A pawnless chess endgame is a chess endgame in which only a few pieces remain and none of them is a pawn. The basic checkmates are types of pawnless endgames. Endgames without pawns do not occur very often in practice except for the basic checkmates of king and queen versus king, king and rook versus king, and queen versus rook (Hooper 1970:4). Other cases that occur occasionally are (1) a rook and minor piece versus a rook and (2) a rook versus a minor piece, especially if the minor piece is a bishop (Nunn 2007:156–65).
The study of some pawnless endgames goes back centuries by players such as François-André Danican Philidor (1726–1795) and Domenico Lorenzo Ponziani (1719–1796). On the other hand, many of the details and recent results are due to the construction of endgame tablebases. Grandmaster John Nunn wrote a book (Secrets of Pawnless Endings) summarizing the research of endgame tablebases for several types of pawnless endings.
The assessment of endgame positions assumes optimal play by both sides. In some cases, one side of these endgames can force a win; in other cases, the game is a draw (i.e. a book draw).
Read more about Pawnless Chess Endgame: Terminology, Basic Checkmates, Queen Versus Rook, Queen Versus Two Minor Pieces, Common Pawnless Endings (rook and Minor Pieces), Miscellaneous Pawnless Endings, Examples With An Extra Minor Piece, Summary, Fine's Rule, General Remarks On These Endings, Tables, See Also
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—Robert Benchley (18891945)