Happy New Year to you all.

Editor: Brian Gosling


The new position will appear at the beginning of each new month. You are invited to solve it. I will be pleased to receive feedback about the positions and the analysis. The solution will be published the following month with the new position. Some of these positions will come from actual historical games. Others will be composed endgame studies, but they will be relevant to the practical game. The site has over 400 chess endings and endgame studies and and has now reached its 10th year.

A database of chess endings
Thanks to Antonio Senatore


White to play and WIN

FEN:1R6/7k/1P5p/4p3/1r5p/6K1/5PP1/8 w - - 0 1 : 

It is good training to try initially to solve the endings without the assistance of a chess playing programme.

Solution for the above, plus new position: 1st FEBRUARY 2007.


Hermann Mattison, (1894-1932).

Latvian chessplayer and study composer. He won the first Latvian championship in 1924 and the first FIDE world amateur championship in Paris in the same year. He played first board for the Latvian team at the Prague Olympiad in 1931 and scored wins against Alekhine, Vidmar and Rubinstein. He composed over 60 studies, many of which are of great artistic value.


H. Mattison 

Rigaer Tageblatt, 1914

(correction by C. J. de Feijter, EG, 1968)

FEN:3N3K/1pp5/2P5/2b5/2k5/8/4n3/8 w - - 0 1:

There is an interesting story behind position 382 which is really the work of two endgame composers. The original setting of this study is shown below and was published in 1914.

H. Mattison 

Rigaer Tageblatt, 1914

White to play and DRAW (?)


Mattison intended the solution to be: 1. Bh2 Nf3 2.Bg1! Nxg1 3.Ne5 Ne2 4.Nf3 Nd4+ 5.Kg4 Nxf3 6.K4h3 g1Q(R) stalemate; or 6...g1B 7.Kg2 drawn. This makes sense but what if the pawn is promoted to a Knight?

Mattison assumed that the promotion to a Knight: 6... g1N leading to a NNvP ending was drawn. He failed to take into consideration the findings of the Russian composer A. A. Troitzky that in certain circumstances this class of ending NNvP was won for the side with the Knights. This flaw in the Mattison study was only discovered many years later by a Dutch composer, C.J. de Feijter (1907-83) who also corrected the study, thus we have position 382. By reversing the colours and adding an extra Black pawn he was able to turn it into a successful study showing a winning promotion to a Knight.

The ending two Knights vs pawn which position 382 resolves into is extremely difficult to play in practise and even Grandmasters have had difficulty with it. Fortunately it doesn't occur very often in over-the-board play. I have discussed this class of ending previously in position 329


White's hopes rest on being able to promote the pawn.

1.cxb7 Ba7

2.Nc6 Bb8!

Black is forced to sacrifices his Bishop which gives him time to organise his defence which only just fails. 

3.Nxb8 Nd4

The Knight seeks to cover the queening square by playing to "c6" when the enemy Knight moves from "b8".

4.Nd7 ... 

4.Na6 Nc6= ; 

4... Nc6

5.Ne5+ ....

This Kight move; checking the Black King and attacking the defensive Knight seems to be easily winning for White but Black has a subtle defensive idea based on stalemate in some variations. White is forced into an extremely difficult ending NNvP in order to avoid the drawing lines.

5... Kb5!

6.Nxc6 Ka6!

Black sets up the stalemate defence.

7.b8N+! ... 

Promoting to the Knight, avoiding the stalemate variations is the only way to win.

7.b8Q(R) stalemate; 7.b8B Kb7=;

7.Nd8? Ka7 8.Kg7 c5 9.Kf6 c4 10.Ke5 c3 11.Kd6 c2! (11...Kb8? 12.Kc6 c2 13.Kb6 c1Q 14.Nc6+ Qxc6+ 15.Kxc6 Ka7 16.Kc7 wins) 12.Kc7 c1Q+ 13.Nc6+ Qxc6+ 14.Kxc6 Kb8=;

 And according to Endgame Tablebases White wins in 41 moves in the following way: 7...Kb6 8.Kg7 Kc5 9.Kf6 Kd6 10.Kf7 Kd5 11.Ke7 Kc5 12.Ke6 Kc4 13.Nd7 Kd3 14.Ke5 Ke3 15.Nc5 Kf3 16.Na5 Kg4 17.Nc4 Kg3 18.Kf5 Kf3 19.Kg5 Kf2 20.Kg4 Ke2 21.Kf4 Kd1 22.Ke3 Kc2 23.Kd4 Kd1 24.Kd3 Ke1 25.Ke3 Kd1 26.Na3 Ke1 27.Nd3+ Kd1 28.Nb2+ Kc1 29.Nbc4 Kd1 30.Kf2 c6 31.Kf1 c5 32.Kf2 Kc1 33.Kf3 Kd1 34.Ke3 Ke1 35.Nc2+ Kd1 36.Kd3 Kc1 37.N2e3 Kb1 38.Nd1 Kc1 39.Ndb2 Kb1 40.Kd2 Ka2 41.Kc3 Kb1 42.Nd3 Ka2 43.Kc2 Ka1 44.Kb3 Kb1 45.Nd2+ Ka1 46.Ka3 c4 47.Nb4 c3 48.Nc2#



ChessDevon, in collaboration with PCE has produced a CD that includes practically all the endgame positions that have appeared  on this site. This CD contains 363 endgame positions taken from games and studies.  Nearly all the positions are preceded by a pen portrait of the player or composer.  A built-in programme is provided on the CD to play through the endings.

"PRACTICAL CHESS ENDINGS" is available at £12:50 (including UK postage) from "ChessDevon".

  Order by E-Mail from:

Chess Devon: (Chess news and games from Devon and the West of England.)


I would like to briefly summarise the type of endings found on the site. 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 tablebases. In the days when we had adjournments 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. Fundamental Chess Endings (2001) by Muller and Lamprecht and Basic Endings (1992) by Balashov and Prandstetter and the earlier A Pocket Guide to Chess Endgames (1970) by David Hooper are 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 (1941,2003) recently revised by Pal Benko and Batsford Chess Endings (1993) by Speelman, Tisdall and Wade are about basic and practical endings and both can be recommended.

(c) Endgame Studies. These are positions which have 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.

John Nunn's Endgame Challenge (2002) is an excellent introduction to using endgame studies as a training tool. 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).
Pre 17/10/04 Archives




Position 381



Position 380



Position 379



Position 378



Position 377



Position 376



Position 375



Position 374



Position 373



Position 372

O. Bernstein


Position 371



Position 370

Em. Lasker


Position 369



Position 368