Welcome to this active site. Each week I am going to present to you a endgame position for you to solve or to workout the best continuation. Computer analysis will also be considered. Some of these positions will come from actual historical games. Others will be composed endgame studies, but all the solutions will be relevant to the practical game.

The new position will occur each SUNDAY and I will always be pleased to receive POSITIVE feedback about the positions and the analysis and I will try to acknowledge these where relevant.


Open to humans only. The winner will have to take part in 3 or more solving competitions before Feb 2000. The usual rules apply. The competitor's 3 highest scores only will count.The winner will be announced in FEBRUARY 2000. The prize will be £100 or equivalent. Feb 2000 exchange rates will apply. In the case of a tie the prize will be shared.
Christmas Endgame Solving Tournament.

Click here >> positions Have a go !!

  Only B > grades will be published so no need to feel embarrassed about the result.

Closing date 17th January 1999

SOLUTIONS + WINNERS will be published on 24th January


White to Play & WIN

FORSYTH NOTATION:8/2p2N2/6p1/1q4Np/pP1k1P1P/8/K1PP4/8: 


Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) German Grandmaster. World Champion from 1894-1921. In the January of 1910 he defended his title against Schlechter in what was to be a very strange match. Originally 30 games were proposed but due to lack of funds this was whittled down to 10 games. Prior to the last game Schlechter lead by 5-4 and only needed a draw to clinch the match and the world title. In a tense game, Schlechter missed first an easy win and then the draw and so Lasker held on to his title. The following position is from the first game in the match in which the champion shows his considerable defensive skill.

Schlechter  v Lasker, 1910

Black to Play & DRAW

FORSYTH NOTATION:8/5k2/2R5/p4p2/r6P/5KP1/2P5/8:

White is threatening to win by playing c4 with the idea of Kf4 and then Kxf5. Lasker comes up with a deep defensive plan with the idea of cutting off the enemy King from the f-pawn.


A brilliant move which could only be played with a deep understanding of these type of endings.

[1...Ra1? 2.Ra6 (2.Kf4 Rf1+ 3.Kg5 Rf3 4.Ra6 Rxg3+ 5.Kxf5 Rf3+ 6.Kg4 Rc3 7.Rxa5 Rxc2=) 2...a4 3.Kf4 Rf1+ 4.Ke5 Rf3 5.Rxa4 Rxg3 6.Rf4 Kg6 7.Rxf5 Rc3 8.Rf2+-]

2.Rc5 Kf6

Black goes two pawns down to reach a drawn ending which is far from obvious.

3.Rxa5 Rc4!

Now the role of the pieces have been reversed. White is forced into a passive position.

4.Ra2 Rc3+

5.Kg2 Ke5

6.Rb2 Kf6

7.Kh3 Rc6

[Not 7...f4? 8.Rb3 Rxc2 9.Rf3 Kg6 10.Rxf4+-]

White decides to give up his c-pawn in order to activate his Rook.

8.Rb8 Rxc2

9.Rb6+ Kg7

10.h5 Rc4

The position is drawn. White cannot make any progress.

11.h6+ Kh7 12.Rf6 Rb4 13.Rxf5 Kxh6=

Twenty years earlier Lasker had composed a beautiful R+P study which indicated that an extraordinary talent had arrived on the scene. From the following position:


White can win as follows:1.Kg8 Rg2+ 2.Kh8 Rf2 3.Rc6+ Kh5 4.Kg7 Rg2+ 5.Kh7 Rf2 6.Rc5+ Kh4 7.Kg7 Rg2+ 8.Kh6 Rf2 9.Rc4+ Kh3 10.Kg6 Rg2+ 11.Kh5 Rf2 12.Rc3+ Kh2 13.Rxc2!

This winning idea became known as the LASKER MANOEUVRE and is of considerable practical importance. 

Modern Endings from HASTINGS

The venerable English Grandmaster, Jon Speelman, won a fine King and pawn ending against Mihail Saltaev in the penultimate round of the Hastings Premier. In the following position:


White played 1.Ka5!! and Black resigned. [Not 1.Ka7? Kc7 2.c6 b6-+] The problem for Black is he has to defend too many weaknesses in his position. His King will be overstretched in defending them. White can use his queenside pawns as a decoy and win as follows: 1...Kd7 2.Kb4 e4 3.Kc4 Ke6 4.Kd4 e3 5.Kxe3 Kd5 6.c6 bxc6 7.bxc6 Kxc6 8.Kf4 Kd6 9.Kg5+-. The earlier Knight ending had been equal so this is an good illustration that sometimes it is worth playing on just to see how well your opponent can meet your threats. There is often potential in the most unlikly ending providing one is positive and prepared to play actively. 

I had another look at the Ponomariov vs Plaskett game mentioned last week. I am convinced this ending, R v NB plus pawns on the same side of the board is a draw. From the position reached after White's 50th move:


The h-pawn would be vulnerable if White played his Bishop to g6 and the Knight to f5. Black would be forced to play his Rook to h8 in order to defend where it would be very passive. Black has to keep the Knight from  reaching d4 with the idea of playing to f5. Then the Rook can operate along the a-file where it is very active and the Black King can remain in touch with the d4 square to set up a fortress position.

I would like to briefly summarise the type of endings we deal with here. These are; (a) Basic endings. (b) Practical chess endings. (c) The Endgame study.

All these are interrelated and important and you cannot understand (b) or (c) without a knowledge of (a).

(a) Basic Endings. These are theoretical positions in which we know the correct result with optimum play by both sides. They may consist of three pawns or less and also include all the non-pawn and five piece endings which have now been extensively analysed by computer and of which we have databases.(Chessbase Endgame CD) In the days when we had ajournments some of these endings could be looked up in text books to give us some idea how to play the position. As we no longer can do this, knowledge and memory of these endings has become important in practical play. A Pocket Guide to Chess Endgames (1970) by David Hooper and Basic Endings (1992) by Balashov and Prandstetter are both good introductions to these endings.

(b) Practical Endings. These occur in over-the-board play where usually more pawns are present. The above ending is an example of this type. Some of these endings are in the process of being transformed to basic endings but often they finish before this stage is reached. Endgame strategy is very different from the middlegame and has its own set of rules and exceptions. Fine's book Basic Chess Endings (1941) and the more modern Batsford Chess Endings (1993) by Speelman, Tisdall and Wade are really about basic and practical endings and both can be recommended.

(c) Endgame Studies. These are positions which has been composed and will contain elements of one or both of the above types of endings. But there are important differences between these types and the study, such as artistic form and economy of construction. An endgame study has to follow strict rules of composition, especially if it is entered into a composing competition. One of these rules states there should only be one solution. If there is an unintended second solution then the study is unsound and said to be "cooked". Endgame studies are important to the practical player because they enhance his imagination and help him learn and enjoy areas of theory without too much effort. Walter Korn's American Chess Art (1995) is a basic introduction to the endgame study and a more comprehensive work is John Roycroft's Test Tube Chess (1972). Revised as The Chess Endgame Study (1981).  



Position 70



Position 69



Position 68



Position 67 



Position 66 



Position 65 



Position 64 



Position 63 



Position 62 



Position 61 



Position 60



Position 59



Position 58


Pre 11/10/98 Archives