This question is a sequel to an earlier one . Just as in the openings, computers dominate endgames. Endgame tablebases provide an exhaustive analysis of endgame positions with a small number of chessmen. The undesirable side-effect is that optimal endgame moves are often extremely difficult for an endgame-expert to understand (see the last post by Bill Dubuque in the link above).

How has this phenomenon changed grandmasters' preparation against computers?

For example, they may not allow a game to continue till the endgame when playing against a computer, unlike a human opponent. Or they may avoid endgames with complex variations.

Note that the endgame allows exhaustive search, and lacks exploitable phenomena like the horizon effect .

  • 2
    I'm unaware of computers playing with GMs in serious play so I'm not sure how often this really happens. I believe the only way to prepare is to avoid the situation.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Jul 29, 2012 at 13:01
  • They need a clear advantage in the middle-game. If they don't have this advantage, they try to avoid the end-game like hell as long as they feel that they can still win.
    – Landei
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 22:02
  • Computers dont play in important tournaments, so GM don't play them often. However when they do play them GMS usually lose
    – dogs10099
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 3:19
  • Grandmasters don't play computers anymore. The top rated grandmaster is roughly 2850. The top rated computer (Houdini) is rated at roughly 3200. The best a grandmaster can do against a computer is a draw. Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 14:19
  • Note that while computers play perfectly when they are able to use tablebases (which enable perfect play when the total number of pieces and pawns on the board, including kings, is six or fewer), they are actually relatively weak (compared to other phases of the game) in the earlier endgame. It is not at all unusual for a GM to be presented with a computer evaluation of some endgame position and say in response, "the computer doesn't understand this position at all." I doubt that a GM would try to avoid an endgame against a computer.
    – dfan
    Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 18:48

1 Answer 1


As has been stated in the comments GMs don't compete against computers very often. They more often use the computer to help analyse their own games, especially to help find "computer moves" by which I mean obscure unnatural looking moves that they didn't/wouldn't find in the game but which are tactically sound.

The endgame in particular is the part of the game where gameplay methods are well established and it actually comparatively easy to see who has the advantage and how the game will end. In many GM games they resign before I would have even been able to tell we had reached the endgame.

In studying endgames the advice I have seen included in the commentary from a GM that came with Chessmaster 8, and in some books, was to practice recognizing the weapons (ie pin, double check etc) in actual endgame positions, learn the basic rules to help speed calculations in the endgame. These are such things as can the king get into the square defined by the diagonal from the pawns position to the back rank, if he can - and no other pieces can interfere - he can stop the pawn promotion, if not he can't, opposition, etc.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.