4 Steps to Endgame Mastery

4 Steps to Endgame Mastery

NM SmarterChess

Mastering the endgame does not have to be as complicated as it seems if you follow a systematic approach. The endgame is the most important individual phase in chess because a simple mistake or correct calculation can determine the end result. In the opening and middlegame phases, there is often more time to make a comeback as long as there is still some play left in the position. Here are the 4 steps to becoming an endgame master that are recommended in the my study plans.

1. Chess.com Endgame Drills

endgame drillsFor players <800, start out with the basic checkmates drills. You will learn the basic checkmates with a queen, two rooks, and other combinations with a couple pieces on the board. Above 800, start to work your way though the endgame fundamentals drills. If you are already at an intermediate or advanced level, endgame practice allows you to practice more complex endgame positions against the computer coach. A great way to practice your technique!

2. Chess.com Endgame Lessons

chess.com endgame lessonsFor intermediate players, chess.com endgame lessons are useful. You can learn from masters with quizzes after each session. Understanding endgames goes over king and pawn endgames, and endgames with minor pieces. At the intermediate 2 and advanced levels, endgame patterns goes into more difficult patterns like the Lucena position. As you are approaching advanced/expert levels, the mastery endgames go into great detail on advanced concepts.

3. Endgame Books

silman's endgame courseOver the decades there have been a lot of classic endgame books that do a fantastic job of covering the all of the essential knowledge. In recent times, three specific books stand out as the top choices for learning everything you need to know to reach endgame mastery! One endgame book, all the knowledge you need to reach master! To help pick the best book for you, please check out the 3 Best Chess Endgame Books. My personal favorite for most players is Silman's Endgame Course, but 100 Endgames you Must Know has gained a lot of popularity as of late. Dvoretsky also has a fantastic Endgame Manual that I recommend for more advanced players who don't own the other two books.

4. Practice!

chess.com new gameThe last thing you need to do is practice what you've learned, similar to the endgame drills in #1. One good way to do this is to challenge friends to endgame positions. Another method is to replay endgames from your games against other humans or an engine. The most practical way to improve endgame skills without realizing it is to play games with an increment (or delay) on the clock. With a long enough increment, you are able to make sure you have quality endgames that you can learn from after the fact.


What have you found useful for chess endgame mastery? Please let others know in the comments below.