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Chess Endgame Strategy – Guidelines

Learn basic chess endgame strategy. It is known that many players are able to play quite well in the opening and middlegame but feel helpless when they reach the endgame.

It should be clear that the advantages made in the middlegame are realized and transformed in the endgame.

The Elements of the Endgame are:

1. Centralization of all Pieces and the King

When you reach the endgame, the king becomes an attacking piece. Go with your king to the center of the board. From there you can easily move it wherever it is necessary.

When placed in the center the king can go to the kingside or to the queenside just depending on the situation. Fight with your king for every single center square! This reduces the activity of the enemy king. Don’t give the enemy king a good place in the center.

All other pieces knights, bishops, rooks and queens show similar tendencies. Centralize wherever you can to gain as much center power as possible.

2. The aggressive Piece Position

Move your rook into an agressive position. To have a well placed rook does usually not decide a middle game, but in the endgame such a small advantage can win the game. This is equally true for the other pieces. To show a pure materialistic attitude and hang on to attacked pawns and protect them at all cost, even if your pieces are placed in very defensive positions, will cost you the game as this is not the right chess endgame strategy.

The Rook belongs behind the Pawn.

Place your rook behind your own pawn or behind the enemy pawn. If you have a badly placed rook but have the chance to sacrifice a pawn to place your rook actively, you should do that in general. But you have to evaluate the degree of activity that your rooks gains. If the activity of your rook is largely increased you should sacrifice the pawn.

1) The black rook is badly placed. 2) White has an active rook
3) passive black rook 4) white has active rook

3. Coordination of all Chess Pieces and Pawns

Keep the army together and don’t split up its forces. If a single pawn runs ahead unprotected right into the enemy camp, it will become weak and will be lost sooner or later. Pawns should remain protected by pieces, and all troups should protect each other somehow. Revitalize bad placed pieces. Don’t move the king to the edge of the board as it loses its fighting potential.

4. The whole Army moves ahead together

All troups move forward as a whole, like a herd of sheep. Don’t split up your forces.

5. Use of Rook Files and Ranks

Try to win material on the rook files and ranks on which your (hopefully) active rook is placed. Weaken the enemy pawn structure by pawn exchanges and attack weak pawns immediately.
This might force the enemy rook into a passive defensive position.

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