If you are not yet interested to study chess endgames, let’s start with a quote from the world’s most computer-accurate chess players of all time:
“In order to improve your game, you must study the endgame before everything else, for whereas the endings can be studied and mastered by themselves, the middle game and the opening must be studied in relation to the endgame.”
Studying chess endgames are of utmost importance for ONE reason, your whole game relies on it. The chess opening you will play or even the positional moves that you make during the middle game, everything decides your chess endgame. So, it’s always better to start practicing chess by studying endgames first.
Where do you start? How do you practice chess endgames? And oh! They are so boring unlike regular tactics training. If you are a beginner, you might need time to figure out the solution but as an intermediate chess player, you might see the solution right away for some problems.
But, chess endgames are not really about looking for the first right move (at least, most of the time!) but more about precision. It’s the correct sequence of endgame moves that makes all the difference.
So, in this article, I will tell you about how to study chess endgames in 3 simple steps.
Step 1. Learn the chess endgame basics
The first thing to learn is that the king becomes a very important piece during chess endgames. While during the initial phase of the game, the king is vulnerable, but during the endgame, the king becomes a strong, centralized force in the game. Most times, it might be the one to win the full point.
And one more thing, always stay active during chess endgames. This applies to all the pieces left in the game. I would say, attack is the best defense, and it is all the truer during endgames. Usually, the one that stays passive is the one that ends up losing the game.
Step 2. Mind the exchanges
Making the right exchanges is super important during chess endgames, much more so than during the middle game. Why? Well, a wrong exchange is always a WRONG exchange, and it always affects your game either positively or negatively.
But during the chess endgame, when only a Rook and a few pawns are left, every exchange matters so much more. Protecting the right squares, advancing your pieces efficiently and in tandem with one another, and exchanging your weaker pieces with your opponent’s stronger pieces…endgames are where you will have to “play like a machine”.
Just imagine a rook endgame where both your king and rook are very active or a light pieces endgame with the same scenario – it should be usually possible to at least get the material back, if not to even win the game.
Step 3. Increase Your Chess Endgame ‘Understanding’
The best way to study chess endgames is by going simple at first. Maybe start with a King and a pawn endgames. Then, go on to Rook and King endgames, and so on. Keep adding on more pieces, and sort of reverse engineer into later stages of middle game. Don’t just solve the positions mechanically but try to understand the ideas behind those solutions.
Remember, as a chess player, your job is to recognize the POTENTIAL of a chess endgame right away. Try to assess whether the position is won or lost. Can it be drawn in any way? This inherent endgame understanding will guide you through the opening and the middle game.
Keep Practicing Endgames Every Day
Look, you can soak up all the chess information in the world but you will never become a good chess player unless you practice it in real life. Get a chess partner and start practicing with him every day.
You can go through the popular chess endgames books and try to solve the exercises given over there. You can start with the theoretical ones at first, and then, move on to more complex positions where you have to maneuver to reach a favorable endgame position.
Chess endgames look deceptively easy and that makes them so hard to learn. Study chess endgames through books, puzzle apps and practice games. It might take you some time but once you master endgames, you will win more at chess than before…guaranteed.