08 March 2012

Four Endgames to Know

A few months back I was posting once a week on endgames, but have been quiet on the subject since my post on the Tablebase Monster. This week I got the endgame itch again and decided to figure out which endgames are the most widely seen in endgame treatises.

To do that, I first downloaded all of the PGN files for endgame books that I could find on Gambitchess.com. Then I loaded the files into a database, polished some of the rough edges, and ran a few queries to determine frequency.

Four endgame positions, shown in the following diagram, popped out equally at the head of the list. These should be familiar to anyone who has spent time studying chess endgames.

White to move first in all positions

All of these positions are solved by tablebases. Isn't it astonishing how simple positions are solved by such elegant maneuvers?

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