Endgames can be highly tactical

Off course there are general principles that apply to endgames. But mere intuition brings you most of the time nowhere. You have to calculate very careful.

See this, seemingly simple rook endgame. If it was black to move, he would have a very easy draw. See for example this variation…

But it is white to move. That makes all the difference in the world. But how? That’s maybe not so easy to spot. Do you see how white can win? Solution…

Here is another one!

Some moments after I finished this post, I surfed to chess.com. Chess.com shows every day a new puzzle. Sometimes these puzzles are quite hard to solve. This one is also a bit tricky. See the second diagram.

It is white to play and win. The first move is obvious. But then it gets a bit tricky. Do you see how to solve this one? Solution… 

Goes without saying that not all rook endings end in a draw!

Endgame: two pawns versus a rook

eindspel_300Should lower rated chess players bother about endgames? Jeremy Silman is very clear about this subject in his excellent book ‘Silman’s Complete Endgame Course’. Players in the elo range of 1000 till 1200 only need a very basic knowledge of endgames. Simply because they usually don’t reach an endgame. 

This statement is supported by some statistics. The average game duration on for instance chess.com is about 25 moves. Probably most games end in some sort of tactical disaster. But as a player’s strength grows, chances are he will end more often in endgame situations. For stronger players it makes a lot of sense to study at least the most common types of endgames. But what are the most common endgame types?Read More »

Another instructive endgame

We can learn a lot from endgame studies. Studies show a concept in it’s purest form.

The idea is that all the pieces on the board have a certain function. There is no unnecessary clutter which disturbs the concept.

What I like about endgame studies is that the positions might have arisen from real games in contrast to some compositions where you have to mate in a couple of moves. These compositions often look a bit artificial and couldn’t have evolved from a real game. Therefore I am not very fond of them. Of course this is a matter of taste.

I do like positions that pose a tricky ‘clean problem’. See the diagram. It is white to move. Can he win? If so, how?

See solution…

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