All You Need To Know About Chess Endgames


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Playing a game of chess is like going into battle. You have your troop, you have the strategies, and now you go to war.

The opening of a chess game is the most important part since it will involve preemptive strikes. The middle game will involve improvisation, transposing into other strategies, sacrifices, and a lot more. The endgame is where you get the result. It is the chess endgame that lets you know whether you are going to win and how.

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The chess endgame tactics will involve predictive gameplay and a lot of multi-layer moves. There are the basic chess endings too where the gameplay itself involves only the fundamental chess ending’ moves, which is good for beginners to learn. However, if you really enjoy a game of chess, you know that it is how to play chess endgames that really excite us.

That is why today, we are going to talk about what a chess endgame is, the chess endgame strategy that you can use, the chess endgame positions that are versatile, and how to win chess endgame. We hope to help you devise strategies for how to endgame chess and emerge victoriously.

What is a chess endgame?

The chess endgame is the critical juncture in the chess game where the last remaining moves are made. It is the portion of the game that ultimately decides the result of the gameplay.

There is no specific way of knowing when you are in the chess endgame. You will realize that you are playing the chess endings if your King has become one of the main pieces on the game board. There will be fewer pawns and a handful of major pieces remaining to protect the King too. This is when chess players have been known to include moves that have turned the tables.

Unless you play the chess moves to checkmate your opponent in 2-7 moves, the chess endgame is a very important and decisive moment of gameplay.

Types of Endgame in chess

While there are 400 ways in which chess endings could unfold, there are 5 distinct types of chess endgames. Here are the possible combinations that you may encounter as a pure or hybrid form of chess endgame:

1. The king and pawn endgame

The chess endgames in which there are only pawns remaining on one side against a rook and king on the other side are critical chess endgame positions. Here, in the king-pawn endgame, you can easily win with either side since the pawns can help retrieve major pieces if you can subvert any attacks on them.

The king and pawn endgame

On the other hand, if you have a rook against a cluster of pawns on the opponent’s side, you can easily capture them, thus leading to a stalemate or even checkmate.

2. The no-pawns endgame

These are some of the basic chess endings that leave no pawns on either side of the board. These games, however, feature at least one major piece alongside the king. So, you will need a pretty hectic chess endgame strategy.

The no-pawns endgame

Ideally, in a no-pawn endgame, try to checkmate your opponent’s king using the ‘two weakness’ approach.

3. Rook endgames or rook and pawn endgames

The Philidor and Lucena chess endgame positions demonstrate the rook endgames perfectly. It is the scenario where one side or both sides feature at least one rook.

Rook endgames or rook and pawn endgames

The chess endgame tactics used in these situations result in long, drawn-out gameplays before you can reach a viable position for checkmate.

4. Bishop endgame or bishop and pawn endgame

You may have heard that if your bishops and the majority of the pawns are on the same-colored squares, i.e., light or dark-colored squares, it is a bad thing. Well, that is true in chess openings and middle games but for chess endgames, this is a boon.

Bishop endgame or bishop and pawn endgame

In a bishop and pawn endgame, you can use a mobile strategy to checkmate the opponent’s king if your pawns and bishop are on the same color. In case they are on opposite colors though, the games usually end in a draw.

5. Queen and pawn endgame or Queen endgame

These are the longest chess endings. In a queen and pawn game, there is a lot of advantage for the queen and there are dynamic movements happening constantly. Therefore, you need a good chess endgame strategy when faced with a queen’s endgame.

Queen and pawn endgame or Queen endgame

Tips for how to play Chess endgames

Since the chess endgame is such an important segment of the game, we have some tips for how to play chess endgames well to improve your odds of winning. Let’s take a look at what they are:

Learn the fundamentals of the technique

It is important to develop good technique, especially in the chess endgame. Since there are fewer pieces, players tend to assume that the tactical advantages are limited. However, the pieces in the chess endings have a higher chance of streamlining the game towards a checkmate.

You need to know when to sacrifice a piece, when to exchange, and when to implement an aggressive attack on your opponent’s remaining pieces. So, if at any point, if you see a move that can help you make an important exchange of pieces in the chess endgame tactics, take it. Don’t try to find checkmates forcefully. You need to let the game develop and use baits to lay the structural framework of your army.

Use the fundamental techniques to figure out more effective moves that will help you in how to win a chess endgame by checkmating the opponent’s king with fewer pieces.

Use the remaining pawn clusters to your advantage

If you have more pawns than your opponent does, then you have an advantage over the majority. You can easily benefit from this by using a chess endgame strategy to lure the opponent’s pawn structure into a pawn break.

Since you have more pawns than your opponent in this scenario, use the pawns to capture one another while you still have at least one remaining pawn to retrieve an important game piece.

If, on the other hand, your opponent has more pawns than you in a pawn endgame, you can strategize to pull them into a single file, which makes it easier to block their progress. You can do this by using your pawns or pieces that are close to the opponent’s majority of pawns and forcing them to line up one behind the other while capturing your pieces. Once this happens, you can block them with any piece, including the king.

Learn the fundamental chess endings to checkmate your opponent with fewer pieces

The objective of a chess game is to checkmate the opponent’s king and win the battle. Therefore, there are some basic moves for checkmate that you ought to know before you play chess endgames.

  • The paired rooks against the king
  • The paired bishops against the king
  • The king and queen against the king
  • A rook and king against the king
  • A knight and king against the king
  • A king and pawn endgame

Any of these fundamental chess endings limit the movement of your opponent’s king. Thus, you can conclude the gameplay fairly quickly with a good chess endgame strategy for checkmate.

Use the concept of two weaknesses

Often in chess endings players tend to miss the ‘two weaknesses’ scenario. Since there are fewer pieces available, you need to instill double attacks.

If you want to checkmate the opponent’s king, then no matter how many extra pieces they have as compared to you, a double attack on the king is unstoppable. If you can corner the king with one piece, use another to flank the attack. That way the chances of the opponent subverting the chess endgame strategy is minimal.

Ensure that your king is a main player on the chessboard

Often, in the throes of trying to keep the king out of harm’s way, chess players forget how important the king actually is to a game. He can conquer the opponent’s bishops if they are one move over. Even if the bishop is checking the king in a close range, the king can easily move closer on the opposite-colored squares and capture it.

The king can also sneak up on the opponent’s knights ad even take down rooks with diagonal moves. You need to bring your king out to the battlefield since he can take down a single file of pawns as well.

The king is a very important player much like the queen with the solo handicap that he only moves in single steps. Once you lose your Queen, it is time to activate your king and change the course of the chess endgame.

Top rules to chess endgames

The rules to chess endgames are very simple. They are as follows:

  • Both players using the black and white pieces must activate the king.
  • If a player has more than one piece on the game board alongside the king, and the opponent only has a king, then the player must attempt to perform a checkmate. However, failing to do so, the game must end in a draw if the opponent makes 50 moves without a checkmate.
  • If both sides are left with only the king in the chess endgame, then it is a draw match.
  • It is a checkmate if the opponent’s king has no place left to move without encountering a check.

Chess is a fun game and it is definitely worth the time to learn the important strategies. You can play chess games live, with a computer AI, or even online with human players and AI programs. In any case, you need to have good opening moves, middle game strategies, and killer chess endgame tactics to win.

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