The Clutch Chess Champions Showdown: Endgame Highlights

by Karsten Müller
6/18/2020 – The many games that are played in the online top tournaments lead to a wealth of exciting endgames. However, as these games are played with short time-controls even the best in the world do not always find the best way to play these endgames. Karsten Müller selected instructive and interesting endgames from the Clutch Chess Champions Showdown to show where and how the best could have done better.

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Clutch Chess Champions Showdown 2020: Endgame Highlights

This new online format seems to lead to a lot of fascinating endgames. There were so many exciting and instructive endgames in the Clutch Chess Champions Showdown that I was spoilt for choice. I selected some gems and sorted them by material.

A) Rook endings

A1) The Vancura Defense

"Vancura Defense" is the name of the most important maneuver to draw against an a- or h-pawn.


White to play and draw!


A2) Activity is important

The defender should try to keep king and rook active.


Black to play and draw!




White to play and draw!


A3) Be careful when liquidating into a pawn endgame


White to play and draw!


B) Rook against pawns

In these endings the side with the rook usually tries to win – unless the pawns are far advanced.


White to play and draw!


In the following example White wins because his g-pawns queens with check.


Black is to move but he is still lost.


C) Queen endings

In queen endings it is often important to find a safe place for the king of the attacker:


Black to play and draw!


D) Knight against bishop

Sometimes bad bishops are not as bad as it seems on first sight. But in the following example Black manages to break through.


Black to play and win!




White to play and draw!


E) Endgames with bishops of opposite colour

Endgames with bishops of opposite colour are extremely drawish and positional factors are oft more important than material considerations.


White to play and draw!


F) Rook against knight

Knights are sometimes called "octopus" because a knight can control a maximum of eight squares and an octopus has eight arms.


Black to play and draw!


If you like such endgames and if you want to improve your endgame skills you should take a look at the ChessBase Magazine which in each issue contains similar endgames.

ChessBase Magazine 195

FIDE Candidates 2020 with analyses by Giri, Gelfand etc. Firouzja, Vidit, Vitiugov, Duda and Navara comment on their games from Prague. 11 articles with new repertoire ideas. Videos by Werle, King and Marin. Training in tactics, strategy and endgame!

You might also like Karsten Müller's instructive and entertaining endgame DVDs. 


Chess Endgames 14 - The golden guidelines of endgame play

Rules of thumb are the key to everything when you are having to set the correct course in a complex endgame. In this final DVD of his series on the endgame, our endgame specialist introduces you to the most important of these rules of thumb.



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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