Sports & Gaming

Winning Trades

Garry Kasparov

Lesson time 11:39 min

Trading pieces doesn’t mean simply eliminating pieces of equal value. In the endgame, it can create a decisive advantage—or save a game that appears hopeless.

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Topics include: Exchanging Favors One Side or the Other • Kasparov vs Adams, 1999 • Winning Trades in the Endgame • Queen’s Endgame • Challenge: A Winning Trades Study


It's important to understand that trading with pieces doesn't mean that you simply eliminate pieces of equal value from the board. In most cases, an exchange works in favor of one side. And if you know how to handle it, then you can win the game or gain a decisive advantage by eliminating, trading, exchanging pieces of equal value. So let's have a very simple endgame. There was very few pieces. It's endgame-- white has an extra pawn. But if black can move the rook-- rook on e6, for instance-- that would be called an easy draw. Because white king is far away, and you cannot win with just one pawn. But it's white's turn to move. And we go, Rg8+. We force Kb7, and then Rg7. It's a pin. But most important, we are forcing this exchange. Black has to take on g7. And then, we exchange, but now our pawn will advance. And I also would like to show one of my games, because this sample was quite simple. And the game I played in 1999 against Mickey Adams, the famous British grandmaster. Here was the position. It was coach opening. And I played a new move, and got a very promising position. And forced black's knight to end up on b5 not the best location. But unless we do something quickly, black could improve it. So either go Nc3, potential fork, or protect the knight with c6. So white has to hurry. So Re1 to attack the queen. And here, the only defense was to play Nc3, attacking my queen. Though, of course, after Qc6 queen goes away. And then, I take on c7, white has a winning position. Mickey wanted to keep the knight on b5. But then, after this exchange on e8, white did the same-- again attacking the queen. And queen, has nowhere to go but to e2. And then, again, Re1. And now that doesn't work, because I simply take on e8. And there's no rook on a8 protecting this square, and it's simply mate. So by changing these rooks, I weakened his defense on his last rank. And forced him to lose the material, and to resign. Simple, but it's very important to learn. Exchanging pieces doesn't always mean that position will remain equal. Because you can always gain advantage, or to be in a disadvantaged position, if you are not aware about dangers that could be caused by the exchange suggested by your opponent. And now we can look at a few studies, just to show how it works in the endgame when changing pieces could lead to a decisive advantage for one side, or to be a defensive mechanism to save the game that looks otherwise desperate. Here we have a study. And it's an endgame. White has an extra piece, but our pawn is under attack. And our knight is under attack. In the middlegame, or in the opening, you definitely have to pay attention to this threat, because knight is more valuable than a pawn. But we're in the endgame, so protecting the knight doesn't do us any good. If we protect the knight and black takes the pawn, that's a theor...

About the Instructor

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.

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