The Chess Endgame - Summary

The following example demonstrates the chess player's thinking process in the endgame :

WHITE : Kg2, Rd5, Be3, Pa6, Pb5, Pc4, Pg3, Ph2

BLACK : Kg8, Ra8, Bg7, Pa7, Pb6, Pc5, Pg6, Ph7
White to move

WHITE is searching for tactical possibilities and is unable to find any. He revises the position focusing on strategic factors.

The material is equal and one might expect this endgame to be drawn. However, WHITE is able to win.

The rook on d5 is active, while Ra8 is passively placed. 

In addition the Be3 is good, because the blocked black pawns are potential targets for him, while Bg7 is bad, only able to defend his own pawns.

The kingside pawns are not taken into account in this stage, since they are not blocked and can be 'whitened' (moved to white squares) if needed.

If WHITE was able to simplify this position by exchanging rooks, his task would be much easier.

BLACK would then have no rook counterplay and he would be doomed. So WHITE's plans is to exchange the rooks, then attack the black pawns.

Preparing to play 2.Rd8+ and thus exchange the rooks. Note that the badly placed Ra8 is unable to prevent this exchange.

BLACK has to keep an eye on his a7-pawn, since if WHITE could capture it, promotion of the a6-pawn would be a decisive threat. He plans to meet 2.Rd7 by 2.Rf7.

2.Rd8 Bc3
Only later will be seen why 2.Bc3 is necessary here.

Winning a tempo in a comparison to the alternative variation 3.Rxf8+ Kxf8 4.Bd8;
the black king is still on g8.


Now WHITE threatens to capture on b6! If BLACK captures back on b6, the a-pawn promotes easily.

Now it is getting obvious why 2.Bc3 was a necessity. However, WHITE still wins.

5.Bc7 Kf7
6.Bb8 Ke7
7.Bxa7 Kd7
8.Bb8 Kc8

Now the black king is tied to the prevention of the a-pawn's promotion. He can not leave the c8 square or a6-a7 will win immediately for WHITE.

The black bishop can not do much either and the white king is able to traverse the board and attack the weak b6-pawn with Kc6 and Bc7. 

Note that he does not count any variations, just mentally positions his pieces.

Also note that he needs not move too quickly. It is always good practice to strengthen one's position, if possible, before actually performing the plan.

Accordingly, WHITE should first play g3-g4 and h2-h3, ensuring white squares for his pawns (just in case), and then proceed to place his king on c6.

Bc7 follows and the b6-pawn will be captured, the c5-pawn coming next. The three free white pawns are easy to promote.

Indeed, some of the moves made are not necessary, but this example illustrates how one should organize his pieces to make the most advantages in the chess endgame to cement his position and win the game.

To read more about chess and how to play well, you can return to the Chess Homepage, by clicking here

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