An Endgame Puzzle for Beginners

white to win this end game in chess

With white to move, is it possible to win?

This endgame study is especially important for beginners, but it may be too easy for many experienced tournament players.

Notice that for the white king to move towards the kingside is worthless in trying for a win, for the black king simply moves towards the queen side. Here is the correct way to win:

1) a4    h5

2) a5   h4

3) b6  axb6

4) a6!  . . .  White wins

Here’s the point: White queens first and covers black’s queening square. Notice that in this approach (advancing the white pawns instead of moving the white king), the black king cannot quite get to b7 in time and so fails to prevent the white pawn’s coronation to queen.

Looking ahead from the position in the diagram, a C-rated player or lower might miss this, assuming such endgames are too simple and devoid of unexpected possibilities. Higher rated players should know better. Beginners commonly have no clue until they see it demonstrated for them.

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Queen versus Rook endgame (Trapezoid)

Derek Grimmell calls this the trapezoid, a key position in the queen-versus-rook endgame. Although it may look innocent enough, black has no move that does not quickly lose.

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