The endgame transition in chess is a very important strategical tool which can be utilized in various situations. This will e useful for both weaker and the stronger side.
A endgame transition is a forced exchange of the majority of battle units. Such exchanges result in qualitative changes of he position as instead of the strategical principles of the middlegame now the laws of the endgame are applied.
In what cases is it favourable to apply this tool? A transition to the endgame can pursue the following goals.
01. Realization of a material advantage
If you already have a material advantage then it is recomandable to go for simplification. Exchanging pieces will lead to endgame. It is necessary to remember some exceptions (read material advantage for more information).
02. Realization of a positional advantage
When you have a positional advantage it is not always beneficial to go for an ending. Following factors should be taken into account when making this decision.
- Presence of a passed pawn or the opportunity to create one
- Availability of weak and/or passed pawns in the opponent’s camp
- Higher activity of your pieces
(i) Presence of a passed pawn or the opportunity to create one
It is most favorable if this pawn is protected and remote, for example as in the game between Larsen vs. Gligoric.
In this position white made the decision to immediately proceed to the ending in which despite the material equality he can create a remote passed pawn on the queenside (c pawn). This circumstance decided the outcome of the struggle.
(ii) Availability of weak and/or passed pawns in the opponent’s camp
This factor is important only if you have the opportunity of attacking these pawns with your pieces. Here is as example taken from the game smyslov s. Dorfman.
In this position black decides to exchange queens, thus transferring the game to a winning ending as white cannot protect his weak pawns on the queenside.
(iii) Higher activity of your pieces
Having the more active piece position increases the chances of intruding into opponent’s camp and attacking his pawns. S good example is the position from the game Karpov vs. Pomar.
White realizes his positional advantage (space and active piece position) by trading queens with transition to endgame. About realizing the advantage of the bishop pair by means of transition to the endgame, please read the two bishop advantage article.
03. Neutralization of attacking opportunities of the opponent and construction of a fortress
At this point you will probably notice a contradiction concerning the use of the tool we are examining. On the one hand it is applied with the purpose of realizing a material or positional advantage, and on the other hand it can be like a life buoy for the weaker side in difficult positions. This contradiction is connected with the objective complexity of the game of chess.
It has to set of valid positional actors. However, the value of each of this factors always depends on the concrete position. To learn to take into account these factors always depends on the concrete position
To learn to take into account these factors requires a deep knowledge in the filed of endgame theory and endgame strategy. Going for an ending with the purpose of neutralizing the attacking potential of the opponent includes first of all the trade of his active pieces in order to reach a more or less equalized position afterwards. If you cannot get an equal position, try to build fortress.
The fortress in when the weaker side has deployed its pieces in such a way that it can keep alance despite the opponent’s material or positional advantage. Here is an example of such fortress with opposite squares bishop
Black has a big material advantage,but he cannot win. The white king prevents the black king from moving forward and the Bishop locks the black pawns.
Let us now look some games featuring transition to the endgame.
This game was already discussed in the section material advantage. This time pay special attention to the fortress which was constructed black in the end of the game.