20 December 2011

The Most Theoretical Endgames

In What's What in Endgames, I introduced a table showing the number of positions with specific numbers of pieces in the Convekta version of 'Comprehensive Chess Endings' (CCE) by Averbakh. For example, there are 1020 positions in CCE with exactly six pieces. This next post identifies which types of positions occur most frequently.

Starting with positions having four pieces, the most discussed endgames in CCE are (1) Pawn vs. Pawn, and (2) Rook vs. Pawn. Both occur often enough in practice, with R vs. P arising from R+P vs. R+P, after the weak side sacrifices its Rook for the enemy Pawn, then races to promote its own Pawn.

With five pieces, there are five configurations that receive a more extensive treatment than the others: (1) Two Pawns vs. Pawn, (2) Queen & Pawn vs. Queen, (3) Bishop & Pawn vs. Knight (or N & P vs. B), (4) Queen vs. Rook & Pawn, (5) Rook & Pawn vs. Rook.

With six pieces, there are only three configurations that have received extra attention: (1) Two Pawns vs. Two Pawns, (2) Rook & Two Pawns vs. Rook, (3) Rook vs. Three Pawns.

Endgames with six pieces are the limit of published tablebases, so the seven piece configurations still require some real analysis. One configuration has received more attention than the others: (1) Queen & Pawn vs. Rook & Two Pawns; while three others are relatively well researched: (2) Bishop & Two Pawns vs. Knight & Pawn (or N & 2P vs. B & P), (3) Rook & Two Pawns vs. Rook & Pawn, (4) Three Pawns vs. Two Pawns,

As for eight pieces, one configurations has received for more attention than the others: (1) Three Pawns vs. Three Pawns; with two others getting somewhat more attention than the rest of the pack: (2) Rook & Two Pawns vs. Rook & Two Pawns, and (3) Rook & Two Pawns vs. Bishop & Two Pawns,

Experienced players have grappled with almost all of the above configurations. Less frequently seen are R vs. 3P, Q & P vs. R & 2P, and R & 2 Ps vs. B & 2Ps. It might be useful to know why these are worth special study, but that will have to wait for another time.

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