There are lots of questions asked here about best books about endings or which types of endings are important at the beginning. I have another question - how do you benefit from learning endings?

E.g. You've read Silman/Dvoretsky/Averbach/Pandolfini books and how did it benefit you? You just achieve (trying to achieve) positions from the books in your games, or is it just easier to create plans in endgames and you just 'see' what should be played?

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    Knowing theoretical endings allows you to play better in the middlegame. You know what you can afford and what is already drawn/lost.
    – hoacin
    Dec 16, 2016 at 15:28

2 Answers 2


I think there are several ways you benefit from endgame study.

Your middlegame can benefit: For a beginner player it is often easier to process an emptier board with few pieces. The limited move options and plans then can help to focus on main concepts or ideas.

For instance if you learn to mate K+R vs K, you will learn how the pieces move, which squares are "attacked" (unavailable to the enemy king) and that in order to win you need to checkmate (take away all possible moves from the king and attack it). Also you will learn about zugzwang. All of this can be useful in the middlegame as well.

As another example you will learn that isolated and other weak pawn structures are things you don't want to have in an endgame, so you will want to avoid them in the middlegame (unless you get another advantage in exchange).

Also the importance of piece activity is usually pronounced in endgames which could make you pay more attention to it in the opening/middlegame.

It can make you win equal positions (or hold lost positions) ...if you are much better in endgames than your opponent.

It can help you decide whether and how to change from middle to endgame If you know that an endgame position is won/lost/draw, you might or might not want to go for a line in the middlegame that leads to that endgame.


If you go on a journey, you must know your destination. If you haven't been able to checkmate the opposing king earlier in the game, which is the most likely scenario, then you'll have to reach a favorable ending to do so. That means having some kind of sufficient material advantage at the end to accomplish that, which can be as little as a pawn. If you can promote the pawn to a queen (even a rook suffices), then you'll have sufficient material to ultimately checkmate the enemy king. Any manual will show you how to potentially promote a pawn, such as with king and pawn versus lone king, as well as indicating minimum mating material needed, such as king and rook vs lone king, or king and 2 bishops vs lone king, or king, knight and bishop vs lone king for example.

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