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Secrets of 7-man endgames

For many years now, endgames with five men on the board (including kings) have been solved by computer. Subsequently six-man endings were solved, and made available to chess analysts. For every such position, the "tablebase" (as such databases are known) will return the result that would be achieved by perfect play: either a draw, or a win in a specified number of moves.

In the latter case the tablebase server (the program that accesses the database for you) shows which moves win (or draw for the defending side), and how quickly, and which do not. Grandmaster John Nunn, in such books as Secrets of Pawnless Endings, revealed many of the mysteries in language that humans can understand.

Recently software experts completed work on the majority of seven-man endgames and the result is known as the Lomonosov tablebase. The databases for these endgamnes are too large to fit on a personal computer but they can now be accessed via a subscription service called Probe at ChessOK for about 20 US dollars a year.

Tim Harding has been doing some explorations with Probe. Each month he examines some practical endgames which came down to seven-men positions.

Please go now to the Lomonosov list page from which the analyses are linked.