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.
350) 1.Rb5! Re8! 2.Rb1 Rg8! 3.Rb5!=
351) 1…Rb6+ 2.Kc1 Rh6! 1/2 [3.Kd1 Kd3 4.Ke1 Ke3 5.Kf1 Kf3 6.Kg1 Rg6! 7.Kh2 Rh6+ 8.Kg1 Rg6+ 9.Kf1 Rh6=]
352) 1.Kg3 h1Q 2.Re1! Kxe1=
353) 1.Qf3 Rc1+ 2.Qd1 1-0 [2…Rxd1+ 3.Ke2 Rb1 4.d8Q d1Q+ 5.Qxd1 Rxd1 6.Kxd1 +/-]
354) 1…Nxd4 0-1
355) 1.Re8! 1-0
356) 1…h4+ 0-1 [2.Kxh4 Rg2]
357) 1.e8N+! 1-0 [After 1…Kf7 2.Nd6+ Kg6 3.Qxf2 Black is a piece down.]
358) 1…g5! [Black activates his rook by a pawn sacrifice, which decides the game] 2.Nxg5 [White has no useful waiting moves while Black’s king is threatening to march toward the e5-pawn] 2…Rd4 3.Bf1 Rd5 4.Kf4 Rxb5 5.d4 Rb4 6.Ke3 a5 [a very interesting ending – two White’s connected passed pawns are more advanced, yet it is the black a-pawn to decide with support of its rook] 7.d5 a4 8.d6 a3 9.e6 Nxe6 10.Nxe6+ Ke8 11.Nc7+ Kd7 12.Nb5 a2 0-1
359) 1…Qd7+ 2.Ke4 Qc6+ 3.Kf5 Ng7+! 4.Bxg7 Qg6+!! and stalemate follows after any take.
360) 1.Rf3! drawing [any take gives stalemate; else, the black pawns go.]
361) Black is ready to unpin with …Bb5. Can White do anything about it?
1.Ra2! and Black is unable to unpin, if 1…Bb5 2.cxb5, when the white rook is protected; White now wins by advancing the pawns on the K-side.
362) Black’s c-pawn looks very dangerous. Yet, White finds a way to escape:
1.Rf2! Kd4 [1…Kb4 2.Re2! Kb3 3.Re3! Kb2 4.Re4! Kb3 5.Re3=] 2.Ra2 Kd3 3.Ra3! Kd2 [in case Black’s king steps on the c-file, the rook goes to the 8th rank] 4.Ra4! Kd3 5.Ra3=
363) 1.f6! [White gives back material proving the tremendous power of the connected passed pawns; 1…Kf7 2.e6+ Kxf6 3.e7+/-] 1…Rxb4 2.Kf5 Nb2 3.e6! Rxf4+ 4.Kxf4 Nd3+ 5.Kf5 Nxe1 6.f7+ Ke7 7.Kg6 1-0
364) 1.Qf8+ Rxf8 2.Rxf8 mate.
365) 1.a4+ Kb6 2.Rc8 winning.
366) 1.c5! Bc7 2.d5+! [the game continuation was 36.Bc4 winning at move 77] 2…Kg8 [other moves are worse] 3.d6 winning a piece, or else the passed pawn supported by the bishops and the rook would be too much.
367) Can White take the queen? Yes, it is possible: 1.Qxf2 gxf2 2.Rxf5 Kxf5 3.g4 Kxg4 4.Kg2 and the a-pawn decides the game
368) The h4-pawn is under attack. Is there a way for Black to save the game?
1…Rb4! [Black puts himself into a skewer voluntarily!] 2.Kh2 [2.Rxh4+ Kg3 3.Rxb4 stalemate] 2…Ke3 3.Rf5 Rf4= drawing after 20 more moves.
369) 1…Bd6!! and after either 2.Rxd6 h2, or 2.Bxd6 d1Q one of the black pawns promotes.
370) 1…Bf4!! 2.Bxf4 h4 3.Be3 h3 4.Bg1 Ke4 5.a4 bxa4 6.Kxc4 Kf3 7.Kd3 Kg2 0-1
371) 1…Rd1! 0-1 [2.Rxd1 c2]
372) 1.Rg7! saving the a-pawn and getting a winning position, for example 1…Kf6 2.Rg6+ Kf7 3.Rg4 Rc8 4.Bxc4; if immediately 1.Bxc4 Rc8 2.b3, then 2…Rxa6 with equal game.
373) 1.g4 Rh3+ 2.Kf4 Rh4 3.Rxf5! gxf5 4.Kxf5 and Black must give the rook to avoid checkmate.
374) “Black not only has an immensely threatening looking d-pawn just two squares away from queening, but he is attacking the rook with a mate in one threat as well. Khismatullin is White, and what does he play? The idea behind his winning sequence boggles the mind.” www.chessbase.com. Some called it the game/move of the year 2015.
44. Kg1!! [Absolutely fantastic! Not only does White leave the rook hanging with a check, but what is even more incredible is that taking the rook loses by force, chessbase.com commentary] 44…Qd1 [After the best move 44…Rd5 White would continue as in the game with 45.Kh2? Kf6 46.e4 Rc5 47.Qd6+ Kg7 48.Rxd3 Rxc6 49.Qe5+ Rf6 50.Rf3 Qc6 and though White has a terrific bind, there is no clear win. Even so, it would be a very tough defense for Black.] 45. Kh2 Rc6 46. Qe7 Kh6 47. Qf8 Kg5 48. Qf7! [The point. It is now a forced mate. The immediate threat is Qf4 Kh5 g4+ followed by mate, however there is no way to avoid the combination of pawn roller and queen.] 48…Rf6 49. f4 Kh6 50. Qf6 Qe2 51. Qf8 Kh5 52. Qg7 [Threatening Qxh7 mate.] 52…h6 53. Qe5 Kh4 54. Qf6 Kh5 55. f5 gf5 56. Qf5 Kh4 57. Qg6 1-0 [57…d2 (57…h5 58.Qg3#; 57…Qh5 58.g3#) 58.Qxh6+ Qh5 59.g3# with queens on the board, Black gets mated with a pawn!]
375) 1.cxb6! Re1+ [that way Black wins the queen, but loses the game–Smyslov] 2.Rxe1 Qxb5 3.bxa7 [the rook and two passed pawns on the a-file are stronger than the black queen] 3…Qc6 4.Rb1 Kh7 5.Rb8 1-0
376) 1.e7 a2 2.e8Q a1Q 3.e4+ dxe4 4.Qd7+ Ke4 [4…Kc5 5.Qd6+ Kb5 6.Qb6+ Ka4 7.Qa6+] 5.Qf5+ Qd4 6.Qf6 and wins.
377) The theme here is passed pawn creation: 1…b5 2.axb5 Kb6! [not 2…Kxb5 when Black’s a5-a4 would be met by the bxa4+ check and the white king would get back in time] 3.Ke6 a4! 4.bxa4 c4 5.f4 d3 6.cxd3 cxd3 7.f5 d2 8.f6 d1Q 9.f7 Qd8 10.Kf5 Qd6 0-1 White resigns as the black king will take off the Q-side pawns while the queen guards the back rank.
378) White just played 41.Rd7? What elementary tactical weapon did Dr. Lasker employ here?
He made a set up for a discovery attack:
1…Rd3 [discovered attack formation is now set: Rd3-Nd5-Rd7 with Kb1 as the Nd5-discoverer’s target. Now just moving the Rd7 doesn’t help, 1…Rd1+ 2.Kc2 Ne3+ and the Rg2 is lost. Alekhine therefore sacrificed the exchange only to lose the game at move 89.]
379) 1…Rd8 0-1 [if 2.Rxg7, then White’s Rook is trapped, 2…Kf8 3.Rh7 Kg8 4.Rh6 Kg7; else, 2.Rxd8 leads to a lost pawn endgame]
380) White is threatening both the black king and queen (Rd8+), but he is in for a huge surprise.
1…Ng4! 2.g3 [on 2.Nxc7 follows 2…Nf2 with the smothered checkmate] 2…Qc6+ 3.Rg2 Nf2+ 4.Kg1 Nxd1 0-1
381) 1…Ke6! 2.Qxb4 c2 3.Qe1+ Kf7 4.Qc1 a5 5.f5 a4 and there is no defense against the advancement of the a-pawn. It doesn’t help 2.f5+ either, 2…Kd7 3.Qxb4 c2 4.Qb5+ Ke7 5.Qb4+ Kf7 and Black wins. It’s not clear 1…Re7 2.f5!
383) 1…e3 0-1
384) 1…Qb2! 0-1
385) 1…h4! [in the game Black played 1…Kxg5 2.b7 Rb2 3.Kc5 Rc2+ 4.Kb6 Rb2 5.Bb5 and resigned] 2.b7 Rb2 3.Kc5 Rxb7 4.Bxb7 h3!= [either all White’s pawns go, or a theoretical draw with the wrong-color bishop arises if White takes the h-pawn]
386) 1.Bxg5 fxg5 2.f6+ Kg8 [after taking the pawn the queen get lost] 3.Qh6 Qf7 4.Qxg5+ Kh8 5.Qf5 Bf8 6.g5 and the pawns decide.
387) 1.a6 Kc6 2.Ke7 h5 is hopeless. What is White to do?
1.Kc8! [paradoxically, in order to to get the h-pawn, White must go away!] 1…Kc6 [2.a6 was threatening] 2.Kb8 Kb5 3.Kb7 Kxa5 4.Kc6 getting into the box – draw.
388) 1.Qf8+ Kf6 2.Qh8+ Kf5 3.g4+ hxg4 4.Rd5+! exd5 5.Qc8+! Qxc8 stalemate.
389) 1…Rf1+ 2.Rxf1 Qxf2+ 3.Kxh2 gxf1N+ 4.K any move Nxd2.
391) 1.Re8! Rxe8 2.Rxd7+ Kh8 3.Re7 and wins.
392) Can the knight catch the a-pawn?
1.Ba3 f5 2.d5! [a familiar device: White erects barriers in the path of the knight] 2…cxd5 3.a5 Nf6 4.a6 Ne8 [4…Nd7 5.Bc5! Nxc5 6.a7 winning] 5.Bd6! Nxd6 6.a7 and wins. Had White played 1.d5 immediatelly, Black would have drawn by 1…cxd5 2.Ba3 d4! [clearing d5 for the knight] 3.Kg2 f5! 4.a5 Nf6 5.a6 Nd5 6.a7 Nc7.
393) 1.e5! [attack on the strong point which clears up e4 for the knight.] 1…Qxe5 [1…dxe5 2.Ne4 Qf1 3.Qg5; 3.Qf2 is also possible leading to the main line; if Black tries to avoid it, then 3…Qd3+ 4.Qf3 Qxc4 5.Nf6+ with a perpetual.] 2.Qxe5 dxe5 3.Ne4= Kf8 where there are two ways for White to keep equality: 4.Kh4, or construction of a positional fortress with Kf3, c5, g5, Nf6.
394) 1…c2 2.Rxc2 [with a mate threat] 2…Bb2!! [clearing g7 and blocking attack on the a2-pawn for which now a rook is to give] 0-1
395) 1…Bd5 2.Kf1 Be4!!
396) 1.Ra3! Kxa3 [1…b4 2.Rg3 b3 3.Rg5] 2.axb5 winning.