Puzzles 5

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 150-199
Puzzles 200-249


S. Rumiantsev


White wins



London 1883

White to play



Budapest 1954

Black to move and draw


Miles-Rivas Pastor

Amsterdam 1978

White to play



Moscow 1949

White to play



Moscow 1958

White to play



Moscow 1959

White to play



Sochi 1952

Black to play



Ivanovo 1944

White to play



Moscow 1946

White to play



Moscow 1959

Black to play



Moscow 1944/45

White to play



Moscow 1963

Black to move and draw



Wijk aan Zee 2014

White to play


Giulio Cesare Polerio


White wins



Sandefjord 1975

White to play


Gleb Zakhodiakin


White wins



Germany 2009

White to play


Oldrich Duras


White wins




Black to play and draw


Richard Réti


White wins



Oakham 1992

White to play


Leonid Kubbel




Gild. Garcia-G. Hernandez

New York 1995

White to play


Gleb Zakhodiakin

“64” 1931, 1st Prize

White wins



Apeldorn 1988

Black to play


Garcia Gonzales-Quinteros

Moscow 1982

White to play


Alexander Hildebrand

British Chess Magazine 1947

White wins



Dublin 2008

Black to play



Leningrad 1977

Black to play


Richard Reti


White wins



Manila 1990

White to move and draw


Genrikh Kasparian


White wins



Cork 2014

Black to play and draw




White to play


Alexey Troitsky

White wins



Dubai 2014

White to play



Loo 2014

Black to play


Paul Benko


White wins



Loo 2014

Black to play



Paris 1900

White to move


Josef Hašek


White wins



Leipzig 1960

White to move



Wijk aan Zee 2001

White to play


Leonid Kubbel

Rigaer Tagblatt 1909

White wins



Tbilisi 1959

White to play



Zalakaros 2010

White to play


Bernhard Horwitz

Chess Monthly 1885 (conclusion)

White wins




White to play


Richard Teichmann

1913 (from a game)

White to move and draw

250) This one is about a rook-bishop battery.
1.Kf2! f4 [taking the bishop leads to a mate] 2.Bxh3 fxg3+ 3.Kf3 g2 4.Rh6! [the battery is set up] 4…Rf4+ 5.Kg3! Rf3+ 6.Kxf3 g1Q 6.Bg2#

251) 1.Qb5 [1.Qb8+ Kd7 leads to nowhere] 1…Qxb5 2.c8Q+ Kf7 [2…Nd1 3.Nc7+] 3.Qxe6+! Kxe6 4.Nc7+ and 5.Nxb5.

252) 1…Kf3! 2.Kh1 (2.f5 Rg2+ 3.Kh1 Rg7=) 2…h4 3.f5 Kg3! 4.Rg8+ Kh3 5.Kg1 (5.a8Q Ra1+!) 5…Rg2+ ½–½

253) 1.Bxh7+- Rb8 [1…Kxh7 2.Qh5#] 2.Qh5 Ra8 3.Bf5+ Kg8 4.Be6+ Kf8 5.Qf7#

254) 1.Rxh6+ Qxh6 2.Qe2+ Kg5 3.Qe7+ 1-0

255) 1.Qe7 Bd2 2.f4 g5 3.Rxh7 Qxh7 4.Qxg5#

256) 1.Qe2+ g4 2.Rf5+ Rxf5 3.Qe8+ 1-0

257) 51…d3+!! [An uncommon situation, Black sacks the rook in an opposite color bishops endgame. In case of 51…dxe3+ 52.Kxe3 White draws. Now Black wins using his active passed pawns. The following lines are possible, 52.Kf3 Bd5+ 53.Kf2 Rxb2+ 54.Kg3 f4+ etc, or 52.Kg3 f4+ 53.Kf3 Bd5+. White finds the best way of proceeding, but that doesn’t help either.
52. Re4 Rxe4+ 53. Kg3 f4+ 54. Kf3 Bd5 55. Kg4 f3+ 56. Kg3 Rc4! [Black pieces are so active that White should give out his rook for a black pawn.] 57. c6 Ke7 58. Rd2 Bxc6 59. Rxd3 Rc2 60. Ba3+ Ke6 61. Rd1 [nor helps 61.Rd6+ Kf5 62.Rxc6 Rxc6 63.Bf8 Ke4] 61…f2 62. Bf8 Bb5 63. Bxg7 f1=Q 64. Rxf1 Bxf1 65. Bxh6 Be2 66. g7 Kf7 67. Kh4 Rc6 68. Bf4 Kxg7 69. Kg5 Bd3 70. Be3 Kf7 71. h6 Ke6 72. Bf4 Bh7 0-1

258) Position after 38…Kd7. All four rooks are confronting each other. Trading them wouldn’t bring about any particularly interesting development, e.g. 39.Rxc8 Rxg7, or 39.Rxf7 Rxh8. Simagin finds the way:
39. Bc6+!! Ke6 [The king is forced to move away: 39…Rxc6 40.Rxf7; 39…Kxc6 40.Rxc8+ with 41.Rxf7; 39…Nxc6 40.Rxf7] 40. Rh6+ Rf6 41. Bd7+! [White achieved a qualitative superiority and easily converted his advantage] 41…Kxd7 42. Rxf6 Re8 43. Rxg5 Ng8 44. Rg7+ Ne7 45. Kg3 Rh8 46.Rff7 Re8 47. Kg4 Kd8 48. Kg5 a6 49. a4 a5 50. Kf6 Ng8+ 51. Kg6 Ne7+ 52. Kg5 Ng8 53. Rd7+ Kc8 54. Rc7+ Kb8 55. Rb7+ Kc8 56. Rgc7+ 1-0

259) 34.Rxd7! Rxf6 35.Rg7+ Kh8 36.exf6 Qb8+ 37.f4 Rc3+ 38.Kh4 Qf8 39.Rxh7+ Kxh7 40.Bxf8 Kg8 41.Be7 fxg4 42.Rg1 Rh3+ 43.Kxg4 1-0

260) 38…Ne3! 39. fxe3 Qxe3+ 40. Kf1 Rh5 41. Qxh5 gxh5 42. Bf3 Qe5 43. b4 a4 44. Rd3 Qxg3 45. b5 Qe5 46. Be2 Qb2 47. Rg3+ Kf8 48. Rh3 h4 49. Re3 Ke7 50. Kf2 f5 51. Rh3 Qd4+ 52. Kf1 Kf6 53. Rd3 Qb2 54. Rh3 Kg5 0-1

261) 40.d5 exd5 41.Rxg6+ hxg6 42.Rh8+ Kf7 43.Rxc8 and White won at move 70.

262) 29…Rxa3 30. Bh7+ Kxh7 31. Rxa3 Kxh6 [an amazing situation: Black has two bishops for queen, yet it is White who is struggling to draw] 32. Rxa6 Rc3 33. f5 Rh3 34. fxe6 fxe6 35. Qd2+ Kg6 36. c3 Rxc3 37. Qe2 Rc4 38. Rxe6 Rxb4+ 39. Kc1 Rc4+ 40. Kb1 Bxe6 41. Qxe6 Rxh4 42. Qe8+ Kh6 43. Qxb5 g5 44. Qf5 1/2-1/2

263) 29.Nc6! Qe8 [29…bxc6 30.Qxa6+ Kb8 31.Qxa2+-] 30.Qh3+! 1–0 [30…Be6 31.Rd8+! Qxd8 32.Qxe6+ Qd7 33.Qxg8+ Qd8 34.Qxd8#]

264) 1.Ra1! Kxa1 2.Kc2 g5 3.hxg5 h4 4.g6 h3 5.g7 h2 6.g8£ h1Q 7.Qg7# 1–0

265) 1.b7! [thretening 2.Rh8+ and 3.b8Q+ of course] 1…Kg6 2.Re8 Rxb7 3.Rxe4! [3…fxe4 4.Bxe4+]

266) 1.h6! Ng4+ 2.Kf4 Nxh6 3.Kg5! Ng8 [if 3…Kg2, then 4.Rd7+ etc. wins] 4.Rh2+ Kg7 5.Rh7+ Kf8 6.Rf7#

267) The only road to success is with a paradoxical sacrifice at the best protected spot: 1.e4!! fxe4 [1…Rxe4 2.b7 Re8 3.Be5+/-] 2.Ke3 Ka6 3.f5+/- with creation of another passer.

268) 1.Bg2! Ke3! 2.h4 Kxf4 3.Bf3! [denies g4 to the black king forcing him to make a detour] 3…Ke5 [3…Kxf3 4.h5] 4.h5 Ke6 5.Bd5+ [the third deflection sac by the bishop prevents the king from getting in front of the pawn] 5…Ke7 6.h6 Kf1 7.Kd2 winning.

269) 1…Nh3+! 2.Kf1 Kc8! 3.Rd8+ Qxd8 4.Bxd8 Kxd8 5.gxh3 b6!= as White is unable to penetrate on the Q-side, while on the other side the black king goes back and forth between g8 and h8 preventing White’s monarch from getting in.

270) 1.Ba5! Kb3 2.Bc3!! Bxc3 [2…Kxc3 or 2…Bh6 would be answered by the same move that follows] 3.a5! and wins as one of the pawns will be sacrificed to let the other promote.

271) 1.Kg2!! Kxe4 2.c5! Kd5 [2…bxc5 3.a5 Kd5 4.a6!! Kd6 5.b6 Kc6 6.bxa7 and the king is unable to stop the pawns.] 3.c6 Kd6 4.Kxh2 Kc7 5.Kg3 Kd6 6.Kf4 Ke6 7.Ke4 Kd6 1-0

272) 1.f7 Rf8 2.e6 b6! [prevents 3.e7 as Rxf7 pin would follow.] 3.Kb7 Kc5 [the natural looking 4.Kc7? fails to 4…Kd5 5.Kd7 Ke5!] 4.e7!! Rxf7 5.Ka6 Rxe7 stalemate!

273) 1.Rf5! 1-0

274) 1.Kc5 Nc7 2.Kd6 Ne8+ 3.Ke7 Ng7 4.Bg6! Kg8 5.Bf7+ Kh7 6.Kf6 Kh8 7.Ke5 Kh7 8.Ke4 Kh8 9.Kf4 Kh7 10.Kg4 Kh8 11.g6 and wins. A real gem of endgame composition.

275) 1…g3!! with a mate or loss of queen.

276) 1.g6! f3 2.Kg1! Kf6 3.e5+! dxe5 4.d6 e4 5.d7 1-0

277) 1.Bb6 Rc2 [1…Rc3 2.Ba5+ Kd2 3.Bf5] 2.2.Ba5+ Rd2 3.Kh1

278) White just played a4? (Rd4!). The question now is how Black should deal with the pin on the d-file? 1…Nb2? as played in the game brings no relief because the knight endgame is lost after 2.Rxd1 Nxd1 3.Kg4! and White wins thanks to the outside passer.
1…Ne1!! and now 2.Rd8xd1? would be bad in view of 2…Ng2+ 3.Kg4 h5#. After 2.Nd2! Ra1 Black is only slightly better.
What makes 1…Ne1 an invisible move?
– The pin on the knight looks permanent, unless rooks are exchanged.
– The mating pattern is surprising , with a lone knight and pawns.
– e1 is an unusual square for a black knight. (Invisible Chess Moves, Neiman and Afek, New in Chess 2011)

279) 1…Ra1 2.Rb1 Ng3+! 3.hxg3 Ra8! with mate.

280) 1.Ka7! Kb5 [White threatened 2.Kb6 followed by a7. After 1…Nc6+ 2.Kb6 Kd5 there is 3.Nb4; on 1…Kc5 White plays 2.Nd4!!] 2.Nb4! Ka5 [2…Kc5 3.Kb8!] 3.Kb8 Nc6+! [Now Black tries driving-off, or diversion] 4.Kb7! [4.Kc7? Nxb4 5.a7 Nd5+ 6.Kc6 Nb6!] 4…Nd8+ 5.Kc7 Ne6+ 6.Kb8! Kb6 7.a7 Nc7 and now a forcing diversion 8.Nd5+! winning.

281) 1.c6!! [Both the bishop and pawn are under fire, but there is no win for Black.] 1…Nxc6 [1…Rxd6? 2.c7 Rc6 3.Rc3; 1…Kxc6 2.Bxb4] 2.Rb3+ Kc4 3.Rc3+ Kb5 4.Rb3 draw.

282) White is a queen up for the time being. Only with concrete threats he can end victorious. What kind of threats as a black queen is about to appear? A good chess eye may spot the vulnerability of the black king…
1.Qxg2 [The only winning stroke which destroys the dangerous passer and gets the queen on the big diagonal to control important squares a8 and d5, and, as it would turn out, h1 and e4; other moves give only a draw: 1.Kf5 b2; 1.Kg5 Kg7; a7 Be5+ 2.Kf5 Bxg3 3.a8Q+ Kh7 4.Kf6 Be5+ 5.Kf7 Kh6 6.Qe4 Kg5 7.Qxe5+ Kh4; 1.Qxb3+ Kg7 2.Qd1 Bf6 3.Qxg4+ Kf8; 1.Qxg4+ Bg7 2.Qxg2 a1Q 3.Qd5=] 1…Be5+ 2.Kf5! a1Q 3.a7!! [the passer is sacrificed for making the enemy queen passive, diverting it from the main sector of the battle – the K-side. One tempo lets the white King reach g6] 3…Qxa7 4.Kg6! Qa1 [if 4…Qa5, then 5.Qh1!] 5.Qd5+! Kh8 6.Qe4!! [Queen creates a zugzwang! From an ideal e4-post it protects her king and threatens mate on any move by black pieces or pawns. The black queen can’t move, it must be protecting Be5, as well as a8 and h1-squares – it’s over]

283) Black seems to be losing, but he is actually okay.
1…Nde2+! 2.f8Q Nc1+ 3.Kc2 Re2+ 4.Kxc1 Nxa2+ 5.Kd1 Nc3+ 6.Kc1 Na2+ draw agreed.

284) Interestingly, the rook trade leads to mate: 1.Re5!!

285) The bishop can hold the White’s f-pawn from a3 and b-pawn from f4; the rook can hold the f-pawn from f5 and b-pawn from b5. Black can thus stop both pawns, one with the bishop, the other with the rook. White can make the black pieces obstruct each other and so frustrate their plans.Obstruction is forced upon Black by occupation of the point where the two lines of mobility, the diagonal one and straight one, intersect… (Lasker’s Manual of Chess)

White uses his apparently useless piecess, the knight and b-pawn to spoil Black’s defenses:
1.Nd3 Rxd3 [1…Ba3 2.b4 and the bishop is eliminated – White queens a pawn.] 2.f7 Rf3 [2…Ba3 3.b4 Bxb4 4.b7 and the bishop obstructs the rook.] 3.b7 and 3…Bb4 is ineffective because it obstructs the rook again.

286) 1.Rxe5! dxe5 2.Kf5 Rf3+ 3.Kxe5 Rf8 4.c4 Kd7 5.g7 Rg8 6.Kf6 Ke8 7.Bh6 1–0

287) 1…Nf4 2.Ke1 Nd3+ 3.Kd2 b2 4.Bxb2 Nxb2 5.Kc3 Na4+ 6.Kd4 Kf8 7.f4 Ke7 8.f5 gxf5 9.gxf5 f6 10.Ke4 Nc5+ 11.Kf4 h5 0–1

288) 1.a4! [1.b3? Kb2 2.Rh1 Kxa2 3.Rh3 (3.Rh5 b4!) 3…Kb2! 4.Kg7 a4] 1…Kxb2 [1…b4 2.Rh1 Kxb2 3.Rh5 Ka3 4.Rxa5 b3 5.Kg7 b2 6.Rb5] 2.Ra3! [2.axb5? Kxa1 3.b6 a4 4.b7 a3 5.b8Q a2] 2…Kxa3 [2…b4 3.Rh3 b3 4.Rh5 Ka3 5.Rxa5 b2 6.Rb5] 3.axb5 a4 4.b6 Kb2 5.b7 a3 6.b8Q+ 1–0

289) 1…Nd3 2.Rf5 Nxe1 3.Rxe5+ Kd6 4.Rxe1 Rh2+ 5.Kd3 Rxb2 6.Be4 Rhxc2 7.Kd4 Rc3 0–1

290) 1.Rd8+ Kg7 2.f5! Bxf5 3.Qc5! and now there is nothing Black can do against the mate at f8 or loss of the bishop 1-0

291) White’s bishop alone can’t help achieve a win. Advance Kc5-d6 may pose a mate threat, but Black can play …f5 parrying the threat when …Rf6 drives the black king back…
1. Bf5 gxf5 [1…f6 2 Be6, or 2.Bxg6+ Kd8 3.Bf7!] 2. Kc5 f6 3. Kd6 Rg8 [3…Rf7 4 Ra8+] 4. Ke6 Kf8 5. Kxf6 and wins.

292) Black just played 1…Rg6?? and let Prins escape off the hook (1…Ke7! 2.Rf3 Rg6+ 3.Kxb7 Rf6)
1.c6+! bxc6 2.Rxf2 Kd6 3.Rd2+ Ke5 4.Rc2 1/2

293) There are three pieces on each side (which is pretty much tops of what you can find in the chess puzzles on this site). In this position Kasparov missed a tactical shot. Can you see it? (He played 1.Ng5 and the game ended in a draw.)
1.g4 hxg3 [1…Rhh8 2.f5 and White stands better due to the strong mobile pawn majority and possibly the weak h4-pawn] 2.Nxg3 Rxh3 3.Rxd4 Rxd4 4.Nf5+

294) Restriction of the mobility of the opponent’s pieces and their exclusion from play is an important principle of chess strategy. In this study, the great Leonid Kubbel is showing us how to deprive the enemy rook of exerting its power.
1.Bc5! Rc8 [1…Kc8 2.Ba7! and Black can move neither the king nor rook; 1…Rb8 2.Rh8+ Kc7 3.Bd6+] 2.Bb6+ Kc8 3.Bc7! [Black is left with only pawn moves as his rook is under total domination.] 3…a5 4.Kd1 a4 5.Kc2 a3 6.Kb1! [6.Kb3? a2 7.Kxa2 Ra8 freeing himself] 6…a2+ 7.Ka1+ and wins.

295) Spassky just played …Rb8-c8. How do you think Taimanov reacted to it?
1.Rxf7! Rxc7 2.dxc7 Qa8 3.Rd7 1-0

296) 1.Nh6+! gxh6 2.Rb8+ Kh7?? [2…Bc8! 3.Rxc8+ Kh7 4.Kf3=] 3.Rh8+ Kg6 4.Rxh6+ and after 5.Bc1+ mate follows.

297) Restricting the enemy pieces is the theme here, as in #294.
1.Rxf8+! Rxf8 2.Bf7! [paralyzes the rook, while the black king is equally imobile, 2…Kc8 3.Ra8+] 2…d2+ 3.Ke2 d3+ 4.Kd1 and wins.

298) White’s queen is threatened; the f2-pawn is also under attack, while Black seems to have back rank checks covered. Yet, Szabo has noticed something, the white queen is lining up with the black king…
1.Rxh7+ Kg8 2.Rcg7+ Kf8 3.Rxa7! [two mates at h8 and a8 are threatened] 3…Kg8 4.Rhg7+ Kh8 [4…Kf8 5.Rgf7+! Rxf7 6.Qh8 mate.] 5.Rgf7! 1-0 Black king resigns as he loses the rook or gets checkmated.

299) This is position from an actual game played by Teichmann.
1.h6 Kxh6 2.e7 Rb8 3.Kc1 Kg7 4.e8Q! Rxe8 5.Kb2 Re2 6.Ka1 Rxc2 stalemate.

Puzzles 1-99
Puzzles 100-149
Puzzles 150-199
Puzzles 200-249