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Endgame Patterns

Endgame Patterns

Learn the critical themes to win more games in the end

  • Distant Opposition

    Opposition is when kings face each other with one square in the middle. The side that isn't on the move has the opposition because the other side must move out of the way. Distant opposition occurs when there three or even five squares separating the kings. The same principles apply as in regular opposition.

    • 7 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Triangulation

    In some king and pawn endings you can take over the opposition and put your opponent in zugzwang by losing a tempo. Triangulation is a king maneuver, where you spend three moves to return to a square while the opponent repeats the position in only two moves. Now you have repeated the position, but passed the turn to your opponent and they may be in zugzwang.

    • 6 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Lucena Position

    The Lucena position occurs when one side has a king, rook and pawn against king and rook and the pawn is one square from promotion. The winning technique is to separate the opponent's king three files from the pawn and then to place a rook on the 4th rank in order to "build a bridge" and shield the king from checks prior to promoting the pawn.

    • 5 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Philidor Position

    The most important draw to know in rook endings is the Philidor Position. The defending side in rook and king against rook king and pawn can hold by keeping the king on the promotion square and the rook on the third rank. Once the attacking pawn advances to the third rank, you can move your rook to the back rank and check the king from behind. There will be no shelter from the checks and you can force a draw.

    • 5 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Pieces and Pawns

    Pieces are usually more valuable than pawns, but pawns that are near promotion or that can protect each other can often fight against pieces effectively. A good way to play with pieces against pawns is to give back some of the material to block the pawns and take over the initiative.

    • 5 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Queen vs Pawn

    You promoted your pawn, but your opponent's pawn is running away. Can you stop it? A pawn on the 7th rank can cause difficulty against a queen. Queens can defeat a rook or knight pawn on any square. The queen checks until the opposing king must block it's own pawn. That gives the stronger side a chance to bring the king closer to help. The side with a pawn can draw with a rook pawn or bishop pawn on the 7th rank by using a a clever stalemate trick.

    • 6 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Two Bishop Checkmate

    It's rare, but you will want to know how to finish the game with only two bishops vs King. Two bishops near each other can form a wall that the opposing king can't breach. Use the opposition and the bishops to force the opposing king towards a corner of the board where it can be mated.

    • 7 min
    • 5 challenges
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