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.
The solutions to the problems below can be found at the end of this page.
300) 1…Rh6+! [1…Rg1+ 2.Kf7 Ra1= is also possible here] 2.Kf7 Rxf6+! draw.
301) 1.Kc4 a3 2.Kb3 a2 3.Kb2 Rh2 4.Ka1 Rxg2 stalemate (this is one of pieces composed after Teichmann’s #299).
302) 1…Rh1+! 2.Kxh1 exf2 threatening both 3…fxe1Q and 3…Rh8+.
303) 1.Rxf6 Rg1+ [1…Rxg5 2.Rh6+ Kg8 3.Rh8; 1…Nxf6 2.Bxf6 Kh7 3.Rxh5 Kg8 4.Rh8] 2.Kd2 Rg2+ 3.Ke3 1-0
305) Both knights are in peril. How are they to help each other?
1.Nd6+ Kd7 [1…Kc7 2.Nb5+ and 3.Nbc3] 2.Ne4! Bxd1 3.Kd2! and wins as the secondary range of the knight extends over the whole route of the Bishop’s escape due to the possible checks on c5 and f6. It is remarkable how the knight’s effectiveness in its secondary range let it act almost like a bishop, that is diagonally [Jenö Bán, The Tactics of Endgames] .
306) 1.Be4!+ Qxe4 2.Qg7+!
307) In the game White played 1.d7? which lost to 1…Rxd7 2.Kc4 Rc7!
Do you see how White could have reached the safe haven?
1.b4! Rxb4 [1…Rxd6 2.bxc5 is also a draw] 2.d7 Rd4 [2…Rb8 3.Kc4 and 4.Kxc5] 3.b4! [after 3…Rxd7 4.bxc5=]
308) The theme here is how king and pawn capture a trapped rook.
1.Qf8+ Kd7 2.Qf5+ Kd8 3.Qxc8!+ Rxc8 4.c6 e6 5.e3 e5 6.e4 Ra8 7.Kxa8 Ke7 8.Kb8 Kd6 9.Kb7
309) 1.Qg7! 1-0
310) 1.Rf4+ Kb5 2.Rf7! Qc5 [on 2…Qb6 or 2…Qb8 follows 3.Rb7 Qxb7 4.Nxd6+; 2…Qa6? 3.Nc7+] 3.Rf5! d5 [3…Qxf5 4.Nxd6+] 4.Rxd5! Qxd5 5.Nc7 and wins.
311) 1.Ra3+ Bxa3 2.b3#
312) 1.Rc4 Rd2+ 2.Ke1 Rd3 3.Ke2 Re3+ 4.Kd2 Re5 5.Re4 Rg5 6.Rg4 Rxg4 7.Bxd5+ and wins.
313) 1.O-O-O Nd3+ 2.Rxd3 O-O [the only way to stop checkmate, but now the other rook decides] 3.Rg3#
314) 1.Ng1 Ne3+ [1…e1=Q Nf3+; 1…Nf4+ 2.Kh1! e1=N 3.Nf3+! Nxf3 stalemate]
2. Kh3! [if the king goes to f2 it gets under check; on f3 it is in the way of its knight; if 2.Kh2? e1=N!]
2…Nf4+ [2… e1=N 3.Nf3+! Nxf3]
3.Kh2 Ng4+ [3…e1=N 4.Nf3+ Nxf3+ 5.Kg3 and one of the knights is gone 5…Ke2 6.Kxf4; after 3…Nf1+ 4.Kh1 e1=N 5.Nf3+ Nxf3 stalemate again]
4.Kh1! Nf2+ [4…e1=Q; 4…e1=N 5.Nf3+ Nxf3]
5.Kh2 e1=N 6.Nf3+! Nxf3 7.Kg3!! [An amusing position – all three knights are under attack, if one of them goes it is a theoretical draw; an attempt to protect them gives another stalemate.] 7…Ke3 stalemate!
317) White’s men seem perfectly coordinated. Yet, Black played
43…g5!! [stability of the e5 knight is now questioned] 44. f5 Rd5! 45. Re7 Rxb5 46. f6 Rxe5+ [46…Rb8 – to parry 47.Re8 mate – doesn’t work: 47.Rg7+ Kf8 48.Nd7+] 47. Rxe5! Kf7 48. Rf5 [White plans to unpin the knight and after Nd3-e5 get his Q-side pawns to motion] 48…Bb7! 49. Kd2 Bc8 50. Ne5+ Kf8 51. Rxg5 Rxa5!! 52. Nd7+ [immediate draw gives 52.f7 Rxe5 53.Rxe5 Bxg4] 52…Bxd7 53. Rxa5 Bxg4 [all attempts to win this position didn’t succeed – Black doesn’t even need his h-pawn to do so] 54. Ke3 Be6 55. Kf4 Bc4 56. Ra7 h5 57. Kg5 h4 58. Kxh4 Bb3 59. Kg5 Bc4 60. Rc7 Ba2 [a theoretical draw according to chess endgame manuals] 61. Rc1 Bd5 62. Kf5 Kf7 63. Ke5 Bb3 64. Rc7+ Kf8 65. Rb7 Bc4 66. Rb4 Ba2 67. Kf5 Bd5 68. Kg6 Bf7+ 69. Kg5 Bd5 70. Rh4 Bb3 71. Rh8+ Kf7 72. Rh7+ Kf8 73. f7 Ke7 74. Kg6 Bc4 75. Rg7 Bb3 76. f8=Q+ Kxf8 77. Kf6 Ke8 78. Re7+ Kd8 1/2-1/2
318) 1.Rg8!! Rxa4 2.Rh5+! gxh5 3.g5#
319) 1.Re7+ Kh8 1.Kh6 Rge8 3.Rdd7 Kg8 4.Rg7+ Kh8 5.Rh7+ Kg8 6.Rdg7+ Kf8 7.Rh8 mate.
320) 1.Bc5 Bb6 2.Qf4+ 1-0
321) 1…Qd3!! 2.Qxd3 [1…Rxd3 2.exd3] 2…exd3 3.Rb1 Bxg4 0-1
323) Ah, that pin again, 1.Rb1 Nd7 2.Qd4! Qxd4 3.Rxb7#
324) 1.Qc8! 1-0 [1…d2 2.Rxc7+ Kf6 3.Rc6+ Ke7 4.Re6+; 1…Kd6 2.Qd8+ Ke5 3.Rxc7; 1…Rxb7 2.Qxc5+ Ke6 3.Qc6+]
325) White has two mighty bishops. Still, it’s not that easy to win.
1.Be3! Rxe3 2.Bc4 and there is no way out against Ba6+ or Be6+
326) 1.Kc6!! g1Q 2.Nxh4 followed by 3.Nhf3 imprisoning Black’s King.
The beauty of this study lies in having the first move produce the greatest possible degree of surprise and in the idea of constructing a cage around Black’s King. By all rules, 1.Kc6 looks awkward even ridiculous – the last move to think about. After you learn the solution, the idea is clear: White’s King avoids intermediate checks and creates a zugzwang position! [GM Mihal Suba in Dynamic Chess Strategy]
327) Shatranj is the forerunner of chess. As early as the ninth century, Shatranj masters were composing “play-and-win” studies. There is some 2,000 so called mansubas in the old Arabic/Persian/Turkish manuscripts. Here’s one from Zairab Katai, one of the first Shatranj players, who lived during the caliphate of al-Mamun (813- 833). We know that he played in the presence of the Caliph in Horasan, modern Turkey, in 819. Katai was particularly interested in Rook vs Knight endings (the most powerful pieces back then).
After 1. Re3! Ng1 White must avoid 2. Kf4 Kd4! because whatever he does harms his position.
Instead 2. Kf5! Kd4 3. Kf4 puts Black in what GM Yuri Averbakh said may be the earliest version of Zugzwang. Black has no good move since 3. … Kc4 4. Kg3! Kd4 5. Re1 loses. Purists say this is not Zugzwang but rather a “squeeze.” (GM Andy Soltis, Chess Life, July 2009)
328) 1.Nh5+! R:h5 2.Rxg6+! Kxg6 3.Re6#
329) That night Bronstein couldn’t sleep. Past midnight he wakes up Konstantinopolsky, his second, “Rook takes pawn!”
1.Rxa7! The point is 1…Re5? 2.Nf6 with advantage to White, for instance, 2…Kg7 3.e8Q+ Rxa7 4.Qb8.
What can White do? The most sensible course is 1…Rb8 2.Rb7 Ra8 3.Ra7 or 3.Rxb6 Re5 4.Nf6+ Kf7 5.e8Q+ Raxe8 6.Nxe8 Rxe8 7.Rxd6 Re4, drawing (Larsen).
330) 1.Kd5! Kxa5 2.Kc5 b4 3.axb4mate.
331) 1…Rc4! 2.bxc4 Bc5 3.Kg2 Bxf2 4.Kxf2 b3 0-1
332) 1.Qd8+ Kg7 2.Qd1 Bc4 3.Qd4+ 1-0
333) 1.Bxd7+! Kxd7 2.Rf7+ Ke8 3.Rh7 c4 4.Kd6
334) 1.Rd4! [line closing] 1…Kxd4 2.d7 1-0
335) 1…Rxg2 2.Nxg2 h3 0-1
336) 1…Qxf2 2.Qxf2 d2 3.c5 d1N! 0-1
337) Which pawn promotes?
1.Kg8 Nd3 2.f7 Bg7 3.Kxg7 Nc5 4.Kf8!! Nd7+ 5.Ke8 Nf6+ 6.Kd8 Nh7 7.Kc7 +/-
338) 1.Nc1 Bb4 2.Nd3 Bc3 3.Nf4+ Ke7 4.Nxd5+! cxd5 5.c6.
339) 1…Kh8! [1…Bc3? 2.h8Q! +/-] 2.g7 Bxg7 3.f6 Bxf6!=
340) 1…Bf6+! [to close the 6th rank against …Qxe6+] 2.exf6 Kg6 [threatening 3…Qh5#] 3.g4 Qe1+
341) 1.Re8+ Ka7 [1…Kc7 2.Qa5+ b6 3.Qe5+ Kd7 4.Qe7#] 2.Ra8+! Kb6 3.Qa5+!! Kxa5 4.axb7+ Kb6 5.b8Q+ Kc5 6.Ra5+ 1-0
342) 1…Rd1+ 2.Ka2 [2.Kb2 Nd3+] 2…Ra1+! 3.Kxa1 [3.Kb3 3.Rb1] 3…Nc2+ 4.Kb2 Nxb4 5.Kc3 Nc6 and Black won the endgame.
343) This is position that could have arisen in the game after 1.d4, attacking the knight (instead, White played 1.Kg1 and resigned).
What is the best Black’s reply here?
1…e2! 2.dxc5 [on 2.Kg1 there is the same reply] 2…Rd8!
344) 1.Rc7+ Kd4 2.Rd7+ Ke4 3.Re7+ Kf5 [3…Kf4 4.Rf7+!] 4.Re1! drawing.
346) 1.Bg2! Rh5 [1…Rxg2=] 2.Bd5! Rh2 [2…Re5 3.Ba2 Re2 4.Bb1 Kb3 5.Bf5 Ra2 6.Kb1 Rb2 7.Ka1 Re2 8.Bb1=] 3.Bg2! Kb3 4.Bd5 Ka3 5.Bg2!=
347) 1.Kd5! Ra2! [1…e1Q 2.Kd6+/- (with the idea 3.Rc7+ and 4.Rd8) 2…Qe6 3.Kxe6 Rf2 4.Rfg8 Ra2 5.Rg3+/-] 2.Rgg8 e1Q 3.Rd8= with perpetual.
348) 1…Qe1+ 2.Kg2 [2.Kxe1=] 2…Qg1+ 3.Kxg1=
349) 1.Qe5 [also winning was 1.Qd5 Rc7 (1…bxc6 2.Qxf7 Kh8 3.Qf6 Kg8 4.Qg6+ Kf8 5.Qf5 +/-) 2.Ne5+/-; 1.Rd8 Rxc6 2.Qd4+/-] 1…Qxe5 2.Ne5+/- 1-0