Practical Endgame Miniatures
Top chess trainers recommend solving endgame studies daily as an important part of the learning program at all levels. This enjoyable method is aimed at improving one's creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. It is highly efficient in polishing your calculating and tactical skills, enriching your arsenal of tactical weaponry not to mention the obvious: deepening your endgame understanding and keeping you sharp for your upcoming challenges. All these virtues are essential in shaping a complete and original player; no less so than the knowledge of opening theory and middlegame strategy. Quite a few top grandmasters were also captivated by the charm of composing endgame studies themselves. For this article, I have selected miniature studies created by leading players. Miniatures use not more than 7 pieces to express mainly tactical chess ideas in an artistic, purest form with a unique solution and move order. This economy of material and play clarity, with only relevant pieces present on the board, proves instrumental in practicing how to estimate accurately the power and qualities of each piece alone and in harmony with other pieces. You are about to cope with 21 miniatures composed by well-known players. For warming up, let us examine first the solutions of 3 light examples.
Example 1 - Wilhelm Steinitz 1862
We start with a miniature by the first official world champion. How should White secure the promotion of one of his advanced passed pawns?