Practical chess endings
 9780713428018, 0713428015

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Practical PaulKeres

This is an essentially practical book, from one of

the world's greatest grandmasters. Rather than attempt to cover every theoretically possible endgame position, Paul Keres deals x'ith the really basic types of position into which all other

endings will eventually be resolved. These he examines in much greater detail than is customary and, in so doing, reveals the principles of the endgame and the rnain ideas for each player.

For it is not by memorising moves but by understanding a position that a player, of whatever rating, will most improve his endgame play. For this reason, Keres does not simply give the best move, or even the best move with an explanation; rather he explains the position in such a way that the reader's understanding will lead, almost automatically, to the best move. Paul Keres, who lives in Tallinn, Estonia,


one of the greatest-ever chess players. From 1937 to 1965 he was a serious contender for the World

Championship title, coming third in the 1948

World Charr\pionship Tournament. He was placed second


in no less than four of the Candi-


John Littlewood, the translator of this work,

a leading British plaYer.



Practical Chess Endings

Practical Chess fndings PAUL KERES Translated

bl John Littlewood

B. T. Batsford Ltd, London

First published in West Germany, 1973 English translation O B. T. Batsford Ltd,1974 rssN 0 7134 2801 5


Printed and bound in Great Britain by Sons Limited, London, Colchester and Beccles

William Clowes &




for the publishers Batsford Ltd, 4Fitzhardinge Street, London





Elcilncafery Fn tiilgs Ling and queen I=-e



rook asainst


Kine and rlr-o bishops arz=n tiu Kins and rtr-o knigha agubst [email protected] Line. bishop and kn,ght agei'p Lir.g and paHa again-s;t -d-B


Perva Fn $ngr

Line and par*a Kine and pavra

agaigx;t U-,g ag"ainsl H,E


A: Patr.s oa 7fu ww fu


Panlts an



Line and rr^-o pa\rrl$ a3.d=m t'n!

J.: Is.fau.d pws tii a-acsrd-l B: Isaieza iatrg yr,zfu:ro,r 6 @ C.' C,orraId prrr :ei;i cpru D : Carv.zld bp-s y-;.iwzr t, * a ll-haz cw lgr.n s i,;Nid. h lt-itll,r,lllr tlcrltx px Kiog and rtr-o pahrl$ aga:::f,


Ling and rr.o pa\irrs agz=m ti'r'E

-l: B: C: D: E:

a fi,s.sat raw. Ttv ri*:ac: E*s ger, Tlu ycwuC lv,.wrr W

Crcaifuq rr:

Tfu biaiaa iilv:[email protected] O:i,tt y-ssdt-xtts E:,c;n_€.s r^ith roore lEhrs PracLical e-arnples aEGGo


Q-letn against IBBa

Contents ll





Elernentary En.lings King and queen against king


King and rook against king King and two bishops against king King and two knights against king King, bishop and knight against king


I 2 2 3

King and pawn against king


pawn f,lrtings King and pawn against king King and pawn against king and pawn


A : Paztns on the





Pawns on dffirentfiles

King and two pawns against king and pawn

A: B: C: D:

Isolated pawns with a passed pawn

l4 l4

Isolated pawns without a passed pawn


Connected pawns



a passed


Connected pawns without a passed

a) b)

When onz


paun is blocked

Without blocked pawns

King and two pawns against king King and two pawns against king and two pawns

A: B: C: D: E:

8 9 9

Creation of a passed paztn

The distant passed paun The protected passed pautn The blockade of enemlt pawns Otfur possibilities

26 26 30 37 37

37 38

40 40 4T

Endings with more pawns Practical examples

42 45

Queen Endings Queen against pawn

53 53



Contents 5B

I(nighi Endings

Quzen against rook


Qtuen against rook and pawn


Knight against Palrn s Knieht and Paurr asainsi

69 69

Practical examPles

Queen against rook (and pawn)

A: B:

Queen against queen (and pawns)

A: B: C:

Qtuen against quzcn

A: B: C: D:

Queen against two rooks Qtuen against tuo bishoPs

Qtuen against queen and Pawn

pawn(s) against queen and pawn(s) pieces other against Queen Queen and

70 75

76 76 77

Qucen against two knights Qrcen against bishoP and knight



Practical examples


Rook Endings

89 89

Rook against pawn(s) Rook and pawn against rook A: Rook and RP

100 102


Rook and pawn other than RP on tlu seaenth rank b) Pawn on the sixth ran*

a) Pawn


Pawn on the second




Rook and two pawns against rook Rook and pawn(s) on both sides

A: B:

Rook and pawn against rook and pawn Rook and tuo pauns against rook and pawn

Practical examples Rook against minor pieces Rook agairct bishop Rook against knight Rook and minor piece against rook

113 113


t23 133

r46 r46 150 157

t67 t67 176


Rook and knight against rook

180 182

Bishop Endings


Bishop against pawns Bishop and pawn against bishoP


Rook and bishop against rook

Bishops of the same colour Bishops of opposite colour Bishop and two pawns against bishop Bishop and pawn(s) on both sides

A: B:

Bishop and pawn(s) against knight Bishop against knight and pawn(s) Practical examples

191 196

200 200 203 206

2t2 219


Knight and Parm s agd::st kdgi



Knight Endings



Knight against pawn(s) Knight and pawn against Pawn Knight and pawn(s) against knight



69 69 70 '^-F




76 76 77

78 79 81

89 89 100

t02 113 113

ll6 t23 133 146 146 150

t57 r67 167

t76 180

lB0 rB2 184

t84 191


200 200 203


2t2 219

Practical examples

240 250 255




In Chess literature throughout the world countless books have been

theless, there is much of interest in this

written onopening theory, the middle-

phase of the game, and all chessplayers should strive to improve their

game, chess tournaments and game selections. Within this vast produc-


tion, however, books on the end-game are comparatively few in number, despite the fact that this is one of the most important parts of the game of Chess.


is indeed

difficult to overestimate

the value of good end-game PlaY and

time spent on this dePartment is amply repaid. The purPose of this book is to give the reader practical help in end-game technique. Many chess-players are averse to studying the end-game, in the belief that it is boring. To a certain extent they are right, for most theoretical endings are relatively dry in content, requiring precise calculation and

offering few opportunities for indivi-

dual flights of imagination. Never-

play by mastering the


In order to pin-point basic princiI have decided to cut down on the number of examples but to examine them in greater detail than is customary.In this way I hope to make endgame theory a little more palatable. This has necessarily led me to reject many purely theoretical analyses and restrict myself to material which will be of most benefit to the practical player. In offering this volume to the reader I hope not only to stimulate interest in the subject matter but principally


to raise the average level of end-game technique among chess-players everywhere.

Tallinn, July 1972

Paul Keres.

' -\ :-: =:aI game of chs='.1-'ua---' ::'il-'ll1:]r -: ::-:te : openint. :r-:cc-i--."i=-'t :---: t::Cinq. In the oct:-i:-= 1 1-: T ::::::-f-j io develoP ::i-' :::c- ::- --:-': :-.-:,s-- electir-e rnanner a:-; ::*-s::

-rabie mi.ddle-zare c:-a:-:t-* l---'t 3:-c 1::e--=--tt't-?arrte is the rici-cl :a- :: --:-'t 1'1-----.- rie mo.i diicu-: iz::-a. :;: ,.shich the pla'.-t: a:::-( :-r .z -:l-:-'.f .-:se:iori:r- c: 3: -:=-': T::-.-1-.:Sqeous end-ga:rie -t-c- :--:--'':'

:=-, -


-::- - :-- tl^a. ^:--::-




:nr-L-ii COIi-:-tIi


-.--; - =

:t-,------,s- r.-o:r i:-rr1---: --e -



-rt----- ll-1



-\ ::auii. it;s clea:::-3-, --: -J:::-rr the =ctt cd--lc:- .::--- :: --::'t :::::t- -\ rla..-er ca:'l ic'=-a::=-- :i-'r---= ---s:-.- ol an ir-cc-':=:: lr:'1" i, lrrr :-, -- ? ce:--:iire error- ::- ::-t ::f---:-r-r :,r -,t lt-:a=e . rni:io-: :-a:i-1i;--:-; : : --: -:--::< a los: p:,=i--ic:- l-:-:-' -ls :l:-=i-oi b'. 'i,e iac'. ::-a: -: i:::- :-:-="*t ::i:-:-:c-:eC oh-a-_.s c,f :i-e z-:--: --:ta


-----: ,:,:

:::1.-::-: ald espic,i:=: :'-: :E'i':r::-:-,. =^l::ks. Ir :l-e t:-i---=-r:-


--:-- : --:-ar :.and. 3:: t-: : :=:- :r :::r:--.-t. __6[ rr-E a:e :.=:t-_.- ::::":=::d

-*:---- i >tt,--,i--C C:r3::Ct. l-:-::t cc--i-d be :.c

c-*-::- ::'-.:- :i ::-:'l ::rdr-alr-: :t-ci-rlcut. T:-e \t ::-:'-r -e-3.j--rr --:-: -"----'-' :-eed te-r :faac:



A normal game ofchess usually consists of three phases; opening, middle-game

chess-players pay special attention to this aspect of their game, and we can

. _ : .,,.- :t improve their - :: -:l-:--: ine necessafy

and ending. In the opening a player attempts to develop his forces in the

find numerous modern examples of

': = .:




lnterest in this

:-::.--:. ard ali

: -:--; ,:rt basic princi-


i :: cut dor.t,n on the ' ::.-a-=. :Ut tO examine - : -r :=.:1. than is custo. : :'. I :ope to make end':' = .....: ::rore palatable. ' - -',.':--'. .ed me to reject -, :t:,cal analvses and - , . -' , ::-.a:erial rvhich will ,.' :' ..-. :o the practical - - -, -


most effective manner and

favourable middle-game chances. The middle-game is the richest and appar-

ently the most difficult part of the game, in which the-player aims for a. decisive superiority or at least an advantageous end-game. And, finally, the ending is that part of the game in rvhich we must convert into a win any advantages won during the opening

or middle-game.

- -: :1,-:'. --':ltle tO the reader - - ..imrrlate interest :. :r:r '_11 : ':,--,;::.r but principally --= : ::;:: level of end-game :

-: :-.'. :-.- ::--tss-piaverS



Paul Keres.


that the ending is one of the most critical stages of the game. A player can sometimes afford the luxury of an inaccurate move, or even a definite error, in the opening or As a result,



is clear

middle-game, without necessarily obtaining a lost position. This is explained by the factthat in both these complicated phases of the game there

are great practical difficulties in detecting and exploiting our opponent's mistakes. In the end-game, on the other hand, an error can


decisive, and we are rarely presented rvith a second chance. There could be no clearer proof of the vital need to perfect one's endgame technique. The World's leading

finely conducted end-games. It must be admitted that, from a purely technical point ofview, endings are much less interesting to study than,

for example, opening theory or

the strategy ofthe middle-game. However,

this study is essential, and there is at least the advantage that most endings lend themselves to exact analysis of winning or drawing possibilities.

In the following pages, we shall attempt to provide the reader with the most important principles for


correct handling of various practical endings. We all know that present end-game theory in its entirety would fiIl many hefty tomes, the mere sight ofwhich is a deterrent. The aim of this

book, therefore, is to lighten


burden somewhat, by selecting from the vast material available those endings which are of most practical value.

For example, we shall be examining all basic end-game positions, present-

ing an indispensable ABC of


usage. Do not underrate such an approach. Even great players have been known to have weaknesses in this phase of the game.


In this section we shall


positions which in fact belong to the ABC of every player and scarcely need any further elucidation. Flowever, we mention them briefly here for the sake of completeness, first of all looking at the force required to mate a lone king.

I(iog and Queen against l(i.g This is always a win, the only danger being a possible stalemate.


% ,%@% %




I K-N7

being possibly quicker, but

the given method shows how easily the enemy king can be mated in such positions.

King and Rook against Kiog This too is always a win. As in the above example, the enemy king must be driven to the edge of the board be-

fore he can be mated, although the task is slightly more difficult. Whilst the queen can drive the king to the edge without the help of its own king, it is essential for the rook and king to co-ordinate their action to achieve this aim.


% %


One possible winning method from

I is the following: I Q-B3 K-K5 2I(-N7 K-Q4 the Black king obviously wishes to remain in the centre as long as possible 3 K-87 K-Ks 4 K-Q6 K-B5 5 q-Q3 K-N4 diagram

K-K5 K-Ns 7 Q-K3 K-R4 I K-85 K-Rs e Q-Q3 K-R4 r0 Q-KR3 6


This is perhaps not the shortest way,

In diagram 2, White's task is not especially difficult. In order to force the black king to the side of the board, it is simplest to cut offthe king by using the rook along the rank or the file,

Elementar2 Endings

beginning with I R-R4 or I R-Kl. However, as no further progress can be made without the help of the white king, the clearest method is I I(-N7

K-K5 2 K-B6 K-Q5 3 R-Kl to force the enemy king towa,:ds the QR-file 3 ... K-B5 4 R-K4+ I(-QG 5 K-Q5 now the black king is denied access to both the K-file and the fourth rank5. . . I(-86 6R-Q4K-87 7 K-B.4 K-N7 I R-Q2+ K-88 the

standable: I I(-N2 K-K5 2 I(-83 K-Q4 3 B-B3+ I