In the endgame, the king will become the strongest and most active piece. Entering to the opponent’s territory and attacking enemy pawns and pieces is the main responsibility of the king in the endgame. This will allow own pawns to advance. The final outcome of the endgame mainly depends on the king’s placement.
In most of the cases, the best place for the king is the center. If he is not in the center then first the king should be head towards the center. This process is called as “centralization of the king”. When position slowly transferring to the endgame, skilled players usually lead their king closer to the center. This helps them to obtain the positional advantage in the endgame.
Ke5! Centralizing the King
The advantage of the centralized king
- The king can be quickly transferred to any side (kingside or queenside) of the board.
- This allows to cramp the opponent’s forces and threaten of opponent pawns.
Note: All of these are applicable for the minor piece endings with only a few pieces left on the board. The endgames with many pieces (especially with the queen) on the board, the king becomes an attacking object.
In addition, the above position, white has the advantage mainly because of the exposed vulnerable king position of black.