Rook Endings in Practice

I dug out all the rook endings of mine I could find to show both typical positions and typical errors. Please note that these are not, therefore, models of technique, more like comedies of error!

The club player at his worst...

regis,d (1800) - knox,stuart (ian miles cup) (1950) [D32] rook ending: club, horrible lack of everything, 1983

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 Be7 7. Bxe7

[7. Bxe7 Ngxe7 8. e3 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Qb6 10. Qd2 ! (

General advice on the endgame

1 key idea, 3 principles, 15 general laws, 12 practical guides and 6 tips for the ending

One key idea: the passed pawn.

  1. Endgames, and some middlegames, are all about creating and advancing a passed pawn. Either the pawn queens, or your opponent gets so tied up in knots trying to stop it that they lose something else.

3 principles (Fine)

  1. Without pawns, you must be at least a Rook ahead in order to force mate (exceptions: R+R wins against two minor pieces; four minor pieces win against a Queen)

A Rook Ending: Capablanca-Janowsky

Capablanca,J - Janowsky,D [C48] New York INT (3), 1913

 This game was discussed at Exeter Chess Club training sessions on 13th/20th October 1998. The notes are based on those of Irving Chernev (Capablanca's 60 Best Chess Endings (OUP)) and liberally supplemented by comments and questions of the group, led by Tony Dempsey.

 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5

Bishop Endgames

Bishop endings are generally easier to win than rook endings because there is no way for the defending side to exclude the attacking King, and neither is there a perpetual check. But perhaps because they are less common, they may be neglected in a player's study.

General Advice for bishop endings

(1) The easiest endings to draw are those with opposite coloured bishops.

  (2) Do not place pawns on the colour of your bishop.

Double Bishop Endgames


Chris Bellers

"Deux fous gagnent toujours, mais trois fous, non!"
-- Alexander Alekhin, on the advantage of the Two Bishops at amateur level

This session looks mainly at endings involving BB vs. BN or NN and no other pieces. They demonstrate that, even where pawns are evenly placed, the two bishops are often enough to force a win.

Planning in the endgame

Lessons that can be applied elsewhere, I hope; if you have examples of games where you have struggled, send them in.

How to plan, anyway (from Jeremy Silman).


Here is a breakdown of the different imbalances:

1) Material (owning pieces of greater value than the opponent's).

2) Space (the annexation of territory on a chess board).

3) Superior Minor Piece (the interplay between Bishops and Knights).

4) Pawn Structure (a broad subject that encompasses doubled pawns, isolated pawns, etc.).


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