Puzzles 3

These endgame puzzles have been previously posted on this site and here make up a collection available to everyone to enjoy.

They come from actual games, as well as from famous chess studies and compositions, filled with nasty tactical blows to dismantle the opponent (dry and too technical in nature endgame position, though indispensable in the OTB play, are not paid too much attention here).

Why endings? Because it is in an endgame that full potential of pieces, individually and in cooperation, is lucidly expressed.

Smyslov, a genius of the endgame, wrote, “my father “instilled in me a love for so-called ‘simple’ positions, with only a few pieces. I was able to gain a deep feeling for what each piece is capable of, to sense their peculiarities, their strength and impotence in various different situations on the board, the limits of their capabilities, what they ‘like’ and what they ‘don’t like’ and how they behave… Such a ‘mutual understanding’ with the pieces enables a player to see what often remains concealed to purely logical analysis. It is then that the innate ability of a player, which I call a sense of harmony, manifests itself.” Thank you Maestro! Now, let’s go to study…

A knowledge of the endgame is the magic key to the secrets of chess mastery…

Delving into the secrets of the endgame reveals an amazing world of chess harmony.

–Vassily Smyslov

The solutions to the problems below can be found at the end of this page.

Puzzles 1-99
Puzzles 100-149
Puzzles 200-249
Puzzles 250-299



Sweden 1969

Black to move



Holland 1961

Black to move


A. W. Daniel


White to move and draw



Tilburg 1997

Black to move



Moscow 1961

White to move


Louis van Vliet


White wins



Halle 1883

Black to play and win


Ercole del Rio

1750 (end of study)

White to move and draw


Henri Rinck


White draws



USSR 16ch 1948

White to move



14th Euro Individual-ch 2013

White to move


Henri Rinck


White wins



Dresden 1936

White to move


Domenico Lorenzo Ponziani

Modena 1769



Vasily Smyslov


White wins



Pärnu 1947

White to play and win



corr. 1985

White to play



Palma de Mallorca 1967

White to play


Mikhail Klyatskin


White wins


Van Wely-Alexandrov

Istanbul 2003

White to play



Amsterdam 1974

White to play


Rinaldo Bianchetti


White to play



Malaga 1964

Black to play




White to play


Zinovy Markovich Birnov

Trud, 1952

White wins




Black to play



Moscow 1928

Black to play


Bernhard Horwitz


White wins



Moscow 1973

White to play



Bucharest 1962

White to play


Vitaly Halberstadt

Ceskoslovenský šach 1930

White wins


Alfred de Musset

La Régence, 1849

Mate in 3



London 1899

Black to play


Bondarenko and Liburkin


White wins



Groningen 1946

White to play




Black to play


Dr. G. Kissling


White wins


de Firmian(2540)-Thinstad(1893)

Tromsø 2007

Black to play



Hungary 1981

White to play


Oldřich Duras

Šachové listy 1903

White wins



Pula 1997

White to play




White to play


Alois Wotawa


White draws



Torquay 2013

White to play


Ernest Pogosiants


White wins




White to play



Elista 1998

Black to play


Vladimir Korolkov


White wins


Josef Moravec


White wins



Nancy 2013

White to play

150) White just played Be4. With his two bishops and an active king, he must have been feeling happy. However…1…b5! with mate next move 0-1

151) White is a clear piece up. He just played Rha7 to mop up the Black’s only possible trump, the a-pawn.
1…Rh1! 2.Kxh1 Kg3 0-1

152) 1.Rxe4! Bc2 2.Kh8 a2! [2…Bxe4 stalemate] 3.Re1! Bb1 4.Re5! a1R [4…a1Q? stalemate] 5.Ra5! drawing [capture leads to another stalemate, and 5…Ba2 6.Ra7+ does away with the mating threat.]

153) White threatens 1.Rbe7. If 1…Rb1 or 1…d2 follows 2.Rd7. And 1…Rb4 is parried by 2.h3.
1…Rxb5!! 2.RbXb5 d2 3.Rbd5 d1Q 4.Rxd1 Rd6+! 5.Rxd6 stalemate [5.Kg5 Rxd1 =]

154) After 80…Qh2 looks like White should resign here: threatens mate and the rook is under attack.
81.Qxb7+!! Kxb7 82.Rg7+ Kc8 3.Rc7+ and draw by perpetual attack.

155) Louis van Vliet (1868-1932) was born in the Netherlands but sailed to England in the 1880’s where he became a naturalized Englishman. In 1889 he participated in the first International Chess Congress in Amsterdam where he finished fourth and defeated Dr. Emanuel Lasker. He was the chess editor of the “Sunday Times” and the “Hereford Times”.
1.Qb4! Qh1 [1…Qd5(f3) 2.Qa4+ Kb6 3.Qb3!! with a skewer after b8Q+; a similar geometrical motiv arises after 1…Qg2] 2.Qa3+ Kb6 3.Qb2+! Kc7 [3…Ka6 4.Qa2+ Kb6 5.Qb1+! with the pattern we saw before; 3…Kc5 4.Ka7 Qh7 5.Qb6+ Kd5 6.Ka6 winning] 4.Qh2+!! Qxh2 5.b8Q+ and wins with a diagonal skewer.

156) 1…Bc3 2.Rd1 Rxf1+! 3.Rxf1 e3 and White is unable to stop the e-pawn.

157) 1.Qf8+ Ka7 2.Qc5+! Qxc5 [otherwise it is perpetual check]

158) 1.Kg3 h5 2.e4 Kg1 [zugzwang] 3.e5! dxe5

159) 46.Kg1? [46.Ke2 Qd7 with some chances to draw] 46…Qg4! 47.Kh2 Qh5+ = [48.Kg3 Qg4+!!]

160) 1.f4! gxf4+ 2.Kh4! and mates.

161) 1.Re4+ Kc3(c5) 2.Rd4+! Kxd4 3.d7 Ke6! [3…d1Q 4.d8Q+? Ke3 5.Qxd1=] 4.d8R!! [4.d8Q d1Q!=] 4…Ke2 5.Kh3 [5.Rxe2+? Kxd2 6.Kh3 Ke2 7.Kg4 Ke3!] 5…d1Q 6.Rxd1 Kxd1 7.Kg4 +/-

162) 1.Rxa6! Bxd4 2.Rxf6 Bxf6 3.a5 [Black won a piece, but is now unable to stop the white pawns] 3…Be5 4.b5 h4 [4…Bc7 5.b6 Bd8 6.Kd4 with 7.Kc5 and 8.a6] 5.a6 1-0

163) 1.Be3+! Qxe3 2.Qf2! Qxf2 [2…Qc5 3.a5 winning the queen] 3.a5! Kxa5=

164) 1.g6! hxg6 [1…Bb6 2.Bb8!! Rxb8 3.g7] 2.h7 Bf6 3.Bb8!! [preventing O-O-O; after 3.Kxf6 castle, the outcome is a draw] 3…Rxb8 4.Kxf6 Kd8 5.h8Q+ Kc7 6.Qh2 winning.

165) 1.Rd6+! Kxe5 2.Nf7+ Kf5 3.g4 mate.

166) 1.Rf1 [The rook protects the f-pawn releasing the queen to go after the black king.] 1…Rc3 [1…Re4 2.Qg3 Rg4 3.Qc3 Rg7 4.Qxg7+!; 1.Qc7 2.Qf5 Re6 3.Qxh7] 2.Qh4 1-0

167) Black threatens checkmate on h2 after sacrificing his rook.
1.g5! Kh5 2.Rg3! 1-0

168) 1.c7 Kxc7 2.axb6+! Kxb8 3.b7!

169) 1.Rxg4+! Kxg4 2.c7 1-0 [2…Rc2 3.Ne3]

170) 1.Rc6! 1-0 [1…bxc6 2.b7 Rh8 3.a6 and 4.a7; after any other first move by Black comes 2.Rxc5 winning easily.]

171) 1.Bb2 Rf8 [1…Rh6 2.Rg4+ Kh7 3.Rg7 Kh8 4.Kb1!] 2.Rd7+ Kg8 3.Rg7+ Kh8 4.Ka2! [zugzwang, 4…Ra8+ 5.Ra7+]

172) 1…Qg4+! 2.Kh6 Qg5+!! and draw.

173) 1.Rd8!

174) 1.Ba4 e5 2.Nxe5 Nf2 [if 2…Nb2, then 3.Bb3 and 4.Kc3 winning the knight] 3.Ke3 Nh3 [3…Kh1 4.Kf3] 4.Bd7 Ng5 5.Kf4 Nh7 [the knight completed a long journey and is finally safe, to only…] 6.Ng6+ Kg8 7.Be6 mate […take the h7-square away from his King!]

175) White just played 1…Re5+? (1.Ra8!). The punishment comes swiftly.
1…Kf2 2.R-move Rh1+ 3.Bxh1 Nf2 mate.

176) 1…Kh3 2.Kf1 e3! 3.Ke2 Kg2 4.Kxe3 Ne4! 5.Ke2 Ng3+ 0-1

177) White can’t win unless he eliminates the h2-pawn without stalemating the enemy king.
1.Rf8! Kg2 2.Rg8+! Kh1 3.Bg7! Kg2 4.Be5+! Kh1 5.Bxh2 Kxh2 6.Kf3 winning [6…Kh1 7.Rh8! with checkmate in two: 7…h2 8.Ra8!, or 7…Kg1 8.Rxh3, or 7…Kh2 8.Kf2]

178) 1.Rd5! 1-0

179) 1.bxa5 bxa5 2.Kf2 Bxf3 3.Ke3! [or 1.Kf2 Bxf3 2.bxa5 etc.]

180) 1.Kb2! [1.Kb4 Nd5; 1.Kb3? Kxf3 2.Kc2 Ke2 and the black king doesn’t let his colleague free] 1…Kxf3 2.Kc1! Kf4 [2…Ke3? 3.Nc4; 2…Ke2 3.Kc2 Kf3 4.Kd3 etc.] 3.Kc2! [3.Kd2? Ke5! =] 3…Kg5 4.Kd3 Kf6 5.Kd4 Ke6 6.Kc5 winning.

181) 1.Rd7! Nxd7 2.Nxc6 N any move 3.Nf6 mate.

182) 1…Kxg6! 2.Bg5 Rf4!! 0-1

183) 1.Nh4 Kg1 2.Nf3+ Kg2 3.Nxh2 Kxh2 4.e5! [4.Ke6 Kg3 5.Kd7 Kf4 6.Kc8 Ke5 7.Kb7 Kd6 8.Kxa7 Kc7=] 4…Bxe5 5.Ke6!! winning.

184) Black just played 1…b2?, probably attracted by the idea of a skewer.
1.Rxb2! Kg4 2.Kf1 1/2

185) 1…Qg1 2.g5 h5! 3.g4 h4! 0-1 [4.Kxh4 Qh2; 4.Qa1 Qg3; 4.Qa3 Qh1 mate]

186) What should White do here? After 1.Rg7 b2 2.Rxb7 b1Q 3.Rxb1 Kxb1 Black has a won endgame.
1.Rg5! hxg5 [forced, for after 1…b2 2.Rxf5 b6 3.Rb5 , or 2…b1Q 3.Ra5+ Qa2 4.Rxa2+ Kxa2 White’s bishop pawn queens first] 2.h6 b2 3.h7 b1Q 4.h8Q+ Ka2 5.Qa8+ Kb2 6.Qxb7+ Kc2 7.Qxb1+ Kxb1 8.fxg5 winning.

187) White just played 1.h8Q? He’s up now for a nasty surprise from a much less rated opponent!
1…Qd1+ 2.Ka2 Qb3+! 0-1 [3.Rxb3+ cxb3+ with mate to follow]

188) 1.Rc8+ Rf8 2.Raa8 Rdf6 3.Nh7! 1-0

189) 1.Rd2+ Ke7 2.Rd6 Rc3 3.Rc6 Rxc6 4.Ka7 winning.

190) Black is a pawn up, but his king doesn’t look too secure. Is a draw by repetition all White can do?
1.Rg4+ Kh7 2.Qd3! Kh8 3.Qd2 Kh7 4.Rg6! [Black has to accept the sac because of h6-threat.] 4…fxg6 5.Qd7+ 1-0 [5…Kg8 6.Qxe8+ Kg7 7.Qe7+ Kg8 8.g7+]

191) 1.Qd8+ Qg8 2.Bf8 1-0 [threatens 3.Qf6; if 2.Kh7 3.Qxc8]

192) Alois Wotawa 1948 (1896–1970) was an Austrian composer of chess problems and endgame studies. Here is an idea, known as Wotawa’s theme, where the weaker side sacrifices the bishop in two symmetrical ways to reach draw.
1.b6 Re1 [1…Rg5 2.Bf5 Rxf5 3.b8Q Be5+ 4.Ke6 Bxb8 5.Kxf5] 2.Be4! Rxe4 3.b8Q Be5+ 4.Kd5 Bxb8 5.Kxe4=

193) 1.Rb8 Rxb4 2.Rxf8+! 1-0

194) 1.Qe4! [1.Qd5? Qg8+! 2.Qg8 stalemate; 1.Qe4 is threatening two-way mate by 2.Kf2+ or 2.Qe1; if 1…Qf8+ 2.Kg3 Kg1 3.Qg2 mate.]

195) 1.Qh2!! 1-0 [1…Bxh2 2.e8Q]

196) In the game 1…Nb5? was played and after 2.a4! White eventually drew.
1…a4! 2.Rxb4+ [2.Bxa4 Rxa2] 2…Ka5 3.Rc4 a3

197) 1.Bf8+ Kc7 2.Ba3! Ra1 3.Kb4! Rb1+ 4.Bb2! Rxb2+ 5.Ka3 Rb1 6.Ka2 Rb6 7.a8N+! Kd6 8.Kxb6 winning.

198) 1.Kc6! [The White’s king blocks the white pawn and goes for the control of the key b4-square.] 1…Kc3 2.Kc5

199) 1.Rc8! 1-0


Puzzles 1-99
Puzzles 100-149
Puzzles 200-249
Puzzles 250-299