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End Game

An endgame in chess refers to the final moves before concluding the game when only a very few pieces are left on the board. The transition between middle game and end game is often camouflaged.

Main characteristics of endgame

The endgame strategies are different from those of the other two stages of a chess game. Some basic characteristics of endgame are:

  • King becomes active in the end game
  • Only very few pieces, apart from the king are left on the board
  • Each of the leftover pieces will be highly valued and seldom sacrificed
  • Player having even a single piece advantage has better chance of wining the game
  • Attacking opponent king is the main objective of the end game
  • Concludes the game with either a win, loss or draw

 

Role of pawn in endgame

If you possess a passed pawn in the endgame this should be protected at all cost. Passed pawn promotion often wins the game.

Power of pieces

Endgame is signified by very few powers on the board. This gives more range of attack to pieces left on the board.
Typically a rook can effectively cover one complete column and row, if there are no pieces on the path. A bishop in the middle can block the diagonals in both directions.
Positioning of pieces in critical locations can thus restrict the movement of opposition pieces.

Role of the king

Until you reach the end game, main focus is to protect the king by using other pieces. In endgame, the king gets exposed due to limited number of pieces on the board. King thus becomes main target of attack and may have to be frequently moved. In combination with other powers, king can also directly attack the opponent king in the endgame.

Winning combinations

Possession of king with certain specific powers is a wining combination on the board. Some famous situations are:

  • King, queen Vs king
  • Easy win by cornering the king
  • King and rook Vs king
  • Easy win by pushing opponent king to one side
  • King , two bishop Vs king
  • Winnable situation in endgame by pushing king to one side and then to a corner
  • King, bishop, knight Vs king
  • Winnable but slightly tricky
  • Opponent king can move to a square not covered by bishop when pushed to a corner

 

Non-winnable combinations

King and a lone bishop Vs opponent king and king and a lone knight Vs king cannot win a game even though you have one power extra.

Sticky situations

Sticky situations are one that may or may not produce a winning outcome in the endgame. Typical example is pawn, king and king.

If pawn is located in such a way that opponent king cannot reach it before the pawn gets promoted, it is a winning position. Otherwise the king can consume the pawn resulting in a no-win situation.

Clear understanding of endgame winnable and non-winnable combinations is crucial for a good player. Aim towards the end of middle game should be to achieve a winning combination. If this is not feasible, immediate objective should be to avoid giving a winning combination to the opponent and forcing draw as the result.

 

 

   

M. Wasif Nisar

FIDE International Arbitrator

 

 

 

                  Administrator web site Ziauddin Qureshi (Bronze Meddle USSR Friendship house chess Championship 1980 Karachi)

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