Sometimes defeat seems imminent, but we manage to save a draw which has the taste of victory. Some others victory seems within reach, but it ends up slipping through our fingers. In regard of both cases, there is something which can be done to improve our practical results: improving endgame technique.
In today’s article, you will learn about 5 tips which will prove effective in helping through the process of improving your endgame technique, thus making you a stronger player. Keep reading!
Broaden your knowledge of endgame theory
Many chess players feel very much attracted by opening study, whereas many other prefer focusing on the middlegame. Nevertheless, not that many reach a high competitive level in practice, which might be linked to the fact that there are also not many players who worry too much about their endgame ability. It is extremely important that you know well essential endgame theory as it will stand as a key tool to increase your playing strength.
Activate your king
A common misconception among amateur players lies on the apparent weakness of the king, which ‘always need to be protected’. It is important to understand how to use the king the right way in every situation. In the endgame, it is generally the side with the more active and centralized king who gets the upper hand. This is because the king is a deadly weapon to attack our opponent’s pawns as well as a great defender to protect our own.
Of course, always watch out for the right moment to use your king. It is generally in the endgame when he can take a leading role, as there is a lower risk of being attacked. Activating the king too early, in positions with many pieces which can easily create serious threats, should be avoided.
Push your pawns carefully
Just as the king is not always a weak piece which needs protection, pawns are not disposable units which can be taken lightly. Unless they involve winning combinations or winning heavy material, pawn pushes should always be planned carefully. At the end of the day, pawns are the only pieces which cannot move backwards!
Understand when to exchange
It is important to understand which pieces need to be exchanged in an endgame: when a knight is stronger than a bishop, when to trade a pair of rooks, when to exchange queens… these are all questions without an easy answer. There are no general rules; a proper feeling is only developed by studying relevant games by great endgame players as well as focusing on model positions.
Train your calculation skills
Many chess players have the misconception that endgames are only a matter of technique, without requiring any efforts on calculating variations. Nothing could be further from the truth! Calculation is a key element in many endgames, especially pawn endgames, which can be solved mathematically. Don’t make such a mistake: keep training your calculation and understand its importance in the process of improving your endgame play.
A good technique is fundamental in converting decisive advantages or fighting seemingly hopeless positions.