Move Two! Chapter 15

The presentations from the Chess and Education conference at Olympia are gradually appearing on the conference website. As I write this (Monday afternoon) there are as yet only two papers there, so I’ll return to this in the new year and conclude 2013 by taking you to the end of Move Two!.

Chapter 15 of 16 is our final endgame chapter, looking at endings without pawns. We assume our readers know the basic queen and rook mates before starting the book. (They were covered in the original Move One! but are not dealt with in, for example, Chess for Kids.) I’ve never actually had any of these endings myself but, with the increase in incremental timings, it’s more and more important that serious players know how to win these positions.

We start with a demonstration of how to mate with two bishops. Not so hard for you, maybe, but it can be tricky for players at this level. You need your king a knight’s move away from the corner, you have to watch out for stalemates and understand about making a waiting move to get the timing right.

Bishop and knight against king is a lot harder. If I had it in a serious game I’m afraid I wouldn’t be comfortable about winning it myself. I did have it once in a social game about 35 years ago, but it was closing time so the game didn’t reach a conclusion. Rather than demonstrating the complete procedure we start with the king in the wrong corner (with a white squared bishop we can only force mate on a white corner) and explain how to force the enemy king to go where we want him.

We then take a quick look at Queen against Rook, which can be very difficult to win. Much of this is beyond the scope of the book, but we consider a position where the black king and rook are close together and show wins (forks, pins or mates) against different defences.

The section finishes with a quick guide to the likely results in other pawnless endings. Some of this (rook and bishop v rook, for example) would probably need expanding in a future edition.

A mini quiz of five questions tests the reader’s knowledge of endings without pawns, and the Activities section invites the reader to try out some more gambits which will be considered in the final chapter of the book.

Masters of the Universe takes a look at the chess scene in the mid 1990s. We quote Kasparov’s prediction that Vladimir Kramnik would eventually beat him and take the world title. How right he was. It’s easy to forget that Kramnik started out as a fearsome tactician.

Finally we look at the story of the Polgar sisters, and demonstrate a game played by Judit at the age of only seven.

Richard James


Author: Richard James

Richard James is a professional chess teacher and writer living in Twickenham, and working mostly with younger children and beginners. He was the co-founder of Richmond Junior Chess Club in 1975 and its director until 2005. He is the webmaster of chessKIDS academy ( or and, most recently, the author of Chess for Kids and The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids, both published by Right Way Books. Richard is currently the Curriculum Consultant for Chess in Schools and Communities ( as well as teaching chess in local schools and doing private tuition. He has been a member of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club since 1966 and currently has an ECF grade of 177. Richard is a published author and his books can be found at Amazon.