Five Preliminary Endgame Rules

1. Before even beginning to think of making a passed pawn, put all your pieces into as good positions as possible.

Queen – Center of board

Rooks – seventh rank for White, second rank for Black. But if the enemy has two or more minor pieces the rook must be careful about leaving his own camp and must be content with commanding the open file.

Knights – Square in the center or in the enemy camp, supported by a pawn which is cannot be attacked by a pawn.

Bishops – Center diagonals; pawn support is not essential but desirable.

King – Central, provided that he is not dangerously exposed.  If the enemy has a rook, the King is best posted at or adjacent to e2(e7) or d2(d7) – fairly near the center, but still preventing the enemy rook from seizing the second (seventh) or first (eight) rank. 

2. Avoid pawn-moves while you are getting your pieces well positioned because pawn-moves create lasting weaknesses and thus make your task harder.

3. Try to free your position from weaknesses; and if possible, make it hard for the opponent to do likewise.

4. When trying to win, keep pawns on both wings. When trying to draw, play to eliminate all the pawns on one wing. With pawns on one wing only, a pawn plus is usually insufficient for a win.

5. If you are a pawn up or more, exchange pieces (not pawns) wherever you can do so without losing in position.

Exception: do not rush an exchange that will leave you with a single bishop running on the opposite color to the enemy’s single bishop. Also, refrain from exchanging if it will give your opponent two bishops against bishop and knight.

CJS Purdy

chessbuzz has written 55 articles

2 thoughts on “Five Preliminary Endgame Rules

  1. Sue Palazzola says:

    Another great read! Thanks! I’m always looking out for your next blog, they seem to get better and better 🙂 thankyou!

  2. Malcolm Peskoff says:

    These are the rules for the Endgame. Easy to memorize, easy to remember.
    From the book, Basic Chess Endings, by Fine and Benko BCE was written in 1941 by Fine, and GM Botvinnik used the book to prepare for games.
    The Rules:
    The book has been updated by Benko, and now includes 20 basic rules for the endgame.
    The rules throughout the book, for different endings are easy to memorize.
    The Twenty Rules: (B= Benko, F=Fine).
    These are the rules of the Endgame from Fine and Benko.
    Somewhere in my chess board brain I memorized the Fine 15 rules years ago.
    When returning to chess 6 months ago just about, I played the endings of my games by knowledge of the following. I just received the updated and revised copy of Fine and Benko Basic Chess Endings (2003).
    hese are the Benko and Fine Rules for the Endgame.
    1. Think about the endgame in the middlegame. (B)
    2. Exchanges. Someone gets the better deal. (B)
    3. The King is a strong piece. Use it. (F)
    4. If you are a pawn or two ahead, exchange pieces. (F)
    5. If you are behind, exchange pawns, not pieces. (F)
    6. If you have an advantage, do not leave all the pawns on one side. (F)
    7. A distant passed pawn is half the victory. (B)
    8. Passed pawns should be avvanced as rapidly as possibly. (F)
    9. Doubled, isolated, and blocakaded pawns are weak: Avoid them. (F)
    10. The easiet endings to win are pure pawn endings. (F)
    11. Passed pawns should be blockaded by the King, the piece that is not harmed
    watching a pawn is a Knight. (F)
    12. Two Bishops, vs. Bishop & Knight constitute a tangible advantage. (F)
    13. Bishops are better than Knights in all except blocked pawn positions. (F)
    14. Do not place your pawns on the color of your Bishop. (F)
    15. The easiest endings to draw are those with bishops of oposite colors. (F)
    16. Rooks belong behind passed pawns. (F)
    17. A rook on the 7th rank is suffiecient compensation for a pawn. (F)
    18. Not all rook endings are drawn. (B)
    19. Perpetual check looms in all queen endings. (B)
    20. Every move in the endgame is of the utmost importance beucas you are closer
    to the
    moment of truth. (B)

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