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ChessOps - The Endgame

The endgame is the third and last phase of a game of chess (after the opening and the middlegame). Its start is not precisely defined but it begins when there are very few pieces left on the board, such that pawn play (seeking promotion) becomes of paramount importance. Mating attacks (the hallmark of the middlegame) are no longer likely and the kings become increasingly active, usually to help (or prevent) one side pressing home a slight advantage.

Among common characteristics of endgame play are the following:

  1. Zugzwang - where either player having to move is at a disadvantage. More about
  2. Squeeze - one player (but not both) would be at a disadvantage if having to move. More about
  3. The Opposition - a relationship between kings whereby one can block or advance). More about
  4. Distant Opposition - the power of a king to block (or advance) from a distance. More about
  5. Blocked Pawns - with help from a king used effectively, they can win the endgame. More about

A separate page about checkmates details the minimum of pieces necessary to force checkmate against a solitary king (and has links to two famous mating attacks in typical endgame positions).

Basics - Terminology Endgame End.1 - Zugzwang Basics - FAQ
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