General Guidelines on the Endgame
one key idea in the endgame is getting a Pawn promoted into a Queen. Below are some general
principles in guiding you to a good endgame.
Endgames, and some middlegames, are all about creating
and advancing a passed Pawn. A passed Pawn is one that is not faced by
hostile Pawns on the files to its
immediate right and left (see diagram below, which shows
two passed Pawns for White and two for
the passed Pawn queens, or your
opponent gets so tied up in knots trying to stop it that
they lose something else.
Principles & 15 General Laws (Reuben Fine)
1. Without Pawns, you must be at least
a Rook ahead in order to force mate
(exceptions: Rook+Rook wins against two minor pieces
and four minor pieces win against a Queen).
2. If you are two or more Pawns ahead the win should be
routine by advancing the Pawns.
3. With only one Pawn advantage, you will
win if you can use it to gain more material - it is not
usually enough just to advance the Pawn. Often a one Pawn advantage is thought to be a
theoretical draw, although the practical difficulties may
be very great. Winning by the advance of the Pawn may be won because it allows
entry with the King, or causes
distraction from one vulnerable side, or allows
simplification into a known won ending.
15 General Laws:
1. Doubled, isolated and blockaded Pawns are weak - avoid them!
2. Passed Pawns should be advanced as
rapidly as possible.
3. If you are one or two Pawns ahead, exchange pieces but not
4. If you are one or two Pawns behind, exchange Pawns but not pieces.
5. If you have an advantage, leave Pawns on both sides of the board.
6. If you are just one Pawn ahead, in 99 cases out of 100
the game is drawn if there are Pawns on only one side of the board.
7. The easiest endings to win are pure King+Pawn endings.
8. The easiest endings to draw are those with opposite
9. The King is a strong piece:
10. Do not place Pawns on the colour of your
11. Bishops are better than Knights in all except blocked
12. Two Bishops against Bishop+Knight or Knight+Knight are usually a real advantage.
13. Passed Pawns should not be
blockaded by the King: the only piece which
is not much harmed by watching over an opponent's Pawn is the Knight.
14. A Rook on the seventh rank is worth a
15. Rooks belong behind passed Pawns, whether of your own or the
the next page we have some concrete examples of simple
endgames which involve checkmating a single King.