Polishing up your openings in chess is simple, as you find yourself in (nearly) the exact same position every game. However when it comes to the endgame, you often find yourself in wildly different situations – especially if the game went off book, which they so often tend to do! When it comes to mastering the endgame, a few key chess strategies can help you keep your head above water.
Activate your King
Up until now, hopefully your king has been well protected. In the endgame however, your chess strategy should change. One of the key aspects of the endgame of chess, is that your king is now able to help control the board, and should be actively in the fray. Once there is no longer the danger of your king being attacked, he should move to a central location and throw his weight around.
This may sound risky, however with such a limited number of pieces on the board, it’s all-hands-on-deck. Your king can prove to be a key attacking piece in the late stages of the game.
Find Your Passed Pawn
Passed pawns should be a key part of your chess strategy, especially late-game. Passed pawns are pawns that have no opposing pawns stopping them from reaching the other side of the board. In the endgame, isolate an area of the board in which your pawns outnumber your opponents, called a pawn majority. These areas are great to push forward and apply pressure to your opponent. You can exchange pawns until you are left with a passed pawn. The threat of a passed pawn is something your opponent will be forced to address.
Be Aware of Stalemates
Although not common, stalemates are something that every beginner should be considering in their chess strategy. A stalemate occurs when you or your opponent have no legal moves. If you find yourself facing defeat, you may force such a position for yourself so that the game ends in a stalemate. Shifting your king towards an edge of the board limits your moves, and if your opponent puts you in a position in which your king cannot move without going into check, you’ve just avoided a loss! But more than forcing this position, you want to keep it in mind so you can avoid giving your opponent this advantage. When chasing down an opponent’s king, just keep in mind to avoid forcing them into a stalemate if victory is in sight.
If you’re beginning to think about endgame strategy, you’re knee deep into your chess hobby already! We would love to invite you to join our group chess lessons, or book one of our amazing chess coaches for private chess coaching. We love helping new players find their love for the game. To get involved, contact us here.