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Master: Endgame

IM Bryan Smith & IM Danny Rensch Avg Rating: 1672 Master

In this course we will be learning about some of the most complicated and difficult techniques, practical ideas, and fundamental winning methods in the endgame - those which you will ultimately need to achieve mastery.

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  • Advanced Technique Example 1

    An active king can be a huge advantage in the endgame. Unlike in the middlegame, the king can play a very important role as an attacker. In this very complicated position, White has a way to give up something "small" in comparison to the "big" advantage of a dominate king.
  • Advanced Technique Example 2

    Two principles operate in the following endgame, in which White has a queen against rook and bishop: 1) when you are up material, trade!; and 2) when your opponent has two bishops, try to trade one of them off. Having good technique is about being disciplined. You already have an advantage, so look to take away your opponent's threats!
  • Essential Rook Ending Basics 1

    There are some basic theoretical positions that every master knows. One of these is the famous "Lucena" position. This position is the "fundamental core" of all rook endings. You must know how to win this position!
  • Essential Rook Ending Basics 2

    In rook + pawn vs rook endings, when the defender's king is blocking the pawn, the game is usually a draw. But you need to know the right method, otherwise you will be in for a bumpy ride! This method is called "Philidor's Method", named after the 18th century chess player (and musical composer) Francois-Andre Danican Philidor.
  • Practical Rook Ending Basics

    It is a fundamental principle in rook endgames that the rook should be placed BEHIND the passed pawn, whether it is your pawn or your opponent's. The reason is that the pawn wants to advance, and as it advances a rook in front of it loses mobility, while a rook placed behind a pawn gains mobility as the pawn advances.
  • Opposite Colored Bishops

    When there are opposite-colored bishops (one player's bishop operating on light squares, the other's on the dark squares) it is very hard to win even when a player has one, two, or sometimes even three pawns more. This is because each side has absolute control over one color of squares and therefore the defender can create a blockade on his color.
  • Concrete Endgame Technique

    Making a plan is fundamental to endgames. Following general principles and finding tactics is not always enough to play well. Quite often you have to find an operation to improve your position and look for ways to carry it out.
  • Making a Second Endgame Weakness 1

    The "principal of two weaknesses" is an important one to know. If your opponent has one weakness (which may also be a passed pawn which he is required to stop) he may be able to cope. So you need to create a new weakness (or a second passed pawn) in order to stretch his defenses thin.
  • Making a Second Endgame Weakness 2

    Here we see a second example of how to use the "principle of two weaknesses".
  • Advanced King Activity

    Once the ending is reached, the king no longer needs to hide in fear and can instead become a powerful piece. In this example, it proves to be the decisive factor.
  • Advanced Example of Zugzwang

    Our last endgame lesson is a fine example of zugzwang in a simplified position, based on the superior strength of the bishop over the knight.

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