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Sports & Gaming

Endgames - Part 3

Garry Kasparov

Lesson time 14:32 min

Garry believes miracles happen when you know how to create them. While most players spend time on openings, you can make game-changing miracles by studying the rich possibilities of endgames.

Garry Kasparov
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There are also some paradoxes that we should remember. Of course in pawnless endgames, most of the positions are drawn. Of course computers proved that now some of the positions that we always believed were drawish now could be won in a few hundred moves. But there's one position with a pawn and a lone, enemy king that cannot be won. So we have a bishop and a pawn. And if the bishop doesn't control the square of promotion, the game is a draw. So that's very important because many, many positions could have this one as the target. Very often you can work out your defense based on this assumption that if you can eliminate all the pieces except pawn, rook's pawn, and the bishop of the wrong color-- not the same color as the promotion square-- then you can save the game. And you have to be aware that your opponent can be also looking for these tricks. That's an important rule. And also remember that having king there is vital. Because if king is not in the corner, then it's not a draw. So for instance-- if you can, for instance, cut the opponent's king from the corner, then it's-- the game is lost. So if black goes here and your king manages to be here, it's another draw. And also you should remember that if you have extra pawns, then it could make position tricky. If you had one black pawn on g7 or g6, it's still a draw. Because if you eventually stalemate black there, so it can just simply move the pawn, and it-- then nothing happens. Because stalemate is the only idea. But if, by accident, black has two pawns-- two doubled pawns-- you may call another case of interference or distraction because those two pawns are not playing into black's hands. Actually it helps white win. I played this game against Nigel Short in 1989, reversed colors. I played with black. And it ended up with me going just with my king going around. Because if king goes there, bishop goes there, for instance, it's just-- and then black-- either black king has to leave the corner, which is bad, or it goes there and then we just do a stalemate. And basically now pushing these pawns and creating the stalemate threat time and again, it ends up with this position. So, for instance, we reach this position and either black goes on h6 and my king goes behind. Or it goes there, then I stalemate, forcing g4, take. And this pawn-- this pawn is there. So it has to play g5. And then I go back with my bishop and win. So there are always exceptions. There are always new answers. But, again, it's important to remember-- bishop and a pawn, a rook pawn, versus a lonely king may not be a winning position if your bishop doesn't control the promotion square. And to help you to understand the geometry of the board-- it's an empty board. Nothing is there. I would like to share a couple of thoughts on domination. What is domination? It's when we dominate. But do you think domination means ...

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.

lots of much more excellent moves and far better decision making. i love Garry Kasparov and i am soo appreciative he has educated me by his intense work and fantastic lifestyle and teaching manner. this class and his class are way beyond expectation and are excellent by measure and within immeasurable infinite innumrable grace and blessings. thank you soo very very very very much!

Thanks to Garry Kasparov, I now know a wider variety of moves and have a new insatiable desire to learn more about chess.

I loved the way how Garry explained chess. The best is to mix inspiration and actual tactics, strategy. Well done!

I was able to become better at chess and I see chess differently. Thanks Mr. Kasparov.


Robert G.

Years ago I thought I played a good endgame. I really didn't and plan on reviewing these endgame chapters a few times. I love Gary's enthusiasm for the beauty of the game.

Andrew D.

But you CAN mate the black king in the opposite color square of the bishop! (9min 20sec into the video) King on f8, knight on f7, bishop on f5! Checkmate.

K F.

Really brilliant I love Garry concepts and enthusiasm! Really learning to do the hard yards of endgame!

Larange T.

If there wasn't any Masterclass or Garry Kasparov , I would have never competed in tournaments nor would have perfected my Bishop & Knight checkmate.


What you said about endgames being important is very true. I won a couple of games at my chess club at school with endgame checkmates such as Queen and King mate, Ladder mate and I'd never thought I'd use the Rook and King mate but I actually did and it worked! Thanks for teaching the Knight and Bishop mate.

Gary P.

King, knight & Bishop was/is great but hard to pull off. I got a draw this season when i should have lost the game as my opponent had that combination and i had my king in the centre of the board and we both had 10 minutes on the clock left. I asked him if he knew the 50 move rule he said no and offered the draw. That W technique is worth remembering.

Elena S.

W-Rule! Thank's Garry for showing another technique on how to cut space around opponent's King and force it to go to a specific direction. Recently, I found another technique and studied it. It is called the Triangle System. But for me it's hard to visualize and manage all those blocked squares easily around the enemy King, especially during the game when I'm under time and psychological pressure. I have to practice a lot, perhaps! Here is my question for everybody in our class about the end game with pawns: do you know any good articles about corresponding squares? This is the theory when you are in CLOSED DIFFICULT position with pawn endgame, in order to get draw, you have to step to the specific CORRESPONDING squares. I found it in some lessons at but they didn't explain the theory. The father of this theory, they told, was Bianchetti. I looked it up in internet and found that many famous players discovered or contributed to this theory, such as Averbakh and Maizelis and even Lasker. It's kind of a complicated way to understand space and relationship between figures on the board, but that is maybe why it is very desirable for me to know. It looks like the computer is studying but those days there weren't any computers at all! Seems, like GM's do their calculation differently, but they had the same idea in mind, I think. If somebody knows about it please give me a tip: links or books for studying! Much Thanks!

Michael O.

I too tend to give up if I get behind on material toward the end of the game. I myself need to be more passionate about my end game. I fully admit my end game is weak, and I make many mistakes. This lesson will help me study harder.


I think this was my favorite lesson - domination was explained in an interesting way and he made the B and N mate seem fun. Also, good bit of advice about watching a computer play out an endgame with few pieces left. Good stuff.

Jehsuamo C.

Gary, I am currently an unrated rated player probably around Class D or C strength. I want to thank you for showing me how to checkmate with a bishop and a knight. I have tried to learn it from multiple sources, but only through your videos has it stuck and I have managed to do so against the drill on I do also want to state that after seeing this endgame series it is not meant for complete beginners for the game of chess. I knew about opposition and how to checkmate with two bishops. However I think that a person who only knows the rules of the game of chess would find this endgame section over their head as there are many topics that were not included such as knowing when you have the distant opposition.