Are there any general principles to playing endgames with all of the minor pieces exchanged?

I often find myself in endgames with two rooks and a queen on either side, with no clear idea of how to proceed. Are there any guidelines for how to proceed in such games? In general, I find that the initiative is much more important than being up a pawn or two.

A good example of such a position that I have reached is the following game (white to play):

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3 Answers 3


King safety is a big issue for white in your position. White would be much better if the f3 pawn were at g2 instead.

I would probably play kg2 and if the black queen checks along the g-file try to hide the king on e2 via f1.

As for general principles, I would say king safety is the first priority. Then probably obtaining advanced supported passed pawns and active pieces are next most important quality. Material balance is always important, but the key to winning these endgames usually comes down to queening a pawn and the more advanced one is the more dangerous one.


A lot depends on the position, particularly on whether there are open or semi- open files. Occupying these lines is usually a good idea as is getting pieces on the 2nd or 7th row (I.e. close to the opponent's king).

Other than this, king safety and activity is of course important but that is true for any endgame.


King safety is the key. But here in this position there is no such big threat which cannot saved such as mate in 2 or king in the mating cage. So what I would have done was 1.Qxc7 if Rac8? then Qg3.Taking more pawns and creating pass pawn is good in Queen and rook middlegame. Therefore better would be 1..Qxf3 2.Qg3 Qe2 3.b4 Rac8 4.Rac1 Qb2 5.RxRc8 RxRc8 6.Qg4 Rd8. 7. Rd3! Then our queen comes to d1 square. I have seen many games where opponents make mistakes because of passed pawn pressure.

  • What about 1. Qxc7 Qxf3. Threating Re4 etc?
    – user16971
    Oct 16, 2018 at 14:12

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