Chess Endgame Strategy: Learn from Stockfish 7!

I know, I know… I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I’m not a fan of these 3000+ ELO engines (like Stockfish, Komodo and co) and that I prefer weaker, but more “human-like” engines.

This is all true.

But a lesson we learn in life is that even though we might not like somebody, we can still learn from them!¬† ūüėÜ

Today we’ll learn a lesson on chess¬†endgame strategy from his highness, Stockfish 7.

The Chess Endgame Strategy

Stockfish

Stockfish…just a little fish, but WHAT A FISH!

 

Recently I was running an engine tournament on my laptop to research an opening line I am interested in and witnessed a game which contains so many lessons for learning players.

Particularly with regard to the endgame.

The fantastic Australian chess engine (which I’ve just discovered and will review soon) named Kanguruh was given the task of tackling almighty Stockfish with the white pieces in an open Sicilian.

Not a good sign.

The game that resulted was something we could really expect to see in an open tournament in Europe when a 2200 player plays a 2700 player in round 1.

Kanguruh fights hard and despite some suspect positional play, reaches a completely level endgame.

Unfortunately, the Grandmaster had judged this endgame to be won for him waaaaay back when it was still a distant possibility on the horizon.

This is the difference in positional understanding which separates top Grandmasters from masters.

chess endgames 2

Active King supporting his pawns…Great work! ūüôā

 

And what we’ll see in this game.

Themes to look out for:

  • Domination of colour complex
  • Active Rook
  • Active King (supporting passed pawn)
  • Good vs Bad Bishop
  • Weak Pawns
  • Rook behind passed pawn (35…Ra6!)

You can see from the list above why I wanted to show you, right?

Kanguruh93 vs Stockfish 7

Before I show you the game, let’s focus on some instructive highlights.

(To skip to the video analysis I did for you, just goto the bottom of this page. ūüėČ )

Step 1: Stockfish plays 15…Qg5! securing instant domination of the dark squares.

Endgame Strategy 1

15…Qg5 – A high class GM move.

 

After this move, white was forced to play an endgame with weak dark squares, a weak h-pawn and no active pieces.

Step 2: Stockfish plays 18…Rh3! increasing the mobility of his rook and blockading the h-pawn.

Endgame Strategy 2

18…Rh3 – Blockading the h-pawn and gaining lateral mobility.

 

After this move, white’s¬†rook on h1 is forced to remain passive and he always needs to watch out for Re3 and Rxc3 ideas.

Step 3: Stockfish plays 23…Rxc3 and enters a strategically won endgame

Endgame Strategy 3

Stockfish plays 23…Rxc3 and forces his opponent into a terrible endgame with numerous weaknesses.

 

After this move Stockfish enters by force an endgame with the following advantages:

  • Better pawn structure
  • Better bishop
  • Outside passed pawn

Step 5: Stockfish activates his king and places his rook behind the passed pawn

Endgame Strategy 4

Stockfish optimises the placement of all of his pieces and activates his king.

 

At this moment it becomes clear that white is really suffering and black will simply improve all of his pieces and push the passed a-pawn.

Step 6: Having tied up his opponent, Stockfish just creeps forward.

Endgame Strategy 5

White is completely passive and black simply creeps forward.

 

Black now just uses his better bishop to keep the white king tied up, his rook (and passed a-pawn) to keep the white rook tied up and then creeps forward with his king to support the pawn.

Very simple and impressive play.

Here’s the full game and video analysis.

Quite an impressive game!

So what now?

Action Steps:

  1. Download the game
  2. Open it in Wordpad (or your favourite .pgn viewer)
  3. Print it out
  4. Study it and make notes in your notebook of the new themes you’ve learnt.
  5. Report back to chessncognac.com for more nuggets of chess wisdom! ūüôā