Heavy Piece Endgames

Heavy Piece Endgames‎

WGM Natalia_Pogonina
24 | Endgames

Heavy pieces endgames are endgames when only queens and/or rooks and pawns are left on the board. The key factors are space and open files. Controlling a vital open file can be a decisive advantage.

Here are the most typical plans you can employ in heavy piece endgames:

1. Capture an open file and use it to burst into the opponent’s camp. To ensure that, you will often have to double or triple pieces along the file. After succeeding, you can either start devouring hanging pawns, or create mating threats by doubling your pieces along the back rank.


2. Attack a weak or isolated pawn and capture it. Often one can triple pieces targeting the pawn and force the opponent into defending it. Then the pawn becomes pinned, and you can attack the pawn with your own pawn, thus winning it.


3. Attack the opponent’s king. Heavy pieces are like fierce trolls when it comes to attacking. Two rooks or Q+R are a formidable battering ram team that can break the enemy castle when attacking along the eighth (and sometimes seventh) rank. Applying pressure via files can also be deadly. These heavyweights can also be supported by footmen – pawns.


4. Creating a passer and deflecting the opponent’s forces, followed by attacking the king or winning material.


5. Also don’t forget about the option of transforming the position. Sometimes you should trade into a rook or queen endgame.


The main dish today will be my game against Salome Melia from the recent European Team Chess Championship.


After having played the opening somewhat carelessly I could have ended up in trouble. However, my partner blundered on move 14, so I got a sizeable advantage. After the move 25. Rdg3 I had hardly any time left, and made a few mistakes. Pushing the h-pawn is a well-known resource that aims to weaken the Black pawn chain and open up files for the attack. In mutual time trouble Melia couldn’t handle the pressure, so I won the decisive game of the Russia-Georgia match.

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