chess endgame


  • Four pawns usually win but the rook may be able to draw, depending on their position.

  • the kings are two orthogonal squares apart, with the other player on move] and placing Black in zugzwang—he must either move his king, allowing White’s king to penetrate,
    or his bishop, allowing a decisive incursion by White’s bishop) Bishop and pawn versus bishop on the same color[edit] Two rules given by Luigi Centurini in the 19th century apply: • The game is a draw if the defending king can reach any square
    in front of the pawn that is opposite in color to the squares the bishops travel on.

  • The queen would win against eight pawns on the second rank but one pawn on the seventh rank may draw (see Queen versus pawn endgame) and two advanced pawns may win.

  • Generally (but not always), if the defending king can reach the queening square of the pawn the game is a draw (see Philidor position), otherwise the attacker usually wins
    (if it is not a rook pawn) (see Lucena position).

  • The context of this quote shows it is a comment on the fact that a small advantage in a rook and pawn endgame is less likely to be converted into a win.

  • There are two changes here enabling the rook to put up a better defense, but the queen still wins.

  • • A rook versus a minor piece and two pawns: usually a draw but the minor piece may win.

  • Fine, 1952), while others consider a position to be an endgame when each player has less than a queen plus rook in material.

  • [14] Common types of endgames Endings with no pawns[edit] Basic checkmates[edit] Main article: Checkmate Many endings without pawns have been solved, that is, best play for
    both sides from any starting position can be determined, and the outcome (win, loss, or draw) is known.

  • A general rule is that if the weaker side’s king can get to the queening square of the pawn, the game is a draw and otherwise it is a win, but there are many exceptions.

  • • The rook has one extra pawn: usually a draw but either side may have winning chances, depending on positional factors.

  • Siegbert Tarrasch gave the following rules for this case: For a player defending against a pawn on the fifth or even sixth ranks to obtain a draw, even after his king has
    been forced off the queening square, the following conditions must obtain: The file on which the pawn stands divides the board into two unequal parts.

  • Usually in the endgame, the stronger side (the one with more material using the standard piece point count system) should try to exchange pieces (knights, bishops, rooks,
    and queens), while avoiding the exchange of pawns.

  • (b) People had assumed that the rook needs to stay as close to the king for as long as possible, but tablebases show that it is best to move the rook away from the king at
    some earlier point.

  • • Same number of pawns: usually a draw but the two pieces win more often than the rook.

  • Usually the first person to make a queen in the endgame wins if the opponent is unable to promote the turn immediately after.

  • Also, endings with pawns on both sides of the board are much easier to win.

  • They are often drawn even when one side has a two-pawn advantage, since the weaker side can create a blockade on the squares on which his bishop operates.

  • Often he has only one or two moves that avoid a losing position.

  • White has two additional pawns, White to move Rook and pawn endgames are often drawn in spite of one side having an extra pawn.

  • This is generally a draw since the knight can be sacrificed for the pawn, however, the king and knight must be covering squares in the pawn’s path.

  • • Minor piece versus pawns: A minor piece versus one or two pawns is normally a draw, unless the pawns are advanced.

  • [39] If the attacking rook is two files from the pawn and the defending king is cut off on the other side, the attacker normally wins (with a few exceptions).

  • A knight pawn always wins if the defending bishop only has one long diagonal available.

  • (a) People usually opt for a second-rank defense with the rook on the second rank and the king behind it (or symmetrical positions on the other edges of the board).

  • [citation needed] Other endings with no pawns[edit] Main article: Pawnless chess endgames The ending of king and bishop versus king is a trivial draw, in that checkmate is
    not even possible.

  • The game is not in the endgame if these apply: • better development; • open files for attacking; • vulnerable king position; • misplaced pieces.

  • Unlike most positions, king and pawn endgames can usually be analyzed to a definite conclusion, given enough skill and time.

  • Many endgame studies have been composed, endgame positions which are solved by finding a win for White when there is no obvious way to win, or a draw when it seems White must

  • Also when all of the pawns are on the same side of the board, often the stronger side must exchange pawns to try to create a passed pawn.

  • Flear considers an endgame to be where each player has at most one piece (other than kings and pawns) and positions with more material where each player has at most two pieces
    to be “Not Quite an Endgame” (NQE), pronounced “nuckie”.

  • • If the queen also has a pawn or pawns it wins except in unusual positions.

  • Two rooks plus one pawn versus a queen is also generally drawn.

  • In the endgame, it is usually better for the player with more pawns to avoid many pawn exchanges, because winning chances usually decrease as the number of pawns decreases.

  • Also, many analysts gave a position (see diagram) that they thought was a draw but it is actually a win for the queen.

  • The defending rook must stand in the longer part and give checks from the flank at the greatest possible distance from the attacking king.

  • Three pawns are often enough to win against a minor piece, but two pawns rarely are.

  • Without pawns this is normally drawn, but either side wins in some positions.

  • • A rook versus a minor piece and one pawn: usually a draw but the rook may win.

  • If there are no pawns, the position is usually drawn, but either side wins in some positions.

  • minor piece has one more pawn): the rook usually wins, but it is technically difficult.

  • [36] When both sides have two rooks and pawns, the stronger side usually has more winning chances than if each had only one rook.

  • If all of the pawns are on one side of the board it is usually a draw.

  • [55] The difference in material between a rook and a minor piece is about two points or a little less, the equivalent of two pawns.

  • There are several important drawing techniques, however, such as the Philidor position, the back-rank defense (rook on the first rank, for rook pawns and knight pawns only),
    the frontal defense, and the short-side defense.

  • For any other two pawns, the queen wins except in the positions where a fortress with one pawn can be reached.

  • • If the rook has two connected pawns the position is usually a draw.

  • The classic example is Capablanca versus Tartakower, New York 1924 (see annotated game without diagrams or Java board) An important winning position in the rook and pawn versus
    rook endgame is the so-called Lucena position.

  • The knight is best suited at an outpost in the center, particularly where it cannot easily be driven away, whereas the bishop is strongest when it can attack targets on both
    sides of the board or a series of squares of the same color.

  • In competition, the fifty-move rule will often result in the game being drawn first.

  • [77][78] For instance, although nearly 90 percent of all of these positions are wins for the queen, it is generally a draw if the king is not separated from the knights and
    they are on reasonable squares.

  • An error in a king and pawn endgame almost always turns a win into a draw or a draw into a loss – there is little chance for recovery.

  • A queen and pawn are normally equivalent to two rooks, which is usually a draw if both sides have an equal number of additional pawns.

  • All chess positions with up to seven pieces on the board have been solved,[2] that is, the outcome (win, loss, or draw) of best play by both sides is known, and textbooks
    and reference works teach the best play.

  • The position in the diagram was thought to be a draw for over one hundred years, but tablebases show that White wins in 57 moves.

  • If the weaker side also has material (besides the king), checkmate is sometimes possible.

  • [13] There are some exceptions to this: (1) endings in which both sides have two rooks plus pawns – the player with more pawns has better winning chances if a pair of rooks
    are not exchanged, and (2) bishops on opposite color with other pieces – the stronger side should avoid exchanging the other pieces.

  • • Three pawns for the exchange: this is normally a win for the minor piece.

  • [67] A knight can draw against three connected pawns if none are beyond their fourth rank.

  • Black was unable to make any progress and the game was drawn on move 83.

  • Rooks should almost always be placed behind passed pawns, whether one’s own or the opponent’s (the Tarrasch rule).

  • This was thought to be a draw due to the existence of a drawing fortress position, but the queen can win most of the time by preventing the bishops from getting to the fortress.

  • [64] Queen versus rook[edit] • Without pawns, the queen normally wins but it can be difficult and there are some drawn positions (see Philidor position § Queen versus rook).

  • • If the defending king is behind the pawn and the attacking king is near the pawn, the defender can draw only if his king is attacking the pawn, he has the opposition, and
    his bishop can move on two diagonals that each have at least two squares available (other than the square it is on).

  • The last two are sometimes taught as basic knowledge as well, although the procedure for mate with bishop and knight is relatively difficult and many tournament players do
    not know it.

  • [62] While playing for a draw, the defender (the side with fewer pawns) should try to avoid situations in which the queen and rooks are forcibly traded into a losing king
    and pawn endgame.

  • [26] The position in the second diagram shows a winning position for White, although it requires accurate play.

  • Otherwise, if either side has an additional pawn, that side normally wins.

  • In that case, the best place for the opposing rook is in front of the pawn.

  • While there is a board position that allows two knights to checkmate a lone king, such requires a careless move by the weaker side to execute.

  • Three pawns either draw or win, depending on how advanced they are.

  • Some problem composers consider that the endgame starts when the player who is about to move can force a win or a draw against any variation of moves.

  • With a knight, the rook may have winning chances and the defense is difficult for the knight if the pawns are scattered.

  • [5] With the usual system for chess piece relative value, Speelman considers that endgames are positions in which each player has thirteen or fewer points in material (not
    counting the king).

  • [74] This position was thought to be drawn, but White to move wins.

  • This was thought to be a draw, but the queen has more winning positions than was previously thought.

  • Three connected pawns win against a bishop if they all get past their fourth rank.


Works Cited

[‘”4 Basic Chess Opening Principles”. Rafael Leitão. 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2022-12-07.
o ^ Fiekas, Niklas. “KvK – Syzygy endgame tablebases”. Retrieved 2022-12-07.
o ^ (Portisch & Sárközy 1981:vii)
o ^ (Fine 1952:430)
o ^ (Whitaker
& Hartleb 1960)
o ^ (Speelman 1981:7–8)
o ^ (Minev 2004:5)
o ^ (Flear 2007:7–8)
o ^ (Alburt & Krogius 2000:12)
o ^ (Portisch & Sárközy 1981:vii)
o ^ (Mednis & Crouch 1992:1)
o ^ (Euwe & Meiden 1978:xvi)
o ^ (Dvoretsky & Yusupov 2008:134)
o ^
(Euwe & Meiden 1978:xvi–xvii)
o ^ (Troitzky 2006:197–257)
o ^ (Fine 1941:5–6)
o ^ (Nunn 2010:43)
o ^ (Euwe & Meiden 1978:xvi)
o ^ (Nunn 2007:113ff)
o ^ (Müller & Lamprecht 2001)
o ^ (Müller & Lamprecht 2007:16, 21)
o ^ (Beliavsky &
Mikhalchishin 2003:139)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:112–14)
o ^ (Müller & Lamprecht 2001:13)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:152)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:154)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:155–56)
o ^ Portisch vs. Tal
o ^ (Nunn 1995:169)
o ^ (Fine & Benko
o ^ (Beliavsky & Mikhalchishin 1995:122)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:205)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:206)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:209)
o ^ (Emms 2008:7)
o ^ (Nunn 2007:125)
o ^ (Emms 2008:141)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:294)
o ^ (Speelman,
Tisdall & Wade 1993:7)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:294)
o ^ (Nunn 2007:148)
o ^ (Dvoretsky & Yusupov 2008:159)
o ^ (Korchnoi 2002:29)
o ^ (Emms 2008:41)
o ^ (Howell 1997:36)
o ^ (Dvoretsky 2006:158)
o ^ (Soltis 2003:52)
o ^ Müller, Karsten
(2001). “Endgame Corner” (PDF). Chess Cafe.
o ^ (Kaufeld & Kern 2011:167)
o ^ (Watson 1998:81–82)
o ^ (Benko 2007:186)
o ^ Winter, Edward, “Rook endgames” – Chess Notes, Number 5498
o ^ (Benko 2007:189)
o ^ (Nunn 2007:148)
o ^ (Müller
& Lamprecht 2001:273)
o ^ (de la Villa 2008:221)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:459ff)
o ^ Capablanca vs. Lasker, 1914
o ^ (Müller & Lamprecht 2001:23)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:449–58)
o ^ Leko vs. Kramnik
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:566–67)
o ^
Van Wely vs. Yusupov
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:563)
o ^ (Müller & Lamprecht 2001)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:570–79)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:93ff, 129–30)
o ^ (Müller & Lamprecht 2001:62)
o ^ (Fine & Benko 2003:275, 292–93)
o ^
(Fine & Benko 2003:526ff)
o ^ (Müller & Lamprecht 2001:8, 400–406)
o ^ (Nunn 2002:49ff)
o ^ (Nunn 1995:265)
o ^ (Nunn 2002:290ff)
o ^ (Nunn 2002:300ff)
o ^ “Chess program Wilhelm”. Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. + “Nalimov
Engame Tablebases”. AutoChess. 11 November 2012.
o ^ (Müller & Lamprecht 2001:406)
o ^ (Nunn 2002:324)
o ^ (Müller & Lamprecht 2001:339)
o ^ (Nunn 1995:265ff)
o ^ (Speelman 1981:109)
o ^ (Nunn 2002:367ff)
o ^ (Nunn 2002:342ff)
o ^
Francisco Vallejo Pons vs Magnus Carlsen, GRENKE Chess Classic, Karlsruhe GER, rd 2, 21 April 2019.
o ^ (Hawkins 2012:198–200)
o ^ Lomonosov Endgame Tablebases
o ^ “Articles”. Archived from the original on 2016-11-17. Retrieved 2014-09-19.
o ^
“ECE classifications, PDF of EG article” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
o ^ (Müller & Lamprecht 2001:11–12, 304)
o ^ (Capablanca 1966:19)
o ^ (Hooper & Whyld 1992)
o ^ “Endgame quotes”. Archived
from the original on 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
o ^ Chess Life, Sept. 1961, p. 253
• Alburt, Lev; Krogius, Nikolai (2000), Just the Facts!: Winning Endgame Knowledge in One Volume, Newmarket Press, ISBN 1-889323-15-2
• Beliavsky, Alexander;
Mikhalchishin, Adrian (1995), Winning Endgame Technique, Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-7512-9
• Beliavsky, Alexander; Mikhalchishin, Adrian (2003), Modern Endgame Practice, Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-8740-2
• Benko, Pal (2007), Pal Benko’s Endgame Laboratory,
Ishi Press, ISBN 978-0-923891-88-6
• Capablanca, José Raúl (1966), Last Lectures, Cornerstone Library
• de la Villa, Jesús (2008), 100 Endgames You Must Know, New in Chess, ISBN 978-90-5691-244-4
• Dvoretsky, Mark (2006), Dvoretsky’s Endgame
Manual (2nd ed.), Russell Enterprises, ISBN 1-888690-28-3
• Dvoretsky, Mark; Yusupov, Artur (2008), Secrets of Endgame Technique, Olms, ISBN 978-3-283-00517-7
• Emms, John (2008), The Survival Guide to Rook Endings, Gambit Publications, ISBN 978-1-904600-94-7
• Euwe,
Max; Meiden, Walter (1978) [1966], The Road to Chess Mastery, McKay, ISBN 0-679-14525-7
• Fine, Reuben (1941), Basic Chess Endgames, David McKay Company Inc., ISBN 0-7134-0552-X
• Fine, Reuben (1952), The Middle Game in Chess, McKay
• Fine,
Reuben; Benko, Pal (2003) [1941], Basic Chess Endings, McKay, ISBN 0-8129-3493-8
• Flear, Glenn (2007), Practical Endgame Play – beyond the basics: the definitive guide to the endgames that really matter, Everyman Chess, ISBN 978-1-85744-555-8
• Hawkins,
Jonathan (2012), Amateur to IM: Proven Ideas and Training Methods, Mongoose, ISBN 978-1-936277-40-7
• Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1992), The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-866164-9
• Howell, James (1997),
Essential Chess Endings: The tournament player’s guide, Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-8189-7
• Kaufeld, Jurgen; Kern, Guido (2011), Grandmaster Chess Strategy: What amateurs can learn from Ulf Andersson’s positional masterpieces, New in Chess, ISBN 978-90-5691-346-5
• Korchnoi,
Victor (2002), Practical Rook Endings, Olms, ISBN 3-283-00401-3
• Mednis, Edmar (1987), Questions and Answers on Practical Endgame Play, Chess Enterprises, ISBN 0-931462-69-X
• Mednis, Edmar; Crouch, Colin (1992), Rate Your Endgame, Cadogan, ISBN
• Minev, Nikolay (2004), A Practical Guide to Rook Endgames, Russell Enterprises, ISBN 1-888690-22-4
• Müller, Karsten; Lamprecht, Frank (2001), Fundamental Chess Endings, Gambit Publications, ISBN 1-901983-53-6
• Müller, Karsten;
Lamprecht, Frank (2007), Secrets of Pawn Endings, Gambit Publications, ISBN 978-1-904600-88-6
• Nunn, John (1995), Secrets of Minor-Piece Endings, Batsford, ISBN 0-8050-4228-8
• Nunn, John (2002), Secrets of Pawnless Endings, Gambit Publications,
ISBN 1-901983-65-X
• Nunn, John (2007), Secrets of Practical Chess (2nd ed.), Gambit Publications, ISBN 978-1-904600-70-1
• Nunn, John (2010), Nunn’s Chess Endings, volume 1, Gambit Publications, ISBN 978-1-906454-21-0
• Portisch, Lajos; Sárközy,
Balázs (1981), Six Hundred Endings, Pergamon Press, ISBN 978-0-08-024137-1
• Soltis, Andy (2003), Grandmaster Secrets: Endings, Thinker’s Press, ISBN 0-938650-66-1
• Speelman, Jonathan (1981), Endgame Preparation, Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-4000-7
• Speelman,
Jon; Tisdall, Jon; Wade, Bob (1993), Batsford Chess Endings, B. T. Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-4420-7
• Troitzky, Alexey (2006) [1937], Collection of Chess Studies, Ishi Press, ISBN 0-923891-10-2 The last part (pages 197–257) is a supplement containing
Troitzky’s analysis of two knights versus pawns.
• Watson, John (1998), Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy, Gambit, ISBN 978-1-901983-07-4
• Whitaker, Norman; Hartleb, Glenn (1960), 365 Ausgewählte Endspiele (365 Selected Endings), ISBN 0-923891-84-6

Photo credit:’]