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An endgame is when there are only a few pieces left. There is no strict criterion for when an endgame begins, and different experts have different opinions (Fine 1952:430).Alexander Alekhine said "We cannot define when the middle game ends and the end-game starts" (Whitaker & Hartleb 1960). With the usual system for chess piece relative value, Speelman considers that endgames are positions in which each player has thirteen or fewer points in material (not counting the king). Alternatively, an endgame is a position in which the king can be used actively, but there are some famous exceptions to that (Speelman 1981:7–8). Minev characterizes endgames as positions having four or fewer pieces other than kings and pawns (Minev 2004:5). Some authors consider endgames to be positions without queens (e.g. Fine, 1952), while others consider a position to be an endgame when each player has less than a queen plus rook in material. Flear considers an endgame to be where each player has at most one piece (other than kings and pawns) and positions with more material where each player has at most two pieces to be "Not Quite an Endgame" (NQE), pronounced "nuckie" (Flear 2007:7–8).
Alburt and Krogius give three characteristics of an endgame: (Alburt & Krogius 2000:12)
Some problem composers consider that the endgame starts when the player who is about to move can force a win or a draw against any variation of moves (Portisch & Sárközy 1981:vii).
Mednis and Crouch address the question of what constitutes an endgame negatively. The game is still in the middlegame if middlegame elements still describe the position. The game is not in the endgame if these apply:
If you consider it to be an endgame in the Fischer Spassky game, then fine with me, but my main point is that there is no clear definition when an endgame starts. I would not consider it an endgame since I don't feel the characteristics for an endgame like active king is important yet.
I don't think there is a clear definition when the opening becomes a middlegame and when the middlegame becomes an endgame. Some might argue that you are still playing the opening when you follow theory moves, even if the position is closer to a middlegame or endgame. In the Fischer and Petrosion game I certainly wouldn't call it an endgame after the queens get exchanged. The play is more about the open files and piece activity rather than getting the king active after all, so I would consider it to be more of a middlegame. If someone would say they study endgames I certainly wouldn't expect them to study games like that.
Agreed. No position with five pieces per side can be considered an endgame and four pieces per side is murky ground, sometimes even when one is a queen.
So, done with the academics? Then let's get back to the topic ;)
I think 2 bishops vs one knight is one of the endgames that is negatively effected by the 50 move rule with perfect play. I'm not sure if that matters though, I have never reached that endgame and if I did I might try to win it, although I doubt I would be successfull.
I think trying to learn how to win with 2 bishops vs knight is a waste of time for both expert and those who are not expert players. Pawn endgames and rook endgames for example are more important.
I've lost that endgame twice haha