Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. 08 Feb '10 00:40 / 4 edits
    Not me you bunch of clowns. Greepawn31 (Keith Ruxton FM).

    I'm sitting here like a vulture waiting for my opponents to fall
    into the traps I have set for them but none are moving.

    So I'm clearing out all the junk from Bates Motel.
    (the Greenpawn's School of Chess Exellence ).

    Be a shame to ditch Keith's stuff. So here is his first bit on Endings.

    ===========================================

    Hi.

    You know those people who have nut allergies?

    They even 'smell' a peanut and that's it, they're off?

    Well that's Geoff. Except instead of peanuts think endgames.

    So in this thread it will be down to me to run through some help with endgame
    play. Don't worry, it will be quite painless and even (gasp) quite enjoyable!

    First I should say a few words about why looking at endgames is important and
    explode a few common myths.

    MYTH 1: I never reach endgames so there is no point in studying them.

    Well, if you never reach endgames then you go back and look at Geoff's advice on
    the 'Pre Send Error Check' thread - invaluable stuff.

    But even if you dont reach many endgames, the techniques and ideas used in
    endgames can help your broad understanding of chess in all areas.

    Don't believe me? Think I'm making it up to trick you into doing some endgames?

    Then let me show you how a single piece on the board can help you play
    openings...

    One of the three basic principles of the opening is control of the centre (what are
    the other two?).

    But why should we control the centre? Let's ask our favourite piece, the knight...



    Here's a glum looking knight in the corner, he can only move to two squares.



    Here's a slightly happier knight, he has 4 squares to move to



    And here is a knight happier than Geoff setting a trap.
    he has 8 squares to move to.

    So the knight that controls the centre is FOUR TIMES as strong as the knight in
    the corner.

    MYTH 2: Endgames are boring.

    I think this usually happens because a player picks up some encyclopedia of
    endgames which has position after position with lots of analysis and stuff that has
    to be memorised.

    In fact, good news!, the number of endgame positions that needs to be memorised
    is really very small. Most of endgame skill is in understanding basic rules and
    principles that apply in many situations.

    MYTH 3: There are no tactics in endgames - I like tactics!

    Actually, even the simplest looking endgame positions can contain lots of
    interesting tactical ideas. Take just one example...



    White has only one way to win this position. If he tries Kb6 then black just checks
    him then puts his rook back to the a-file. The solution is 1. Rc8! Rxa7 2. Kb6+!
    sweet.
  2. 08 Feb '10 00:41 / 1 edit
    Common endgame techniques

    Most players are aware of the basic opening principles...

    1) Development
    2) Central control
    3) King Safety

    The endgame also has certain principles and techniques unique to this stage
    of the game. The following four occur very frequently in the endgame but
    rarely at any other stage.

    1) Zugzwang
    2) Stalemate
    3) King activity
    4) Fortresses

    Let's give an example of each of these..



    The above position is an example of mutual Zugzwang [principle 1].

    Zugzwang is where any move you play weakens your position,
    you would rather just pass and not play at all but, alas,
    that's not yet allowed in the rules.

    With Black to play, his only move is 1...Kc7 when 2.Ke7 allows White
    to queen his pawn.

    If it is white to play, however, then to hold onto the pawn he must play 1.Kd6
    which leads to Stalemate [principle 2].

    The principle of king activity [principle 3] is simply that in endgames
    there are less pieces to worry about so the chance of being mated is
    small.

    (though check out some Karpov endgames, he mates his opponents in the
    endgame with alarming frequency)

    Thus the king can and should take part in the main battle.

    Note that this principle is the complete opposite of the 'king saftey'
    principle of the openings.

    Finally, the slightly more advanced concept of fortresses [principle 4].

    These are positions where one player, though significantly down in material,
    manages to construct a situation where his opponent cannot break through his
    fortress. Here's one example...



    Black just shuffles his king between a8 and b7.
    White can never control a8 and if he covers b7 (for example by moving
    his king to a6) then we are back at principle 2 again...stalemate.

    Some or all of these ideas you may already be aware of but when your game
    reaches the ending phase it's worthwhile taking a moment to re-order your
    thoughts and bring these ideas to the fore.
  3. 08 Feb '10 00:42 / 1 edit
    K+P v K

    The simplest (though not that simple!) endgame is that of king+pawn versus king.

    Understanding this is fundamental to all endgames as any other endings
    (e.g. bishop endgames) can always transpose into pawn endgames
    if the pieces are exchanged.

    Maybe you know some of the basics of this ending already - good!
    Maybe not, but I'm sure there will be some ideas here that you will find
    useful in your own games.

    Let's begin with a very useful position for learning king and pawn endgames..



    "You've messed up the fen notation Keith, this looks like a rook endgame" - Geoff

    "It LOOKS like a rook endgame but it is really a pawn endgame"

    The above position is with white to play and win but with one additional constraint.

    White is only allowed to move his rook once and once only.

    In other words, the rook can only move when it is able to deliver mate.

    I strongly recommend playing this out a few times with one of your chess
    buddies or even with yourself.

    White has a forced win but what is the technique involved?

    In general the best way to learn chess is to play about with positions making
    discoveries as you go along. If you can fully understand this position then you
    are already a long way to mastering king and pawn endgames - even without
    touching a pawn!
  4. 08 Feb '10 05:50
    I would like to add initiative to those principles but that may be a bit above basic. Thanks for your contribution to our humble chess forum and I would also like to welcome you to make more threads like this on behalf of the whole site even though I don't quite have the authority to do so. Happy chess playing.
  5. 08 Feb '10 06:03 / 1 edit
    i prefer the mythology, Myth 1 to be precise, best piece of advice i have heard for ages, no need of studying endgame's, middle-game is where it is won and lost!
  6. 08 Feb '10 06:38
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    i prefer the mythology, Myth 1 to be precise, best piece of advice i have heard for ages, no need of studying endgame's, middle-game is where it is won and lost!
    Every time you say something like this I become christian for a moment, just a moment mind you, and pray that you are only jesting.
  7. 08 Feb '10 06:53
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    Every time you say something like this I become christian for a moment, just a moment mind you, and pray that you are only jesting.
    Lol, alas, you were my greatest disciple but you were seduced by the dark green side of the force and the emperor Greenpawn!
  8. 08 Feb '10 06:58
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    Lol, alas, you were my greatest disciple but you were seduced by the dark green side of the force and the emperor Greenpawn!
    Sometimes the best move in the middle game is only the best move because it threatens a winning endgame. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
  9. 08 Feb '10 08:01 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    Sometimes the best move in the middle game is only the best move because it threatens a winning endgame. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
    Ah yes but it was in the middle game that the strategy resulting in the culmination of an advantageous endgame is forged. For example we have pawns on both sides of the board, we realise that a bishop with its long range capacity is better suited to this than a knight for it influences both sides of the board, can we develop the realisation of this strategy in the middle game through exchanges and simplification to a winning endgame? The correct procedure is decided young tomtom, in the middle game! now if you do not mind you shall be pleased to send me a cheque for $3.99 for this first lesson
  10. 08 Feb '10 08:29 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    Ah yes but it was in the middle game that the strategy resulting in the culmination of an advantageous endgame is forged. For example we have pawns on both sides of the board, we realise that a bishop with its long range capacity is better suited to this than a knight for it influences both sides of the board, can we develop the realisation of this ...[text shortened]... w if you do not mind you shall be pleased to send me a cheque for $3.99 for this first lesson
    But say you only have a slight advantage and your knowledge of the endgame stinks and only one move brings about the winning endgame while others are not completely bad and bring about a similar endgame that only draws while others may seem good yet bring about a losing endgame that is also similar to the first. How would you know the correct move without studying the endgame?
  11. 08 Feb '10 08:44 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    But say you only have a slight advantage and your knowledge of the endgame stinks and only one move brings about the winning endgame while others are not completely bad and bring about a similar endgame that only draws while others may seem good yet bring about a losing endgame that is also similar to the first. How would you know the correct move without studying the endgame?
    oh young tomtom, it is a wretched pupil that does not surpass his master! whether an endgame may be won, drawn or lost is dependent upon the middle game and its strategy. Take for example the scenario that i gave, if we cannot bring about the exchange of bishop verses knight and instead we have knight verse knight with pawns on both sides of the board then what advantage may we realise? Thus its the middle game that determines whether we have endgame advantage and it is not necessary to know anything about the endgame to bring this about other than a bishop is better than a knight with pawns on both sides of the board, the realisation of which belongs not to the end, but to the middle game!

    i understand what you are saying, really i do and it appears to me that its like strategy and tactics, they are both inter dependent. If we could see chess as a harmonious whole from beginning to middle to end then my goodness our enjoyment would be made complete.
  12. 08 Feb '10 09:32
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    I'm sitting here like a vulture waiting for my opponents to fall
    into the traps I have set for them but none are moving.
    So when are you going to break 2000?
  13. 08 Feb '10 10:35
    what if the knight is better?
  14. 08 Feb '10 10:58
    Originally posted by heinzkat
    So when are you going to break 2000?
    I'm 58 so I guess in another 942 years.
  15. 08 Feb '10 11:08
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    I'm 58 so I guess in another 942 years.
    please tell the forum pawn dude, chess games are won and lost in the middle game!