Why Young Chess Players Should Focus on Pawn Endgames

Opening courses and books get all the love from consumers. However, it is of much greater practical importance for young chess players wishing to get better at chess to spend time mastering basic endgame techniques instead of investing hours of time memorizing lines of openings made fashionable by popular chess streamers.

My advice on this subject to chess parents is that immediately after mastering basic checkmating technique, it is incredibly important for their children to start studying King and pawn endgames. Recently, as I was passing by a chessboard at the CalChess K-5 State Championship, I saw one board where the players exchanged some minor pieces and ended up in the position below.

White to move and win not draw.

A few moves after this position was reached, the players agreed to a draw. It was obvious that the young player who had the white pieces simply lacked some basic king and pawn endgame knowledge that would have enabled him to earn the full point. Even more disappointing, the children involved in the game had played no less than fourteen very precise opening moves that they must have spent hours memorizing.

Fortunately, I ran into this player and his father later in the day and gently showed them the correct technique to employ in the future and why Siegbert Tarrasch once said, “it cannot be too greatly emphasized that the most important role in pawn endings is played by the king.”

Winning using proper endgame technique.

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

Leave a Reply