Ending #01

DOUBLED Pawns are often an advantage in the endgame if only for the fact that one of the Pawns may five up his life for the other!

1. g7 Kh7 1... Kh7 CAREFUL now!! On 2. Kf7 he allows a draw by stalemate, while(2. g6+ Kg8 lets the win slip forever.) 2. g8=Q+! Kxg8 3. Kg6 Kh8 3... Kf8 4. Kh7 and white wins. 4. Kf7 Kh7 5. g6+ Kh8 6. g7+ 1-0 [Chernev I.]


Ending #02

SHOULD White begin with 1.g3 or 1.g4? The Pawn must reach g7 without giving check, that is to say when the opposing KIng stands at his g8 square. The right move is then...

1. g3! The aggressive 1. g4 leads to 1... Kh8 2. g5 Kg8 3. g6 hxg6 4. hxg6 (4. Kxg6 Kh8 and Blacks draws automatically against the Rook Pawn)) 4... Kh8 5. g7+ and a draw. 1... Kh8 2. g4 Kg8 3. g5 Kh8 4. g6 hxg6 Or 4... Kg8 5. g7 Kf7 6. Kxh7 and White wins. 5. hxg6 Kg8 6. g7 Kf7 7. Kh7 Editor's note: I was told once to always save your tempi in pawn endings. 1-0 [Chernev I.]


Ending #03

(Lolli, 1763) THE only way to break through! White threatens 2.gxh7, winning on the spot.

1. g6! (Lolli, 1763) THE only way to break through! White threatens 2.gxh7, winning on the spot. 1. h6? Crafty 17.13: 1... gxh6 2. gxh6 Kf7 3. f6 Ke8 4. Kd5 Kf7 5. Ke5 0.00/12 1... h6 1... hxg6 leads to this: 2. hxg6 Kf8 3. Kd6 (diagonal opposition) 3... Ke8 4. Ke6 Kf8 (4... Kd8 5. Kf7 ends the struggle) 5. Kd7 Kg8 6. Ke7 Kh8 7. f6 gxf6 8. Kf7 f5 9. g7+ and White mates in two. 2. Kd5 Not at once 2. f6+ gxf6+ 3. Kf5 Kf8 4. Kxf6 Kg8 5. g7 Kh7 and Black has a draw. 2... Kf6 2... Kd7 3. f6 is decisive. 3. Ke4 Kg5 4. Ke5 Kxh5 5. Ke6 Kg5 6. f6 gxf6 6... Kxg6 7. f7 followed by 8.f8(Q). 7. g7 1-0 [Chernev I.]


Ending #04

Black can easily force a queen, but this will help only if he can arrange to queen with check on f1 - otherwise, white will himself queen with checkmate!

1... h4 Not 1... g4 2. hxg4 f4 (2... e4 3. fxe4) 3. gxh5 1... f4 2. gxf4 e4 3. fxe4 g4 4. f5 1... e4? 2. fxe4 (Not 2. f4? h4 3. gxh4 gxf4 4. exf4 e3) 2... h4 3. gxh4 2. gxh4 e4 3. fxe4 f4 and wins. 0-1 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #05

Passed Pawns: Quite obviously, different passed pawn are more or less valuable. In general it is possible to say that: A passed pawn is more valuable the further it goes up the board - as long as it has adequate support. "Outside passed pawns" are generally better than "inside passed pawns". Protected passed pawns are usually better than either of the above. Althought the Black king is further advanced, White's outside passed pawn five him a very easy win.

1. a3+ Ka4 Neither 1... Kb5 nor 1... Kc5 would not help. 2. Kc3 Kxa3 3. Kxc4 Kb2 white would win even if black was now moving his king to c2 instead of b2. 4. Kd4 Kc2 5. Ke4 Kd2 6. Kf5 Ke2 7. Kxg5 Kf2 8. Kg4 etc. 1-0 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #06
Pawn K.

Szabo-Groszpeter, Hungary 1984. Editor: White must've sacked a piece on d2 to get his position!

1. a5 bxa5 1... Nc4 2. a6! Nd6 3. Kxb6 h4 4. Kc5 h3 (4... Nc8 5. b6) 5. a7 Nb7+ 6. Kb4 h2 7. a8=Q h1=Q 8. Qh8+ 2. b6 Nc4 3. b7 Ne5 4. Kb8!! Astonishing study-like move. Sine the knight does not reach control of b8, it loses. Not 4. Kb6 Nd7+ 5. Kc7 (5. Kc6 Nb8+ 6. Kc7 a4 7. Kxb8 a3) 5... Nc5 4... Nc6+ 5. Kc7 Nb4 6. Kb6 Nd5+ 7. Kb5 Nc7+ 8. Kxa5 1-0 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #07
Pawn K.

Botvinnik-G. Thomas, Nottingham 1936. Editor's note: Enjoyable romp!

40. b4 Kg5 41. Kg3 Kf5 42. Nh3 Kf6 43. a4 Kf5 44. Nf4 Kf6 45. b5 axb5 46. axb5 Intending Nxd5, c6, b6 46... Ke7 47. b6 Kd7 48. Nh5! Kd8 49. Nf6 h6 50. Ng4 h5 51. Nf2 Blockading f3 - the white king takes care of the h5-pawn. 51... Kd7 52. Kh4 Kd8 53. Kxh5 Ke7 54. Kg4 Ke6 55. Kg3 Kd7 56. Nh3 Kd8 57. Nf4 Kd7 58. Nh5 Ke6 59. Ng7+ Kd7 60. Nf5 Kc8 61. Nd6+ Kb8 62. Nf5! Now White aims to force...f2, loosening the pawn from the chain. 62... Kc8 63. Kf4! Kb8 64. Ke5 Kc8 65. Ke6 Kb8 66. Kd7 Ka8 67. Ng3! Kb8 68. Nf1 Ka8 69. Kc8 After ...f2, the white king comes and collects the f-pawn, winning. Editor's note: There's a saying that knight endings are a lot like pawns endings... one can see that clearly in this example. Beautiful! 1-0 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #08
Pawn K.

1... e3 2. Ne7+ BLACK must move out of check, and has choice of seven squares. One, and only one, is the right square, that assures Black of a win. 2... Kh7!! This is the right move, to which there is no reply. Moving to any of the other leads to a draw. 2... Kf6 3. Nd5+ 2... Kh6 3. Nf5+ 2... Kg5 3. Nc6 e2 4. Nd4 e1=Q 5. Nf3+ 2... Kh5 3. Nf5 e2 4. Ng3+ 2... Kf7 3. Nc6 e2 4. Ne5+ Ke6 5. Nd3 stopping the pawn and capturing it later with the King. 2... Kg7 3. Nf5+ winning the Pawn. 0-1 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #09

Gines-Trias, corr. 1981. Editor's note: Sometimes one can conjure up a mating attack at the most surprising moment. It pays to know such position in case your opponent gets frustrated that you're playing on and starts to lose focus.

1... Ng4! 2. Nxg6 Not 2. Nc6 Kf2 2... Kf2 3. Nf4 Kg1 4. Nd3 Kh1 Zugzwang and mate next move. Editor's note: Trias must've felt a shock throughout his body after Gines played 4.Kh1 and hit his clock. You know the feeling? 0-1 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #10

BLACK must draw White's Knight away from its post, so that his Pawn may advance and Queen.

1... Ng3 Intending to attack the Knight by 2...Nf1 2. Kd4 Vacate c3 for later occupation by his Knight. 2... Nf1 3. Ne4 Ka1 Clearly not 3... b1=Q 4. Nc3+ and the newly-crowned Queen comes off the board. 4. Nc3 Nd2 5. Ke3 5. Kd3 Nb3 6. Kc2 (6. Kc4 Nc1 followed by 7...Na2 wins.) 6... Nd4+ 7. Kd3 Nb5 5... Nb3 6. Kd3 Nc1+ 7. Kc2 Na2 8. Nb1 Nb4+ 9. Kb3 Kxb1 0-1 [Chernev I.]


Ending #11

Here is why "Bishops of Opposites" are dreaded. With two Pawns plus, apparently on the right squares, White cannot win. Black shuttles back and forth with his Bishop. If the White KIng abandons the King Pawn, it will be captured. If White's Pawn advances to d6+, Black played Bxd6 and White remains with a lone Bishop plus, for a draw.

1/2-1/2 [Horowitz I.]


Ending #12

By comparison, this position is an easy win, that is, easy if you know how. Curiously, without the Knight Pawn, Black draws. But he has it!!

1. Kd7 Kg8 2. Ke7 Kh8 3. Bf7 Kh7 3... g5 4. hxg6 Kg7 5. Ke6 followed by Kf5-g4-h5 and the removal of Black's Pawn with an easy win. 4. Kf8 Kh8 5. Bg8 g5 6. hxg6 h5 7. g7# 1-0 [Horowitz I.]


Ending #13

1... Ng6! 2. Be4 Not 2. Bxg6 stalemate. the thematic stalemate defense occurs more oftne with the Bishop because of its excess power, concentrated in the criticl area. 2... Nf8 3. Ke7 Kg7 4. Bf5 It now appears hopeless for White. 4... Kh8!! Again on the same theme. 5. Kf6 Ng6! 6. Be6 Again the Knight is immune on account of stalemate. 6... Kh7 There is no way to make progress. 1/2-1/2 [Horowitz I.]


Ending #14

Without the assistance of the adverse King, the extra Pawn wins for the Knight if the Bishop can be shunted to the short diagonal, where it maneuverability is limited.

1. Nd6 Threatening 2.c6 and 3.c7. 1... Bg1 2. c6 Bb6 The Bishop is now on the short diagonal. 3. Ke6 The threat is 4.Kd7 and 5.Nc4. 3... Bc7 4. Kd7 Bb8 5. Nb5 Kg2 The Bishop may not move on account of the return of the Knight to d6. 6. Nc7 Kf3 7. Kc8! Observe how the Bishop's moves are circumscribed. 7... Ba7 8. Nb5 Bb6 8... Be3 9. Nd6 9. Na3! Ke4 10. Nc4 Bf2 11. Kd7 Bg3 12. Nd6+ The Pawn cannot be stopped. 1/2-1/2 [Horowitz I.]


Ending #15

1/2-1/2 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #16

White wins easily after:

1. Kg6 Rc8 2. Kf6 Of course not 2. Kh7? Rxc7= 2... Kg2 3. Ke6 and the Black rook has nowhere to go. White threatens 4. Kd7 and if 3...Rg8 4.Kf7! wins. 1-0 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #17

Obviously, White is on the defensive. Black is threatening 1...g3 after which it would be impossible to deal with all the pawns - or indeed 1...f3. So White's move must be a choice between 1.Rf8 and 1.Rg8, but which one? The answer is provided by

1. Rg8 g3 2. Rg4 b4 3. Rxf4 b3 4. Rf1 g2 5. Rg1 b2 Editor's note: Notice that the pawns are separated by one more file making it impossible for the Black king to cover both sides of the board as in Ending#16. 5... b2 6. Kg7 Kd4 7. Kf6 Ke3 8. Rb1! Kd3 9. Rg1 Ke3 10. Rb1= 1/2-1/2 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #18

Hollis-Florian, Corr. 1979. As we saw in the previous diagram (Editor: Black's rook was on f5), a "b-pawn" confers very definite winning chances. Here, however, White's king is very bad, for Black has got his rook optimally placed. This diagram is extremely close - the result certainly hangs on one tempo. Hollis won the game and published analysis claiming that the position is indeed won. However, later analysis suggests that with perfect play, Black can just hold.

1. Kf1 Rb2! 2. Ke1 Kf6 3. f3 Rb3 4. Kd2! Rxf3 5. Kc2 This move highlights the advantage of a "b-pawn" over an "a-pawn". The black rook has already got to work to get back to the b-file. Black can now try: 5... Rxg3 On 5... Rf5?? 6. Rc7 Rb5 7. b7 Ke6 8. Kc3 f6 9. Kc4 Rb1 10. Kc5 Kf5 11. Rd7 Rc1+ 12. Kd6 Rb1 13. Kc7 Rc1+ 14. Kd8 Rb1 15. Kc8 Kg4 16. Rd6 g5 17. Rxf6 gxh4 18. gxh4 Kxh4 19. Rg6! Kh3 20. Kc7! h4 21. Rb6 Rxb6 22. Kxb6 Kg2 23. b8=Q h3 and the h-pawn is only on the 6th rank. 5... Rxg3 is possible due to 6. Rxf7+? Kxf7 7. b7 Rf3 8. b8=Q Kg7 9. Qb7+ Rf7 and Black has a fortress. He will put the rook on f5 and can then safely pass with his king forever. 6. Rc7 Rg2+ 7. Kb3 Rg1 8. Kb2 Rg4 9. Rc3 Rxh4 10. b7 Rb4+ 11. Rb3 Rxb7 12. Rxb7 This position is extremely close. (Editor's note: There are many such positions with three pawns vs. the lone rook, and of course the result will depend on the king's position and how far the pawns have advanced. See Ending #17 in Endings Laboratory #1 for a drawing method if the pawns get too far advanced. Of course, the king has to also assist in stopping the three pawns. Useful in practical play!) * [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #19

Study by Troitsky. Black's king is hiding behind his opposite number. White wins by moving his king to a position from which he can deliver a murderous discovered check.

1. Kf4 Kf2 2. Ke4 Ke2 3. Kd4 Kd2 4. Kc5 Kc3 4... Rc1+ 5. Kb4 Rb1+ 6. Ka3 5. Rc8! Rxa7 6. Kb6+ In the starting position, if the white king was on g7 and the black king on g4, then black to move would draw with Kg5! as black's king would be close enough to protect the rook after discovered check. 1-0 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #20

Horowitz and Kling, 1851.

1. Kf6 Nh7+ 2. Kg6 Nf8+ 3. Kh6 Kh8 4. Rf7 Kg8 5. Rg7+ Kh8 6. Rg1 Nd7! 6... Nh7 7. Kg6! Kg8 8. Rg2 Nf8+ 9. Kf6+ Kh8 10. Kf7 6... Ne6 7. Kg6 Nf8+ 8. Kf7 Nh7 9. Rg8# 7. Kg6 Kg8 8. Rd1 Nf8+ 9. Kf6 Nh7+ 10. Kg6 Nf8+ and Black holds the draw. 1/2-1/2 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #21

Arabic manuscript 1257! Analysis by Frink and Averbakh.

1... Na5+ 2. Kb5 Nb7 2... Nb3 3. Rd8 and the knight is trapped. 3. Rh5 Kb8 3... Nd6+ 4. Kc6 Nc4 A key position of averbakh's which often features in analyzing rook v. knight. (4... Ne4 5. Rh7+ Kb8 6. Rb7+ Ka8 7. Rb4 Nf6 8. Rf4 Nh5 9. Rf5 Ng3 10. Rf3 Nh5 11. Kc7) 5. Rc5 Ne3 6. Ra5+ Kb8 7. Ra4 Nf5 8. Re4 Ng3 9. Rb4+ Ka7 10. Rb7+ Ka8 11. Kc7 3... Nd8 4. Rd5 Ne6 (4... Nb7 5. Rd7) 5. Kc6 Kb8 (5... Nf4 6. Rd7+ Kb8 7. Rd8+ Ka7 8. Re8 Editor: White will snare the knight.) 6. Rd6 Ng5 (6... Nf4 7. Rd8+ Ka7 8. Re8 Nd3 9. Re4 Nf2 10. Ra4+ Kb8 11. Rb4+ Ka7 12. Rb7+ Ka8 13. Kc7) 7. Rd8+ Ka7 8. Rd7+ Ka6 9. Rd3 Ka7 10. Re3 Kb8 11. Kd7 Nf7 12. Ke7 Nh6 13. Ke6 Ng4 14. Re2 Kc7 15. Kf5 Nh6+ 16. Kg6 Ng4 17. Kg5 4. Kc6 Nd8+ 5. Kd7 Nb7 6. Rb5 Ka7 7. Kc7 Ka8 8. Rb3 1-0 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #22

Horowitz and Kling, 1851.

1... Bg1! The threat was 1.Rd7 Bb6 2.Rb7 Bc5 #.Rb8+ Bf8 4.R(any)8 and 5.Rxf8 mate. 2. Rf1 2. Rd7 Kf8 3. Kf6 Bb6 and white cannot maintain threats without allowing a liberating chekc - a very useful defensive idea.(3... Ke8? seems to escape but instead runs into an essential attack manoeuvre: 4. Ke6 Kf8 5. Rf7+ Kg8 6. Kf6 and white will return to the winning position after black moves the bishop.) 2... Bh2 3. Rf2 Bg3 The bishops stays in shadow,avoiding a rook fork threatening the bishop and check on the last rank. 4. Rg2 Be5 4... Bh4 5. Kh5+ 4... Bd6 5. Rd2 Be7 6. Rc2! an important motif - the bishop prevents the king from fleeing successfully to e7 via f8. 5. Re2 Bd6 6. Re8+ Bf8 7. Ra8 When defending with a bishop against a rook the king should retreat towards the corner of the opposite colour to the bishop, as this gives rise to stalemating possbilities. For example, set up the position: wKh6,Rd7; bKh8, Bc4... 1.Rd8+ Bg8 2.Ra8 stalemate (2.Kg6 stalemate). 1-0 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #23

Khomlov-Tseshkovsky, USSR Ch S-F, 1973.

1... Rc2+ 2. Ke3? 2. Kg1! 2... f5! 3. Bf1 Kd5 4. Ba6 Rb2 5. Bf1 Rb3+ 6. Kf2 Kd4 7. Bh3 7. Ba6 Ke4 8. Bc4 Rb2+ 9. Be2 Rd2 10. Kf1 Ke3 7... Rb1 8. Kf3 8. Bf1 Rxf1+ 8... Rg1 9. Kf2 Rh1 10. Bg2 Rh2! 0-1 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #24

Stalemate, or the threat of stalemate is an extremely common theme in queen endings: after all, a queen can stalemate a king in the corner all by itself. Pilnick=Reshevsky, USA Championship, 1942.

1... g4?? 2. Qf2! 1/2-1/2 [Speelman; Wade; Tisdall]


Ending #25

White's win depends on queening his pawn. The manner in which the pawn is freed from the pin is rather startling.

1. Qb4 Immobilizes Black's King, and forces his Queen to move. 1... Qh1 The Queen st ays on the long diagonal which the Queen could have chosen with the following results: 1... Qd5 2. Qa4+ Kb6 3. Qb3+! Qxb3 4. b8=Q+ 1... Qf3 2. Qa4+ Kb6 3. Qb3+! Qxb3 4. b8=Q+ 1... Qg2 2. Qa3+ Kb6 3. Qb2+! Qxb2 4. b8=Q+ 2. Qa3+ Kb6 3. Qb2+ Kc5 What else is there? 3... Ka6 4. Qa2+ Kb5 5. Qb1+ Qxb1 6. b8=Q+ 3... Ka5 4. Qa2+ Kb5 5. Qb1+ Qxb1 6. b8=Q+ 3... Kc6 4. b8=Q 3... Kc7 4. Qh2+ Qxh2 5. b8=Q+ skewering the queen. 4. Ka7 Black has no check, so he clamps on a new pin. 4... Qh7 5. Qb6+ Kd5 5... Kc4 6. Ka6 followed by queening the pawn wins. 6. Ka6 6. Ka6 Qd3+ 7. Qb5+ 1-0 [Chernev I.]

Game(s) in PGN