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 DRAW

FEN:1K3kB1/8/6p1/7R/8/4b3/8/6n1 w - - 0 1:

There is a useful hint at the bottom of the page if you need it !!

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 MARCH 2007.


Lev Polugayevsky, (1934-1995).

Soviet Grandmaster. World Championship Candidate. Tied for 1st in the Soviet Championship in three consecutive years 1967, 1968 and 1969 but lost to Petrosian in the playoff. In the 1970s he was among the top six players in the world but he could not get past Karpov or Korchnoi in the Candidates.

Polugayevsky vs Vasyukov 

Tbilisi, 1966

White to play and WIN

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

The Black Rook is tied to the b-file and the enemy King can only mark time. White wins because after advancing the b-pawn to b7 White will later be able to capture the e-pawn. The now powerful passed f-pawn will then be advanced to secure victory. In an earlier similar ending; position 197 between Bronstein versus Romanishin, a drawing method was indicated but here it doesn't work because of Black's poor pawn structure. The following solution is similar to how Polugayevesky played in the game:

1.Kf3 Kg6

 2.b7!! ...

Normally this would be a bad move because it denies the usual winning plan of taking the King to the queenside where it can shelter from the checks at b7. White has another winning idea which includes winning the e-pawn and advancing his f-pawn.

2... Kh7

3.Ke3 Kg7

4.Kd3 Kh7

Black can only mark time by keeping his Rook on the b-file and the King at g7-h7;

5.Kc3 Rb1

6.Kc4 Kg7

7.Kd5 e4

Black cannot hold onto his e-pawn

8.Kxe4 Rb4+

8...Re1+ 9.Kd3! Rb1 10.f4 Rb4 11.f5 Rb6 12.f6+ Rxf6 13.Rd8 Rb6 14.b8Q+-;

8...Rb5 9.f4 Rb4+ 10.Kd3 Rb3+ 11.Kc2 Rb5 12.f5 h5 13.f6+ Kxf6 (if 13...Kf7 14.Rh8 Rxb7 15.Rh7+ wins) 14.Rf8+ wins;

8...h5 9.f4 Re1+ 10.Kd3! Rb1 11.f5 Rb3+ 12.Kc4 Rb2 13.f6+ wins;

We now join the game continuation. Polugayevesky makes it look easy. The road to victory was worked out during the adjournment.

9.Kd3 Rb3+

10.Kc4 Rb1

Advancing the f-pawn destroys Black's defensive setup

11.f4! Rc1+

12.Kd3 Rb1

13.f5 Rb6

14.f6+ Resigns.


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".

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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 382



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


HINT: The BNPvR ending is winning for Black