Intermediate

Understanding Endgames

Understanding Endgames

Know what to do when most pieces are off the board

  • Passed Pawns

    Once most of the pieces have come off the board, focus on getting another queen. You can do that by making a passed pawn, a pawn with no opposing pawns that could ever block or capture it. Once you have a passed pawn it's easier to advance it to promote. It's even better if you have two passed pawns on adjacent files. Connected passed pawns can't be effectively attacked by an opposing king.

    • 2 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Escort the Pawn

    Your pawns can't always make it on their own, so use your king to help. King's can't be on squares next to each other, so your king can effectively prevent the opposing king from blocking or capturing your passed pawn.

    • 4 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Sacrificing to Promote

    Is there a pawn blocking your path to promotion? Give up a pawn or even more to promote. In the endgame, promoting to a queen is the most important goal and sacrifices to accomplish it are worthwhile.

    • 3 min
    • 5 challenges
  • 3 v 3 Pawn Breakthrough

    Watch out for pawn moves, even sacrifices that can help you create a passed pawn. Often a pawn sacrifice o two can help help you promote. Remember a new queen is worth much more than one or two pawns.

    • 3 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Exchanging Down to a Win

    You want to always have a good reason to make exchanges. One great reason to exchange pieces is when you are ahead in material. In that case trades will simplify the game and make it easier for you to convert your advantage into a win.

    • 3 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Rule of the Square

    Save yourself a lot of worry and calculation by learning this one simple endgame rule. You can imagine a line from the pawn diagonal towards the opponent's back rank. Then imagine lines from that square to the rank and the file that the pawn is on and from there back towards the pawn's location. These lines form a square. If the opposing king can enter that square it will catch the pawn. If not, the pawn will safely promote. Keep in mind that other pieces, or a pawn moving two squares on a move can cause this method to provide an incorrect prediction.

    • 3 min
    • 5 challenges
  • Creating a Passed Pawn

    Gain the winning advantage by creating a passed pawn. Often you can make trades or sacrifices to create the passed pawn. Always keep an eye out for these opportunities.

    • 3 min
    • 5 challenges
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