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Sports & Gaming

Case Study: Endgame

Garry Kasparov

Lesson time 18:24 min

Garry focuses on pawn endgames and the drama they can create. An appetite for the beauty of the endgame is one of the best ways to improve your chess.

Garry Kasparov
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Garry Kasparov teaches you advanced strategy, tactics, and theory in 29 exclusive video lessons.
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It's time now to talk about endgames. And I know many players, they don't have an appetite for studying endgames because it's boring, it's not exciting. On the contrary, so much excitement. And since we don't have much time, and the endgames, they are unlimited. It's not just computer endgames, five, six, seven pieces where machines already calculated everything to move 525. We are talking about practical endgames. And I thought that maybe we could stick only with pawn endgames. Simple, just pawns, no pieces. There's so much drama there. And by the way, interesting rules. One of the most amazing things is geometry. So the chessboard is eight squares by eight squares, but geometry with the kings because king is a king. King is the only piece left on board. And it's very important to move correctly. And sometimes the road to victory or to a draw, it's not the one that looks shortest, visually, but something else. So let's start with position so. Put you on the white side. So it's king on h4 and the pawn on b6. Black pawn is on b7. King goes on b1. So what do you think about this position? So kings are far away from the pawns. Now, which king comes first? Let's cover it. Kg5, Kc2, Kf6, Kb3 Ke7, Kc4, Kd6, Kb5, Kc7, Ka6. Boom. White lost, yes? OK, so now we've established that white cannot win this pawn. So white chooses to save the game. So the only way to save the game, we know, is opposition. So you have to make sure that when black king takes this pawn, where should be our king? Right in front of him. The moment it happens, where we should be? b? b? b4. 4. b4. So b4. So that's the-- OK, we established that. Now, we know we cannot win. We should save the game. The moment he takes on b6, we should be on b4. Now let's try to get there. How do we go there? You can go like you're going towards the pawn, but not-- That was a pawn, but now this important thing. Don't forget the black king may try to do two things. You know, shooting two birds with one bullet. It's what we call shouldering in chess. So it could prevent our king from coming there. So let's say if we go Kg4, what happens? Why this move is bad? Kc2? Kc2. I go Kf3. Kd3? Exactly. And so it's here. And now king can not go around. So since we already established this move was bad, so how do we go to b4-square? What is the-- not the shortest, because technically it's all about 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. But if we go there, black king will find a way to stop our king. So how do we go there-- Kg5. No. g5? If it's there, we have to be here, and what square-- what is this? It's actually it's like stairs. How do we go there? So we go here. Here, Kc2. All right. And Kf4. f4? I block. I block it again. Blocked again. ...

Elevate your game

At age 22, Garry Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion. After beating Bobby Fischer’s peak rating, he outranked his fiercest competitors for over twenty years. Now, Garry is ready to share the chess strategy that made him a six-time world champion. Through detailed lessons, including his favorite openings and advanced tactics, you will develop the instincts and philosophy to become a stronger player.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I feel it was a great class. It really inspired me. Tomorrow I will watch Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana play live in London. So it was a double reason to finish this course. I have always concentrated on openings, Kasparov in this course stressed the need for studying end games.

It's amazing how well Kasparov can explain tactics and strategies to a lay audience. This is a fantastic class!

I will start spending more time on this one. I enjoyed that Garry walks you through positions on the board. I also like the background stories.

My chess skills and basic knowledge of the game has increased three fold. Setting up Skewers is my new strategy.


Kier E.

You have to replay these endgames to really focus and understand them - I once asked a chess master how I could improve my game after losing to him. He said focus on the endgame because it's the end of the game.

Ayan A.

If King white in 16:46 goes to a7 or is it a2 then won’t it be a checkmate if you put black queen on a3 or is it a6 also when I mean that I mean not diagonal from white rook

Fernando M.

For me, it´s exciting and easier studying the openings and it´s harder and boring studying the endgames. I don´t know how to better this trouble.

Gary P.

The nice thing is he tells you just as Karpov has that you will make your greatest improvement by mastering endgames. So master rook endgames like philidor, lucena and vancura and use openings and defences that give you the best chance of getting to rook and pawn endgames.

Michael O.

It looks easy, but when I am in the middle my game gets very sloppy and I rarely get to an end game.

Xavier R.

Was great, but for me (amateur) I need that he can finish the example, because he give it like if everyone knows how to end it. I dont know how to end it. at least two games, The final and the one that has the black spawn and black king vs white king all in second column.

Larry R.

Playing endgames definitely requires a different mind set! Hopefully i will get a good handle on it.

Marco D.

I was able to see this video. It is really amazing, like the previuos one. So nice exemples of particular positions in the endgame

Dan T.

Seems to be so true to study endgames. Sure hear that a lot. I better get started.