Heavy Piece Endgames

  • WGM Natalia_Pogonina
  • | Nov 29, 2011

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.


  • 3 years ago

    WGM Natalia_Pogonina

    Let’s stay in touch on social networks! Here are my official accounts:

    Account 1, Account 2, Account 3

  • 4 years ago


    Great article, patzers like me need all the explanations we can get! 

    In case anyone wants to see anymore heavy piece endings here's a link to 2 fully annotated games played by Super-GM and super-endgame expert V. Smyslov 


  • 5 years ago


    Very NIce
  • 5 years ago


    Are you mentally deficient Ovaido?

  • 5 years ago


    i want just to comment lets see this position







    here the question is the continuation when we want to progress we should has some memory but memory is not the first factor of wining a game.

    analysing also is one factor of wining

    evaluate is one factor of wining

    and here we can evaluate this but before i want say that in the game we should be quite and not nervous.

    because be quite is the more factor of wining a position.

    we can tranpose in this position by mauch manner

    and one of this manner is the caro can openning 1 e4 e5 2 d4 d5 3 e5 Bf5 4 Nf3 e6 4 Be2 Ne7 5 00 Bg6 6 c3 Nd7 7 Nd2 Nf5 8 a4 Be7 9 a4 00 this is a simple exmple

    the first reflsion that we play Nf5 just this khigt is in e7 squar and here the placement of this khint is not very strong.

    because some complication in analysing the position .

    and here when player is beginner he has some difficulties to understund why the khint is in e7 squar. so this when we évaluate a position.

    here black are in defense and loosing is more probably that wining so the complication is part of the personality of each grand master.

    Here we has tow grandmaster playing  here zubraiev alexander in black.

    and seing the idéa with other point

    here wite want some attac the king side by 10 g4 so we can forecast that the g files was open after some exchange and the game w 'll be equal is that true ?



  • 5 years ago


    Hi Natalia.

         Once again you've graced us with an excellent article.  I appreciate your straight-forward examples and detailed annotations.  It is very helpful to see not only the moves you make, but also to understand why you didn't make other moves that are seemingly more apparent to the untrained mind.  Seeing these alternate lines helps me to understand the advanced thought processes of Grandmaster players.                                              Thanks again!

                                                                                    -= Magicalguy =-

  • 5 years ago



  • 5 years ago


    I especially enjoyed playing thru the main dish, as you called it, thanks. Smile

  • 5 years ago


    Very interesting. Thanks.

  • 5 years ago


    got something to learn~ thanks!

  • 5 years ago


    Great article, great game and really great photo.

  • 5 years ago


    great article

  • 5 years ago


    WinkHeavy Piece Endgames are always exciting & interesting to play thru!  SurprisedThe only thing more fascinating is the Four(4) Queens type of Endgame where White & Black each have two(2) Queens on the board!  LaughingTry it sometime!  It can be quite a challenge to play!  SmileAnyway, nice article again, Natalia!


  • 5 years ago


    also we see judit pulgar in 12 th indivialchompin chip and she win iordeshscu 2626 rating after tow looses so she the systéme of judit is not very powerful.

    she win ok with this position:











    here judit loose tow game before playing this game and this game is not a good reference for théorical player but it's a game for studing when the player are nerveous ok he can win but he can not progresse.

    progressing is for the grand master how can be quite and logical move the sacrifice doing by judit is not very théorical because judit want to agressivity in playing .

    playing with agressivité is not a reference for me i can take reference for player how has a 2500 rating in kahnty mansysk 2009yu  yanghi won movesian 1-0 he has 15 old so his progress is more clear than other.

  • 5 years ago


    nice work!!

  • 5 years ago


    the jugment is not person is a jugment of systéme playing like for example when we play a caro khan we should decide of course betwenn some line

    for example 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 here 3 f3 3 e5 3 e*d5 3 Nd2 3 Nc3.

    and the question is not the opening . the question is the position the grand master judit pulgar i know that she is strong player.

    the jugment for me is a jugment for the level of progressing of all grandmaster .

    in 1992 judit pulgar play a game with mikel adams in roqueburne i give you this position








    here we see that we are in position and black has some tactical move the jugment of this position we has rge bishop in d3 attackin h7 pown so we can forcast what judit pulgar want to do in first see.

    she want to attack the king side by the bishop and queen  beshop after the Kniht in b4 attacinthe bishop she can play Bb1.

    and continued here attack.

    here  it's not a tctical position because we are in first 10 move and when we are in first ten move we talk a bout mistake in évaluate  a position.

    and when player of chess has a mistake to evaluate a position he loose in white of course.

    here pulgar loose a pices after some move.

  • 5 years ago



  • 5 years ago


    a tactical position is clear for me and give a level of player like this in 2005

    hou yifan vs maxime vachierlagrave

    in this position we see hou fan playing and want to win and i can not talk about mistake becasue here i talk about the position in chess when the position is tactical we cannot talk a bout mistake but we can talk about mistake when the position is not tactical .

    see this position







    here we see that the tow player have  5 pown  and white has tow pown f4 e4

    and the Bishope in b7 and queen inf3. so here  ans the a file is open for black

    the structure of pown and the space take bye black give some harmonie in playing game and here we can talk about tactical position here we are in some move after bwhite lose here the systéme of youfan is very stron becasue dhe play for wining and not drawing .so she played here Bc4.

    and she loose after some move i give you why because the systéme of youfan is strange and when the play has a strange game and some strange movethey be a chompion after some year and we see our day hou yifan is a champion.

    and we see maime vachier lagrave do very beutiful game xitjh gary kasparov in 2011 after garry play vs gm gannoum and play vs short some memorial game.

    so here we shoul be more intelligent and learn more.

    and learne historical game and position and not talk match about final.

  • 5 years ago

    WGM Natalia_Pogonina

    @OVAIDO Hou Yifan better than Judit Polgar??? I don't need to read further to form an opinion about the level of your assessments. Laughing

  • 5 years ago


    hi pogonina i want you know this position yifan you vs anna ushinina   olypiad 2006









    this game is in 2006 and it's draw we see that hou yfan is very tactice player and it's strange gale that we see . this why in our day hou yfan is more better that other like pogonina or pulgar or kostenuk.

    progressing of hou yifan is more clear. this why this is lesson is not very good

    because all player in our day want learns stratégie and not how many pown capture.

    the tacticl player is when plying for wining game and drawing in bad situation and not resign so in your game natalia sorry are not my favorite.

    you need learn more.

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