Editor: Brian. G. E. 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

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 July 2007.

Mikail Chigorin, (1850-1908).

World Championship Challenger. The charismatic and founding father of Soviet Chess. From about 1883 to the end of the 19th century he was one of the strongest players in the world and twice unsuccessfully fought matches for the World Championship against Steinitz. He was a fine tactical player who made original contributions to chess theory. 

  Chigorin vs Charousek

Budapest, 1896

White to play and WIN

FEN:4k3/p1p2ppp/8/1K1P4/8/4b2P/PP2N1P1/8 w - - 0 1:

This ending is of some historical interest because it was the final game in a short match between Chigorin and Charousek (+3 -1) to decide the winner of the Budapest tournament of 1896. Both had scored 8 1/2 out of 12 points against the world's best except for Lasker and Steinitz who were busy preparing for their return match for the World Championship. After this win Chigorin was declared the overall winner of the tournament with the prize option of "Victoria" a 12kg silver cup. Perhaps understandably the cup was left behind at the Budapest Chess Club !!

White has the advantage in this ending because of the more active King and the possibility of creating a passed pawn with his more mobile pawns. Steve Mayer in his interesting book: Bishop v Knight the verdict ( Batsford 1997) indicated that he had found no evidence to support the 'myth' that Chigorin favoured the Knight over the Bishop. This ending in a high profile game would only add fuel to this 'myth'. The following line is similar to what happened in the game:

1.Kc6 Kd8

1...Bb6 2.Nc3 Kd8 (2...h5? 3.Nb5 Kd8 4.Kb7 a5 5.d6+-) 3.Nb5 a6 4.Nd6 Bd4 (4...f6? 5.Nb7+ Kc8 6.d6+-) 5.Nxf7+ Kc8 6.Ng5 Bxb2 (if 6...h6 7.Ne6 Be5 8.b4 Kb8 9.a4 Bd6 10.Nxg7 Bxb4 11.Ne6 Bd6 12.g4+-) 7.Nxh7 Be5 8.Ng5 Bg3 9.Ne6 Be5 10.h4 Kb8 11.g4+-;

2.b4 ...

White's plan is to create a powerful passed pawn.

2... Kc8

2...Bd2 3.Nd4 Bxb4 4.Nb5 a5 5.Nxc7 a4 (5...h5 6.a4 h4 7.Nb5 g6 8.Nd6 f5 9.Nb7+ Kc8 10.d6+-) 6.Na6 Ba3 7.Kb5 Kd7 8.Kxa4 Bc1 9.Kb3 Kd6 10.Nb4+-

2...h5 3.a4 Bd2 4.b5 g6 5.Nd4 Kc8 6.d6 cxd6 7.Kxd6 Bc3 8.Nc6 Kb7 9.a5 a6 10.Nd8+ Ka7 11.b6+ Kb8 12.Nxf7 Bxa5 13.Kc6 Bc3 14.Nd8 Be5 15.Ne6 a5 16.Kb5+-

3.Nc3 Bf4

The Bishop will find it difficult to cope with the threats.

4.Ne4! f5

Black has diffculty finding a defensive plan. The problem with this move is that White obtains e6 for the Knight but Black must counter-attack by advancing his kingside pawns.

4...h5 5.d6 cxd6 6.Nxd6+ Kd8 7.a4! (if 7.Nxf7+? Ke7 8.Nh8 Kf6 9.Kd7 g5 10.Ke8 Kf5 11.Nf7 Bd2 12.b5 Kf4 13.Nd6 Bb4! 14.Nc8 Bc5 15.a4 Kg3 16.a5 Kxg2 17.Nxa7 g4! 18.hxg4 hxg4 19.Nc8 g3 20.b6 Bxb6 21.axb6 Kf3 22.b7 g2 23.b8Q g1Q=) 7...f6 8.b5 h4 9.a5+-;

4...Be3 5.d6 f5 6.d7+ Kd8 7.Nc3 Bd4 8.Nb5 Bb6 9.a4 a6 10.Na3 Be3 11.Nc4 Bg5 12.b5 axb5 13.axb5+-;

5.Nc5 Be5

6.Ne6 ...

The Knight arrives at his optimum position

6... h6

7.h4 g6

8.b5 Bg3

9.a4 Kb8

9...Bxh4? 10.Nxc7 Bg3 11.d6+-

10.a5 Kc8

White is ready for the final push to create a powerful passed pawn.

11.b6! axb6

12.axb6 cxb6

13.d6! ...

13.h5 gxh5 14.d6 Bxd6 15.Kxd6 b5 16.Nd4 b4 17.Ke5 Kc7 18.Kxf5 Kd6 19.Nb3 Kd5 20.Kg6 Ke4 21.Kxh5 Ke3 22.Kg4 Kf2 23.Kh3 (if 23.g3 Kg2 24.Kf4 h5 25.Nc1 Kh3 26.Nd3 b3 27.Kf3 Kh2 28.Nb2 Kh3=) 23...h5 24.Na5 Kg1 25.Kg3 h4+ 26.Kh3 Kh1 27.Nb3 Kg1= ;

13... Bxh4

The Bishop eyes the queening square.

14.d7+ Kb8

Black's King has been sidelined.

15.Kxb6 Be7

16.Kc6 g5

At last the kingside pawns look threatening but White's king is very active. In order to Win White obtains the Bishop for the d-pawn without his g-pawn being exchanged.

17.Kd5 h5

18.Ke5 f4

19.Ke4! Wins.

19.d8Q+? Bxd8 20.Nxd8 h4 21.Nc6+ Kb7 22.Nd4 g4 23.Kxf4 h3=;

The g-pawn is safe; the passed d-pawn will cost the Bishop and the Black pawns will fall.

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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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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).
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