A chess endgame is the last phase in a chess game. Many chess pieces are traded off and just a few are left to fight on.
In the endgame the pawns become important, as you have to bring a pawn to the eighth rank to promote it into a queen.
To get a passed pawn is vital (a passed pawn has no opposing pawns on neighbour files to stop him), as it has the desire to advance. Especially, if the passed pawn is on the edge of the chess board it can be extremely dangerous as it is too far away to be stopped.
Most of the time the king can move freely as there is no need anymore to protect it against being attacked by other pieces and so becomes a strong fighter in the endgame. It moves to the center of the chess board and becomes an attacking piece penetrating into weak pawn structures and eats the pawns alive.
In chess there are certain basic chess endgame positions you should know. It is just a matter of learning them. In a practical chess game you don’t know exactly at which point the endgame starts. It is like in life, one day you feel that you are old, but you don’t know when this endgame of your life exactly began.
Replay basic Chess Endings
Flip Board: Press F-Key (or click e7 or d2 on top) Select a game: Click on grey bar
A queen up – Endgame King+Queen versus King
White must chase the black king to the edge of the board. First you lock the king into a quadrangle as narrow as possible using the queen. After that you move your K as close as possible towards the enemy king to take away even more squares. Finally checkmate black at the edge of the chess board.
|There are three possible checkmates here.(marked red)|
A rook up – Endgame King+Rook versus King
Look at the basic chess endgame above where you are a rook up and replay it. In a chess fame you must be able to win those endgames, when you are a rook up or you make yourself ridiculous. Just study the way it is done.
|This is called the OPPOSITION, because the kings are opposing each other. Always wait until Black goes into the opposition by himself like here. Now you give a check with your rook. The black king must retreat one rank to the seventh rank and you gain space. You follow up and oppose him.||White moves: Don’t go into the opposition here yourself, but make a -w a i t i n g m o v e- with the rook. Just move one square to the right. After that black has TWO choices:
1.The black K goes into the opposition himself. Then you give a check with the rook and black must retreat and you gained one more rank.
2.The black K goes one square further to the right.(see next diagramm) Then you follow up until the black K reaches the corner. There he cannot go further and must go into the opposition or retreats deliberately!! Then you give check with your rook again. And so it goes on and on until the king is checkmate.
|This is the FOLLOW UP position. Black moved one square further to the right. Now you follow up with your king until the black one reaches the corner. There he cannot go further and must go into the opposition!! Then you give check with your rook again. And so it goes on and on until black is checkmate.||This is the final position. The black king can’t retreat any further as the chessboard is limited in size. So he will be checkmated at the edge of the board.|
A pawn up – Endgame King+Pawn versus King
When you are just one pawn up in a chess endgame like that, you should be able to win. But it depends on the position. Your king should be in front of the pawn and you must be able to get the opposition or the game will be a draw.
Imagine you might have fought four hours just to win a single pawn, and it would be very frustrating for you if you can’t win the game after all that hard work you have put in.
|Here you see the opposition. Two opposing kings are standing opposite each other.(marked red)
This endgame position is a draw, no matter who moves, as the pawn is beside the white king. The pawn should be behind the white K. As a general rule you should keep in mind that you have to use your K to fight for space and forge ahead. This principle applies in many positions. In a chess endgame the K is a fighter.(see next diagramm, it shows the end.)
|These kind of positions will end in a stalemate. Black can’t make a legal move. 0,5 : 0,5 draw|
In this king/pawn endgame three conditions apply:
1.The white king must be in front of its pawn.
2.The king is placed on the sixth rank
3. There is opposition, but the opponent has to move out of the opposition.
If TWO of those conditions are fulfilled you win!
|Standard Winning Position! The king is placed on the sixth row AND is in front of his pawn! White always wins, no matter who moves.||White always wins this position. King is on sixth row AND in front of his pawn! He just moves his pawn and reaches the former position.|
A special case is, that you can’t win with the edge pawns (a-pawn or h-pawn) unless you are able to keep the king away from the corner square.
|Black moves to f7 and to f8 all the time. This endgame is a draw. The white king can’t get out to make room for the pawn. Even if the white king would come out black just goes into the corner and becomes stalemate. If white pushes the pawn and stays in the corner himself he ends up in a stalemate as well.||No matter who’s move it is, this endgame leads to a stalemate for black.|
|This endgame position is a draw, if it is White’s move. Only the Number ONE condition, that is mentioned above, is met!
That’s why, it is a draw.
If it is Black’s turn then condition 1 and 3 are met, White will win as he has the opposition and Black must move OUT of the OPPOSITION and the white king is placed in front of the pawn. So two conditions are met.
(see replayable chess game -King+Pawn versus King-)
|If it is white’s move, only condition 2 is met. It’s a draw.
But if it is black’s move, then condition 2 and 3 are met (two conditions) White wins.
The square rule – Chess Endgame King versus Pawn / outside square
In chess the knowledge about this rule is important. Please study this chess endgame as it is necessary that you know this.
|Black moves. The king cannot enter the square in one move. Do you see that? Black is unable to catch the pawn and will lose the chess endgame king/queen versus king.||Black moves and reaches the square and finally will kill the pawn. 0,5 0,5 draw|
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