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Mostly true (some of them are not always true).
Well yes, principles are not always true - only most of the time.
But like some guy said - you have to understand the principles before you can know when to break them
Viktor Korchnoi is the one.
I am not the best endgame player, so this was informative to me, thank you!
It's always good to review this type of thing.
I found rooks significant in the endgame. Many a times, I successfully checkmated the opponent king with two rooks.
'there is no endgame if you are a middlegame master, and no opening too!' those are simple childish combinations even though they can impress.
Thanks for the informative post!
From the list (1st post)
(11) Isn't the Bishop better at this? Could some elaborate more on this, please.
No, the knight is the standard / Nimzovich / "My System" blockader, for the reasons mentioned.
This is a fairly good list, in my opinion.
My main complaint is (9), but maybe that's because the openings I play tend to defy this guideline. I'm always winning endgames against the computer when the computer leaves its pawns on a color its bishop can't defend, especially where there are opposite-colored bishops.
There are more heuristics about opposite-colored bishops that are very good, found in the book "Amateur to IM" (Hawkins)--that could be included here, by the way.
Actually I wonder if endgame *tricks* are more important than endgame *heuristics*. That was my main impression from "Pandolfini's Endgame Course", where the key to each position typically wasn't a heuristic but rather a common endgame trick. I've never seen a list of endgame tricks, but that would be at least as useful as a list of endgame heuristics.
(9) is a principal that Capablanca liked and applied in his endgames. Opposite -coloured bishops endgames are the main exception. As Hawkins explained in dropping the anchor chapter, there the weaker side arranges pawns in way can be defended by bishop, and sits king in front of passed pawn.
Thanks Sqod, I'll have a look at the book.
A few more endgame heuristics are:
() A rook pawn is more difficult to use to win than any other pawn, if the opponent's king can get in front of it. Usually that situation ends in a draw, especially a stalemate.
() Oftentimes a pawn cannot promote, or promote safely, unless a friendly bishop covers its promotion square.
() In a R-P ending where you have a decoy pawn and where there are balanced pawns on the other flank, winning the position usually depends on how much damage you can do to the larger pawn structure before the kings march over to contest the decoy pawn.
() Try to use a bishop as an anchor to hold a draw in a bishop-pawn ending where you are down in material or position.
Below is what Hawkins has to say about opposite-colored bishops and The Anchor. I really like his book.
(p. 131) Lesson 8 Dropping Down the Anchor
> Understand the nature and psychology of opposite-colored bishop end- games.
> Master the concept of the anchor.
> Be able to recognize situations where an anchor isn't possible.
> Understand the themes of Zugzwang and sacrifice, and why they can be effec- tive in this class of endgame.
One feature of oppposite-coloredbishop endgames is that generally theplayers have their roles well defined: oneplays the attacker, the other plays the de-fender. The attacker tries to promote hispassed pawns, or at least use them to de-cisively win material. The defender triesto blockade and create a situation whereprogress is impossible. Sometimes therewill be no attacker or defender, when theposition and material is roughly equal,but these cases are simple draws and un-interesting to us. The fair fight, with both sides push-ing pawns and using their kings in an ag-gressive role, is a rarity. These endgamesare not to do with sharp fights and prac-tical chances, they are to do with muchmore concrete matters: can the passedpawn be supported? Can the king infil-trate? And, of course, whether the posi-tion is winning or drawing. Intuitively, the idea of counterplayis attractive; indeed, in many positionsseeking counterplay and avoiding pas-sivity is a standard measure. Opposite-colored bishop endgames work in a dif-ferent way. For instance, consider thisposition:(p. 132) Hammer - Deszczynski, Najdorf Memorial Warsaw, 2010
8/2b5/8/5p2/2B3k1/P2K4/1P6/8 w - -
White to play
Black's 'counterplay' only serves tomisplace his king rather badly, and cre-ates a lost position for him. Even in thebest-case scenario, in which Black winsWhite's bishop for his f-pawn, Black'sking will remain well out of the action. Theresult will be a contest between White'sking and two pawns (which by this stagewill be well advanced) and Black's bishop--a battle which the bishop cannot hopeto win. Black would gladly jettison his f-pawn to bring his king to a purely defen-sive position on the queenside.
(p. 133) Drawing scenario--The anchor
The only way to make a draw withoutthe need for any calculation (or worry) isto reach a situation where the defendingking blockades the passed pawns, and thedefending bishop is able to anchor the re-mainder of the position. The role of theanchor is to prevent any breakthroughresulting in additional passed pawns.
Take the following example:
Halkias - Williams, Reykjavik Open, 2011
8/3bP3/3k2p1/KP3p1p/5P1B/7P/4p1P1/8 b - -
Black to play
In this position, after a long defense,Black finally had the opportunity to simplify the position by exchanging e-pawns.
1...e1=Q+ would also have sufficed!(p. 134) Black correctly releases the e-pawnto reduce White to a single passed pawn.As we have just seen, using the e2-pawnfor counterplay would be misguided as aking march to support this pawn wouldallow White to win very easily.
2. Bxd1 Kxe7
3. Ka6 Kd8
4. Bc3 Kc8 5. Be5 trying to hinderthe black king is possible, but the king isalready where it needs to be on c8. Blackcan transfer the bishop to the h1-a8 di-agonal and both king and bishop controlthe square b7.
5. Bc3 Be6
2k5/8/2K1b1p1/1P3p1p/5P2/2B4P/6P1/8 b - -
Preventing the black bishop fromoccupying the h1-a8 diagonal imme-diately, but the bishop finds anotherroute...
7. b6 Ba6
8. Kd6 Bb7
Black does not intend to blockadethe white b-pawn with his bishop, butrather to force the white kingside pawnsto move to create an anchor square ong4 for the bishop.
9. g3 Bg2
2k5/8/1P1K2p1/5p1p/5P1P/2B3P1/6b1/8 b - -
Now the draw is clear. The blackbishop will anchor the kingside from g4and the black king will blockade the b-pawn from b7.
11. Bd4 Bf3
12. Ke6 Bg4
13. Kf6 Kc6
14. Kxg6 Kb7(p. 135)8/1k6/1P4K1/5p1p/3B1PbP/6P1/8/8 w - -
The position is a dead draw as theBg4 prevents the creation of a secondpassed pawn.
When an anchor isn't an anchor
In the next two games we will see twoscenarios where what appears to be ananchor turns out to be a leaky fortress.
The bishop must prevent any break-through on the side of the board it is an-choring.
Miralles - Prie French Championship Schiltigheim, 1982
8/2Pk4/8/8/4pB2/4P1Kp/5PbP/8 w - -
Here we have what appears to be thesame situation as before. The black kinghalts the passer on c7, and the blackbishop anchors the kingside.
Without the f2-pawn, the draw wouldbe unquestionable, but its presence al-lows the surprising resource:
The only possible way to change theposition, but an effective one.
On 72...Bxf3 there comes 73. Kxh3and White obtains a passed h-pawn. Thiswould win very easily as White would sim-ply send the king to g5 and then marchthe h-pawn forward. The best defense is72...Bf1, which we will examine in thenotes at the end of the chapter since ithas some interesting points.
73. Kf2! Kc8
Winning--with a specific plan ofkeeping the Bg2 trapped. Playing in anormal way with 74. Bg3 followed byadvancing the king would allow Blackthe pawn sacrifice f3-f2 to release hisbishop and play would then be similar tothat resulting from 72...Bf1.
And now the simplest win seems tobe 75. Bd6 followed by pushing the e-(p. 136)pawn to e8, although in the game Whiteplayed 75. Bg3.
2x1x3/2Pk4/3B4/8/4P3/5p1p/5Kbp/8 w - -
Any defense other than the rock solidanchor defense and things become muchless reliable. Calculation and knowledgeof motifs are essential and often even thebest players in the world get it wrong. Iconsidered trying to categorize thesemethods but I decided it is easier to un-derstand by analyzing examples to seethe typical paterns and practice makingthe calculations.
Hawkins, Jonathan. 2012. Amateur to IM: Proven Ideas and Training Methods. New Highlands, MA: Mongoose Press.
Thanks Louis for compiling and writing these principles.
I really like Hawkins book too, so far only chapter not particularly enjoyed was one on Carlsbad structure. That was maybe because had information he supplied from other places.
(9) this is indeed often true: place your pawns on the opposite color of your bishop.Often, but not always. 9 is often good in endgames with bishops of the same color. (principle of "good bishop/bad bishop like in the middlegame). With opposite colored bishops you might have to play differently.
All are golden rules if u understand.. themm..