5 Most Important Chess Endgame Principles (Beginners and Experts)

Many Chess players usually focus on the Opening and Middlegame phase of chess and neglect the importance of chess endgames. For a lot of chess players including beginners as well as chess masters, this could be a challenge.

In the chess endgame, fewer pieces remain on the chess players, and mastering these positions will surely take your chess skills as well as your thinking process to the next level.

To solve all your problems regarding the chess endings, I have come up with another guide on chess endgames. In this guide, I will tell you about the 10 Most Important Chess Endgame Principles that you should read to improve your chess skills.

The most common problem that people are facing is

If you are still looking for some best chess endgame books, then you should read our chess guide:

3 Best Chess Endgame Books You Must Read (2021)

Let’s Start With the Best chess principles that you should follow while playing the chess endings.

  1. Master The Basic Checkmates: Basically with a Piece and a King
  2. Centralize Your King As Soon As Possible: Use it as your main weapon
  3. When You Up In Pawns Exchange The Pieces: To get favorable pawn endings
  4. Obtain An Opposition: To clear the way in pawn endings
  5. Create A Passed Pawn: To promote it to a stronger piece

The Major purpose of chess principles is to guide you in achieving the main goals of the endgame.

What Are The Main Goals In The Endgame?

There are three main goals in the chess endgames that you should keep in mind while playing chess and even making your chess endgame strategies. Achieving these goals will not definitely give you win but at least increase your chances to win in the endings:

  1. Checkmating the opponent’s king
  2. Dominate the activity of the opponent’s pieces.
  3. Finishing the game by promoting a pawn to a strong piece

Let’s learn the endgame principles to achieve these goals in the chess endings.

#1 Endgame Principle – Master the Basic Checkmates!

Firstly, you have to master the basic checkmates in chess because to win any of the positions in chess, You have to checkmate the opponent king. If you master the basic checkmates, then you would have extra confidence than your opponents that you can handle the situations if you get any advantage in the game.

Chess Endgame Principles: Master The Basic Checkmates
Chess Endgame Principles: Master The Basic Checkmates

The basic checkmates that must be mastered are:

  • King and Queen vs King:- The most common chess position that you will get is the king and pawn ending and that’s why you have to face the King and Queen vs King position and mastering it will help you a lot in the final stages of chess.
  • Two Rooks (or the Rook Roller) vs King:- This is known as the most easiest checkmating material and it came the maximum in the match against the beginners and mastering this will give a lot of fun.
  • King and Rook vs King:- You have to learn King and Rook vs King endings because many Rook and Pawn endings end up with Rook vs Pawn in the final standings and if you don’t Know how to mate with a Rook and a King, then you can’t win that match.
  • King and Two Bishops vs King:- Learn the King And Two Bishops vs King Endings to outrank the endings.
  • King and Knight & Bishop vs King:- This is the most rare position that you will get before the level of 1600 ELO, that’s why can afford to leave it but better to recognize these patterns also.

So, these are some of the patterns that you will get in the chess endings.

#2 Endgame Principle – Centralize Your King As Soon As Possible

This is the most important chess endgame principle that makes the fundamentals of chess endings. The thing that surprises us a lot in the positions is the King Play! Many of the advanced chess players also neglect the importance of active King in the endings and miss this opportunity to conquer the most critical situation of the game and often lose that game.

Chess Endgame Principle: Activate Your King
Chess Endgame Principle: Activate Your King

In the above position Black To Move.

In the endgame positions you have to start you thought process with first question that: How can you centralize your king quickly and efficiently, then you can think of the passed pawns.

But the major question that came in our minds that when should we start activating our King in the game. The Answer in very simple that as when the queens got exchanged and one or two pieces are remaining on the board any there is no threat on your King based on the situations, then you can start you King March.

To know more about this chess endgame principle – Centralize Your King As Soon As Possible You can refer to the games explained in the book Fundamental Chess Endings by Karsten Muller and Frank Lamprecht.

Fundamental Chess Endings Book
Fundamental Chess Endings Book

If Your Want To Master Your Chess Skills And Want To Understand The Core Concepts of Chess Endgames, Then You Can Get It From Here.

Get Your Book Now

#3 Endgame Principle – When You Up In Pawns Exchange The Pieces

If You are up a pawn in the ending position, then you could shape your strategy in such a way that you will get a position in which you can end up with a pawn up and dive straight into the pawn endings. For this, you have to understand the rule that we have understood in the guide about chess middlegame principles. If You haven’t read it yet, then you can read this now:

7 Most Important Chess Middlegame Principles | Master Chess Strategies 2020

If You are a pawn up, then you can just exchange all the chess pieces that will led you to a winning pawn ending. Let’s have an example to understand this in a better way.


Chess Endgame Principle Exchange Pieces In Lead
Chess Endgame Principle Exchange Pieces In Lead

Just analyze the position above! In this chess position, White is a pawn-up and that’s why he came up with a brilliant move “Nc4+” to exchange the Black Knight and get a winning pawn ending. You can also use this principle in your games to get a winning position.

#4 Endgame Principle – Obtain An Opposition

The opposition is the most powerful and widely used endgame technique in chess where you can force the opponent king to either leave that file or go back. This is most commonly used to clear up the key squares for the pawns to push them forward with an attacking move.

The Main objective in pawn endings is to gain the opposition if you get the opposition then you can win/draw the match respectively.


Let’s take a beautiful example to understand the opposition in chess.

In the above position, White got a powerful opposition in the game, as this is Black To Move. Here Black has to leave the e-file and this will ultimately clear up the way for the e-pawn to the queening. The game will continue like this way:

1… Kd6 2. Kf5 Ke7 3. Ke5 Kf7 4. Kd6 Ke8 5. Ke6

Till Now, White has maintained the opposition in the game and now he can win by just pushing the pawn and clearing the way to queening.

5… Kf8 6. e4 Ke8 7. e5 Kf8 8. Kd7 Kf7 9. e6+ Kf8 10. e7+ Kf7 11. e8=Q+

Like this White can win this game and you can also use this to win the complicated pawn endings.

#5 Endgame Principle – Create A Passed Pawn

This is a major goal and one of our priorities in the endgame part. A passed pawn has a greater value of the pieces as it could be promoted to the piece with greater value and power. You should always try to create a passed pawn on the pawn majority side (try to create on queenside).

Let’s took another example to understand it more clearly.


Chess Endgame Principles: Create A Passed Pawn
Chess Endgame Principles: Create A Passed Pawn

Look at the position above. Here White has a clear majority on the queenside and can create a passed pawn there. Here the game could continue like this:

1… c*b4

2. c*b4 Kf7

3. a5 b*a5

4. b*a5 After this White will acquire the position with a clear passed pawn Like this. See the position of the game below:

Power of Passed Pawn In Chess Endgames
Power of Passed Pawn In Chess Endgames

4… Ke7

5. a6 Kd7

6. a7 Kc7

7. a8 (Q) White Wins (1-0)

This how White wins by creating a passed pawn and you should also look for the ways to create a passed pawn in chess.

How To Calculate the Plans and Strategies In The Endgame?

Master Tip: Here I have a master Tip for you to play well in the chess Endgames that will help you to make Strategies in the game.

You should calculate not only the moves and squares in the endgame but should also give the importance to recognize the plans and patterns with respect to the pieces of both the players, i.e., you as well as your opponent one’s.

Final Words

Here in this chess guide, I have discussed about the 5 Most Important Chess Endgame Principles for Beginners as well as the Experts. Till Now, you have understood that the endgame is very dynamic part of chess and need a lot of positional skills to win this phase.

To master this phase you have to master the following things, practice them and then apply these in your matches.

  • tactics
  • positional play
  • attacking skills
  • endgame technique
  • classical games analysis
  • psychological preparation
  • and much more

Hope you have understood these 5 Endgame Principles and will practice them to apply these in your matches. Thanks for Reading!