Hello Dear chess friends,
In the previous thirteen issues of Endgame series we have covered a broad range of basic endgame topics. From the square rule to protected passed pawns, zugzwang and correspondent squares, you will find most endgame fundamentals on the pages of the preceding issues.
From now on, however, we will move onto the more advanced topics and endgame strategies. A solid knowledge of previously discussed themes is necessary to absorb the upcoming material.
We will start with a topic that is not related to the endgame exclusively, but becomes increasingly significant as fewer and fewer pieces are left on the board. When material is reduced, limiting mobility of opponent's piece(s) can be a decisive factor in a game. Restriction of opponent's pieces can come in many forms, some of which we will discuss in this issue. The strongest form of limited mobility is trapping or entrapment - it is when opponent's piece is completely immobile. However, in this issue we will not talk about trapping, but rather focus on other ways we can restrict opponent's pieces to obtain an edge in the endgame.
I suggest we begin with the ways we reduce king's mobility. This is a reasonable approach because king is an important piece in pretty much every type of endgame, while other pieces may or may not play a notable role. We will look at three different ways to limit king's movement: shouldering, cornering, and cutting off. Then we will move on to instructive examples of limiting mobility of other pieces.
The term "shouldering" is borrowed from other sports, such as football, where two players are running after a ball shoulder to shoulder. Usually the player who wins the shouldering battle gets to the ball first. So the analogy holds when we have two kings battling to get to a certain pawn or square and one of them "shoulders" the other one, winning important space.
Let us see how this concept works in the examples: