Lessons in Endgame Strategy by Jan van Reek

When a practical endgame is played, it is often useful to develop a strategic plan. This matter is very similar for the ending and middle game. If the white and black pieces oppose each other in two lines, a strategic plan can be devised.

The endgame is just ‘a matter of technique’ in two cases:

1. If one player has a large material advantage, a plan is hardly needed.

2. If the number of pieces is low, strategic planning cannot be made due to the absence of lines. These theoretical endings are treated in books by Averbakh and Chéron. Endgames with five pieces can be found on CD-Rom.

When a strategy has to be designed, two approaches are possible: struggle and prophylaxis. Different plans are treated in the lessons. They have been published in the Dutch SchaakMagazine from 2000 until 2006. The English translations are shortened versions of the articles.


  • 1. Attack in the centre.
  • 2. The attack on the king.
  • 3. The flank attack.
  • 4. Encirclement.


  • 5. Blockade in general.
  • 6. Blockade by the knight.
  • 7. Restriction in general.
  • 8. Restriction and time.
  • 9. Consolidation.
  • 10. Fortification.
  • 11. Strong and weak squares.
  • 12. Crossing a diagonal.
  • 13. The battle for an important square.
  • 14. Overprotection.
  • 15. Counterattack: direct confrontation.
  • 16. Counterattack: the flight forwards.

Pocket strategies:

  • 17. Breakthrough by pawns.
  • 18. Breakthrough by pieces.
  • 19. The positional manoeuvre.
  • 20. Zugzwang.
  • 21. Positional sacrifice: win.
  • 22. Positional sacrifice: draw.
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