The Importance of the Initiative in the Endgame

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In the endgame, dynamic factors normally decrease. There are fewer pieces (active or not), the vulnerability of the kings seldom is a thing of primary importance, the material advantage is much more important than in middlegame. Also in the endings, it happens quite often that one side stays rather passive and it is not always a bad thing. It can be temporary, for example when defending weaknesses or permanent - like when creating a fortress. Still, in the majority of the cases, the initiative is an important thing in the finals! That is because new dynamic factors appear - pawns might promote and the kings enter into play, often serving as an extra piece. And so many endings depend on a single tempo!

In our first example, we will see how even the World Champion Magnus Carlsen underestimates the hidden dynamics in the position and gives away the initiative.


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