The endgame is the final phase of a chess game. It may seem easy since there are very few pieces left, but often it is not. Some of the most difficult play in chess comes in the endgame. Good endgame technique is the sign of a strong chess player.
In the endgame, most of the pieces have been captured. All that remains are the kings, some pawns, and maybe a few pieces. The pieces are usually not enough to win the game, though. To win in the endgame, you must use your king and your pawns.
Before discussing endgame strategy you must first learn what a passed pawn is. A passed pawn is a pawn that cannot be stopped from becoming a queen by the opponent’s pawns. This means there are none of the opponent’s pawns on the file in front of it that can block it as it moves, and there are none of the opponent’s pawns on the files next to it that can capture it as it moves. It is free to march forward and become a queen.
If the opponent wants to stop a passed pawn from becoming a queen, he cannot rely on his pawns because they are out of the way. He must use his king or another piece to stop the passed pawn. This ties down the king or the piece to doing defensive duty. It must stop the passed pawn from becoming a queen. Now that you know what a passed pawn is, you can learn the three endgame strategies.
1) Bring out your king: In the endgame, it is usually safe to bring out your king. You should move your king out from the corner and toward the center, or toward any pawns that are still on the board. This is where the action is going to be. Your king does no good sitting in the corner. In the endgame, you must use your king as an attacking piece. You may have no other pieces left with which to attack. You must also use your king as a defensive piece. You may have no other pieces left with which to defend. Bring out your king and use it in the endgame to help you attack and defend.
2) Make a passed pawn: Try to capture or trade pieces or pawns to make a passed pawn. You must make a passed pawn before you can go get a queen. A pawn that is blocked or that cannot move has no chance to promote. Once the blocker is removed, the pawn is free to march forward to the last rank and promote to a queen. In order to stop a passed pawn, the opponent must use a piece or his king. This ties down that piece or the king to doing defensive duty to stop the passed pawn.
3) Go get a queen: Once you have a passed pawn, you move it forward to promote to a queen. Usually, you will need a queen to win in the endgame. In order to get a queen, you will probably need the help of your king. Your king will help by preventing the passed pawn from being captured, and by clearing the way in front of it, blocking out the opponent’s king or other pieces. Whoever gets a queen first usually wins.
From the book, “TOTAL CHESS: Learn, Teach and Play the Easy 1-2-3 Way,” by John Herron
TOTAL CHESS is your complete guide to chess. It covers everything: rules, strategies, tactics and checkmates.
Everything in chess comes in threes. Three simple strategies are presented for the opening, midgame, endgame, etc. Each lesson is brief and covers one concept in simple language that everyone can read and understand.