From Garry Kasparov's MasterClass

Endgames - Part 1

In Garry’s experience, the endgame never means the end of excitement. He shows the purity and creativity of the endgame—including drama, shouldering, and zugzwang.

Topics include: Purity of the Endgame • Reti, 1921 • Drama in the Endgame • Shouldering • Precision of Endgames • Opposition • Zugzwang • Zugzwang and Stalemate


In Garry’s experience, the endgame never means the end of excitement. He shows the purity and creativity of the endgame—including drama, shouldering, and zugzwang.

Topics include: Purity of the Endgame • Reti, 1921 • Drama in the Endgame • Shouldering • Precision of Endgames • Opposition • Zugzwang • Zugzwang and Stalemate

Garry Kasparov

Teaches Chess

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Let's talk about the endgame. But before we talk about the endgame, we should probably agree on definition. For many amateurs, beginners, even average or strong club players, endgame is the phase of the game when queens are off the board. I would say it's very primitive. For instance, this famous line of Berlin Defense-- many call it middlegame without queens. Because queens disappear very quickly. But it's still, it's the middlegame. It's even the opening. So in modern chess, the line between openings, middlegame, and endgames sometimes is blurry. Of course, we can divide these phases. And we have to do it just to simplify the studies and just to make sure that we can learn the patterns. But again, we should remember that endgame is the end of the game where you have to know a lot of things, just like two plus two equals four, and many other things a bit more complicated. But what is very important is that you don't have a sense of rejection. Because for many chess players, even strong players, endgame means the end of excitement. Nothing could be further from the truth. So many great things can happen there in different ways. One of the things that makes endgames different from openings and middlegame, it could be pure geometry. Because the board sometimes is empty. There are fewer pieces left. And we already saw from the tactical lessons, the purity of the geometry in the endgame, with deflections, with attractions, so many things that are so pure, because the board doesn't have so many pieces. And your attention is not divided between different segments of the board. Now to understand how beautiful could be endgame and sometimes miraculous, we should start with one of the most famous positions in the endgame. And it has what? King and a pawn versus king and a pawn-- that's it. Are you going to tell me that it's not exciting? It's elementary? Let's try. So let's start with this famous Reti position. King and king, pawn and pawn-- black pawn on h5. He's advancing. And white pawn on c6-- he's just too close to Black's king. If you just look from the pure geometrical point of view, the game is over. Because white king is too far behind the pawn. But the trick is that in the game of chess, geometry could help you to save the game if you literally shooting two birds with one board. So you king comes after this pawn but also keep an eye on this pawn. So we go Kg7. Black pawn advances. Kf6. And if pawn keeps advancing, then our king-- forget about this pawn. It's already on h3. It's too close. But we go on e6. And our pawn now is protected. And our pawn will advance as well. Of course, Black can try to win this pawn first-- king B6. But then our king continues his journey, keeping an eye on two directions. King E5-- and now if Black takes this pawn, then our king is in ...

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.

Great. Learnt a lot about competition, not only in chess, but life itself.

What a great class! Beginner to Advanced concepts are covered in a meaningful and intelligent way. Gary Kasparov's genius continues to amaze me!

Really found the conversations with Kasparov enthralling and enlightening. The strength of the class is not in learning X's and O's of chess--it's gaining insights on how to be a stronger and more effective person. It is learning the nature of excellence.

It was very interesting. The quality of the content and the course is amazing. I would recommend it to evrybody.


Rowan S.

Advanced players might know all this, but I'd never seen most of it. Great lessons here for a player at my level. Thank you!

Alberto O.

ok got it! The White King diagonal moving in the black squares save everything!!! Great!!

Alberto O.

Hi from Alberto. I'm a chess beginner player and don't understand the first Reti example. First move White King g7 and if Black move King b6 how can the White not loose the game? Thanks.

Gary P.

Openings & middle-games are in a constant state of flux but endgames are constant. This is where we make our biggest improvement studying Philidor, Lucena &Vancuro positions are a must. I get more satisfaction from out playing someone in the endgame than check mating them and for good reason.

Thomas M.

I'll definitely watch this one again, I learned about End Games first, but only about mating tricks.


Judging by his examples, Kasparov must have won every single game he ever played! More humility, and less arrogance, would serve his teaching style better.

Morgan T.

Thanks for this one. I learned quite a bit about the endgame - one of my weaknesses in chess.

Santiago M.

Bravo Garry!!! You are the best of all times.... Regards from Barcelna/Spain

David B.

The section on precision is rather ironic as Garry switches up the positions midstream and makes the precise positioning get confused. Clarity is very important in order to spot these situations in games and handle them with precision. I will try working with the appropriate pgn files, if they are correct.

David B.

Zugzwang - if a mating attack is not in the offering, striving for zugzwang where the opponent has no good moves left, seems like a worthy goal. So how does one go about that? I would assume this ties into positional play, that 5% of the game that's not specifically tactical. One would think there are a few tricks to this worth learning. What are they? How does one learn them? This seems like a good topic for further study in the future.