Blog of

-- Monitoring all things related to chess endgames

Don't hide the king away

The Danish grandmaster Bent Larsen said about the endgame that, “in the endgame the power to attack is not as strong as in the midgame – but neither is the defense”. When you arrive in the endgame, you will often depend on your king to carry out an attack and defend your pieces.  Don’t just let it sit passively behind pawns, but let it be part of your plans to win the endgame. For example, let it follow and guard your pawns on their way to promote, while you get the advantage of having your king move up the board, where the action takes place. This example does not apply to all endgame positions of course, but it should always be part of your endgame repertoire to consider how the king is best used. You can learn and improve your endgame tactics with the interactive Endgame Tactics Trainer. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Sometimes you should look for a draw

Most books on chess endgames only talk about the winning the endgame. It is of course important to win, but it’s just as important to know how to get a draw out of a complicated and otherwise lost endgame. If you have insufficient material, look at how you may be able to exchange pieces to get a draw. Remember one must be up with a least a rook to checkmate, so if your opponent is just ahead with a knight or a bishop, there is a chance to leave the board with half a point by exchanging pieces of equal value. You can read more about endgame tactics here, or play interactive endgames on (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

A few tips on rook endings

Rook endings are a very common phenomenon in chess tournaments, since the rooks often are the last among the minor and major pieces left on the board, as the other pieces have already been exchanged. This is why it is important to know the principles of this kind of endgame. One of these being, that the rook works better on a distance; both the distance to the enemy king and to any rook pawn. Another being, that the rook is a very effective piece, when it comes to cutting off lines or ranks for a hostile king. These two principles will be illustrated in this example. Black is actually able to draw here. The idea for black is to wait for white's pawn to advance to e6, which will happen eventually. While black waits for this, he must keep the rook active on the 6th. rank. When the white pawn reaches e6, black will move his rook to the first rank, and start a perpetual check on this very rank. There is no way for white's king to hide as the pawn occupies e6. You can read more about endgame tactics here, or play interactive endgames on Best of luck with your future endgames! (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Say hello to the new Chess World Champion

The national hero of India, Viswanathan Anand, lost the title as chess world champion. After game 9 the score stood 6½ - 3½ in favour of Magnus Carlsen, leaving no chance for Anand to catch up. Things have been looking good for Anand on the board in some of the games though, especially in game 8. But he seriously blundered and threw it all away. Carlsen has been very good at using his king actively in the endgames. Remember the king is very important in the endgame, and should be centralized, to help support and attack pawns. Congratulations to Magnus Carlsen with the new title! Here is the endgame from game 8. The position leaves no way for either of the kings to penetrate the opponent's aream and ends in a draw. Viswanathan Anand Magnus Carlsen ½-½ Play interactive Chess Endgames on (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The match of the century

With more than 200 million people worldwide watching the games between Carlsen and Anand, this has got to be the match of the century. In today's game, which is game number 7 out 12, the two players repeated the Spanish opening. Both of them moved really fast, and after approximately two hours they had reached the endgame. This time there were no rooks in the endgame. The game ended all to soon with a draw because of repeated moves. With Magnus leading against Anand with 4,5 to 2,5, this is a comfortable way to end game number 7, I suppose. Interesting thing about Magnus Carlsen is, that he doesn't mind playing for 5-6 hours straight, and he really enjoys the endgames. I really believe Susan Polgar is great as a live commentary for WCC. She is fantastic at analyzing and discussing the games as they are played out. Here is a wise quote from Susan, which I was lucky to pick up while watching today's game: "In the midgame you want your king to be hidden for checks. In the endgame, it is opposite, because your king needs to be active to support the pawns." Here is today's endgame. Carlsen played black.  Magnus CarlsenAnand Viswanathan ½-½ Play interactive Chess Endgames on (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});