Endgames from Wijk aan Zee (1)

by Karsten Müller
1/20/2023 – The much anticipated Tata Steel Chess Tournament is underway in Wijk aan Zee. Grandmaster Karsten Müller, our in-house endgame expert, finds instructive positions from the event in the Netherlands and shares his analyses with us. Find six such mini-lessons here. Enjoy! | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2023

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Which pawn to exchange?

In endgames, the defender often wants to exchange pawns. But sometimes it is difficult to decide which pawns should be exchanged. Like in this game, which saw Richard Rapport playing a natural-looking move and soon losing against Nodirbek Abdusattorov.


Keeping the position closed

Even in endgames, one has to be wary of potential attacks. Vaishali Rameshbabu incorrectly opened up one file for Velimir Ivic’s rooks to infiltrate. Rejecting to grab a pawn was the way to keep things closed and continue fighting for the draw.


Do not rush

Soviet masters used to advise young students to sit on their hands to avoid rushing their decisions, especially in endgames. In his game with black against Adhiban, Thomas Beerdsen failed to look for the most precise continuation, hastily pushed his pawn and ended up only getting a draw.


Rooks in seventh heaven

Javokhir Sindarov had his rooks doubled on the seventh rank against Vaishali, and he found a way to bring an extra attacker to seal the deal in his favour.



Exchanging pawns while trying to defend a technical position is a useful guideline in endgame positions, and Adhiban applied it exemplarily in his game against Amin Tabatabaei. 


More double-rook action

Endgames with four rooks on the board have appeared frequently at the tournaments in Wijk aan Zee. Here is another example, with Sindarov once again finding a way to break through his opponent’s defensive setup.


Endgames of the World Champions from Fischer to Carlsen

Let endgame expert Dr Karsten Müller show and explain the finesses of the world champions. Although they had different styles each and every one of them played the endgame exceptionally well, so take the opportunity to enjoy and learn from some of the best endgames in the history of chess.


Karsten Müller is considered to be one of the greatest endgame experts in the world. His books on the endgame - among them "Fundamentals of Chess Endings", co-authored with Frank Lamprecht, that helped to improve Magnus Carlsen's endgame knowledge - and his endgame columns for the ChessCafe website and the ChessBase Magazine helped to establish and to confirm this reputation. Karsten's Fritztrainer DVDs on the endgame are bestsellers. The mathematician with a PhD lives in Hamburg, and for more than 25 years he has been scoring points for the Hamburger Schachklub (HSK) in the Bundesliga.


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