The endgame is the part of the game when there are only a few pieces left on the board. Usually play revolves around one or both players trying to promote a pawn. Alternatives are the opening and middlegame tags.
The endgame is the part of the game when there are only a few pieces left on the board. Usually play revolves around one or both players trying to promote a pawn.
Study of Endgames
Many strong players advocate the study of endgames because the opening and middlegame can be studied in relation to the endgame. For example, the Ruy Lopez pawn structure (see below) is a win for white in a pure king and pawn endgame, so black must therefore make use of the two bishops in the middlegame.
Theoretical endgames are positions where the winning plan is known (for example, the Lucena Position) so the outcome is based only on the stronger player's ability to find the correct plan. Many theoretical endgames are not likely to occur in common practice (for example, the Halley's Comet Mate) but are interesting to study because certain relationships between pieces are revealed.
Practical endgames are endgames that arise in games quite frequently and should therefore be studied by players seeking to improve their play. The most common example is rook and pawn endgames. Many games reach an endgame with this material balance (frequently one side is up a pawn) and the player that better understands the endgame will be able to win (or hold a draw if down material).
Endgames are typically classified by the types of pieces that remain on the board: for example rook and pawn endgames would feature an endgame where both sides have a rook and one or more pawns. A rook vs. pawns endgame would be an endgame where one side has only a rook and the other side has one or more pawns.