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
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
- 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.
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
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 are one that may or may not
produce a winning outcome in the endgame. Typical example is pawn, 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.