In chess, some decisions are irreversible. Piece exchanges, for example, can’t be taken back. That’s why you have to think twice about which pieces to exchange in the endgame.
Due to the reduced material in endgame positions, it is even more important than in middlegames to exchange the right pieces. The decision to exchange pieces in the endgame should never be made lightly.
You always need to carefully evaluate a possible transition to a certain type of endgame. In fact, these key decisions of whether or not to trade and which pieces to trade is what separates average players from great players.
In this video, GM Bryan Smith analyzes two of his games in order to explore and teach the principles involved with transitioning from a middlegame to an endgame that suits you.
It’s a free preview of his new six-hour course, Middlegame to Endgame Transition Mastery. Most club players spend far too little time studying endgames.
They aren’t familiar with essential theoretical endgames, nor do they focus on developing good endgame understanding and technique.
However, decent endgame skills are vital for any aspiring chess player. They can enable you to easily win apparently equal positions with only small imbalances, save half a point from clearly worse positions, and avoid stalemate or draw-ish outcomes.
In the course, GM Bryan Smith shows you a lot of key techniques to improve your endgame play. Click here to get instant access with 50% off for a limited time.
Even if you’ve been slightly worse all game, you can turn the tables and win the game with superior endgame technique. And because most club-level players don’t spend enough time studying the endgame, you’re in a good position to really put the pressure on, just like the current World Champ Magnus Carlsen does in his games. He’s famous for grinding away at his opponents, little by little in the endgame, exhausting the opponent and usually managing to find at least a half-point.
Let’s take a look at some of the content GM Smith teaches in the video.
Chess Endgames: Transition
After an exchange of pieces, you need to reevaluate the position. Stay objective when assessing the position. If you constantly overestimate your position, for example, things will likely end terribly.
The position in the diagram to the right is a good illustration of how difficult it can be to exchange pieces in the endgame.
The exchange of queens is a more complicated topic than exchanging any other pair of pieces. You can find plenty of examples by strong grandmasters who fail to make the correct choice in these situations.
In these critical positions, you need to thoroughly evaluate the resulting position after the exchange of queens in order not to end up in a bad endgame.
If you have enough time on the clock, you should not rush with your decision. In the diagram on the right (from the game above, Smith – Lenderman), Black has offered an exchange of queens with 1…Qf7.
Yet, this is a crucial mistake as the pawn endgame is lost for Black. After 2.Qxf7+ Kxf7 3.Kf3! (3.dxe6? e5! -+ and the Black king picks up the White d-pawn), White is going to win this endgame. See the diagram on the left.
When you go for an exchange of pieces, it’s also key to take notice of little details in the position. These nuances play a tremendous role in the endgame.
In the position above, for example, it’s key that the White a-pawn is still on a2 and not on a3. Be sure to watch the video to understand why, as well as see a full analysis of a second game, Smith – Kelley.
Other interesting articles for you:
- General Chess Endgame Principles – US Women’s Chess Champion IM Nazi Paikidze
- Secrets of the Middlegame – Unexpected Tactical Chess Opportunities – GM Danny Gormally
- Isolated Pawns – Chess Endgame Strategy with GM Davorin Kuljasevic
- Chess Endgames with Mark Dvoretsky and Jan Gustafsson – Cutting Off The King