Basic End Game Course

Click on FEN String to Train in the Analysis Program

2 Rooks vs King

2 Rooks vs King

You can checkmate the King by making a corridor mate.

Click to Train: 8/8/8/8/4k3/8/R6R/K7 w – – 0 1

Rook vs King

Rook vs King

Click to Train: 4k3/8/8/8/8/8/8/R3K3 w – – 0 1

Push the King to the Edge when the King is opposite the other King you can mate with the Rook.

2 Bishops vs King

2 Bishops vs King

Click to Train:  4k3/8/8/8/8/8/8/4KBB1 b – – 3 2

White King with only one Bishop can not force checkmate! The same goes for one Knight. The game will be a draw.

It’s a quite different matter with double Bishop. Take care of the 50 move rule or else you may have to concede a draw inspite of such a huge material advantage. The Bishops are intended to Attack from the sides on the opponent’s King.

 The double Bishops instantly create a wall of defense and block the King. Train it a lot so you get the touch.

Bishop + Knight vs King

Bishop and Knight vs King

Click to Train:  2k5/8/8/8/8/8/2NB4/2K5 w – – 0 1

White to play and checkmate. From this position it will take a minimum of 28 moves to checkmate! And it could be more moves if you slip along the way. Take care of the 50 move rule. If you make one mistake you’ll exceed the rule and it’s a draw. It can take more or less number of moves if the position is different with the same pieces.The mate is done by the Bishop with blacks King in the corner as you can see in this game.

2 Knights vs King

2 Knights vs King

Click to Train:  7k/8/8/8/8/8/4N3/4KN2 w – – 0 1

It is a draw! The Black King can at any time avoid a checkmate. Black just has to make sure that he does not walk into checkmate! Solution Checkmate shows where black walks into a mate.

Queen vs Rook

King-Queen vs King-Rook

FEN String: Train 8/8/8/4kr2/8/8/8/3QK3 w – – 0 1

1. Keep an eye on the 50 move rule. 2. The rook could be won in a fork and be careful to avoid mate threats. 3. Push the opponent’s king to the edge. 4. Keep your king diagonally closer to the rook, Attacking the rook and limiting opponent king’s movements. 5. Use some moves to force the separation of the rook. 6. Use the queens ability to move diagonally as often as possible. 7. Avoid checks to your own king.

Rook vs Bishop

King-Rook vs King-Bishop

FEN String: Train 4kb2/8/8/8/8/8/8/4KR2 w – – 0 1

Black has to try to pin or x-ray Attack the rook to draw the game while avoiding the loss of his own bishop and lose the game.

The solution shows both situations.

Pawn Endings

Pawn vs King. Cardon Square

King-Pawn vs King Cardon Square

FEN String: Train 5k2/8/8/P7/8/8/8/4K3 b – – 0 1

Cardon Square or ‘Box’ depends on the position of the pawn and the opponents King and who’s turn it is. Once learnt it’s easy to visualise it any time. This helps to avoid tedious calculations and the possible mistakes. If your opponent’s King is outside the cardon square or box and if it is your move, the pawn can not be stopped if you push it. Try setup different scenarios on the Analysis Board and train it.

2 Pawns vs King

King-2 Pawns vs King

FEN String: Train 8/8/8/8/Pk6/1P4K1/8/8 w – – 0 1

Now that we know how to imagine a cardon square, we see that the Black King is well within the cardon squares of both pawns. However if he takes b3 White will run up and get a Queen. 

Pawn vs King

King-Pawn vs King: Opposition

FEN String: Train 2k5/8/8/8/8/8/2P5/2K5 w – – 0 1

One thing that you can be certain of, is that White can not lose from here, except on time! White can win against any defense but may give away a draw if he is not accurate. The key to such positions is ‘opposition’. Just one single move could save or destroy the game. It is very important to study ‘how? Both draw and win is in the solution.

Pawn vs Pawn. Promoting with Tempo

King-Pawn vs King-Pawn Tempo

FEN String: Train k7/8/p7/8/8/7P/7K/8 w – – 0 1

White to move and win the race Queening and take the black pawn.

Three Pawn Ending

3Pawn Ending

FEN String: Train 8/5ppp/8/5PPP/8/k7/8/K7 w – – 0 1

White to move .. g6 wins. White will get a passed pawn and win.

Four Pawn Ending

4Pawn Ending

FEN String: Train 8/8/4pppp/8/4PPPP/k7/8/K7 w – – 0 1

Strategy: White have to make a ‘similar’ Attack on the wing pawns. If at all Black promotes one of his pawns to a queen or even a rook, he checkmates White! Not only must White queen his pawn first but also with a precondition that it should be done well in advance to go and stop Black from queening or White must queen at f8 square to gain a tempo by the check to Black king! If the pawns after exchange end up in opposing each other without a chance of creating a passed pawn, Black’s king is in a better position to grab them.

Wall of China

Wall of China

FEN String: Train 2k5/2Pp4/3Pp3/4Pp2/5Pp1/6Pp/7P/6K1 w – – 0 1

Kf2 and moving up. With the right moves nothing can stop d pawn from queening! Will it end up in a checkmate ?

King + Queen vs King + Pawn

King-Queen vs King-Pawn

FEN String: Train 8/8/K7/8/8/8/4kpQ1/8 w – – 0 1

The Black Pawn is about to promote (cannot now due to check), maybe to a queen. Can White stop it and win the game? If the queen has to be sacrificed to stop the pawn promotion, it will be a draw due to insufficient material. White King needs to come and help. Every time the pawn is unable to move, the White King may come one step closer. There are several ways Black can make mistakes and they will have to be taken advantage of with the result of a mate.

If the King can keep on running around the pawn it will be a draw!

Pawn vs Pawn

King-Pawn vs King-Pawn Position

FEN String: Train 8/8/8/2kpK3/7P/8/8/8 w – – 0 1

Endgames with only a few pieces left, are often the hardest positions to play. Endgames, however, are different than other positions since all the pieces needs to be used. Often we find the king to be the most active piece. Here is an example of a tricky king and pawn endgame. Pretend you are playing White in the position and makes the first move.

Here are the questions: 1) Are you winning ? 2) What are White’s best moves ?

Pawn vs King

King-Pawn vs King Cardon Square

FEN String: Train 4k3/8/8/8/8/7P/8/4K3 w – – 0 1

The Pawn has a cardon square within where the Black king is situated. What about the next rule? Opposition? Hmmm! In this case it’s going to be a draw! Conclusion: You cannot promote a pawn on the edge if, in this situation, black makes the right moves.

King + Queen vs King + Pawn

King-Queen vs King-Pawn 3 Fold Repertition

FEN String: Train 8/8/8/K7/7Q/8/6kp/8 w – – 0 1

The White King can not come another step closer here as it will become stalemate and draw!! Black is only 1 step to promote.

 Three fold repetition is also an option here.

Bishop + Pawn vs King

FEN String: Train 8/8/5p2/4bK2/7k/8/8/8 w – – 0 1

If White make the right moves ‘he’ will win

Knight + Pawn vs King

FEN String: Train 4k3/8/8/8/8/6NP/8/4K3 w – – 0 1

If White make the right moves ‘he’ will win

Sixteen Rules for the End Game:

1. Doubled, isolated and blockaded Pawns are weak! Avoid them.

2. Passed Pawns should be advanced as quickly as possible.

3. If you are one or two Pawns ahead, exchange pieces but not pawns.

4. If you are one or two Pawns down, exchange Pawns but not pieces.

5. If you have an advantage do not leave Pawns only in one side.

6. If all the pawns is on one side of the table and you’re one Pawn ahead. The Game will in 99 out of 100 cases be a draw.

7. The easiest way to win is purely Pawn endings.

8. The easiest way to draw is with opposite Bishop colors.

9. Do not place your pawns on the same color of your Bishop. In worst cases you will lock your Bishop in and get a ‘bad’ Bishop.

10. Keep your pawns on opposite color as the opponents color.

11. Bishops are in all better than Knight except where you have blocked pawns.

12. Two Bishops vs. Knight and Bishop have a small advantage.

13. A Rook on the 7’th Rank is sufficient compensation for a pawn.

14. Rook belongs behind passed Pawns.

15. Passed pawns should be blocked by the King.

16. The King is a strong piece. Use it!

By Reuben Fine: Grandmaster.