Endgame Training Positions
"Play the opening like a book, the middle game like a magician, and the endgame like a machine." - Rudolf Spielmann
"In order to improve your game, you must study the endgame before everything else, for whereas the endings can be studied and mastered by themselves, the middle game and the opening must be studied in relation to the endgame." - José Raúl Capablanca
Why you should practice endgames
Learning certain fundamental endgames is an important part of every chess training. However, I noticed that many players have great difficulty of applying what they learned in their games. They have either forgotten what they learned, or have not practiced the endgames enough.
That's why I decided to add endgames to ChessPuzzle.net, and Puzzle Academy. Now you can get a lot of practice of endgames, and learn and train them systematically and personalized with Puzzle Academy.
However, not all of these endgames are proper puzzles. Let me introduce endgame training positions:
Endgame training positions
In endgames there are sometimes a lot of different ways to win certain positions. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to actually win a certain endgame position in practice, even if it can be achieved with many different moves.
In this endgame, the black queen has to force white's king to move in front of the pawn, and then approach with the black king. There are many ways to achieve this. In the start position, all four possible checks with the queen are winning. You can try it by clicking on the diagram.
In some endgames, you have to find a certain move or manoeuvre, but you don't have to play it immediately and can wait for any number of moves, as in the following example:
This is the famous Lucena position. White can win with the manoeuvre called "building a bridge", which starts with Rf1+ and Rf4. But White can also win with Re4 and Rf4+, or make a waiting move with the rook and win later. Try to win the Lucena position by clicking the diagram.
In some endgames you have to walk with the king to a pawn, or out of checks, but there are many different routes you can take, for example:
Here White has to find the only moves 1.Rb8 Ra8 2.Kb7 and now the king has to walk toward the black rook to get ouf of checks. There are thousands of different routes that the king can take.
When constructing a puzzle for ChessPuzzle.net, the algorithm tries to find all possible solutions. However, if there are hundreds or thousands of different solutions, even if we would calculate everything, it would be impossible to display all of the solutions in the solution view.
That's why I'm adding endgame training positions to ChessPuzzle.net. These aren't puzzles, but many of them are as interesting, and as much fun as puzzles.
There are some differences between training positions and puzzles:
- On the puzzle page, these are shown as "Training" instead of "Puzzle".
- On the solution page, only one solution is shown instead of all possible solutions (the quickest solution).
Improvements to the solution page
To make the solution page work better for endgame training positions, I've made a few improvements to the solution page. These improvements are also available for all puzzles:
- You can now see your own moves on the solution page.
- Texts "Solution" and "Your moves" are added to the notation.
- Different background colours are used for the solution (green), threat and avoid variations (red), your moves and analysis (sepia), and the game continuation (white or black, if you are using dark mode).
- If you made multiple attempts to solve a puzzle by using the buttons "Take back" or "Retry", all of your attempts are now shown in the notation on the solution page.
These work with the existing features: You can click in the notation to switch to any of these lines, and then replay the moves with the replay buttons or the cursor keys, make your own moves on the board, and get help from an engine.
Here are some more difficult examples. You can try to solve them by clicking the diagrams:
In some endgames you are down material, but if you know how, you can still achieve a draw. That's why there are some endgame training positions with the task of drawing.
In drawn endgames, there usually is not even a "quickest" solution. The solution view will just show one line with example play instead.
In an endgame, you can achieve a draw by:
- Repeating the position three times
- Trading down to an endgame with even material
- Trading down to an endgame with material insufficient for checkmate
- Promoting a pawn to equalize
- Playing 50 moves without capture and pawn moves (the 50 moves rule)
Here are some examples for drawn endgames. Click the diagrams to solve the puzzles and view the solutions:
How to access the endgame training
To access endgame training, go to the Filter, and select the "Endgame training Win" or "Endgame training Draw" task. You can also change the difficulty, or select specific endgames by selecting "Endgame" positions, and then choosing from the drop down. Please note that not all types of training are available yet.
Learn and practice endgames systematically with Puzzle Academy
You can now also learn and practice endgames systematically and personalized with Puzzle Academy! In the new "Endgames" course, the endgames are partitioned into skills by situation, and into different levels by difficulty.
For example, the fundamental endgame of queen versus pawn has been split into the following skills for Puzzle Academy:
- Winning against another pawn
- Drawing with the bishop pawn
- Winning against the bishop pawn
- Drawing with the rook pawn
- Winning against the rook pawn
This covers all situations that are possible in this endgame. You can learn all of them by unlocking the corresponding levels. Puzzle Academy makes sure that you master them instead of forgetting what you learned, by adding them to your personalized practice pool.
You can see the curriculum of the "Endgames" course here: Endgames curriculum
Join Puzzle Academy
Start learning and practicing endgames with Puzzle Academy. Puzzle Academy is the most comprehensive tactics course, and personalizes your learning and practice based on your strengths and weaknesses. Join Premium now and start learning chess tactics systematically with Puzzle Academy.
Future development and your feedback
Work has already started on additional endgames and levels, stay tuned for the next update.
As always your feedback is important and welcome, please contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Founder of ChessPuzzle.net, International Correspondence Chess Master