Chess/The Endgame/Endgame Studies and Puzzles
Note: this section is not yet finished. Answers and diagrams may be missing or incomplete. If you can help expand this module, please jump right in and edit!
This section contains several positions similar to those discussed in previous subsections of the Endgame module. They are designed to test your endgame skills by using practical situations you might encounter in a real game. Novices should read the "Easy" section, while more advanced players can go to "Intermediate or "Advanced" for more of a challenge. (Some of the "Intermediate" and "Advanced" puzzles come with an answer key, while in others the solution is worked into the commentary.)
Study 1: King and Pawn vs King
In this position (Diagram 1) who is winning? Or assuming correct play by both players what will be the result of the game? Before answering, look at Diagram 2.
In diagram 2, white has a clear plan, promote his pawn to a queen, however black can stop that. White cannot immediately push his pawn. In diagram 2 if white pushes his pawn with a7+ black can play Ka8 and the game is drawn. If the black king is on a8 instead of b8, then a7 will also be a stalemate. So white must dislodge the black king from the a8 and b8 squares. White can't do that, because no matter what white does, the black king can simply move back and forth between a8 and b8 therefore the game is drawn.
A lot of times you will be offered a trade of material that results in an end game, or you may want to figure out if its best for you to offer a trade to enter the end game. You may play a game of chess and in doing so do a long calculation where diagram 1 is as far as you can calculate. In which case you do not need to do anymore calculations because you already know that it's a draw!
By understanding the outcome of positions without needing to calculate all the different variations, you can make accurate evaluations of trades that may be decisive. There are several details that must be kept in mind for this position drawn. White cannot have any other pawns, if he does then black is lost. Also, the black king must be able to get to the corner of the board because, if possible, the white king will shield the black king away and white will win.
Diagram 4 is a famous position by the famous puzzle composer Selivanov. At first glance it appears that white is lost. His king is outside the "square" of the black pawn and his bishop cannot attack the queening square of the pawn. However, white has a very unintuitive move that saves the day. It requires you to visualise ahead two moves for both sides. Can you find it? (Roll your mouse between the [answer] tags to see the answer.)
[answer] It is tempting to check right away, but this does not work. 1. Kd2+? Kf4 when white's king cannot reach the pawn and his bishop cannot go to e4 and protect the h1 queening square. For the same reason, 1. Ba2, hoping to play Bd5, does not work either because of ..Ke4! blocking the bishop. So the correct solution is 1. Kd3!! and now:
1...h2 results in 2. Kd4+ followed by 3. Be4 when black cannot protect h1 for his pawn.
Any black king move allows white to play either Kd4 or Ke3 as appropriate, followed by Be4. [answer]