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Endgame is a chess term used to describe the final moves of a game of chess. It is preceded by the opening and the middlegame, and ends in checkmate or stalemate or repition or insufficient material.

The line between the endgame and the middlegame is often unclear, but usually occurs when there are few pieces on the board, or when important pieces are exchanged. During the endgame, players have different strategic concerns than in the previous stages of the game. Pawns become more important as players try to achieve promotion and kings can become powerful tools, eliminating pieces one by one. Most endgames can even be categorized according to the pieces on the board:

  • King and pawn- King and pawn endgames involve only a king and any number of pawns on one or both sides. These sort of endings revolve around getting pawns to the end of the board, thereby promoting them to a stronger piece. Passed pawns become extremely important. A passed pawn is one which has no opposing pawns on the same file or in adjacent files which can capture it; therefore, it is safe and has the best chance of being promoted.
  • Bishop and pawn- Involving pawns and bishops (and of course kings), these endings come in two types: where the opposing bishops move on the same-color squares, and where they move on different-color squares. The second often results in a draw due to the lack of conflict between bishops and, usually, pawns.
  • Knight and pawn- These endgames require clever and decisive maneuvering on the part of the knights. Knights are good at taking out stationary isolated pawns, but terrible at chasing passed pawns.
  • Bishop vs. Knight- Theoretically, bishops are better strategically during endgames and middlegames than knights. However, if a player can take advantage of the forking abilities of knights, as well as their other advantages, these sort of games can become very interesting.
  • Rook and pawn- During the endgame, rooks are at their most crucial need. A player who can use their rooks to their advantage by protecting pawns until they get promoted has a significantly higher chance of winning.

There are, of course, other types with varying combinations of pieces, and sub-divisions of these mentioned types.

Important endgame concepts[]



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