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end game

or endgame

Chess. the final stage of a game, usually following the exchange of queens and the serious reduction of forces.
the late or final stages of any activity:
the end game of the negotiations.
Origin of end game
1880-85 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for endgame


Also called ending. the closing stage of a game of chess, in which only a few pieces are left on the board
the closing stage of any of certain other games
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for endgame

1884, from chess, from end + game (n.). There is no formal or exact definition of it in chess, but it begins when most of the pieces have been cleared from the board.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with endgame

end game

The final stage of some process, as in The book discussed the diplomatic end game resulting in the treaty. This term, dating from about 1880, comes from chess, where it denotes the stage of a game when most of the pieces have been removed from the board. In the mid-1900s it began to be transferred to other activities.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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