How to study the endgame @ 1250?


This happened for too many times and I'm sick of it. I enter in the endgame with a good material advantage/position and I loose/draw vs higher rated opponents. This is very frustrating and I want to stop it. 


I know that I make mistakes in the other areas of the game (transition from opening to middle game) but the endgame is by far my weakest point. Below are 2 recent examples:


1) vs 1840 guy (starting move 27, I know I have other mistakes before that move but I want to discuss mainly after 27)


2) ~1400 guy (starting move 42). He was ahead with a knight, he blundered his advantage and I manage to enter the endgame with a better position but I've just managed to get a draw. I've checked with an engine and the position after 42 is winning for white 


Please let me know how you approached the endgame when you were at my level. Highly appreciate some recomandations regarding books/DVD;s




None of these two endgames were easy to play, to say the least !

In the first one, you probably want to avoid counterplay because your only chance to win would be to get a passer on the queenside (and even then...). So maybe something like Qc3 (preventing Rb2) and trying to tie black rooks to defence.

In the 2nd one, you may have better chances by using your connected passers rather than only your rook (so push both a and b pawn and use your rook to control the enemy's pawns). But even here, it's certainly not an obvious win Smile

These two examples are rather advanced material : usually, you'd want to start studying the endgame with the basics :

  • endgame strategy (getting a passer, activating the king...)
  • pawn endgames
  • simple rook endgames (Philidor, Lucena...)

Surprisingly, there's not a lot of structured material on practical endgames, but I will send you some recommendations by PM.

A good way to practice these endgames is to try and play them against an engine at full strength, with engine thinking display off and reasonable time-control (for example 15'+30" for you and 15' for the engine). First you play your side, then you switch, and swith sides again. This way, you'll see a lot of attack/defensive stratagems at work.

Another way is to play them against a partner in live chess ; you can also combine both.


Just few quick tips. I'm not a strong player so what I say is just my opinion.

- the first one was tricky because the opponent had an army of pawns. You had absolutely to avoid blundering away your few pawns left. When you're the side that is winning (i.e. large piece advantage) you DON'T want to trade pawns.

27...Qc3 would have been a better try, not allowing the fork on your pawns.

When you got his Q for your N that is a big transition in the game, the battles takes another's like you went into a new endgame. In these important moments you have to spend some time to think of your general strategy. You have to allocate time in moments of transition, figuring out how you're going to proceed. Once you have your strategy, the following moves will play themselves.

Being eager to trade a rook was a good decision.



- second game: in rook endings your rook it's best placed behind your pawn. If this is not possible, you have to put it in front. NOT laterally.

To win you simply had to put your rook on b1 and push. When your pawn was on the second rank, you had the tactical trick to move your rook with check and then queening. I bet a 1300 player wouldn't know this trick (or at least he would miss it in a real game) so this enough would have been sufficient to win.


Thanks for your help guys.

plutonia, after what move was that trick? 

royalforker wrote:

38.Nf5!!.... 39.Rg3# what so ever and u dont need to study endgames :D

In the second game I play as black, all my knights are enjoying a beer on the side


The trick I was talking about presents itself only if you place your rook in front of your pawn. When the pawn is on the penultimate rank and the enemy rook attacks it from behind, it seems that your rook is stuck protecting the pawn.

But if the king is exposed, you can check and queen.