The endgame is the stage of the chess game when few pieces are left on the chess board. Theoretical endgames are positions where the correct line of play is generally known and well-analyzed, so the solution is a matter of technique. Practical endgames are positions arising in actual games, where skillful play should transform it into a theoretical endgame position.
Trade pieces, not pawns, when ahead in material.
Material advantage wins in endgames. Hold on to your material.
Try to gain tempi whenever possible – but without giving up material.
In the endgame, take your time to calculate more often and deeper than before.
Endgames requires more knowledge of specific positions and patterns.
Get your king close to the action and in front of your pawns is possible. Endgames favor an aggressive king.
Cut the enemy king off from the action when you can.
It is usually a good idea to trade down into a pawn up endgame.
As pawns advance, they get more difficult to protect. Try to keep pawns connected.
The fewer the pieces, the more important are pawns.
Advance your good pawns to increase your chances of creating a passed pawn (a passed pawn is one which does not have an opposing pawn on its file or adjacent files on its way to promotion on the 8th rank).
If you have an advantage, try to leave pawns on both sides of the board. Endings with pawns on both sides of the board are much easier to win.
In king and pawn endings, it is vital to understand opposition and distant opposition. When two kings are in opposition, they are on the same rank or file, with an empty square separating them. The player having the move loses the opposition.
Have a flexible and sound pawn formation. Avoid doubled, isolated, and blockaded pawns.
Passed pawns must be pushed.
The outside passed pawn is an advantage. In K+P endgames it is usually a decisive advantage.
Connected passed pawns are usually best if pushed together.
Connected passed pawns on the 6th rank beat a rook. If two connected passed pawns reach their sixth rank, they are generally as powerful as a rook.
Wing pawns are often more valuable then center pawns as they are easier to queen.
With rook pawns, the bishop must be of the same color as the queening square.
Rook pawns with the bishop not covering the queening square draws.
In endgames with pieces and pawns, an extra pawn is a winning advantage in 50-60% of the cases.
In king and pawn endings, an extra pawn is decisive in more than 90% of the cases.
When all of the pawns are on the same side of the board, the stronger side should try to exchange pawns to try to create a passed pawn.
It is usually better for the player with more pawns to avoid too many pawn exchanges, because winning chances are reduced if too few pawns remain.
A knight works better with a bishop than another knight.
The knight is the best piece to block a passed pawn, followed by the bishop.
The knight is superior to the bishop in blocked positions or when the bishop is hemmed in by pawns on the same color squares as the bishop.
Knights are short range pieces and are unable to stop pawns from afar.
Two knights cannot force checkmate against a lone king, but if the weaker side also has a pawn, checkmate is sometimes possible.
A knight and pawn versus knight is generally a draw, since the lone knight can be sacrificed for the pawn.
A knight and pawn versus bishop is a draw if the defending king is in front of the pawn or sufficiently near. The bishop is kept on a diagonal that the pawn must cross and the knight cannot both block the bishop and drive the defending king away.
A knight can draw against three connected pawns if none are beyond the fourth rank.
If you only have one bishop, put your pawns on its opposite color.
Bishops are worth more that knights except when they are pinned in.
If you have one bishop, put your pawns on the opposite color squares.
Two bishops, plus their king, can easily checkmate a lone enemy king, provided that the bishops move on opposite color squares.
A bad bishop is one that is hemmed in by pawns of its own color, and has the burden of defending them.
For bishop and pawn versus bishop of the same color, the game is a draw if the defending king can reach any square in front of the pawn that is opposite in color to the squares the bishop travel on.
For bishop and pawn versus bishop of the same color, if the defending king is behind the pawn and the attacking king is near the pawn, the defender can draw only if his king is attacking the pawn, he has the opposition, and his bishop can move on two diagonals that each have at least two squares available (other than the square it is on).
For bishop and pawn versus bishop of the same color, a knight pawn always wins if the defending bishop only has one long diagonal available.
Bishops of opposite colors have the greatest chance of drawing. These endgames are often drawn even when one side has a two-pawn advantage, since the weaker side can create a blockade on the squares which his bishop operates on.
A pair of bishops is stronger than a pair of knights.
Bishops are better than knights in about 60% of the time in the endgame. The more symmetrical the pawn structure, the better it is for the knight.
A bishop and a knight, plus their king, can checkmate a lone enemy king, although the checkmate procedure may take up to 33 moves with correct play.
For bishop versus knight endings, with pawns, if the material is even, the position should be drawn.
For bishop versus knight endings, with pawns, when most of the pawns are on the same color as the bishop, the knight is better.
A bishop and pawn versus knight is a draw if the defending king is in front of the pawn of sufficiently close. The defending king can occupy a square in front of the pawn of the opposite color as the bishop and cannot be driven away.
Three connected pawns win against a bishop if they all get past the fourth rank.
Two bishops versus a knight wins for the bishops, but it takes up to 66 moves.
A minor piece (bishop or knight) versus one or two pawns is normally a draw, unless the pawns are advanced.
Three pawns are often enough to win against a minor piece.
Put your rooks behind passed pawns, whether one’s own or the opponent’s (the Tarrasch rule).
In an ending of a rook and pawn versus a rook, if the pawn is not too far advanced, the best place for the opposing rook is in front of the pawn.
Study rook and pawn endgames. They are the most frequent endgames.
A rook on the 7th rank is worth a pawn.
When both sides have a pair of rooks, the player with more pawns has better winning chances if the pair of rooks is not exchanged.
Rook and pawn endgames are often drawn, despite an extra pawn or two.
Rook and pawn endgames occur in about 10% of all games.
When both sides have two rooks and pawns, the stronger side usually has more winning chances than if each had only one rook.
The rook and pawn versus rook is the most common of the “piece and pawn versus pieces” endgames.
In rook and pawn versus rook, in general, if the weaker side’s king can get to the queening square of the pawn, the game is a draw; otherwise it is a win.
In rook and pawn versus rook, if the attacking rook is two files from the pawn and the defending king is cut off on the other side, the attacker normally wins.
A rook and pawn versus a minor piece is normally a win for the rook.
For a rook and pawn versus a minor piece ending, if the pawn is on the 6th rank and is a bishop pawn or rook pawn, and the bishop does not control the pawn’s promotion square, the position is a draw.
In a rook versus minor piece and three pawns ending, it is a win for the minor piece side.
In a rook versus two minor pieces and a pawn ending, it is a win for the minor piece side.
In rook versus pawn, it the rook’s king is not near, the game is drawn.
In rook versus two pawns, it the rook’s king is not near, the game is won by the side with the pawns.
If the rook’s king is near, the rook wins over one or two pawns.
If the rook’s king is near, the rook draws against three pawns.
If the rook’s king is near, the rook loses to four or more pawns.
A rook and bishop versus rook should draw.
The queen and pawn versus queen endgame is the second most common of the “piece and pawn versus piece” endgame.
A queen and knights are usually stronger that a queen and bishop.
A queen versus two rooks is normally drawn.
A queen versus a rook normally wins for the queen side.
A queen versus rook and minor piece is normally drawn.
A rook and bishop plus two pawns win over a queen.
A queen versus rook with two connected pawns is usually a draw.
In queen versus two bishops, the queen wins, but it could take up to 71 moves to force a win.
A queen versus two knights is generally a draw.
Queen and bishop versus two rooks wins for the queen and bishop side, but it takes up to 84 moves.