Endgames are crucial in chess and should be thoroughly studied like any other aspect of the game. It has long been argued that one should begin studying chess with the endgame, and while this is disputed, it does indicate that we should devote at least the same amount of effort to this part of the game as we do to the others.
In every moment of the game, a stronger opponent will want to demonstrate his supremacy. Even though the position is equal, he will strive to create minor imbalances that lead to blunders. This is why it is critical that you remain alert throughout the game and do not relax too quickly.
In an equal, even drawing endgame, a stronger opponent will probably not instantly propose a draw but will instead play until the end, patiently waiting for even the tiniest error.
Here’s some advice that can help you enhance your endgame strategy:
1. Pay attention to what others are saying!
We’ve already written about how important it is to know when to exchange pieces, but mastering this ability becomes even more important in the endgame. Don’t rush to switch the elements in the hopes of getting a quick draw. Take your time calculating the locations that arise and deciding which parts should be saved and which should be discarded. Try to retain the active ingredients on the board while removing the passive ones. Consider the following scenario:
Are you ready to begin a structured training program that works?
Because of the better structure, black is in a somewhat better position. However, this is a difficult situation to win, and white has a decent chance of drawing. He should probably play Ng3 to swap the strong knight from f5 and improve his structure simultaneously. In this position, however, my opponent played Bb3, possibly assuming that the endgame should be easier to draw with the rooks off the board, but he missed a tactical trick. Are you able to locate it?
2. Don’t squander your advantage!
Most of the time, your opponent will try to establish attacking targets in your position to win an equal role. Try to maintain your pawn structure intact if you have one. Allowing your opponent to develop flaws in your camp will offer him something to do. His pieces will become active, forcing you to take a defensive stance. Even if the resulting situation is still holdable, defending a poorer position is never easy, and a draw will almost certainly need some precision plays. Let’s have a look at the next scenario:
Black is the color to use.
We can conclude that white is slightly superior due to the better structure, but the position should still be a draw after a cursory look at the diagrammed position. Although black does have an isolated pawn that can be assaulted, it is unclear how white can exert further pressure on it. The open c file is another option for white to consider if he wants to play for a win.
On the other hand, Black has complete control over c7, the lone square where white could enter. As a result, black should play R8c7 and wait. Instead, black played the inferior Rc6, offering a rook deal. This move prevents white from advancing to the c file, weakens the pawn structure, and provides white with more targets to attack. Following the c6 exchange, white can shoot both c6 and a6, which will be more difficult to defend than d5. 3. Avoid the opponent’s counter-attack! Here’s how the game went down:
When you’re in a seemingly similar situation, it’s natural to worry about what your opponent intends to do, when you don’t have a clear plan of your own, attempt to figure out what your opponent is thinking and take actions to disrupt them.
White has the option to move.
Black has some pressure on the c file in this position, and white’s center pawns could become a target. White’s rook on b5 is also slightly misaligned, as it is currently out of play. Black, on the other hand, has a stronger pawn structure and more coordinated pieces.
Although the positions are equal, it is easier to play with black. White should continue with Kf2 and f3 at this point. Instead, he played a4?!, threatening a5, because he couldn’t see how black could keep pressing for a victory. The goal in such equal positions is to create holes in the opponent’s structure, as is customary. Black can get this by playing R8c5 followed by g5. Following the game’s move, we can observe that white is late in defending the two center pawns:
You must have a defined study strategy if you want to increase your chess skill. If you’re going to advance dramatically at chess, you must focus on all of the game’s features in an organized manner:
- endgame technique positional play attacking talents
- analysis of classic games
- psychological preparedness, among other things