type of players “booked up fish”. Memorizing an opening is a very low-end intellectual activity. Learn the basic chess endings first.