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StartingOut:

rook
endgames

ChrisWard

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Firstpublishedin2007byGloucesterPublishersplc.
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Copyright2007ChrisWard

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Contents

Bibliography...........................................................................4
Introduction...........................................................................5
Chapter1:TheBasics.............................................................7
Chapter2:RookversusPawn(s)...........................................21
Chapter3:RookandPawnvsRook......................................35
Chapter4:IntroducingMorePawns.....................................55
Chapter5:TrickySituationsandAdvancedTechniques........70
Chapter6:ApplyingPrinciplestoPracticalPlay....................86
Chapter7:TwentyQuestions.............................................104
Solutions............................................................................112

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Bibliography

Books

BatsfordChessEndings,JonSpeelmanetal(Batsford1993)
EndgamePlay,ChrisWard(Batsford1996)
PracticalChessEndings,PaulKeres(Batsford1994)
ChessChoiceChallenge,ChrisWardandJohnEmms(Batsford1998)
Pandolfini'sEndgameCourse,(Fireside1988)

DatabasesandPrograms

ChessBase7
Fritz8

Introduction

WhenIwasapproachedtowriteabookonrookandpawnendgamesIwasonlytoohappyto
oblige. Indeed, I was really pleased that I wasnt going to have to sort through thousands of
recentgames,andthroughoutthebookIwouldntevenhavetoworryaboutlongdiagonalsor
L shapes! Yes, theres no bishops, queens, or knights here (well, barring the odd cameo
performance!),andgenerallyspeakingthefactisthatendgametheorydoesntreallychange.
Every now and then a computer analysis module working at a billion miles an hour and
consideringmillionsofpositionsintheblinkofaneyeoverturnsaconclusionofyesteryear,but
intruthsuchoccurrencesarerare.
Therehavebeenplentyofbookswrittenonrookendings,soIhearyouask:Whatmakesthis
one special? Well, did I say it was special? Seriously, I like to think that in this book I have
coveredthemostrelevanttheoreticalpositionsandhaveusedeasyexamplestoillustratethe
mostimportantthemes.IhavealotofexperienceincoachingandIthinkIthatunderstandhow
lowerratedplayers(yes,ImafraidIcouldbetalkingaboutyou,butdontworryImtryingto
work on that!) tend to think when it comes to endgames. Thus I have tried to gradually
introducethereadertoeachthemeandideaandtheresultisStartingOut:RookEndgames.
Actually,thisisanappropriatetitlebecauseitsfairtosaythatIdontexactlyfinishoffrook
endgames. However, this book is certainly not completely written at a basic level and
occasionally there is some pretty advanced stuff. If you can get your head around that, then
youarewellonyourwaytomasteringthetopic.
Thereisnodoubtthatrookandpawnendingsareausefulpartofthegameforeveryplayerto
gettogripswith.Ioftencriticizejuniorsforcastlingintheopeningbutthennotbotheringto
activate their rooks in the middlegame. Their assumption always seems to be that the minor
pieceswilldobattleearlyon,andifthegameisstillgoing,thentherookswillcomeouttoplay
later. Of course they should be trying to create pawn breaks from the opening onwards in
order to activate the tenpointsworth of firepower, but sometimes its like talking to a brick
wall! Perhaps Im being a bit harsh, but the fact still remains that at lower levels rooks are
generallyunderachieversinthemiddlegameand,withthisnonconfrontationalapproach,they

StartingOut:RookEndgames

arenaturallythesurvivors.Hencerookendingstendtobethemostcommonendgametypeto
arise.
By the way, thats just single rook endings (or rook versus pawns). I havent said much on
doublerookendgames,partlybecausetheyaresorareandpartlybecausethesameprinciples
apply, but twofold! Joking aside, the one assumption I have made for this book is that the
reader knows how to deliver checkmate with a king and rook against a bare king. With two
rooksapiecethemaindifferenceisthatthepartnershipisabletodelivercheckmatewithout
the aid of its monarch. They provide twice as much firepower and thus frequently enjoy
doublingontheseventhrankandopenfiles.Regardingthelatter,thatswheremoretypically
onepairisexchangedoff,thusreturningtotherealmsofthisbook.
ThereisafamoussayingthatIhaverefrainedfromusinginthemainbodyofthisbookandthat
isthatallrookendingsaredrawn.Thisgeneralizationishighlydubious,butasyouworkyour
way through the chapters you will begin to understand its basis. The fact is that, next to
oppositecolouredbishopendings,yourbestchanceforashareofthepointswhenyouarea
pawndownisinarookendgame.Indeed,thatisreflectedinthemanyexamplesthatIusein
whichthedefendersalvagesadrawthankstoactiveplayandoverallemploymentofthebasic
ideasIputforward.Itsprobablytruethatthemajorityofrookendingsdofinishasdrawsbut
itsonethingknowingthatandanotherknowinghowto!
AndatthispointIsuggestthatyougetknowing!Pleaseworkyourwaythroughthebookand
upon completion you will be armed with the required techniques to handle rook and pawn
endgames.Thenyoucanstartoutinsomethingelse!
Goodluck!

ChrisWard,
Beckenham,
December2004


ChapterOne

TheBasics

TheMonsterKing
EveryKingShouldKnowitsLimitations
RooksbelongbehindPassedPawns
CheckingfromtheSide
ShoulderingofftheEnemyKing
PushingPassedPawns
KeepingyourDistance
CuttingofftheKing
TheSkewerTrick

StartingOut:RookEndgames

TheMonsterKing
'King and pawn endings, minor piece endings, rook endings, queen endings; what do they all
haveincommon?'Ioncerecallaskingaclassofjuniors.Iwaspreparedforthesarcasticanswer
'They'reallendings!'butnotbytheparticularlywittyresponse'They'reallboring!'Regarding
thelatter,somemaythinkthatway,buttheyareusuallytheindividualswhothrowawayalot
oftheirhardopeningandmiddlegameworkbynotmakingthemostofthepiecesthatremain
intheendgame.
ThepointIwasreallyhopingtomakeisthatallendgamesinvolvekings.Althoughwespendthe
early part of the game tucking away our own king into safety and planning devious ways to
attack the enemy monarch, there comes a stage in every game where one decides that
checkmateisnolongerarealityanditcouldbetimeforthekingtostartpullingitsweightlike
everyotherpiece.

Example1

Diagram1(W)

Diagram2(W)

Hungrykingsinaction!

Thirstywork!

(Diagram1)Ofcourseanartinitselfisknowingexactlywhenthattimeis,butinthisbookon
rook and pawn endgames I can safely say that it's all the time! See here how both kings are
readytohaveafielddaywiththeenemypawns.
1Kxf7Kxc22Kxg6Kxb33Kxh5Kxa3(Diagram2)
Thepawnshavedroppedlikefliesasthekingscapturedthemonlightsquaresanddarksquares
alike.Whitewillwintheracetopromoteapassedpawn.
NOTE:Generallyinendgamesitisusuallydeemedagoodideatotryandcreateapassed
pawnassoonaspossible.
The outcome of this particular position depended on the tempi situation and, specifically,
whomitwastomove.Whitestartedandwasalwaysfavouriteintheracetopromoteapawn.

TheBasics

Note that in accordance with the previous note, Black would have had a better (but still not
good!)practicalchancewith3...b44axb4a4.
Allthatis'kingandpawn'endgameterritory,wheretempiareabsolutelyvital.Devoidofarook
ortwothispositionisnotofsomuchinteresttothisbookbutIjustwantedtomakethepoint
thatwhenakingisonthecasetherearefewpiecesthatareaseffective.
TIP:Thekingisatremendouspiece.Useit!
Inallendgamesitisadvisabletogetyourkingintothethickoftheactionratherthanwatching
fromthesidelines.However...

EveryKingShouldKnowitsLimitations!
Justaseverymanmustknowhislimitations(wellaccordingtoClintEastwood),thesamemust
betrueofkings.Actually,Iguessitistheman(orwoman)operatingthekingthatmatters,but
anywaytakealookatthenextexample.

Example2

Diagram3(W)

Diagram4(B)

Heretoday

Gonetomorrow

(Diagram3)Whitehasapassedpawnandadvancingitimmediatelycausesabigproblem.
1h4!Kg32h5Kg43h6(Diagram4)
andWhitewinsasthepawnpromotes.Inallfairnesstherewasnopointinchasingthepawn,
asitisabundantlyclearthatunlessittakesabreather,theblackkingwillnevercatchthesoon
tobequeen.
WARNING:Thekingisagreatpiece,butitisalsoaslowone.

Example3
Regardingthekingandpawn,hereisasimilarsituation:
9

StartingOut:RookEndgames

(Diagram5)Kingsreallyareawesomepieces.Onlythequeencancontroleverysquarewithin
touching distance of itself (as a king does), and thus when it appears on the scene it has a
massiveimpact.Theprobleminvariablyisgettingitonthescene.

Diagram5(W)

Diagram6(B)

Sonearyetsofar!

Notsofast,bucko!

TIP:Centralizeyourking.
Thistipisuniversaladvicetoallendgamesbasedonthepremisethatthekingcanaccessany
partoftheboardinthequickesttimewhenpositionedhere.ReturningtoExample3,though,
thatisstillnotgoingtobequickenoughregardinghaltingtherunawayblackpawn.Fortunately,
helpisonhand!
1Rh8!(Diagram6)
Therookattacksthepawnfrombehind.Itisreadytoguzzlethepawnwhereitstandsorshould
itadvanceonesquarefurther.Theresultingendingiskingandrookversusthelonekingan
easywinforWhite.
TIP:Rooksbelongbehindpassedpawns.
IofferthistipnowbutIcanassureyouthatitwillbearecurrentthemethroughoutthisbook.

RooksbelongbehindPassedPawns
There,I'mevenrepeatingitnowsoastohelpyoucommitittomemory!

Example4
(Diagram 7) In this example there is a very dangerous black pawn that is ready to promote.
HavingspentalotoftimewithjuniorsInoticethattheyplacealotofcomfortvalueinblocking
passedpawns.Here
1Rg1?Kc32Ra1Kb2(Diagram8)

10

TheBasics

wouldensurethattherookisabletogiveitselfupforthepawnbefore(orassoonas)itturns
intoaqueen,allowingWhitetodraw.

Diagram7(W)

Diagram8(W)

Decisions,decisions!

Blockingisoverrated!

It's true that White will not lose with 1 Rg1? but to say that 1 Ra8! is more effective is
somewhatofanunderstatement.Therookis readytotakethepawn(orqueen)ona2 ora1
and,mostimportantofall,ithasattackedthepawnbeforetheblackkingiscloseenoughto
protectit.Whitewinseasily.
NOTE:Theunderlyingthemeisthatrooksliketobeactiveandtheycandothatbestfrom
behindpassedpawns.

Example5

Diagram9(W)

Diagram10(W)

Howtostopthatpawn?

BlackWins

(Diagram9)Blackhastwopassedandconnectedkingsidepawnsthatarenottroublesomeyet
but are certainly there for the future. At the moment the passed pawn on a3 is more of a
concern and it is quite clear that the white king is too far away to offer any help in that
department.However,therookisonhandtohelp.
11

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Anexampleofextremelypoorplaywouldbe
1Rc1?!a22Ra1Kb33Kg4?
Iamhopingtoconveythemessagethatablockingpolicyisrarelygoodinthistypeofsituation,
butthenextexamplewilldemonstratethatWhitestillhasadefensiveresourceavailable.
3...Kb24Rd1a1Q5Rxa1Kxa1(Diagram10)
Theblackkingeventuallyreappearsonthekingsideinordertohelpescorthishandgpawns
home.
NOTE:Adrawisbetterthanaloss!
Bearinginmindthisratherobviousremark,infactWhitehasnumerouswaysinwhichtoavoid
defeat.Take,forexample(Diagram9)
1Ra8Kb32Kh2
ThisisnotaproductivemoveinitselfbutIammerelyusingthistoshowhowtherookcanbe
extremelyeffectiveallbyitself.
2...a23Kg2Kb24Rb8+Kc25Ra8Kb16Rb8+Kc27Ra8
The reader should see a pattern emerging. White attacks the pawn (from behind of course!)
andassoonasitthreatenstopromoteduetothesupportfromitsking,thewhiterookchecks
themonarchawayagain.Blackshouldacceptadraw(eitherofferedorbyrepetition)after

Diagram11(B)

Diagram12(B)

Lookingforcover

Caughtinatrap

7...Kb28Rb8+(Diagram11)
andnotwalkintosomethinglike
8...Ka1?9Kf2h510Ke2h411Kd2h312Kc2h2
Or12...g513Re8g414Re1mate.
13Rh8(Diagram12)

12

TheBasics

Blackwilllosehishpawnandgetmated.

CheckingfromtheSide
Let'slookatanotherimportanttechniqueavailabletotherook.

Example6
You should recall that two moves into our previous we reached the following
position(Diagram13)

Diagram13(W)

Diagram14(B)

Timetoreactivate!

Checkingforever!

Having played passively and made the poor decision to block the pawn with the rook, White
continuedplayinglikeawetlettuceandcapitulatedvia3Kg4?Kb2.Infact,evenherehecould
havesavedthedayvia
3Rf1!Kb24Rf2+Kb15Rf1+Kb26Rf2+(Diagram14)6...Kb37Rf3+Kb4
Andnot7...Kc4??,afterwhichtherookwilltakeupitsrightfulplacebehindthepawnvia8Ra3
andthenitwillbebagged!
8Rf4+Kb59Rf5+Kb6?
Thisisgoingtoofar.BlackshouldacceptthatWhitecancheckforeverandacquiescetoadraw.
10Rf1
Ironically,nowRa1followedbytakingthepawnisunstoppable(andagoodidea!),astheblack
kinghasstrayedtoofar.
TIP:Whilstitisusuallybesttoactivatearookfrombehind,occasionallyconsidersideways
checks.

13

StartingOut:RookEndgames

ShoulderingofftheEnemyKing
This is a very important concept in any endgame and essentially refers to the simple idea of
maximizing your own king whilst if possible simultaneously reducing the scope of the enemy
king.Takethefollowingverysimplecase.

Example7

Diagram15(W)

Diagram16(W)

Opttoshoulder!

Thereturnoftheblackking

(Diagram15)Thewhitekingisincheck,andfirstandforemosthewillobviouslywanttoescape
toasquarethatprotectshispassedpawnontheseventhrank.Whendecidingbetweene6and
g6,however,heshouldn'tjusttossacoin!Observethefailureof
1Kg6?Kd72Kg7Ke7(Diagram16)
Theblackkinghasreturnedintimesoastocombineforceswiththerooktobothstopandnet
thepassedpawn.Incontrast
1Ke6!(Diagram15)
'shouldersoff'theblackking.NowBlackisunabletomakeprogressbecausehiskingcan'tget
towhereitwantstobe,i.e.thee7square.Hence
1...Re1+2Kf6Rf1+3Ke7
andadrawcouldbeagreed.

PushingPassedPawns
So far we have seen passed pawns both succeeding and failing to make a nuisance of
themselves.Inordertocomparepassedpawns,takealookatthefollowingextremecase.

14

TheBasics

Example8

Diagram17(W)

Diagram18(W)

Theapawnhasremainedathome

Yourtimeisup!

(Diagram17)AdinkylittlemoveforWhitetoplayhereis1Re6,preparingtheRd6thatwould
drivetheblackrookaway.Here,though,thatisunnecessaryinviewofthesimple
1d8Q+Rxd82Kxd8Kb7
Clearly2...a53Ra1netsthepawnimmediately.
3Kd7Kb64Kd6a5
Alternatively4...Kb55Kd5a56Rb1+Ka47Kc4Ka38Kb5a49Rb4or9Ra1+,alsobaggingthat
pawn.
5Kd5a46Kc4Ka57Re5+Kb68Kb4(Diagram18)
and White wins. Whilst White's dpawn cost Black his rook, Black's own passed pawn never
reallygotoutofthetraps.
NOTE:Afamousadageruns'Passedpawnsaremeanttobepushed'.
Clearlythecloserpawnsaretopromotion,themoredangerousandsimilarlythemorevaluable
theybecome.Asitwouldnodoubtforceyouropponenttotakenote,itdoesfollowthatyou
shouldgetonwithpushingpassedpawns.However...
WARNING: Each plan should be taken on its own merits. Forgoing a sensible king
centralization, for example, in favour of pushing a doomed passed pawn would not be
bright!

KeepingyourDistance
RooksreallyaresuperbpiecesandIalwaysmaintainthatthemostcommonmistakeamongst
weakerplayersisthattheyjustassumethattheywillappearintheendgameandconsequently
makelittleprovisionforthemtoplayasignificantroleinthemiddlegame.
15

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Theyareofcourselongrangepieces,whichmeansthattheyareverycapableoffulfillingthe
same duty from a distance as they are close up. Indeed, often being too near can be
detrimental.

Example9

Diagram19(W)

Diagram20(W)

Howbadisthat?

Nowheretogo!

(Diagram19)Herethemove
1b7
is extremely obvious because White is naturally very eager to increase his pawn's value from
one point to nine points! It can now be noted that the black rook is on the worst possible
square on the entire board. Placed on a7 at least it could give itself up for the pawn
immediately,andfromanywhereelseitcouldgetbehindthepawnortothebackrank.Black
canplayonforabit,butwithcarefulplayWhitewillsuccessfullyachievehisgoal.
1...Ra6+2Kc5!
Upon2Kb5?Blackcangethimselfoffthehookvia2...Ra1.Therookwillthenbeabletoget
behindthepawn,thisbeingespeciallyevidentafter3b8Q??Rb1+.Notealsothatafter2Kc7,
thepin2...Ra7!savestheday.
2...Ra5+3Kc4Ra4+4Kc3Ra3+5Kb2(Diagram20)
That'stheendofthelineregardingchecksforBlackandtherearenopinsorskewerstohelp
save the day either. Instead, he can either resign or knuckle down to the unenviable task of
tryingtodefendkingandqueenversuskingandrook.
TIP:Unlesstherookisrequiredforaparticularreasonsuchasofferingcover,itisgoodto
getintothehabitofkeepingtherookasfarawayaspossiblefromtheenemyking.

16

TheBasics

CuttingofftheKing
Example10

Diagram21(W)

Diagram22(W)

Outofsightbutnotoutofmind!

Black'skingisintime

(Diagram21)HereWhite'skingisaspoorlyplacedasitcouldpossiblybeandBlackhasavery
obviousplanofusinghiskingtohelpescorthispawntotheendoftheboard.Averyplausible
continuationmightbe
1Kh7Kd5
Thewhitekingisnotaroundyet,butthisisstillagoodhabittogetinto.Thepriorityistostay
intouchwiththepawnbutifBlackcanengageinany'shouldering',thenallthebetter.
2Rb7Kc43Kg6b34Kf5Kc35Ke4b26Ke3Kc27Rc7+Kb38Rb7+Kc2(Diagram22)
andBlackdraws.
It should be said that this sort of race is not untypical in rook endings. Kings do end up on
oppositesidesoftheboard.Onereasonforthisisthatakingmayneedtotraveladistanceto
eliminateenemypawnsinordertocreatea'passer'ofitsown.Anotherpossibilityisthataking
makesadecisiontojourneyuptheboardinordertohelppromoteapassedpawn.Thatisoften
necessarywithanenemyrookbehindthepawn,andatypicaloutcomeisthatthekingforces
theenemyrooktosacrificeitselfforthepawn.Thisgaininmaterial,however,leavestheking
offside, and then the long trip back starts. The big question is whether the king gets back in
timetohalttheopponent'spawnwithouthavingtogiveupitsownrookforit.
Clearlyinthisexampleitprovedabridgetoofar.
However,sometimesopportunitiesaremissedandonmoveonetheuseful'cutoff'technique
couldhavebeenemployedintheformof1Rg5!!.(Diagram23)

17

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Diagram23(B)

Diagram24(W)

Waitforme!

Whattoplay:5Ke5or5Kg5?

This move cuts off the king in that an attempt to go beyond the third rank would be illegal!
Specifically,Whitehaspreventedthekingfromgettingclosetoitspawn.
1...Kb6
Hardlyconstructivebutwerethekingandpawnanyfurtherapartthenitwouldbetheendof
theroadforthepawn.Observeboth1...Kd62Rb5and1...b32Rg3b23Rb3.
2Kg7
The rook has everything under control but the white king is required to force the win of the
pawnandsecurevictory.
2...Kc63Rf5
Providingthewhitekingwithmoreroom,althoughhereitcouldeasilyapproachviathehfile.
3...Kb64Kf6Kc6(Diagram24)
Whattoplay:5Ke5or5Kg5?

5Kg5
Although5Ke5?bringsthekingbackintherightdirection,thatisabadmovebecauseitbreaks
the'cutoff'andthusallowstheblackkingtoadvancewithitspawn.WithBlackstillunableto
doanythinguseful,Whitehasplentyoftimetoretrievehisking,butitjustneedsabitofcare.
5...Kb66Kg4Kc67Kg3Kb68Kf2b3
ThisisdestinedtofailbutWhite'skingwassoonthereanyway.
9Rf3b210Rb3+
andWhitewins.Evenifthisweren'tcheck,thepawnwoulddropoff.

18

TheBasics

TheSkewerTrick
TIP:Alwayswatchoutforchecks.
This doesn't mean always play acheck ifyou see one, but rather that less can go wrong and
morerightifyouarealwaysontheballregardingchecksthatyoucanmakeinagivenposition
oryouropponentcanmakeafteryourintendedmove.

Example11

Diagram25(W)

Diagram26(W)

Don'tgetcomplacent!

Wellandtrulyskewered

(Diagram25)Whiteseemstohavedoneeverythingright(well,exceptbeingapawndownin
thefirstplace!).HehashisrookbehindBlack'spassedpawnand,whilsttheenemykingresides
inafarcorner,thewhitekingismuchnearerthethreatona2.
Withoutduecareandattention,though,hecouldbeinforarudeawakening.
1Ke2?
White probably noticed that moving his king to the third rank enables Black to check and
promotehispawn.1Ke2?,however,suffersacruellerfate!
1...Rh1!2Rxa2
White may have seen what's coming now but it is too late. As is nearly always the case, the
checksrunoutastheenemykingapproachestherook,forexample2Ra8+Kg73Ra7+Kf84
Ra8+Ke75Ra7+Kd86Ra8+Kc77Ra7+Kb6andBlackwins.
2...Rh2+(Diagram26)
Wellandtrulyskewered
Thischeekyskewerpicksupthewhiterookona2andwins.
NOTE:Lifeisn'talwaysfair!
19

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Okay,I'msureyoudidn'tneedmetotellyouthatandprobablymorerelevantismyadvicethat
Whitecouldhaveavoidedthistrapwith
1Kg2!(Diagram27)

Diagram27(B)

Diagram28(B)

Activerookversuspassiverook!

It'sadraw

Amazingly,thisoddlookingmoveisthesaviourbecauseitbecomesclearthatunlessthewhite
king can make it to c2 (which it can't) then the only safe squares for it (i.e. ones that avoid
immediatechecksandtheskewer)areg2andh2.
Black doesn't deserve to win because his own rook is completely passive and thus in direct
oppositiontomy'activatetherook'and'rooksbelongbehindpassedpawns'tips.
Thewhiterookmuststayontheafilebarringtemporaryexcursionstogivechecks.Playmight
continuewith
1...Kg82Ra8+Kf73Ra7+Ke64Ra6+Kd55Ra5+Kc46Ra8Kb37Rb8+Kc28Ra8(Diagram
28)
beforeBlackrealizesthathecan'trealisticallyhopetomakeanyprogress.Everytimetheblack
kingprotectsthepawnona2,itischeckedawaybythewhiterook.

20

ChapterTwo

RookversusPawn(s)

RookversusSplitPawns
RookversustwoconnectedPawns
ThatSixthRankMyth
RookversusmorePawns
RookversusthreeconnectedPawns

RookversusPawns(s)

AlreadyChapterOnewillhaveprovidedyouwithsomeofthebasicsregardingsituationsofa
lone rook against pawns. Generally a rook does well to try and stop an enemy passed pawn
frombehind,butiftheenemykingisinthevicinity,therookcanonlyrealisticallyexpecttowin
ifitsownkinghasaninput.

RookversusSplitPawns

Example12

Diagram1(W)

Diagram2(B)

Therookorbust!

Hasslethosepawns!

(Diagram1)It'sWhitetoplayhere,andasadefensiveaidIthinkthatwecanprettymuchwrite
offthewhiteking.WhatisthereforeabundantlyclearisthatifWhitehastogivehisrookupfor
oneofBlack'spawns,thentheotheronewillpromote.
Inviewofthat,obviously1Rg1?wouldbefutile,asafter1...c2theblackapawnwouldsoon
joinitscompatriotintouchingdown.Whitemustkeephisrookasactiveaspossible.
1Rb7+!Ka22Rc7!
ThekeyisforWhite'srooktocheckthekinginfrontofoneofthepawnsandthenattackthe
other.
2...Kb33Rb7+Kc44Rc7+Kb45Rb7+Kc56Rc7+Kb47Rb7+Ka38Rc7Kb29Rb7+Kc210Ra7
(Diagram2)10...Kb311Rb7+
Therookisrightlyrelentless.Thankstoitsconstantbuzzingabout,Whiteobtainsadraw.
TIP:Therookshouldbekeptflexibleandactiveatalltimes.

Example13
(Diagram3)Hereisanothercaseofhowtherookcanworkwondersbyflittingaround.

22

RookversusPawns(s)

Diagram3(W)

Diagram4(W)

Duckinganddiving!

Theblackkingswoops

1Rb1!
Blackwasthreatening1...Kf2,butnowatripdowntoWhite'ssecondrankwouldallowtherook
topinchthepawnwithcheck.
1...Kd3
Alsonotethatafter1...Kf32Ke7Kg33Kd6Kh2,possible(andofcoursebest!)is4Rxb2asthe
remainingpawnispinned.
2Rg1!
Noticethesymmetryhere.2Kd7?wouldallow2...Kc2butthetextprevents2...Kc2becauseof
3Rxg2+.Blackcannotmakeanyprogressandthegameisdrawn.
However,don'tgettoocarriedaway,asaslightalterationtoourstartingposition(Diagram4)
makesallthedifference.
ItisWhitetoplaybutIcanoffernogoodsuggestions.Thatis,ofcourse,becausetherearen't
any!Blackthreatens1...Ke2,butthistime1Rb1doesn'tcutthemustardbecauseof1...Kc2.
NOTE:Theclosertogetherthesplitpawnsare,theeasieritisforthekingtocontrolthem.
Frankly, the above note is obvious whereas the positions above are quite obscure.
Nevertheless,thecleardifferencebetweenthetwoisthatinthelatterthepawnsareonefile
nearer to each other. The quicker accessibility for the black king to either pawn completely
changestheassessment.

RookversustwoconnectedPawns
NOTE:Generallyconnectedpawnsaresuperiortoisolatedpawnsinrookendings.
Though I am obviously making quite a lot of them in this book, usually I am wary of making
generalizations, as it is nearly always possible to find exceptions to the rule. Clearly, two
23

StartingOut:RookEndgames

connectedpassedpawnsontheirhomesquaresaren'tgoingtobeasworryingtosomeoneas
twoisolanisontheseventhrank,andtheabovenotereferstopawnsofsimilaradvancement.
I will return to the isolated versus connected pawns debate with rooks present in future
chaptersbutfornowletmetalkaboutsituationsinvolvingarookagainstconnectedpawns.

Example14

Diagram5(W)

Diagram6(W)

Timetoapproach

Subtletyrequired

(Diagram5)NobodycandenythatBlack'spawnslooklike atastyduo.Itisamazing,though,
howweakerplayerscanoverestimatetheirvalueinsituationssuchasthis.
WARNING:Neverunderestimatethevalueofpiecesinendgames.
Thewhiterookiscuttingofftheblackkingandthenextstageisgettingthekinginontheact.
Hereasimpleprocedureistoapproachthepawnsfromtheside:
1Kc2Ke6
Thepawnadvancesholdnofuture,forexample1...d3+2Kd2Ke63Ke3Kd64Kxe4d25Rd5+.
2Kb3e33Kc4e24Rh1Ke55Kd3
NowWhitepicksoffonepawnandtheotherfollowsshortly;forexample:
5...Kd56Kxe2Kc47Kd2Kd58Kd3Ke59Rh4
andWhitewins.
TIP:Pawnsfrequentlybecomemorerelevantinendgamesbutneverforgetthatarookis
worthfivepoints.
If we shuffle everything up the board onerank then obviously the same procedure would be
applicable. Bringing all the pieces down one rank, though, requires White to employ more
subtlety.

24

RookversusPawns(s)

Example15
(Diagram6)1Rh8
Incaseyouwerewondering,clearlythereisn'tenoughtimetobringthekingroundnow,for
example1Kc1Ke52Kb2??e23Rh1d2whenadisasterhasoccurred!
1...Ke42Rd8
White'saimistoforceBlacktoadvanceoneofhispawns.Thatwouldthenenablehiskingto
slipintothegap.
2...Kf3!?(Diagram7)

Diagram7(W)

Diagram8(B)

Blacksetsatrap

Blackdoesn'twanttomove

Note how 2...e2+ 3 Kd2 Kf3 4 Rxd3+ Kf2 5 Re3 loses easily and that instead Black has one
sneakytraptoset.
3Ke1!
Thesimplest.CertainlyWhiteisadvisedtoavoid3Rxd3?Kf2wheninviewof...e3e2+e1Qhe
mustconcedehisrook.
3...Ke4
Again advancing the pawns is of no use, as 3...d2+ 4 Kd1 Kf2 5 Rf8+ Kg3 6 Ke2 Kg4 7 Rf1
demonstrates. Granted though, Black is soon going to be forced to do something like that
anyhow.
4Rd7!(Diagram8)
NowBlackwouldrather'pass'butintherulesofchess,alas,sucha'move'isnotallowed!
4...d2+5Ke2Kf46Rd4+Ke57Kxe3
andthedpawnisnextWhitewinseasily.

25

StartingOut:RookEndgames

ThatSixthRankMyth
Wehavejustseenanexamplewhereakingandrookdefeatakingandtwoconnectedpawns
on the sixth rank. What then should we make of the frequently touted remark that 'two
connectedpassedpawnsonthesixthrankalwaysdefeatarook'.Clearlythatreferstoinstances
wherethedefendingking(i.e.theonepairedwiththerook)isn'tonhandtohelp.Checkout
thisfollowingexample.

Example16

Diagram9(W)

Diagram10(B)

Whoeveristomovewins!

Touchdownimminent!

(Diagram9)WithBlackonthemovehecouldholdupthepawnswith1...Re7,afterwhichhis
kingwouldreturntocleanup.Alas,thepawnsgettogofirst.
1d6Kb42e7
2d7wouldbeequallysuccessfulhere.
2...Ra8
IfBlackwantstotryandplayon,then2...Ra1+3Kf2Rd14e8QRxd6,orofcourse2...Rd73e8Q
Rxd6,wouldsurvivelonger.However,grovellingonwithkingandrookagainstkingandqueen
is,asI'vesaidbefore,nofunandshouldbealostcause.
3d7(Diagram10)
andWhitewinseitherpawnisreadytopromote.Havingthewhitekingupwiththepawns
willonlyhelphiscause,butirrespectiveofthatwecanconcludethefollowing:
TIP:Twoconnectedpawnsonthesixthrankwilldefeatarookprovidedtherookcan'twin
oneofthepawnsimmediately,thekingpartneringtherookcan'thaveasignificantinput
andthekingwiththepawnsisn'tdetrimentallyplaced.

26

RookversusPawns(s)

Onewouldimaginethat'asignificantinput'wouldrefertothekingbeinginstantlyactiveinthe
roleofstoppingthepawns.However,thereisanotherwayinwhichitcanhaveaninfluence,as
illustratedbelow.

Example17
(Diagram11)1Rd2+!
As our previous rule concluded, the pawns are too far advanced to deal with directly. For
example,1Rb8a2or1Ra8b2.

Diagram11(W)

Diagram12(B)

Watchthisspace!

Blackdoesn'twanttomove!

1...Kg1
If 1...Kh1 then 2 Kg3 and it's a forced back rank mate next turn. Clearly that is a significant
input!AndwhileI'mhere,1...Kh3leavesthemonarchdetrimentallyplacedbecauseof2Rd3+
Kh43Rxb3whentheremainingpawnisstoppedinthenickoftime,i.e.3...a24Ra3.
2Kf3!b2
2...Kf1allowsmateinone,while2...Kh13Kg3!isagaindecisive.Theline2...a23Rd1+Kh24
Ra1!issimilartothetext.
3Rd1+Kh24Rb1(Diagram12)
Nowafter4...a25Rxb2+bothpawnsfall.Unfortunately,movingthekingandbeingmatedby5
Rh1istheonlyalternative!

Example18
(Diagram 13) This example is very similar to the previous one. Here Black has the option of
running his king to the queenside but, as seen in the note to Black's first move, this doesn't
actuallyhelphiscause.
1Ke3Kf1
27

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Or1...Kd12Kd3Kc13Kc3and,havingachievedthispositionduetothecontinuousbackrank
matethreats,thepawnsarenowripetobeeaten!

Diagram13(W)

Diagram14(B)

Whiteutilizesamatethreat

ThreateningKc3

2Kd3!
Nowthewhitekingiscloseenoughtothepawnstoofferassistanceinhaltingthem.
2...a2
2...Kg1losesafter3Rd2Kf14Kc3.
3Rh1+Kg24Ra1!(Diagram14)4...b2
Orelse5Kc3andthepawnswoulddropinsuccessionanyway.
5Rxa2
Pinningandhencewinningthebpawn.

RookversusmorePawns
The topics up for discussion in this section include situations in which the rook is up against
several pawns. Of course there are millions of scenarios that could be dreamt up in this
category, while factors such as how far advanced the pawns are and how strong they are in
termsofwhethertheyareconnectedorisolatedcertainlycomeintoplay.However,firstupI'd
havetoobservethatthetitleinitselfisdeceptive.Onemustn'tforgetthatwearereallytalking
about king and rook versus king and pawns. The king with the rook must be able to have a
majorroleiftherookistotriumph.

Example19
TIP:Thefirststepinthesesituationsistoidentifythe'danger'pawns.
Thoughtheyarepassed,clearlythedoubledapawnsareoflittleconcerntoWhiterightnow.
Thisisbecausetheyareisolatedandcouldonlyprovetobeathreatif:
28

RookversusPawns(s)

a)They(oroneofthem)getfurtheruptheboard.
b)Theblackkingcanassistintheiradvancesothattheyarenotjustpickedoffassoonasthe
whiterookgetsbehindthem.
c)Thewhitekingisnowheretobeseen,i.e.ontheothersideoftheboardandunabletoreturn
intimetohelpout.
Thedpawnisalsonotmuchtoworryabout,butitiseasytoenvisagetheconnectedhandg
pawnshavingabigsay.Hencethepriorityistogetthewhitekingreadyforactioninthatarea.

Diagram15(W)

Diagram16(B)

Pawnsdon'tmeanqueens!

Therookistheboss

(Diagram15)1Ke3!
TIP:Itisnearlyalwaysbeneficialforthekingpartneringtherooktobeincloseproximity
to its enemy number. This reduces the influence it can have in ushering the pawns
forward.
Alsosensiblehereis1Ke2!.Usuallyitmakesmoresensetocentralizetheking.One3thewhite
king can get to the g and hfiles just as quickly as it can from e2 and on e3 obviously it has
more'shouldering'ability.Thedownside(noteffectivehere)isthatBlackcouldtrytodistract
thekingbyofferingapawn.Underdifferentconditions...d4+couldbeaworthwhilesacrificeto
gaintime.
WARNING: You should always take care as one casual move could undo so much hard
work.
Okay, again very obvious advice but let's see what could happen if White ignored king
activationinfavourofunnecessarilyprematurepawngrabbing:1Ra8?!h42Rxa7Kf43Rxa6?!
h34Ke2?!h25Rh6?(actually5Rf6+!Kg46Rf1Kg37Rf3+Kh48Rf8demonstrateshowan
active rook can seemingly work miracles; however, it's clear that after initial errors, accurate
playisrequiredjusttoholdthedraw)5Kg3(threatening...Kg2and...h1Q)6Kf1?d4.Withthe
whitekingandrooktiedupthereisnosatisfactorywaytohaltthispawnandBlackwillwin.
29

StartingOut:RookEndgames

1...h42Rd8
It'snotsomuchthepawnthatthisrookisafterbutthechanceto'cutoff'theblackking.
2...Ke53Re8+Kf54Rd8(Diagram16)
Showingwhoisboss!Ofcoursethisrepetitionisnotnecessarybutitwasusefultodemonstrate
that,incontrasttothebeliefofthemajorityofweakerplayers,itisWhitewhoisinthedriving
seatinthismateriallyimbalancedsituation.
4...Ke55Kf3d4
PleasenotethatI'mnotcategoricallystatingthatWhiteiswinningthisexampleallalong;I'm
simply reiterating just how powerful rooks are in endgames. I'm also warning against over
valuingpawnswhenmakingacomparisonwithpieces,althoughheretheycanobviouslymake
anuisanceofthemselves.Specifically,itisquitepossiblethat5a5!?maykeepBlack'schances
alive. Indeed, 6 Kg4 d4 may draw as it looks difficult for White to monitor all of the passed
pawnsaswellkeepinghiskingclosetoitsoppositenumber.
Ausefulexerciseistostudythisoneyourself.Oftensuchpositionsendinarace.Canakingget
back to assist its rook in rounding up a dangerous passed pawn or does a draw have to be
forced by the rook before the defending king can usher the pawn home? I can tell you that
5...a5!?offerssomefascinatingvariations.
6Re8+Kf5
Upon6...Kd57Rg8thehandgpawnsdropquicklyandtheimportantthingisthatthewhite
kingisstilleasilycloseenoughtohelpoutwiththedpawnandeventheapawns.
7Re4!(Diagram17)

Diagram17(W)

Diagram18(B)

Rookdomination

Goodtechnique

Excellentplay.Therookisanabsolutestar.
7...d3
30

RookversusPawns(s)

Adifferentroadwouldbe7...h38Rxd4h29Kg2Ke510Ra4.Whitestillhasplentyoftimehere,
andtheonlywaythatthingscouldgowrongisifheweretodillydallyandtheblackkingmade
itoverthehelpanapawnwiththewhitekingstilllanguishingonthekingside.Inthisvariation
thatisahighlyunlikelyoutcomeseeingasWhiteisabouttopickofftheapawnsinsuccession!
8Rd4a5
Whitehasalltheotherpawnsunderlockandkeyand,asIstatedearlier,withouttheblackking
offeringsupportasolitaryblackapawndoesn'tbecomeaconcernforsomewhile.
9Rd5+!
Forcingthekingbackagoodhabittogetinto.
TIP: Always lookout for opportunities to force the opponent's king back and away from
theaction.
9...Kg610Kg4!(Diagram18)
Tobehonest,Whitecanwinprettymuchhoweverhelikesnow.Nevertheless,thisshowsgood
technique.Theaanddpawnsaregoingnowhereandallresistancewillbebrokenwhentheg
andhpawnsareeliminated.
10...Kf611Rxd3a412Ra3Kg613Rxa4Kf614Ra6+Ke515Kxg5h316Rxa7h217Rh7
and White wins. I told you the rook is a good piece. Unless Black resigns beforehand, all five
blackpawnswillbesuccessfullyremoved!

Example20

Diagram19(W)

Diagram20(B)

Whitehasapawn!

Fulfillingitsdestiny!

InourpreviousexampleWhitewasrightlyfavouriteforthefullpoint,buthedidhavetowork
quitehard.WhitehasaneasierplaninDiagram19inwhichheisinthearguablymorerealistic
situationofstillhavingapawnlefthimself.
1Rd7!
31

StartingOut:RookEndgames

BlackcurrentlyhasfourpassedpawnswhichWhiteshouldbeabletostop,andindeedhecould
have taken one immediately. However, a very early tip in this book was to try and create a
passedpawnassoonaspossible.Black'sdpawnisnotathreatandsoWhitegetsstraighton
thecaseofremovingBlack'squeensidepawns.
1...h42Rxb7f53Rxa7h3+4Kh2f45a4f36Kg3(Diagram20)
Whitewinseasily.TheblackpawnsareblockedandWhitecanconcentrateonpromotinghis
ownpawn.Thecumbersomeblackkingispowerlesstodoanythingaboutthis.Evenifitcould
get remotely close, the white rook would cut it off a file or two from its desired destination.
White'staskinthisexamplewasmadeinfinitelyeasierthankstothepresenceofapawnofhis
own.

RookversusthreeconnectedPawns
Althoughitoccursrelativelyrarelyinpractice,asmanyseemintriguedbytheprospectIwilljust
say a few words about the fascinating scenario of a rook (and king!) versus king and three
connectedpawns.

Example21

Diagram21(W)

Diagram22(B)

Pawnsundercontrol

Sittingpretty

(Diagram21)Heretheblackpawnsareinanicechain,butitsoonbecomesclearthattheyare
notyetfarenoughadvancedtocauseWhiteanyproblems.
1Re1!
TIP:Alwaysbeonthelookoutforthetimewhena'waitingmove'isbest.
Essentially the text 'freezes' White's position. Now Black must give way, thus allowing an
infiltration.
1...Kf72Ke5Ke7
32

RookversusPawns(s)

Upon2...g3,thecheekyupstartiseliminatedvia3Rg1.
3Ra1!(Diagram22)
Asusual,therookmakesamenaceofitself.Nowtheblackkingisindangerofbeingtrappedon
thebackrank.
3...Kf74Ra7+Kg65Kxe6
Thisisperfectlyacceptable.Black'spawnsarethreetempiawayfrombeingabreastonthesixth
rank(thesituationweknowisrequiredforthepawnstodefeattherook).Thataside,thewhite
kingisnotfarfromitsblackcounterpart.
5...f46Ke5Kg5
6...f37Kf4f28Ra1Kh59Kg3isalsotonoavail.
7Rg7+Kh48Kxf4
andthegpawnisnextWhitewins.

Example22

Diagram23(W)

Diagram24(W)

Whiteaimstodraw

Stalematetricks?

(Diagram23)Inthefirstchapteritwasassertedthat'passedpawnsaremeanttobepushed'.
Thispositionwouldcertainlyprovidetheunpreparedwithaheadache!
1Ka1!
ThisistheonlymovethatsavesWhite.Takingalookatthealternativeswehave:
a)1Rc3a1Q+!andthewhitekingisoverworkedwith2Kxa1Kxc3.
b)1Rxc4+Kxc42Ka1(Whitemayfeelthathehassomestalematechancesbutalittlesubtlety
wins Black this king and pawn ending) 2...Kb4 3 Kb2 a1Q+! (were the apawn absent, White
wouldhavetochoose4Kb1hereinordertobeabletoretainthe'opposition';alas,hecan't
ignorethequeen!)4Kxa1Ka35Kb1b26Kc2Ka2andthepawnwillpromote.
33

StartingOut:RookEndgames

c)1Rh1c3+2Ka1Ka3andthedevastating...b3b2+isinevitable.
1...Ka3
Readontoseewhatbecomesof1...c3.
2Rc3!
Pinningthebpawnandthuspreventing2...b2+.
TIP:Asadefensiveresource,alwayslookoutforstalematepossibilities.
'Wheredidthatcomefrom'Ihearyouask!Well,firstnotethat2Rc2!wastheotheravailable
defence. That would cover the b2square and the major point is that the game could be
stoppedafterstalematewith2...bxc2.
2...Kb43Rc1c3(Diagram24)4Rxc3!
Totallyjustifyingmylasttip!
4...Kxc3
withstalemate.
Actually,I'vejustnoticedsomethingamusing.IfwerevisittheDiagrams23and24butinstead
withBlacktomove(itwasWhiteintheexample),thenwecanseethatthefirstleadstothe
other.Yes,1...c3+iswinning,becauseafter2Rxc3againthereisthatoverloading2...a1Q+!,as
3Kxa1Kxc34Kb1b2iseasy.HencethebetterpracticaltryforWhiteis2Ka1b2+3Kxa2.Now
whentakingtherookBlackmustbecarefulwhathepromotestoasbothaqueenandarook
wouldleaveitasstalemate.Henceheshouldbringintoplayanewknightorbishopwhenthe
winistrivial.
Don'tworry,I'mnotgoingtosay...
WARNING:Bewareofunderpromotions!
Oops,sorryIjustdid!

34

ChapterThree

RookandPawnvsRook

DefendingKingontheCase
DefendingKingoutofTown

StartingOut:RookEndgames

When learning rook and pawn endgames it is really a good idea to start with the absolute
basics.BythisI'mreferringtoscenariosinwhichbothsideshavearookbutoneplayerhasa
pawntoo.Ifonlyrookswereinvolvedthenadefendercouldadequatelypreventapawnfrom
promoting simply by getting behind it. However, the presence of kings naturally complicates
things.Essentially,I'mgoingtosplitthischapterintotwoparts:oneinwhichthedefendingking
isabletoblockadethepawnandtheotherwhereitcannot.

DefendingKingontheCase
Bythis,I'mreferringtothedefendingkingbeingabletohaveanactiveroleinblockadingthe
enemypawn.WithinthiscategoryIwanttodiscusstwotypesofpawn:
theoutsidepawn(a,b,gandh)andthecentralpawn(c,d,eandf).

TheOutsidePawn
Whenblockaded,arook'spawnprovidesfewerwinningchancesthananyotherpawn.

Example23

Diagram1(W)

Diagram2(B)

Sittight!

Goingnowhere!

(Diagram 1) Without the rooks it is a simple draw. The presence of rooks, though, doesn't
enhanceBlack'swinningchancesoneiota!
1Rc1
Seeing as Black is threatening nothing, there is no reason whatsoever for White to alter his
defensive formation. Hence the rook stays on the back rank, where of course it fulfils the
importantdutyofpreventingmate.
1...Ra32Rb1Ra23Rb3+

36

RookandPawnvsRook

In fact Black isn't threatening anything anyhow, so if he wants White could also sit tight, for
example3Rc1Rh2+4Kg1Rg2+5Kh1andBlackcandonothingtomakeprogress.
3...Kg44Rb4+Kg35Rb3+Kg46Rb4+(Diagram2)6...Kf5
The black king has nowhere to hide. It sets about eliminating the checks by reducing the
distancebetweenitselfandtherook.Alas,thatenablesWhitetoadheretothegoldenrule(not
thatthisisaremotelycriticalsituation).
7Rh4
Yes,it's'rookbehindpassedpawn'timeandnowthisoneisdoomed.
7...Ra38Kh2
withadrawafterRxh3.

Example24
(Diagram3)Theknight'spawnatleastofferssomecoverfortheattackingking,butproviding
thedefenderissensible,thewinningchancesarestillextremelylimited.

Diagram3(W)

Diagram4(W)

Acceptablypassive

Alosingattempt!

1Rc1
TIP: When defending against a rook's pawn or a knight's pawn, a perfectly acceptable
defenceistokeepthekingonthe'queeningsquare'andtherook'passively'guardingthe
backrank.
We have already seen and will continue to see active rooks buzzing all around the board,
checking the opponent's king, attacking pawns and all sorts. Here the white rook remains
comparativelypassivebutundertheseconditionsitisanadequatesolution.
1...Ra22Rb1Rg2+3Kh1Rh2+4Kg1Ra2
Ironicallytheonlyseriouswinningattemptisamorethanseriouslosingattempt!Checkout
37

StartingOut:RookEndgames

4...g2??. (Diagram 4) Now Black threatens ...Rh1+, but 5 Rb3+! Kg4 6 Kxh2 is not what he is
lookingfor!
5Rc1g26Rc3+Kg47Rb3
Theothereasydrawoptionwas7Rc4+Kh38Rc3+Kg49Rc4+.Thekinghasnowheretohide
and9...Kf310Rc3+Kf411Rc4+Ke312Rc3+Kd413Rg3bagsthatpawn.
7...Rc28Ra3
with a draw. The king is cut off from the pawn and hence there is no way for Black to make
progress.

TheCentrePawn
Includedinthiscategoryisthebishop'spawn.Asexampleswithcandfpawnsareessentially
thesameasoneswithdandepawns,thisiswhereIwillstart.

Example2

Diagram5(W)

Diagram6(W)

Introducingthehfile!

Thewhiterookcan'thelp

(Diagram5)1Kg1
ThetruthisthatWhiteisalreadylostinthisposition.Itisclearlytoolateforthewhiterookto
try and get active, i.e. 1 Ra8 (hoping to check the black king from behind) 1...Rb1 mate.
Meanwhile,theconsistentlypassive1Rc1Rh2iswhat1Kg1attempts(unsuccessfully)toavoid.
1...Rg2+!
1Kg1constitutedWhite'sbesttryasafter1...Rh2hecouldatleastpinthefpawnwith2Ra3.
OfcourseBlackmightonlybeteasing,orperhapshemightfindthewinningplanof2...Rb23
Ra1Rg2+4Kf1Rh2nexttimeround!
2Kf1
2Kh1Rh2+3Kg1f2+transposestothemainlineandiscurtains!
38

RookandPawnvsRook

2...Rh2(Diagram6)
Andhereweseethecriticaldifferencebetweenthissituationandourprevioustwoexamples.
Thewhiterookisunabletocoverthewholeofthebackrankastheblackrookswingstothe
othersideofthepawninordertothreatenmateonh1.
3 Kg1 f2+ 4 Kf1 Rh1+

andBlackwins.
WARNING:Passivedefencedoesnotworkagainstacentrepawn.
However, one must not panic and vow here and now never to be a pawn down. First of all,
because you'll never be able to uphold this vow(!) and, secondly, because there are other
defensivetechniquesavailable.

Example26
(Diagram7)InthispositionWhitecandrawwithcarefulplay.

Diagram7(W)

Diagram8(B)

AimingforPhilidor

Gettingreadytocheck

1 Ra3!

NOTE:Thisisknownasthe'Philidortechnique'.Rememberingthisideawillsaveyoumany
halfpoints.
Thetextpreventstheenemykingfromadvancing.IfitisallowedtodosothenBlackwillwin,
forexample1Rc1?(thispassivedefencewillfail)1...Kf32Ra1(itistoolatefor2Rc8now:
2...Rb1+3Kd2e3+4Kd3Rd1+5Kc2e26Rf8+Kg47Rg8+Kf58Rf8+Kg69Re8e1Q)2...e33
Rc1 Rh2 and, just as we saw with the fpawn in the previous example, the white rook is
powerlesstohelpout.
1...e3

ThereisnootherwayforBlacktotrytoprogress.Whereitiscurrentlyplaced,theblackrook
stopsthewhitekingfromadvancing.Evenifitcouldgettod3,Whitecould(thoughhewouldn't
39

StartingOut:RookEndgames

forcedto)justswaprooksinordertoenteradrawnkingandpawnending.
Thistextcarriesthethreatof...Kf3,afterwhichthewhiterookisforcedtoretreat.However,
whilstitcanpreventthecheckonb1,therecurringthemeisthatitcandonothingabout...Rh2
h1.
2Ra8!(Diagram8)
Whitemustcontinueactively.Fromherethewhiterookhasfantastichasslingoptions.
2...Kf3
Thewhiterookwasabletoventureawaybecause(asidefrom...Kf3)therewasnoimmediate
threat,forexample2...Rb1+3Ke2Rb2+4Ke1andnothing'sdoing.
3Rf8+Ke44Re8+Kd35Rd8+
withaneasydrawasthereisnohidingplacefortheblackking.
It is completely clear that understanding and being able to employ this third rank (Philidor's)
techniquecouldsalvageyouadrawortwo,butoccasionallyyoumaynotbeabletoreachour
basicposition(forexample,ifyouhavejustcapturedtoliquidateapairofpawns,reducingthe
situationfrom2v1to1v0).

Example27

Diagram9(W)

Diagram10(W)

Timefora'short'story

Acriticaldecision!

(Diagram9)InthiscaseWhitehastoemploymoresubtletyinhisdefence.
1Rc8!
ItisimportantthatWhitedoesn'tgetconfusedwiththe'Philidor'positionhere.Theblackking
hasalreadyadvancedtoWhite'sthirdrankandso1Rh3+?failsdismallyto1...c3.Blackis
threateningthebackrankmateand2Rh1Ra2shouldbynowbe'oldhat'.
40

RookandPawnvsRook

Iwillnotconfuseyoufurther.1Rc8!,logicallyplacingtherookbehindthepassedpawn,isthe
bestmove.
1...Kc3(Diagram10)
Itshouldbecleartoyouthatafter1...c3thewhiterookcancheckforever(well,youknowwhat
Imean!).Asfor1...Rg1+2Kd2,wellthenWhite'skingandrookcombinetopreventthepawn
advance.WhitethreatensthechecksagainandsoBlackhasnothingbetterthanarepetitionvia
2...Rg2+3Kc1.
2Kb1!
Whitehadabigdecisiontomakehereandthisisabsolutelythecorrectone.As2Rd8Rg1+3
Rd1Rxd1+4Kxd1Kb2isofnouse,Whitehadtomovehisking.
WARNING:Forasuccessfuldefencethekingmustgototheshortsideofthepawn.
The'short'sideisthesidewiththefewerfilesandthereasonwhysoonbecomesclear.
2...Rg1+3Ka2Rc1
Thismaylooklikeafunnymoveuntilyouobservethat3...Kd34Kb2Rg2+5Kc1Kc36Kb1is
justgoingroundincircles!Thetextprepares...Kd2andthechancetoadvancethepawn.
4Rh8!(Diagram11)

Diagram11(W)

Diagram12(W)

Preparingtocheck

Nocheckingdistance

Chapter One tendered the tip about bearing in mind the sideways check, and utilizing this
concepthereistheonlywayforWhitetoachieveadraw.
4...Rd1
Preparingtoblockthechecksthatsavethedayasshowninthefollowingvariation:4...Kd25
Rh2+Kd36Rh3+Ke27Kb2Rd18Kc3Rc1+9Kb2Rg110Kc3Rg411Rh8Ke312Rc8.What
shouldbeapparentthereisthatthewhiterookhadplentyof'checkingdistance'.Inorderfor
41

StartingOut:RookEndgames

thekingtoclosethegapithadtocometoofaroutofposition.Thisisessentiallythereason
whythedefendingkingmustchoosethe'short'sideoverthe'long'side.
NOTE: When the passed pawn in question is on the d or efile then there is just about
enoughcheckingdistanceifthekingselectsthe'long'side.However,Iwouldrecommend
thedefendingkingusethe'short'sideeverytime.
5Rc8!Kd36Kb2Rd2+7Kc1Rh28Rc7!
Whiteholdshisground,withthetextjustbeinga'passingmove'.
TIP: When not wanting to alter your defensive setup, try to employ a minimalist rook
moveasa'waiting'move.
8...Kc39Kb1!
Once again correctly selecting the 'short' side of the enemy passed pawn. While we're here,
though, let's take a look at the probable consequence of opting for the 'long' side instead: 9
Kd1?Rh1+10Ke2Rc1!.(Diagram12)10...Kb3?11Kd2makesnoprogressandperhapsafter
11...Rh2+12Kc1Kc3Whitemightseethelightvia13Kb1!.But10...Rc1!winsafter11Ra7(the
problemwith11Rh7nowisthatWhite'sownkingdrasticallyreduceshisabilitytocheckthe
enemymonarch)11...Kb212Rb7+ Kc213Ra7 c314Ra8Rb115Rc8Rb716Rc6Kb217Kd3
Rd7+18Kc4c219Rb6+Kc120Rh6(or20Kc3Kd1)20...Rb7(facilitatingtheblackking'sescape
frominfrontofthepawnviathebfile)21Kc3Kb1andthepawnwillpromotenextturn.
TIP: Whilst it may be vital to know the correct 'short side' drawing technique should it
arise, it is equally as important (i.e. it's worth halfapoint) to know how to punish the
incorrect'longside'defender.
9...Rh1+10Ka2Rc111Rh7
Andhereweareagain!
11...Rd112Rc7!
Whitehasdemonstratedthathehastherequireddrawingtechnique.

DefendingKingoutofTown
Defending rooks can be a real nuisance to the attacker, but in the vast majority of cases the
defending king is required to have an input in order to achieve a satisfactory defence. It
couldn'tbeworseplacedthaninthefollowingexample.

Example28
(Diagram13)1a6Ra1
Checksfromthesideareshortlived,asWhite'srookisonhandtointerpose.

42

RookandPawnvsRook

Diagram13(W)

Diagram14(B)

Theblackkingisoffthepace

Onlytemporarilytrapped

TIP: Aside from cutting off the defending king, the attacking rook is often well placed
somewherewhereitcanblockorstopenemychecks.

2Kb7Rb1+3Ka8Kg14a7Kf15Rd8(Diagram14)
PreparingtopushtheblackrookawayfromthebfilewithRb8.Intruth,withtheblackkingso
farawayWhitehasplentyofwaystoconvertthefullpointhere.Theline5Rd7Rb26Rb7Rh2
7Kb8Rh8+8Kc7Rh7+9Kb6Rh6+10Ka5Rh5+11Rb5Rh812Rb8Rh5+13Kb4Rh4+14Kc5
(andthewhitekingwillzigzagtowardstherook)isaslightlymorelongwindedalternative.
5...Ke26Rb8Ra17Kb7Rb1+8Kc6Rc1+9Kd5Rd1+10Ke4
Whitewinstherearenomorechecksandthepawnwillqueennextturn.

Example29
Bringtheblackkingnearerandthestoryissignificantlydifferent.
(Diagram15)1Rd3Rb22Rd1Ke83Rh1
Thewhiterookwaspreventingtheblackkingfromcrossingthedline,butinorderforhimto
winheneedstopushawaytheblackrookfromthebfile.
3...Kd74Rh8Kc7(Diagram16)5Rb8Rh2
Withtheblackkingsowellplaced,actuallyanyrookmoveapartfromonthebfilewouldhave
beenadequate.
6Rb7+Kc6
Or6...Kc87Rb1Rc2,whenitisimpossibletobudgetheblackkingfromeitherc7andc8and
thusimpossibletoextractthewhiteking.

43

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Diagram15(W)

Diagram16(W)

'Cutoff'kings!

Boxedin

7Rb1Rh8+
Or7...Rh38Rc1+(absolutelynot8Kb8??Rh8mate)8...Kb69Rb1+Ka610Ra1+Kb611Rb1+
Kc7.Yes,a6orc7;withthewhitekingsoawkwardlyplacedBlackcanprettymuchdowhatever
hewants!
8Rb8Rh7
Echoingmypreviouscomments,therearenowloadsofwaystodraw.Forexample,8...Rh19
Rc8+Kd710Kb7Rb1+11Ka6Ra1+12Kb7Rxa7+.
9Rc8+Kb610Rb8+Ka6
The game is drawn. The apawn drops and, as White has to make a move, it won't be with
mate!
NOTE:Foradefender,successorfailure(inobtainingadraw)isusuallydependentupon
theproximityofhiskingtothepawn.

Example30
(Diagram 17) If we move White's rook and Black's king one file to the right, White's rook
reachestheb8squareintimetoensurevictory,althoughtheprocessismorecomplexthanit
firstappears.
1Rc2!
Immediatelyaimingfortheb8square.
1...Ke72Rc8Kd6!
Thebesttry.After2...Kd7Whitewinsmoreeasilywith3Rb8Ra14Kb7!Rb1+5Ka6Ra1+6Kb6
Rb1+7Kc5,whenBlacksoonrunsoutofchecks.

44

RookandPawnvsRook

Diagram17(W)

Diagram18(W)

Whitewins...just!

Notsoeasy

3Rb8Rh14Kb7Rb1+5Kc8!
Whitemustgothiswaywiththeking.Notethat5Ka6?!Ra1+6Kb6Rb1+7Ka5Ra1+!makesno
progress.
5...Rc1+6Kd8Rh1(Diagram18)
Now White must be careful because mate is threatened, and 7 Ke8? loses the pawn after
7...Rh8+8Kf7Rh7+!and...Rxa7.FortunatelyforWhite,aneattrickensuresvictory.
7Rb6+!Kc58Rc6+!
Acleveridea.Blackdrawsafter8Ra6?Rh8+9Kd7Rh7+10Ke8Rh8+11Kf7Ra812Ke7Kb513
Ra1Kb6and...Rxa7.
8...Kd5
8...Kb59Rc8!alsowins,forexample9...Rh8+10Kc7Rh7+11Kb8!Kb612a8Q.
9Ra6Rh8+10Kc7Rh7+11Kb6Rh6+12Kb5
andBlackcandonothingtopreventWhitefromqueening.
'That's all very well' I hear you ask, 'but what happens when neither king is close to the
remainingpawn?'
It's true that this second section of the chapter is mainly focusing on situations in which the
attackingkingisupwiththepawn,butitisworthanexampletorespondtothisquery.

Example31
NOTE:Ifkingswerenotallowedtoapproach,arookandpawnwouldnotdefeatarook,
butthisisahypotheticalassertion.It'sallabouttherelativepositionofthemonarchs.

45

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Diagram19(W)

Diagram20(W)

Thiscouldhappen

Spoiltforchoice

(Diagram19)1b4
Theobviousalternativeis1Kg2,butafter1...Kg72Kf3Kf63Rh1Rb84Rb1Ke55Ke3Kd56
Kd3Kc57Kc3Rh8it'sclearthattheblackkingisabletokeeppacewiththewhiteking.Example
24 demonstrated that even with the defender stuck on the back rank he has no problems
drawing.Thoughit'sobviouslyfarfromnecessary,herehecanmakehisstandfurtherupthe
board.Notethat8Rd1(Diagram20)8...Rh3+9Rd3Rxd3+(certainlynotforced;readon!)10
Kxd3Kb4isasimpledrawnkingandpawnending.However...
TIP:Don'tswapoffrooksunlessyouarecertainabouttheoutcomeoftheresultingking
andpawnending.
NOTE: Though my own experiences dictate that they don't occur too frequently, it does
paytohaveageneralknowledgeofkingandpawnendings.
WARNING:Onceyouhaveswappedoffyourlastpiece,thereisnowayback!
Well, okay, the last statement excluded promotions but I'm sure you understood what I was
gettingatwiththosethreepiecesofadvice!
1...Kg72b5Rb83Rf5
It is true to say that attacking rooks also like to be behind their passed pawns. This helps to
advance them and of course prevents the enemy rook from achieving that same aim.
Unfortunately,though,3Rb1isofnousehereastheblackkingwinstheracetogettherefirst.
Theblackrookishappytoblockonlybecauseitisrightlyconfidentthatthefallofthewhiteb
pawnisimminent.Forexample,3...Kf64Kg2Ke55Kf3Kd56Ke3Kc5.
3...Kg6(Diagram21)
Simultaneouslyprotectingthepawnandcuttingofftheblackking,thewhiterookwasplaced
wellonf5.Giventimehewouldbeabletowinashiskingcouldmarchovertohelpassistinthe
bpawn'sadvance.Alas,3...Kg6makesitclearthattheblackkingwantstoescapeitscage.
46

RookandPawnvsRook

4Rc5Kf65Kg2Ke66Kf3Kd67Rh5Re8
GivingWhiteatasteofhisown'cuttingoff'medicine,althoughinallfairnessBlackhasseveral
waystoholdthisposition.
8Kf4Re19Rg5Kc710Rg6Rb111Rc6+Kb712Rc5Kb6(Diagram22)
andthebpawnwillbebaggednextturn,leavingastonecolddraw.

Diagram21(W)

Diagram22(W)

Hasslingtherook

Baggingthepawn

ThereareothersimplesituationsthatIwouldliketodiscuss,startingwiththeapplicationofa
littlecommonsense(alwaysusefulinagameofchess!).

Example32
(Diagram23)Whitehasgothispawnallthewaytotheseventhrank,butinorderforittobe
abletotakethatfinalstep,heneedstobeabletoextracthisking.

Diagram23(W)

Diagram24(B)

Amanwithaplan?

Buzzoff!

Clearly1Ra7+Kd82Ra8+Kd7isnotgoingtobudgetheblackkingfromthedfile,asfromthe
sidethewhiterookcan'tcontrolbothd7andd8atthesametime.
47

StartingOut:RookEndgames

CoverforthekingistheonestumblingblockthatWhitemustovercomeasdemonstratedby
thevariation1Rd2+Kc72Ke7Re1+3Kf6Rf1+4Kg6Rg1+5Kf5Rf1+6Ke6Re1+7Kf6Rf1+8
Kg7 Rg1+ 9 Kf8 coming out with the king too soon got White nowhere. There is a crafty
solutiontothisoutlinedinthenextexample,butfornowobservethesimplicityofthetext.
1Rh2!Rg32Rh7
Thismanoeuvreisnotnewtothischapter.Theblatantideaistoforcetheblackrookoffofthe
gfilesothatthewhitekingcangetoutfrominfrontofthepawn.Hence2Rh8Rg13Rg8Rf14
Kg7Rg1+5Kh6Rh1+6Kg5Rg1+7Kh4Rh1+8Kg3Rg1+9Kh2wouldbeequallysuccessful.
2...Ke6
Upon2...Rg13Rg7Rf14Kg8,alas(fromBlack'spointofview!)4...Ke75f8Q+isdoublecheck.
3Rg7(Diagram24)
3 Ke8 also wins, although after 3...Ra3, in contemplating how to deal with the mate threat,
Whiteshouldturnto4Rh6+!ratherthanunderpromotingtoaknight(withcheck).Rookand
knightversusrookisatheoreticaldraw(withIcantellyou, notgreatpracticalwinningchances
either!).
3...Rf34Kg8
andWhitewins.4...Ke75f8Q+isagaindoublecheck.

Example33
(Diagram25)ShiftingeverythingonefiletotherightmakesWhiteworkharder.
1Re2+
Asinourpreviousexample,1Ri2i7h7wouldbeasimplemanoeuvreweretheboardninefiles
wide!Duetothe8x8widthrestriction,though,Whitehastofindacleverwinningidea.

48

Diagram25(W)

Diagram26(B)

What,no'i'file?

Lucenaandbuildingbridges!

RookandPawnvsRook

1...Kd72Re4!
NOTE:Thisisknownasthe'Lucena'technique,andLucena'spositionisallaboutbuildinga
bridgeforthewhiteking(well,somethinglikethat!).
2...Rh23Kf7Rf2+4Kg6Rg2+5Kf6(Diagram26)5...Kd6
Theimmediate5...Rg1transposestothemainlineafter6Re5!,butatleastwiththetextBlack
sets a trap. The subtlety behind White's second move is highlighted with the basic 5...Rf2+ 6
Kg5Rg2+7Rg4onthefourthranktherookisavailabletoblockchecks.
6Re6+!
Blackwashopingfor6Re5?Rxg7!,whenaslongastheblackkingkeepstabsonthewhiterook
(i.e.7Re6+Kd7),thewhitekingfindsitselfoverworked.
WARNING: Be careful not to overwork or overload your king (or any piece for that
matter!).
6...Kd7
6...Kd57Re5+!isthesame.
7Re5!Rg18Rg5Rf1+9Ke5
andWhitewinspromotionisimminent.

Example34

Diagram27(W)

Diagram28(B)

Onemovewins

Slowlybutsurely

(Diagram27)1Rd1!
A powerful move, cutting off the black king. Now Black can do nothing to prevent White
reachingasimilarpositiontotheonestudiedinExample32.
Noticethat1c5?allowstheblackkingtoblockadethepawntoreachadrawnposition:1...Kd7!
49

StartingOut:RookEndgames

2Rh7+Kc83Kb6Rc2!4Kc6Kb8!reachingthe'shortside'seeExample27.
1...Rb2+
1...Rg82c5Rb8+3Ka6Rc84Kb6Rb8+5Kc7Rb26c6doesn'thelpmatters,butonlybecause
the white pawn was too far advanced to start with (see the next example for a case where
checkingfromthefrontworks).
2Kc6Rc23c5Rc34Kb6Rb3+5Kc7(Diagram28)
Slowly but surely the white king and pawn advance up the board, with Black looking on
helplessly.
5...Rc36c6Rb37Kc8Rb28c7Rb39Ra1!Rb210Ra7!
followedbyRb7,whenWhitewinsinasimilarfashiontoExample32.
Generallyitdoesn'tlookgoodforthedefenderwhenhiskingiscutoff,butthefollowingcase
showsthatallmaybenotlost.

Example35

Diagram29(W)

Diagram30(B)

Roomforfrontalchecks

Thereturnoftheking

(Diagram29)1Kg4Rg8+!
Introducing anotherresourceintheformof'frontalchecks'.Ifallowed,thewhitekingwould
just escort his fpawn home as the black monarch is cut off and thus powerless to offer
assistance.
2Kh5Rf83Kg5Rg8+4Kh6Rf8
Thisbuggingroutineispossiblebecausethepawnisnottoofaradvancedandthustherookhas
adequatecheckingdistance.
5Re4
Or5Kg5Rg8+etc.
50

RookandPawnvsRook

5...Kd5!
Withthefpawnguarded,thewhitekingwasthreateningtocloseinwith6Kg7.Thetextmove
crashesWhite'sparty.
6Re5+Kd67Kg5Rg8+8Kf5
8Kh4Rf89Kg4Rg8+10Rg5isalittlemoretricky.ItisessentialthatBlackrecognizeswhenhe
canandcannotaffordtoexchangerooks.Herehecan't,butafter10...Ra811Rg7Ke612Kg5
Ra5+13Kg6hecanvia13...Rf5!,as14Re7+Kxe715Kxf5Kf7leaveshimwiththe'opposition'.
Blacktomoveherewouldbebadnews,butasitisWhitetomove,it'sadraw.
NOTE:Onehasthe'opposition'whenthetwokingsareopposedanditistheopponent's
kingthatmustgiveway.Theconceptisparticularlyrelevantinkingandpawnendgames,
wheretohavetheoppositionornotisoftenthedifferencebetweenawinandadraw(or
adrawandaloss).
8...Rf8+9Ke4Rf710f5Re7!(Diagram30)
Thiseffectivelybreaksthe'cutoff'barrier.Whitecan'tlegallyavoidtheswapofrookshere,but
evenifhecoulditwouldstillmeantheblackkingbeingabletotraversetheefile.
11Rxe7Kxe712Ke5Kf713f6Kf8!
and Black draws. 13...Kf8 is the only move but also a wellknown one (or at least one easily
workedoutovertheboard!).

Example36
Hereisamoresimplisticexampleof'breakingthebarrier'.

Diagram31(W)

Diagram32(B)

Timetobreakdownabarrier!

Stayback!

(Diagram31)1Rd1!Rxd1
After1...Rh7,2Kd2willseeWhiteachievehisaim.Withthedefendingkingbackonthecase,
it'snosurprisethatheholds,forexample2...Rh2+3Kc3Rh3+4Kc2Kb45Rb1+Kc56Rb8.
51

StartingOut:RookEndgames

2Kxd1Kb43Kc2(Diagram32)
It'sadraw:theblackkingcan'tgetinfrontofhispawnandisthusunabletousherithome.
That'snottheendofthestory,though,assometimestheattackercanbeequallycrafty.

Example37

Diagram33(W)

Diagram34(B)

Catandmouse

Whitehasthe'opposition'

(Diagram33)1Rc5!
Black has just tried to break the 'cut off ' barrier with ...Rc8, but the text move maintains it.
Notethat1Rxc8Kxc82Kb5Kb7isdrawn,whereasnowitisBlackwhocannotaffordtotrade
rooks.
1...Rc62Kb5!
Again2Rxc6Kxc63Ka5Kb7isinBlack'sfavour.Thisisarealgameofcatandmouse!
2...Rxc5+
This loses, but 2...Rh6 3 b7 Rh1 4 Kb6 Rb1+ 5 Ka7 Ra1+ 6 Kb8 reaching a standard 'Lucena'
positionisnobetter.
3Kxc5Kd84Kd6!(Diagram34)
Obtainingtheoppositionanditisbecauseofthisthatthebpawnwillpromote.
4...Kc85Kc6Kb86b7Ka77Kc7
andWhitewins.
Youarenowarmouredwiththeessentialsofrookandpawnversusrookscenarios,butletme
endthischapterwithapositionthatincorporatesseveralofourthemestodate.

52

RookandPawnvsRook

Example38

Diagram35(W)

Diagram36(W)

Sidewayson!

Avitaldeflection.

(Diagram35)ThisisaninterestingsituationbecauseatfirstitseemslikeatrivialwinforBlack,
ashiskinggottowhereitcountsfirst.Indeed,withBlacktoplayhecouldeasilyforcewinswith
either1...Rd8(preparingtobringthekingout)or1...Rc2+,intending2Kb3Kc1or2Kb1Rc1+3
Kb2Ke2when...d1Qwouldshortlyfollow.
However, with White to play he has what should now to the reader be a familiar defensive
resource.
1Rh1+!
That'sright,checkingfromtheflankonthe'long'sideofthepawn.
1...Ke22Rh2+Ke33Rh3+
White must not relent. Upon the passive 3 Rh1?, Black has a tasty deflection in the form of
3...Rh8!(Diagram36)Ifthebaitistakenthenthepawnpromotes.Ontheotherhand,after4
Rg1thedefendingrookissqueezedvia4...Kf25Rd1Ke2.Notethatthewhitekingcanofferno
assistance,forexample6Kc2Rc8+!.
3...Ke44Rh4+!(Diagram37)
Thereisstillnoneedfor4Rh1?.Indeed,asbefore(albeitalonger,cuterversion)thispassive
retreatlosesafter4...Rh8!5Rg1Ke36Kc2Rc8+!7Kb2Ke28Rg2+Ke19Rg1+Kf210Rh1Rh8!.
4...Kf35Rh3+Ke26Rh2+
After50moveslikethisWhitewouldbeabletoclaimadraw,althoughbythensurelythe'three
moverepetition'rulecouldbeimplemented!
6...Ke17Rh1+Kf28Rh2+Ke39Rh3+Kf4(Diagram38)

53

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Diagram37(B)

Diagram38(W)

Checkagain!

GivingWhiteaneasydraw

The black king gets frustrated and tries to approach the rook, but now this gives White the
opportunitythathehasbeenlookingfor.
10Rd3
withadraw.Ittranspiresthattheblackpawnwassonearyetsofar!

54

ChapterFour

Introducing More Pawns

ActivatingRooks
TheExtraOutsidePassedPawn
AllPawnsontheSameSide
PawnTypes
BigMajorities

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Themorepawnsthatarebroughtintoplay,themoretheissueisclouded.However...
WARNING:Alwaysbearinmindyourgeneralprincipleshowevercomplicatedthesituation
mayseem.
Yes, if anything, the more complex the position seems, the more important all those 'rooks
behindpassedpawns'and'activateyourking'typeofprinciplesbecome.
Invariably,withallotherthings(thatispawnstructure,positioning ofthekings,relativerook
activity)beingapproximatelyequal,strongplayerswillshakehandsforadrawinlevelmaterial
rookandpawnendings,oftenwithoutevenmakingamove.

ActivatingRooks
Thenextexamplewouldn'tbesuchanoccasionofanearlyhandshake,withtherelativerook
activitiesbeingthekeyissue.

Example39

Diagram1(W)

Diagram2(B)

Taketheopenfile!

Therookisinseventhheaven!

(Diagram1)1Rd1!
NOTE:Rooksloveopenfiles.
1...Rc8?
BlackisanticipatingWhite'snextmovebutthishasahorriblypassivefeelaboutit.
WARNING:Rooksdonotlikedefendingpawnsinthismannerandsuchamoveshouldonly
beemployedasalastresortorifthereislightattheendofthetunnel.
As Black would still have some untangling to do, White would still have the upper hand.
However,1...Rf8,intendingtomeet2Rd7with2...Rf7,wasamuchmoresatisfactorydefensive
try.
2Rd7(Diagram2)
56

IntroducingMorePawns

NOTE:Rooksloveseventhranks.
Placedhere,thewhiterookcutsofftheenemykingonthebackrankandtiestheblackrook
downtoagrimroleofdefender.WereBlack'sf6pawnonf7insteadthentherewouldbesome
lightattheendofthattunnel.Theblackkingcouldrushtoe8inordertoevictthewhiterook,
afterwhichhisownrookwouldbefreeofitsdefensiveshackles.Alas,that'snotpossiblehere
asthehpawnishanging.
2...h53f4Kf84Kf2Kg8
I was intending to use this passive play as an extreme example, but in all fairness Black is
already in serious trouble. Note that after 4...a5 5 Ke3 b5 6 e5 f5 7 Rh7 Kg8 8 Re7, in this
situationthee6pawnwouldbeaverybigcatch.
5Ke3!
TIP:Asanattackerwithapositionaladvantage,alwaystrytokeepcontroloftheposition.
HereWhitecouldnetapawnvia5Re7Kf86Rxe6Kf77f5.However,thenhisrookismuchless
effectivethanitwasbefore,whilst7...Rd8wouldleaveBlack'sownrookseekingsomeaction.
Attheveryleast,enemyrookactivationofferstheopponentapsychologicalboost.
TIP:Alwaysconsidersacrificingapawninordertoactivateapassiverook.
5...Kf86e5fxe57fxe5a68Kf4b69Kg5c510Kxg6h411Kf6
Whitewinseasily.Black'spawnswilldropoffandhewillluckynottogetmatedsoontoo!
To lose in such a manner is a horrible experience that I hope I have prompted you to try to
avoid.Regardingtheconceptofoffloadingapawninsearchofactivity,thisisessentiallybased
onthepremisethat,assumingareasonablyplacedkingandanactiverook,thereareexcellent
chancestoholdadraw.

TheExtraOutsidePassedPawn
Let'smoveontoaveryinstructivecase.

Example40
(Diagram3)1h4!
Thisisn'tasimportanthereasitisinExample42,butneverthelessthisisanothergoodhabitto
getinto.
TIP: When down on material, one should aim to swaps off pawns and not pieces.
Conversely,whenuponmaterialoneshouldtrytoswapoffpiecesandnotpawns.
ThetextbuysWhiteabitofspaceonthekingsideandsuggeststhatifBlackwantstoadvance
his kingside pawns then some swaps will be made. Possibly even more relevant here is that
57

StartingOut:RookEndgames

WhitewantsBlacktogivesomeseriousthoughttojusthowdangerousWhite'skingsidepawns
couldbecomeshouldBlackgettoofruityonthequeenside.'Verydangerous'istheconclusion
ofthisexample!

Diagram3(W)

Diagram4(B)

Passedpawnundercontrol

Apawn?Nothanks!

1...Kf6
With the rooks off of the board, the black win would be trivial even if the black pawn was
further back and couldn't promote immediately (i.e. it could be used as a simple decoy).
However,theyarepresentanditisWhitewhohastheactiveone.
2Kf3Ke6
After2...a2it'struetosaythatWhite'srookistieddowntotheapawn,butthedrawbackis
that there will no longer be any shelter for the black king if it travels over there to offer
assistance. White's king can confidently remain with his kingside pawns and play might
continuealongthelinesof3Kg2Ke54Ra5+Kd45Ra4+Kc36Ra8Kb27Rb8+(aspreviously
mentioned,a2isnolongeravailablefortheblackmonarchtoescapethechecks)7...Kc38Rc8+
Kb49Rb8+Kc510Rc8+Kb611Ra8Kb712Ra3f6.Blackthenattemptstogetsomethinggoing
withhiskingsidepawnsbutsolongasWhiteappliesamodicumofcarethenhewillbefine.
Specifically, he mustn't wander his king out into the open where it might fall foul of an
embarrassing rook check, and he mustn't walk into the skewer trick detailed in Chapter One.
Forexample,13Ra4g514hxg5fxg515Ra3h416gxh4gxh417f4h3+18Kh2!.(Diagram4).
This is the safe square. Taking with the king would have run into 18...Rh1+, whilst any black
rookmovewouldhavesufficedafter18Rxh3?;theoutcomeineachcaseisapawnpromotion.
An interesting exercise for the reader to do here is to play this one on for a while. You will
observethatduetotheconceptof'zugzwang',Whitewillhavetomovewhenhewouldrather
not.Thiswillresultinhimlosinghisfpawnbutitwon'tmatter.Withhisownrookaspassiveas
it comes, Black will be unable to make any headway. Temporarily two pawns up, his only
58

IntroducingMorePawns

practical chance will be to concede the apawn but the very first example of Chapter Three
demonstratedwhythatwouldthenbeaneasydraw.
NOTE:ZugzwangisaGermanwordmeaning'obligedtomove'eventhoughit'sdefinitely
notinone'sinterest!
TIP: Be sure to apply your knowledge of rook and pawn versus rook to any situations
wheretranspositionscouldbecomepossible.
3Kf4Kd5(Diagram5)

Diagram5(W)

Diagram6(B)

Goingforbroke

Kingoutofposition

Giventime,Blackisabletousherhomehisapawn.Thekingsheltersfromwhiterookchecks
ona2,whilsttheblackrookrepositionsitself(forexample,viab1tob3)when...Kb2and...a2
a1follows.Niceintheorybuttheflyintheointmentisthatwhilethepawnisonlyona3,the
whiterookisfreetomove.I'mcertainlynotgoingtosuggestthatWhiteiswinningafterthis,
but the following continuation, highlighting the risks, is now well within the realms of
probability.
4Rxf7Kc45Kg5Rf1
5...Rb1!?6Ra7Rb5+7Kxg6Kb48f4Ra5demonstratesanalternativetry,but9Rb7+Kc310
Rb1a2ishardlyconvincing.Forexample,11Ra1Kb212Rf1a1Q13Rxa1andwhicheverway
Blackrecapturesthewhitepawnswillbeofgraveconcern.
6Ra7Kb37Kxg6Rxf28Kxh5a29g4Rf4
Threateningthe10...Ra4thatwouldprohibitWhite'srookfrompreventingthepromotion.
10Rxa2Kxa211g5(Diagram6)
As the outcome of connected passed pawns versus a rook is rarely a draw, the adventurous
blackkingpolicywasessentially'doordie'stuff.Giventhatthismonarchissofarawayfrom

59

StartingOut:RookEndgames

wheretheactionisnow,I'mafraidthatinthisinstanceitisthelatter!Black'srookisunableto
stopbothpawnsandWhitewins.
Reversingthepositionoftherookssignificantlyalterstheassessmentoftheposition.

Example41

Diagram7(W)

Diagram8(B)

Rookrolesreversed

It'syourturn!

(Diagram 7) This is the black rook's worst nightmare. With the white passed pawn just three
squaresfromtheend,itmuststayput.Ifthewhitekingmakesittob5thenit'scurtains!
1Kf3Kf52Ke3Ke53Kd3Kd54Kc3Kc55Ra1!(Diagram8)
Whiteplaysacleverwaitingmovethatputstheballintotheopponent'scourt.IfBlackretreats
hisrook,theapawnwilladvance,andasthekingsidepawnswillrunoutofmoves(whilstthe
whiterookcanjustgotoandfro),eventuallytheblackkingwillhavetogiveway.
5...Kb5
5...Kd56Kb4Kc67Kc4leavesBlackwiththesamehorribledilemma:toallowthewhiteking
accesstohiskingsideorhisqueenside.
6Kd4
Theblackkingcouldn'tallowitsoppositenumbertohasslehisrookbuttheironicthingabout
travellingtothequeensideisthatBlackcan'ttakeWhite'sapawnanyhowarooktradewould
leadtoahopelesskingandpawnendgameduetoBlack'soutofpositionking.
6...Rd6+7Ke5Re6+8Kf4(Diagram9)8...Ra6
Something had to block the apawn, but although 8...Ka6 would have left the rook free for a
moreactiverole,actuallythereisnothingforittoattack.Addedtothis,9Kg5Re5+10Kh6Rf5
11Ra2Rf312Kg7Rf513f4demonstratesthatitstrugglestodefendthekingsideonitsown.
Indeed, Black is in zugzwang here. He can't move his pawns or rook without losing pawns,
whilstgivinggroundwiththekingonlyallowstheapawntoadvance.
60

IntroducingMorePawns

Diagram9(B)

Diagram10(B)

Yourturntoblock!?

Kingsideinvasion

9Kg5Kc510Kh6Kd511Kg7Ra712a6Ke613Ra4Ke714Rf4(Diagram10)
Thoughtheapawnismassive,Whitecantradeitforthefpawnherebecausethisblackpawn
isvitaltothesurvivalofitscompatriots.
14...Rxa615Rxf7+Ke816Rf6
andWhitewinsBlack'sgandhpawnswillsoonbehistory.

AllPawnsontheSameSide
NOTE: With all other things being equal and all of the pawns on the same side of the
board,oneextrapawnisnotenoughtowin.
Certainlythepreviouschaptershowedhowwithcarefuldefence,ifthedefendingkingisonthe
queeningsquarethenrookandpawnversusrookisadraw.Withaliquidationtothissimple
endingusuallybeingtheaim,italsofollowsthat2versus1and3versus2arealsodraws.The
more pawns involved, however, the better the winning chances and the more active the
defenceneedstobe.

Example42
(Diagram11)Herethewhiterookcorrectlyactsthepartofarealbusybee.
1h4!
Blackwantstocreateapassedpawnandastheextraepawnisthemostlikelycandidate,heis
forcedtoproposetradesinordertoachieveit.
1...h6
Togetin...e4e3Blackneeds...f5f4.Togetin...f5f4heneeds...g6g5.Yes,you'veguessedit,
that'swhy1h4hasprovoked1...h6.Okay,it'snotnecessarilyasstraightforwardasthat,but
61

StartingOut:RookEndgames

theprincipleoftryingtoswapoffpawnsiswhatWhiteisadheringto.

Diagram11(W)

Diagram12(B)

Atheoreticaldraw

Thepawncountisreducing

2Rc7g53hxg5hxg5
Whatfollowsisaplausible,hypotheticalcontinuationthatIhavemadeup!
4g4(Diagram12)
This was not forced, but now in order to make progress Black will have to play ...f7f5, after
whichWhiteisgettingcloserandclosertothe1pawnversusnopawnsscenariothatweknow
hecanhold.
4...Kg65Rc6
TIP:Whendefending,besurethatyourrookbecomesanuisance!
5...Re26Kf3Re57Kg3Ra58Rb6Kf69Rc6Ke710Rc7+Kf611Rb7Kg612Rb6Ra3+13f3Re3
14Kf2Re515Kg3Kg716Rb7(Diagram13)

62

Diagram13(B)

Diagram14(B)

Constantlypinning

Theblackpawnsaresplit

IntroducingMorePawns

Blackistryingtoplay...f7f5undertheconditionofatleastbeingabletorecapturewiththee
pawn after a pawn swap. However, White's persistent pinning with his rook makes it very
difficultforBlacktoadvanceandkeephispawnsconnected.
16...Kg617Rb6f518gxf5+Kxf519Rb8
Againconsistentwithallthetipsuptonow.Therookmaintainsitsdistancefromtheblackking
andkeepsitsoptionsopen.
19...Re120Rf8+Ke521Rg8Kf622Rf8+Kg723Ra8Rg1+24Kf2Rb125Kg3(Diagram14)
Blackhasnorealisticwinningchances.Heisnowevenstrugglingtotradeeitherofhispawns
forWhite'sfpawn.Andevenifhecould,thatwouldbeadeaddrawanyhow!
Don'tgetmewrong,though.Thedefendermustnotgetcomplacent,particularlyiftheattacker
cankeephispawnstogether.Indeed,oftenagreatdealofaccuracyisrequired,asillustratedin
thisnextcase.

Example43

Diagram15(W)

Diagram16(B)

Don'tstaypassive!

Noteasy!

(Diagram15)1Rb4!
Pinningtheepawnandstoppingthefpawninitstracks.IfWhiteplayspassivelythenheloses
horribly,forexample1Rc2?f42Rb2f3+3Kd2Kh34Rc2Kg25Ke1Ra1+6Kd2Kxf2.
1...Ra2+
Upon1...Kh3,threateningtocometog2,Whitemustcontinueactively:2Rb8!Ra2+3Kf1f44
Rg8 Ra1+ (4...f3 5 Ke1 Ra1+ 6 Kd2 Rf1 7 Ke3 Re1+ 8 Kf4 Re2 9 Rg3+ Kh2 10 Rg4! is a direct
transposition)5Ke2f3+6Ke3Re1+7Kf4Re28Rg3+Kh29Rg4(Diagram16)9...Rxf210Kxe4
Rg2(or10...Rf111Ke3;beingcutoff,theblackkingcandonothingtoassist)11Kxf3.Let'snot
kidourselves,ifyouhadn'tseenalotofthisthenitwouldhavebeenhardtoworkitoutover
theboard.Gee,thisismeanttobe'startingout'inrookendings!
63

StartingOut:RookEndgames

2Kf1f4
2...Kf33Rb3+Kg44Rb4getsBlacknowhere.
3Rxe4Kf34Re8Rxf2+
After4...Ra1+5Re1Rxe1+6Kxe1Kg27Ke2f3+??(anyothermoveisadraw)8Ke3suddenlyit
isWhitewhowouldbewinning!
5Kg1!
Goingtotheshortsideofthepawnwhich,asChapter3demonstrated,istheonlyplacetobe!
5...Ra2
Anadditionalresourceisdemonstratedinthevariation5...Rg2+6Kh1Kf27Ra8(offeringup
sidewayschecks) 7...f3 8 Rb8 (keeping thechecking options open) 8...Rg7 9 Rb2+ Kg3 10 Kg1
Ra711Rg2+!(Diagram17)
Thenagain,Itoldyouearliertolookoutfordefencesbasedonstalematesothisshouldn'tbe
suchabigdealafterall!Seriouslythough...

Diagram17(B)

Diagram18(B)

Thesecondrankdefence

Kingtothe'short'side

TIP: Remember this kamikaze second rank rook idea as one day it might just come in
handy.
6Rf8!(Diagram18)6...Ra1+7Kh2Rf18Ra8!
and White draws. It's those checks from the flank again. Of course by now this should be
familiarterritory.

PawnTypes
Oftenitisnotthequantityofthepawnsinvolvedthat'simportantbutthestructurequalityand
thestageofadvancement.

64

IntroducingMorePawns

Example44

Diagram19(W)

Diagram20(B)

Connectedversusisolated

Wemeetatlast!

(Diagram19)1Ra7
Asensiblemove,tyingtheblackrookdowntoadefensiverole.
1...Ra12Kd5!
As we know only too well, once Black's apawn makes it down to a2, the white king will be
vulnerabletoacheck.
TIP:Alwaysbeonthelookoutforapossiblekingshelterwhenanenemyrookisinfrontof
itspassedpawn.
2...h43Kd6(Diagram20)
NOTE:Centrepawnsareoftensuperiortooutsidepawnsinrookendings.
Typicallyoutsidepassedpawnsarepreferableinendgames.However,providedthedefending
rookcangetbehindtheoutsidepawns,thatisNOTthecaseinrookendings.Thesimplereason
forthisisthatinallothertypesofendingthekingmusttraveltotheedgetostopandcapturea
passed pawn. In rook endings, however, a king must travel to the edge if it wants to make
somethingoutofitsownpassedpawn.
WARNING: Beware the throwaway remark that 'centre pawns are better than outside
pawns in the opening but it's vice versa in the endgame'. The truth is that extra centre
pawnsareatleastasimportantasoutsideonesinendgamesinwhichrooksareinvolved.
Inthisexamplethepresenceofcentrepawnshasprovidedthewhitekingwithcoverinwhich
tohelphimadvancethroughthemiddle.Akeypointisthatbetweenthecentrepawnsandthe
king,checkmatecanbethreatened.
TIP: Always at least give consideration to the concept of advancing the king before the
pawns.
65

StartingOut:RookEndgames

ReturningtoWhite'sthirdmove,becausehehashisownseriousthreatsthereisnoneedfor
Whitetoengagein3Rh7Rh14Ra7Ra15Rh7.LikeIsaid,thereisabsolutelynoneedforthis
repetitive toing and froing, which by the way wouldn't work against connected pawns.
HoweverwhilstI'mhere,intheeventofthisirrelevantvariation,observehowpainful5...a36
Rxh4a27Rh8+Ke78Ra8Kd79Ra7+Ke810Ke6Kd811d5wouldbe!(Diagram21)

Diagram21(B)

Diagram22(B)

Help!

Attackinganddefending

3...h34e6
4 Rh7 would win too, but the text demonstrates the tempi luxury White has despite the fact
thatbothsides'pawnsstartedoffequallyadvanced.
4...Kf85Rh7(Diagram22)
Certainlynottheonlywaytoconvertthepoint,butdefinitelythecruellest!
5...Rh16e7+Ke87Rh8+Kf78e8Q+
andWhitequicklydeliversmate.

BigMajorities
Thisnextcasepitchestwoconnectedpassedpawnsagainstthree.

Example45
(Diagram23)AfterplayingoverthisexampleyouwillprobablyconcludethatWhitewouldstill
be winning even if Black had extra pawns say on e7 and d6. The significant factor is how far
advancedthepawnsareandclearlyWhite'spawnshavealreadylefttheirtraps!
1a5h52b5f5
The'problem'withhavingmorepawns(admittedlynotusuallyaproblem!)isthatittakesmore
timetopushthemall.Blackmayaswellpickacoupleofpawnsandgowiththem,butherethat
wouldn'tworkeitherasthewhitepawnshadaheadstart.
66

IntroducingMorePawns

Diagram23(W)

Diagram24(B)

Themore,themerrier?

Fastpawns!

3a6h44a7h35b6Kf66b7(Diagram24)
andWhitewins.
IfBlackcouldhavesacrificedhisrookforthetwopawnsthenhishugemajorityontheother
side of the board would have won the day. The advantage of possessing connected pawns is
thatthedefendingrookisrarelyabletogiveitselfupformorethanoneofthepawns.
NOTE: This example hasn't really provided anything new. It has merely reiterated how
strongconnectedpawnsareinendgamesandremindedusthatpassedpawnsaremeant
tobepushed.

Example46
Here's an example to illustrate a spot of practical advice that could easily win you points
(hopefullyjustlikealltheotheradvice!).

Diagram25(W)

Diagram26(W)

Theapawnisoflimitedconcern

That'syourlotmate!

1Rxf7!

67

StartingOut:RookEndgames

TIP:Whentryingtoconverta'pawnup'rookending,itismuchbettertoreachaposition
with'plustwo'pawnsononesideand'minusone'pawnontheotherratherthansimply
onepawnupononesideandlevelontheother.
Regarding1Rxa7Kg7,itisofcourseatheoreticaldrawandyetmanyweakerplayersmightopt
totaketheapawnratherthanthefpawn.Theirlogicmightbethatnowtheycantrytowin
without having any losing chances whatsoever. The reality of the situation is that rook and
threeversusrookandtwoonthesamesideoffersfewwinningchances,yetthemainexample
shows there are even fewer losing chances by creating the big majority. However, these
'chances'commonlybecomeinflatedasplayersoverestimateanopponent'spassedpawn.
1...a52Ra7Ra2
TIP:Generallyarookismoreactivelyplaceddefendingapawnfromthesideratherthan
frominfront.
Regardingtheabovetip,thatusuallymakeslifeeasierforakingtoadvanceandhelpusherthe
pawn through. In this particular instance, though, 2...Rb5 doesn't constitute much of an
improvementastheblackkingiscutoffonthebackrankandmilesfromthequeenside.
3h4a4
Referring to the initial apawn or fpawn debate, the crux of the matter is that provided the
whitekingremainsshelteredfromchecks,Black'spawnisnothreatwhatsoever.Ithinkit'sfair
tosaythatthechancesofBlackbeingabletowanderhiskingovertob8anddownthebfileto
aidintheapawn'spromotionareslim!Evenifitcould(forexamplewithWhitedoingaKf2g2
f3g2 hokeycokey for a while!), White would concede his rook for the pawn and win on the
kingside.
4Kf3a35g4Ra16Kf4a2(Diagram26)7Kg5
Thewholeideaof7h5gxh58gxh5?isasillyone.AsidefromthefactthatBlackcouldliquidate
to an easy rook and pawn versus rook draw with 8...Rh1 9 Rxa2 Rxh5, it goes against all the
principlesaboutkeepingthepawnsconnected.
Iftruthbetold,keepingthepawnstogetherwith8g5!(after7h5gxh5)maintainsadecisive
advantage,as8...h49Kf5h310Kg6h211Ra8mateproves!You'vegottoadmititthough,that
thatwascuttingthingsunnecessarilyfine.
7...Rf18Rxa2
Notthatit'scriticalhere,butnotehowtherookcapturesthepawnandimmediatelydefends
thepawnonthesecondrank.
TIP:Whentheopponenthashisrookpassivelyplacedonthequeeningsquareinfrontofa
pawn on the seventh rank, as an attacker, consider leaving one of your pawns on the

68

IntroducingMorePawns

secondrank.Oftenthismakesitmoredifficultforyouropponenttoarrangeapawntrade
thatmightswitchtheimbalancebacktohimbeingjustonepawndownononeside.
8...Kg79Ra7+Kf810Kxg6Rxf211h5
andWhitewinstherestisawalkinthepark!

69

ChapterFive

TrickySituationsandAdvanced
Techniques

KeepingthingsSimple
ThePerpetualThreat
DetrimentalKingPositions
UsingtheOpponentsPawns
ShoulderingPrevention
DefendingagainstTwoIsolatedPawns
KingBoxing

TrickySituationsandAdvancedTechniques

EvenifIsaysomyself,I'mquitehappywithhowthebookhasprogresseduptonow.Atalow
leveltherehavebeensomeverysimpleideasthat,employedsensibly,haveledtosomenotso
basictechniques.InthischapterI'dliketotakealookatsomemorecomplexscenarios.

KeepingThingsSimple
TIP:Ifpossiblekeepthingssimple.Awinisawin,howeveryouobtainit,andnobodylikes
ashowoff!

Example47

Diagram1(W)

Diagram2(B)

Awinisawin

Stalematetricks!

(Diagram1)Herethebestwayistotakenochances.
1Rd6
White is still winning after 1 h7+ Kh8, but as 2 Rb7?? Ra6+ 3 Kg5 (Diagram 2) 3...Rxg6+!
demonstrates, he then has to be more careful. By the way, 2 Re6 Rb8 3 Kf7 Rf8+ is another
stalematetrickthatadmittedlystillshouldn'tsaveBlack(4Ke7!).
1...Rb8
Giventhatitisrequiredtopreventmateonthebackrank,theblackrookhasnothingbetterto
dothanmovefromsidetoside.
2Ke7Ra8
Or2...Rb7+3Rd7(asadvisedearlierinthebook,theattacker'srookcomesclosertoitskingso
astobeabletoblockchecks)3...Rb84Rd8+.
3Rd8+(Diagram3)3...Rxd84Kxd8
Thekingandpawnendingistrivial.
4...Kh85Ke7Kg86g7Kh77Kf7(Diagram4)
71

StartingOut:RookEndgames

andWhitewins.

Diagram3(B)

Diagram4(B)

Nothrillsorfrills!

Notstalemate!

ThePerpetualThreat
Example48

Diagram5(W)

Diagram6(B)

Forgetthepawns!

Matethreatened!

(Diagram5)1Rh3!
There is nothing that White can do to prevent at least one of the pawns from promoting
directly and so instead he directs his counterplay against the black king. The text threatens
mateand,aswesoonsee,notforthelasttimeinthisexample.
1...Kb82Rb3+Ka73Ra3+Kb8
Itisclearthatthekingcannotescapethechecksalongtheafileandsonowitcrossestothe
kingside.
4Rb3+Kc85Rh3Kd86Kd6!(Diagram6)
72

TrickySituationsandAdvancedTechniques

Againforcingtheblackkingtomove.
NOTE:Oftenattackisthebestformofdefence.
6...Ke87Ke6Kf88Kf6Kg89Rg3+!
Firstofall,9Kg6??nolongerthreatensmatewithh8coveredand,secondly,itallowsBlackto
promotewithcheck.
9...Kh710Rh3+Kg811Rg3+Kf812Rh3
andsoonBlackmustconcedethedraw.

DetrimentalKingPositions
Example49

Diagram7(W)

Diagram8(B)

Whitewins

Apinnedrook!

(Diagram7)Bothrooksarewellplacedbehindtheiropponents'pawns,butitisclearthatthe
whitekingissignificantlybetteroffthanitsoppositenumber.
1Kg7Rg2+
GiventhatWhiteisthreateningtopromote,thisistheonlymove.
2Kh7Rf23Ra5+Kh4
3...Kg44Kg7showswhytheblackkingmuststayontheedge.Thegfilehastobekeptfreefor
theblackrooktogivecheck.
4Kg7Rg2+5Kh6Rf26Ra4+Kh37Kg6Rg2+
White wasn't threatening to promote just at the moment, but without this Rxa2 would have
deflectedtheblackrook.
8Kh5Rf29Ra3+Kh210Rxa2!(Diagram8)
Quitebeautiful!Whitewillbeleftwithaqueenagainstarookawinningendgame.
73

StartingOut:RookEndgames

TIP:Considerusingyouropponent'skingpositiontoyouradvantage.
Theabovetipwasclearlyutilizedinthatpreviousexample.Theblackkingwouldmuchrather
havebeenonthequeensidewithitsownpawnwhenthelikelyoutcomewouldhavebeenboth
sidesconcedingtheirrooksfortheenemypassedpawns.

Example50

Diagram9(W)

Diagram10(W)

HowshouldWhiteplayit?

Caughtinnoman'sland

(Diagram 9) This example contains a few instances of kings being penalized for their
positioning. The first familiar theme in this position is the 'skewer' trick. It is only natural for
Whitetowanttowintheapawnbutafter1Kf2Kf82Ke2?a2!(Diagram10),thewhiteking
findsitselfin'noman'sland'.Itistoofargonetoreturntothesafetyofg2andh2butitisnot
close enough to c2 after 3 Kd2 Rh1!. It's clear then that the white king is on an extremely
unfortunatesquareandBlackhasusedthattohismaximumadvantage.

Diagram11(W)

Diagram12(B)

Familiarshelter!

Theflankattack

Nextup,weknowthatwhilstthepawnisona3,thereisasquare(a2)onwhichtheblackking
canshelterfromwhiterookchecks.Hencewaitingwiththekingong2andh2doesn'twork:1
74

TrickySituationsandAdvancedTechniques

Kh2Kf82Kg2Ke83Kh2Kd84Kg2Kc85Kh2Kb86Ra4Kb77Kg2Kb68Kh2Kb59Ra8Kb410
Rb8+ Kc3 11 Rc8+ Kb2 12 Rb8+ Ka2 (Diagram 11) won't see White checking forever and the
blackrookisfreetorepositionitself.Forexample,13Kg2Rb114Rf8Rb415Rf2+Kb316Rf3+
Ka417Rf2Rb2andBlackwins.
TIP:Besuretomakeaplan!
Theaboveseemsobvious,buttherewouldbenosympathyforthislastfatebefallingWhiteas
itwasquiteblatantlygoingtobetheoutcomeofwhateffectivelywasa'noaction'policy.
1Ra4!Kf72Rf4+!
Note that this is check (White is using the black king's position to aid in switching his rook's
defensiveposition)andsotheblackrooknevergetstheopportunitytocomeoutfrominfront
ofthepawn.
2...Ke63Rf3!
Therookattacksthepawnfromtheside,thusstillpreventingtheblackrookfromescapingits
shackles.
3...Kd54Kh2Kc45Rg3(Diagram12)5...Kb46Rg4+
Thisisnotthefirsttimethatwehaveseentheemploymentoftheflankattack.Thereisplenty
ofcheckingdistanceandbesides(thoughnotreallyrelevant),thewhitekingprotectstherook
anyhow.
6...Kb37Rg3+Kc48Rg4+Kd59Rg3
Or 9 Rg5+ first. The drawing pattern is simple. Check the king if it protects the pawn but
otherwise keep the pawn attacked to prevent the relocation of the black rook. If the pawn
advancestoa2,thenWhitecanplayRa3!.

UsingtheOpponent'sPawns
Throughoutthisbookwehaveseenplentyofexamplesinwhichadefenderisabletosalvagea
drawbymaximizingtheactivityofhisrookandemployingnonstopchecks.Obviouslyitwould
benicefortheaggressorifhecouldhidefromthosechecksbyusinghisownpawnsascover
butoftenhewon'thavethatmanyleft!Thealternativeistotrytousetheopponent'spawnsas
shelterfortheking.

Example51
(Diagram13)Thisisaverysimpleexampleofutilizingsuchaplan.
1Kb6!
Actually,1c6wouldalsobesuccessful.Thekeyhereisnottoplaytheobvious1Kxb5?.Inthat
75

StartingOut:RookEndgames

instance Black could draw using the more sophisticated method of 1...Rb2+ 2 Kc6 Rc2!, as
effectively he has correctly moved his king to the 'short' side of the pawn. Much more
straightforward,though,isthe'Philidortechnique'of1Rg6!,whichasweknowpreventsthe
attacking king from advancing. Indeed, then 2 c6 Rg1 (getting ready for 'check city Arizona'!)
wouldseeBlackhavingdemonstratedallheneedsforWhitetoproposeadraw.

Diagram13(W)

Diagram14(B)

ThebpawnhindersBlack

Whitewins

1...Rg8
ThisisapassiveretreatbutBlackhaslittleinthewayofalternatives.1Rg6+2c6isnobetter
astherookhastodroptothebackrankanywayanditisatthispointthatthebenefitofleaving
theblackpawninexistenceisrevealed.Theblackrookisunabletogiveanychecksfrombehind
becausehisownpawninisintheway.
TIP:Considerutilizingyouropponent'spawnstoprovideshelterforyourownking.
2c6b43Rb7+Kc84Ra7(Diagram14)
We'veseenallthisbeforewithoutBlack'sextrapawn.Asitstandsthatadditiondoesn'taffect
thegame'soutcome.
4...Kb85c7+Kc86Ra8+Kd77Rxg8
andWhitewins.Thebpawnisnotsufficientlyadvancedtoposeanyproblems.

ShoulderingPrevention
The following simple but far from obvious technique was overlooked in favour of a more
routinetryinagamebetweentwograndmasters.

Example52
(Diagram 15) It would seem that getting to grips with the passed pawn and bringing the
attackingkingbackintoplaywouldbeapriority,butinfactamoresubtleapproachprovesto
76

TrickySituationsandAdvancedTechniques

beaquickerwayofachievingthosesameaims.
70Rf6!
ObviouslyWhiteistheonetryingtowin,butwhilsthecouldalwaysconcedetherookforthe
pawn/queenatanystage,inordertowinitforfreeheneedshiskingonthecase.

Diagram15(W)

Diagram16(B)

Timeisoftheessence!

Cornered!

Thegameactuallycontinuedquitenaturallywith70Kc6Kf371Kd5g472Rf6+Ke373Rg6Kf3
74Kd4g375Kd3g276Kd2Kf277Rf6+Kg378Rg6+Kf279Rxg2+Kxg2,while70Rg6Kf471
Kc6g472Kd5g373Kd4Kf374Kd3g2wouldbeasimilaroutcome(i.e.adraw).
Whilst placing a rook behind a passed pawn is sensible and it seems harsh to criticize a king
move,infactabsoluteaccuracyisrequired.Herethe'cutoff'approachisthemostexact.
70...Kh371Kc6g472Kd5g373Ke4
Atthisjuncturethepointbehind70Rf6!isrevealed.Thewhitekingisabletohaveafreerunin
becausetheblackkingwasunabletoutilizetheffileinordertoengageinsome'shouldering'.
73...g2
73...Kg474Rg6+Kh375Kf3istheendoftheroadforthepawn.
74Kf3!g1N+(Diagram16)
WhitethreatenedRh6mate,buttheunderpromotiontoaknightisdoomedasthesteedisso
poorlyplaced.
After74...Kh275Rh6+Kg176Rg6Kh1,carefultoavoidthestalemate,surelyWhitewouldfind
77Kf2!.
75Kf2Kh276Rh6+Nh3+77Kf3
Theknightislost,leavingWhitewithawinningposition.
NOTE:Knightsontherimaredim!
77

StartingOut:RookEndgames

I think that I've managed to work that phrase into all of the books I've written to date, but I
neverimaginedthatIwouldbeabletoincludeitoneonrookendings!

DefendingagainstTwoIsolatedPawns
ImustconfessthatwhenItookonthisprojectIneverenvisageddiscussingthisadvancedtopic.
Thisisafteralla'startingout'book,butneverthelessI'vedecidedtogivesomeofthebasicsin
thiscomplicatedsubject.
TIP:Inagameofchessdon'taimtobetwopawnsdowninanendgame!
Let'sassumethatyouhaveignoredtheaboveadviceoratleastthat'showthingshaveturned
outforreasonsbeyondyourcontrol!Okay,thepointisthatsometimesitispossibleforarook
(andking!)todefendagainstarookandtwoisolatedpawns.Excludingtheextremelycomplex
(atleastIthinkso!)fandhoraandcpawncombinations(whichI'llmoveontonext),usually
drawing chances arise against rook's pawns and knight's pawns (but not of the connected
variety).Eventhen...
NOTE:Asuccessfuldefenceisonlypossiblewhenthedefender'skingispositionedinthe
pathofoneofthepawnsandtherookispreventingtheadvanceoftheother.

Example53

Diagram17(W)

Diagram18(W)

Morethanjustblocking

Overcomingthecutoff

(Diagram17)Whiteistwopawnsupandtheyarebothcurrentlyprotected.Howevertheblack
rook is posted on a superb square. It blocks (I know I've generally advised against such a
positioning but note here that the white rook is defending from the side rather than from
behind)theadvanceofoneofthepawnswhilstattackingtheother.Inordertomakeprogress
Whitemustletoneofthemgo.Toconcedetheapawnwouldofferfewwinningchances,aswe
knowhoweasyitisforthedefendertostoparook'spawnwhenhiskingisinthevicinityofthe
queeningsquare.Hencethepossiblegamecontinuation:
78

TrickySituationsandAdvancedTechniques

1Kf2Rxh42Ke2Ra43Kd2Ra64Kc2Rf6!
Blackneedshiskingtohelpoutandthususesafamiliarprocedureofbreakingthebarrier.
5Re3
Upon5Rxf6+Kxf66a4(or6Kb3Ke67Kb4Kd68Kb5Kc7)6...Ke7,theblackkingmakesitback
intime.
5...Kf76Kb3Re6!(Diagram18)
Stickingwiththeplan.Againatradeofrookswouldleadtoadrawnkingandpawnending.
7Rd3Ke78Kb4Rd69Rc3Kd710a4Rc6
Blackhasprovedthathehasthetechniquerequiredtodraw.
Regardingthetrickysituationofrook,rook'spawnandbishop'spawnversusrook,Icantellyou
thatevenmostgrandmastersareterrifiedbytheprospectofhavingtodefendsuchascenario
in a real game. It hasn't happened to me yet and even though I think I understand such
positions, frankly I'd rather it never did! I really don't want to go into great detail about this
topic,butallthesameI'mofferingafewexamplesinordertoreachsomeconclusionsandto
provideausefulbasisforwhichtoconductfurtherinvestigations.

Example54

Diagram19(W)

Diagram20(W)

Bothpawnsareonthesixth

Handlewithcare!

(Diagram19)Ifbothpawnsareonthesixthrank,thewinisusuallysimple.
1...Rc1
Therookhastotryitsluckbehindoneofthepassedpawns,1...Kc82a7Ra13Rb7(threatening
4Rb8+)showingwhy.
2a7+

79

StartingOut:RookEndgames

2Rb7+Kc83a7withRb8+upnextisverystraightforward,butafter2...Ka8Whitewouldhave
tobemorecareful(checkoutthenextwarning).
2...Ka8(Diagram20)3Kd7
Beingcarefulnottofallfor3c7?Rxc7!.
WARNING:Bewareofstalematetricks!
I'msurewe'vehadthatwarningsomewhereelseinthisbook,butit'sworthwhilementioningit
againifithelpstoeliminateallthehumiliationthatcouldcomeyourway!
3...Rd1+
Or3...Kxa74Kc8+Kb65c7Kc66Rh6+Kb57Kb7whentouchdownisnext!
4Kc7Rg15Rh8+Kxa76Kc8Kb67c7Kc68Rh6+Kc59Kb7Rb1+10Ka7Ra1+11Ra6
andWhitewins.

Example55

Diagram21(W)

Diagram22(B)

Trappedonthebackrank

Itoldyouso!

(Diagram21)Hereisanotherdisadvantageousscenarioforthedefender,whocouldonlywish
thathehadremovedWhite'sapawnearlierinthegame!
NOTE:Typicallythedefenderislostifhiskingiscutoffonthebackrankbytheopponent's
rook.
1c6Rg1
Necessaryinviewofthethreatof2Kb6,leavingtheapawnsurplustorequirementsandthe
blackrookforcedtogopassive.
Black has employed the standard 'Philidor' technique but unfortunately it is NOT applicable
whentheopponenthasanextrapawn.
2Rb7+Kc8
80

TrickySituationsandAdvancedTechniques

Alternatively2...Ka8losesto3Kb6Rb1+4Kc7Rh15Rb8+Ka76Rd8Ka67Kc8Kxa58c7(but
besuretocomparethiswiththenextexample).
3a6Rb1+4Kc5Rc1+5Kd5Rd1+6Ke4
Thewhitekingisnolongerrequired.Whenthechecksdryup,Whitewillgetina7andRb8+.
6...Re1+7Kd3Rc18a7(Diagram22)8...Ra19Rb8+
There,justlikeIsaid!
9...Kc710a8Q
andWhitewins.
Alldoomandgloomsofar,butIdidsaythatthedefendercouldholdintheorywithaccurate
defence,andtheprevioustwostartingpositionsarewhatthedefendermustavoidgettinginto.
Ontopofthat,someessentialknowledge...
TIP:Thepositionofthedefender'srookisoftheutmostimportance.Itshouldbedeployed
onsquareswhereitisoncalltodealwiththeopponent'sthreats.Specifically,itmusthave
aresponsetopawnadvancesandastrategyfordealingwiththeenemyking'spenetration
oftheseventhrank.
Inthenextcasethedefenderadherestothisadvice.

Example56

Diagram23(B)

Diagram24(B)

Theblackrookisreadyforaction!

Intricatestuff!

The defending king is blocking the rook's pawn and the rook remains active and available to
checkthewhiteking.
1...Rh7+
The white king has penetrated the seventh rank and this is just the response that we are
lookingfor!
81

StartingOut:RookEndgames

2Kd8Rh8+3Kd7
Upon the immediate block 3 Re8, Black would naturally play 3...Rh6 in order to prevent the
advanceofthecpawn.
3...Rh7+4Re7Rh85Re8(Diagram24)
It's all intricate stuff and the key seems to be recognizing the drawing positions when it gets
down to rook and pawn versus rook. For example, 5 c6 Kxa6 6 c7 Kb7 is one of these as the
whiterookcan'tretreatbecauseBlackgetshissidewayscheckinfirst.
TIP:Thedefendermustfindtherighttimetocapturetherook'spawnwithhisking.
5...Rh7+6Kc6Rh1
Keepingtherookflexible.
7Rd8Rh2
Asimpliedinthelasttip,thedefendingkingmustspottheopportunemomenttocapturethe
rook'spawn.Noteherethat7...Kxa6??8Ra8mateisn'ttherighttime!
8Kc7Kxa6!
Takingthepawnwhentherookisontheadjacentfiletotheattackingkingistherighttime.
9c6Rh7+10Rd7Rh811Rd8
Certainly11Kd6Rh6+isanadequatedefence.Thewhitekinghasnowheretohideanditcan't
cometoofarawayfromthepawnorelsetheblackkingwillclosein.Arguablythetoughestline
to spot and thus one well worth taking note of is 11 Re7 Ka7 12 Re1 (threatening mate)
12...Rh7+13Kd6Rh6+14Kd7Rh7+15Re7Rh816c7Kb7.(Diagram25)

Diagram25(W)

Diagram26(W)

Akeydrawingposition

Finally,adraw

Againthewhiterookmuststayonitscurrentranktoprotecttheking,butunfortunatelythat
wayWhitehasnowaytomakeprogress.
82

TrickySituationsandAdvancedTechniques

11...Rh7+12Kc8Kb613Rd6
Or13Rd7Rh8+whenfinallyBlackwillbeabletotraderookstoreachbarekings.
13...Rc7+(Diagram26)
andBlackdrawsasthelastpawniswon.

Example57
To wrap up this section and in particular the discussion on rook with h and f (or a and c)
pawns versus rook, here is another example in which the defender can draw if he takes the
rook'spawnatthebestmoment.

Diagram27(W)

Diagram28(B)

Totakeornottotake?

Anotherkeydrawingposition

(Diagram27)1Rh4!
Observethefailureof1Kxa2?Kc1+2Ka3Rd3+3Ka2(or3Kb4c34Rh1+Kb25Rh2+c2)3...c3
4Rh1+Rd15Rh2c26Kb3(unlikethemaingame,thekingdoesn'tmakeittoc3)6...Rd3+7Ka2
Rc38Rh1+Kd29Rh2+Kd310Rh3+Kd411Rh4+Ke5.Theblackkingcanapproachthewhite
rookand...c1Qwillfollow.
1...c32Kxa2!Kc1+3Kb3
Thewhitekingwasunabletousethissquarewhentheblackpawnwasonc4.
3...c2
3...Rd3leavesthekingvulnerableandhencethechecksarebackontheagenda:4Rh1+Kd25
Rh2+Ke16Rh1+Kf27Kc2.
4Kc3(Diagram28)
Thisisanotherimportantrookandpawnversusrookposition.
4...Kd1
4...Kb15Rb4+Kc16Rh4isarepetition.
83

StartingOut:RookEndgames

5Rh1+Ke26Rc1
6Rh2+wouldalsoobtainthedraw,butthisbagsthepawnatonce.
WARNING: Do NOT get too despondent if you are having difficulty getting to grips with
this particular topic. There is a large body of theory about rook, f and h pawns versus
rookandevenverystrongplayershavetroubledefendingsuchpositions.

KingBoxing
Finally,anamusingcaseofakingbeingtrappedinacorner.

Example58

Diagram29(W)

Diagram30(B)

Don'tforgetenpassant!

Alackofdesirablemoves

(Diagram29)Blackisthreateningtopromotehismostadvancedapawn,afterwhichhewould
enteraneasilywinningkingandpawnending.
1Ra1!!
Outoftheblue,though,comesanamazingoffering.
1...Kb3
TherookisofcourseakindofGreekgift(ifnotoftheBxh7+variety!).Essentially,takingitnow
justacceleratestheinevitable.Forexample,1...Kxa12Kc2a53Kc1a44Kc2a35Kc1.
2Kc1a53Kd2Kb24Kd1a4
Relinquishing the a2pawn earlier was hopeless and 4...Kc3 5 Rxa2 Kxd4 6 Rxa5 Ke4 7 Ra7
showsthatitstillis.
5Kd2Kb36Kc1a37Kd2Kb28Kd1Kxa1
Therearenomoredelayingtactics.Blackhasrunoutofpawnmovesand8...Kb39Kc1forces
thewinofthea2pawn.
84

TrickySituationsandAdvancedTechniques

9Kc2(Diagram30)
Finallywegettoseethepointbehind1Ra1!!.Theblackkingisboxedin,andinaquesttofind
legalmoveshehastoemployundesirableones.
9...g510hxg6
Thepawnonh5nicelyfixedBlack'stwokingsidepawnsandthisenpassantcaptureisjustwhat
thedoctorordered!
10...h511g7h412g8Qh313Qg1mate.

85

ChapterSix

ApplyingPrinciplestoPractical
Play

Introduction
Practicalexamples

ApplyingPrinciplestoPracticalPlay

Introduction
Themainbodyofthisbookhasintroducedthereadertoalltheimportant(aswellassomenot
soimportant!)themesthatarerequiredtotacklerookandpawnendings.Thevastmajorityof
thestartingpositionswerecreatedbymetoillustratespecificpoints,althoughthatisnottosay
that identical positions haven't occurred in practice somewhere before. Indeed, my intention
wastoselectinstructivebutalsorealisticexamples.
Tojustifytheabove,Iwantedtousethischaptertoprovidesome'reallife'practicalexamples
of rook and pawn endings in which essential knowledge was applied to ultimately assist the
attackerordefendertoobtainthedesiredresult,andtodothisIhavetrawledthroughmyown
databaseofgames.Firstup,Icantellyouthattherewerealotofrookendings!Furthermore,
you will be pleased to hear that I have had numerous encounters in which the relevant
techniqueswereappliedjustasinstructedintheearlierchapters.Byallmeanscheckoutthe
followinggames,althoughintruthyoushouldlearnnothingnew!

PracticalExamples
Example59M.PeinC.Ward(BritishChampionship,Hove1997)

Diagram1(B)

Diagram2(B)

Timetocutoff!

Nearlythere!

(Diagram1)Materialwise(forrookandpawnendings!)it'sasbasicascouldbe.Blackhasone
pawn remaining and is naturally looking to promote it. Having no pawns himself, White can
have no winning aspirations but knows that he could draw if his king were able to have a
defensiveinput.Alas,Black'snextmoveensuresthatitwon't.
60...Re2!

87

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Easilythemostaccuratecontinuationandthis'cuttingoff'procedureshouldbeveryfamiliarby
now.Casualplaysuchas60...c361Ke3Rh262Kd3c2willprovenoproblemwhatsoeverfor
White,whowithasimpleRa1c1canpickupthepawnbyforce.
61Kf3Re7
Remainingontheefilesoastokeepthewhitekingcutoff.
62Kf2Kc663Kf3
Whiteisreluctanttomovehisownrookawayfromthefifthrankasthatwouldallowtheblack
kingtowanderuptosupportthepawn.
63...Kb664Rd5c365Rh5
After 65 Rd3 Black should place his rook behind his pawn, and indeed 65...Rc7! (rather than
65...c266Rb3+!Ka567Rc3)66Ke2c2isgameover!
65...c266Rh1Rc767Rc1Kb568Ke2Kb469Kd2Kb370Rh1(Diagram2)70...Kb2!01
AsBlackisalsoeagertocontrolthequeeningsquare,thisisobviouslythemostnaturalmove.
Incidentally, 70...Rd7+? 71 Kc1 blows the win as Black is vulnerable to checks along the third
rank.
After 70Kb2 White resigned as there is no defence to 70...c1Q+ or 70...Rd7+ followed by
...c1Q.

Example60C.WardK.Arkell(BritishChampionship,Norwich1994)

Diagram3(B)

Diagram4(B)

Readytostayput?

NoPhilidorhere

(Diagram3)AcursoryglanceatthisonesuggeststhatWhiteholdsallthecards.Obviouslyhe
(bythewaywe'retalkingaboutme!)hasatwotoonepawnmajoritybuthealsohasthebetter
kingandindeedtheenemymonarchiscutoffonthebackrank.However,althoughthewhite
rooklookswellplaced,theblackoneistoo.
88

ApplyingPrinciplestoPracticalPlay

43...Rg2!
Not drastically changing the position of the active black rook and, most importantly, keeping
tabsonthewhitegpawn.
44Kg6
It should go without saying (but I will do anyway!) that 44 g5? should be met by 44...Rxg5+
ratherthan44...fxg5?45Kg6,whichwouldresembleExample51.
Vacatingtheseventhrankwiththerookwouldonlyallowtheblackkingtoadvance,soWhite
takesthemostcriticalroad.
44...Rxg4+45Kxf6(Diagram4)45...Rf4!!
Weareusedtoseeingthedefendingrookfurtherawayfromtheattackingkingbutthatisnot
possiblehereastheabsolutepriorityistogetbehindWhite'spassedpawn.Placetherookon
f1andthiswouldbeaveryfamiliarsituation.Effectively,Blackhasjustbudgedhiskingfrom
thequeeningsquareandhereithascorrectlyoptedforthe'short'sideofthepawn.Whiteis
unabletotakeadvantageoftheclosenessoftheblackrook.
46Ra8+Kh747Ke6
TestingBlack'sresistancebuttheEnglishgrandmasteriswelluptothechallenge.
47...Kg748Ra7+Kf849Kf6Kg850Ra8+Kh751Rf8
51Ke6Kg7wouldjustbegoingroundincircles;atleastthetextpreparestomovethekingout
ofthewayinordertoadvancethepawn.
51...Ra4!(Diagram5)

Diagram5(W)

Diagram6(W)

GoodtechniquebyBlack

Asimpledraw

KeithArkellcertainlyknowshisendgames.Asweestablishedearlierinthisbook,nowsideways
checksisthethemethatBlackneedstoemploy.
89

StartingOut:RookEndgames

52Rf7+
Upon52Re8,preparingtoblockthechecks,theblackrookshouldreturnwith52...Rf4when
again53Ke6Kg7getsWhitenowhere.
52...Kg853Re7Kf854Re6
Upon54Rb7,54...Ra6+55Kg5Rc6wouldseeBlackswitchingtothesimplePhilidortechnique.
Thatistheeasiestsolutionforthedefenderinsituationsofrookandpawnversusrook,butasI
have said all along it is not always possible to set it up if it arrives from a position involving
morepawns.Hencethenecessitytoknowaboutthe'short'sidedefenceasappliedperfectlyin
thisgame.
54...Ra755Rb6Rf7+56Kg5Ra757f6Kf7(Diagram6)
Thepawnisblockadedandthewhitekinghasnocoverfromchecks.Thedefencewasexcellent
andwithallpracticalwinningchancesgone,thedrawisconceded.

Example61C.WardJ.Emms(BritishLeague1997)

Diagram7(W)

Diagram8(W)

Fancyarookswap?

Theflexiblerook

(Diagram7)Westarttheactionherewithmebeingapawndowninafourpawnsagainstthree
situation,allthepawnsbeingonthesameside.
74Ra6+
ThereadershouldnowunderstandthatarookandpawnendgameisthebestchanceforWhite
toholdadraw(there'snooppositecolouredbishopshere!).Hence74Rxd7?Kxd775fxe5Ke6,
leadingtoalosingkingandpawnendgame,wasnotaconsideration!
74...Kd575fxe5
Ireallydidn'tfancy75Ra5+Ke476Rxe5+Kf3,asallofasuddentheblackkinghasbecomea
monster and, on top of that, the pawns are possibly dropping off and White is in danger of
beingmated.Okay,soperhapsthisisanexactscienceandafter77Kh2f578Re6Rd2+79Kh3
90

ApplyingPrinciplestoPracticalPlay

Rg2 80 Rxg6 Kf2 (White must beware ...Kg1 and the mating ...Rh2) 81 Ra6 Rxg3+ 82 Kh2 Rg4
White can is still hold the position. I guess the worst case scenario here is the theoretically
drawnrookwithrook'spawnandbishop'spawnagainstrookdiscussedinthepreviouschapter,
butthatseemedlikealotofworkandthetextismuchsimpler.
75...Kxe576Kg2Rd5(Diagram8)77Rb6
Thewhiterookremainsactiveandreadytomakeanuisanceofitselfatthedropofahat.
77...f678Kf3Rd3+79Kf2Kf580Rb4
Preventingtheblackkingfromadvancingfurther.
80...Rc381Rf4+Ke582Ra4Rd383Kg2Rd484Ra5+Ke485Ra6
Therookhasslestheblackpawns.Blacknevergetsamoment'srest!
85...Kf586Kh3Re487Ra5+Re588Ra3Re189Ra5+Re590Ra3g5
Throughoutrookendingswithpawnsonthesamesideitisthedefender'saimtoswapoffas
manypawnsaspossible.Blackhasbeenreluctanttoplaythisbutfeelsthathehasexhausted
allotheroptions.
91hxg5fxg5(Diagram9)

Diagram9(W)

Diagram10(B)

Liquidationinprogress

Backforgood!

92g4+!
Not forced, but certainly the simplest in the quest to liquidate. Regarding the pawn count, it
was4versus3,then3versus2andnowit's2versus1.Guesswhat?Yes,Whiteisafter1versus
0whenthebasicdrawingtechniquecanbeemployed.
92...hxg4+93Kg3
Now the white king can sit like a rock on this square. Any attempt by Black to try and
manoeuvrehisrooktoh3willleavehiskingwideopentochecks.
91

StartingOut:RookEndgames

93...Rb594Rc3Kg6
Black'sonlytrynowistoparkhiskingonh5andthenmanoeuvrehisrooktof3.Thenarook
tradeonf3wouldgivehimtheoppositionandawinningkingandpawnsituation,butthatisall
hypothetical.Whitehasplentyofdrawingideastoturntoandtakingthepawnthatenpriseis
oneofthem!
95Kxg4Rb4+96Kg3Kh597Ra3(Diagram10)
The white rook has made its home on the third rank and quite rightly has no intention of
leaving.
97...Rg4+98Kh3Rh4+99Kg3Rb4100Re3Rb5101Ra3g4102Rc3Kg5103Ra3Rc5
Blackcantrynomoreasmovinghisownrookoffofitspresentrankwouldallowabigcheck.

Example62I.IvanovC.Ward(LondonLloydsBank1992)

Diagram11(W)

Diagram12(B)

Infrontorbeside?

Timeonitshands!

(Diagram11)Ihavetalked(wellokay,written!)alotaboutsituationsinwhichonesidehasan
extra passed pawn on the opposite side of the board from where the kings reside. I suppose
Whiteisn'tquiteawholepawnuphereasBlack'ssecondfpawnshouldcountforsomething.
Thataside,though,Blackshouldbeabletoachievethedrawprovidedheplayssensibly.
31Rb4
I'vepreviouslystatedthatusuallytherearemorepracticalwinningchancesdefendingapassed
pawnfromthesidethanfrominfront.After31Ra7,onepossiblevariationis31...Kg732a5Kg6
33a6h534Ra8Kg535a7Kf4.Thedoubledfpawnsprovideperfectcoverfortheblackking
andthewhitemonarchisunabletogetoutintoplaywithoutseriouslyriskingdefeat.
31...h532f3Kg733Kg3Kg634h4Kf535Rb5+

92

ApplyingPrinciplestoPracticalPlay

Inanidealworldthewhitekingcouldtravelovertob2inordertoexpeltheblackrook.Inthe
realworldthat'stooriskybecauseifwhitepawnsgettaken,Blackgetsseriousactiononthe
kingside.
35...Kg636Ra5
Acquiescingtoamorepassiverole.
36...Ra137Ra8(Diagram12)37...Rg1+38Kf2Rh1
Untiltheapawnreachestheseventhrank,theblackrookismoreorlessafreeagent.
39Rg8+Kf540Rb8Rxh4
Andwhynot?
41Rb5+Kg6
It seems to me that White was putting all his eggs into one basket, namely the variation
41...Kf4??42Rb4+Kg543Rxh4Kxh444a5,whenthepawnwillpromote.
42a5Ra4
Thoughadrawwasalwaysthelikelyoutcome,nowofcourseWhitecan'tevenclaimtostand
better.
43Kg3h4+44Kh3f545Rc5Kg546Rb5Ra347Kg2f648Rc5Kf449Rb5h3+50Kh2Kg551
Kg3h252Kxh2Rxf353a6Ra354Rb6f455Kg2f556Kf2f357Kg3f4+58Kf2
Bearinginmind58...Kg459Rg6+,thefactisthatnobody'spawnsaregoinganywhere!

Example63J.BalcerakC.Ward(GermanLeague1998)

Diagram13(B)

Diagram14(W)

Theirrelevantpawn

Winningtherace

(Diagram 13) At a glance this endgame looks a little random but upon closer inspection it
begins to take shape. There are three pawns each but an incorrect opinion would be that
'White stands better because he has three connected passed pawns against Black's two
93

StartingOut:RookEndgames

connected passed pawns and the epawn is isolated and weak'. Connected pawns are great,
and earlier in the book I stated that often there is no difference between having three
connectedortwoconnectedpassedpawns,aspushingthethirdonetakestime.Thetruthis
thattheepawnisoflittlerelevanceandit'sallaboutthetempiinvolvedinpushingthepassed
pawns.Blackhasaheadstartandsoheholdsthe(whatisfrequentlydecisive)upperhand.
53...h4!
Pushingthepawnsisapriority.Becausetheepawnisneitherherenorthere,thetimewasting
53...Re5?wouldbesilly.
54Rxe6g555Re1
Youknowthatthingsaregoingwrongwhenadefensivemovelikethisisplayed,butasBlack's
pawnsgotgoingfirstheisobviouslygoingtowinastraightrace.
55...h3(Diagram14)56Rg1Kh657Rg3g4!58Rxg4h259Rh4+Rh560Rxh2Rxh2
ActuallyIthinkthatWhitedidwelltonetbothofBlack'spawnsforhisrook,butunfortunately
forhimtheresultingsituationislostanyway!
61Kb2Kg5(Diagram15)

Diagram15(W)

Diagram16(W)

Returningtoduty

I'mback!

Nowofcoursetheblackkingmustmotorovertothequeenside.
62Kc3
The main problem for White is as it was all along. His pawns aren't sufficiently advanced to
causeaseriousproblem.Blackhasthingsundercontrolasisshownbythevariation62b4Kf5
63a5Ke564b5Kd465b6Rh5thepawnsarestoppedintheirtracks.
62...Kf663Kb4

94

ApplyingPrinciplestoPracticalPlay

Whitewantstoengageinsome'kingshouldering'butunfortunatelythisinvolveshavingtolet
thecpawngo.
63...Rxc264Kb5Ke665a5Kd7(Diagram16)66Kb6
Alternativelythegamecouldend66b4Kc767Ka6Kc668b5+Kc769Ka7Rb270b6+Kc671
Kb8Rb572Kc8Rxa573b7Rb5.
66...Rb201

Example64S.DishmanC.Ward(BritishLeague2001)

Diagram17(B)

Diagram18(W)

Whostandsbetter?

Impressivecentralpawns

(Diagram 17) Black is a pawn down here, but there is nothing mundane about this endgame
becausethepawnstructureiscompletelyimbalanced.Whitehasanextrapawnonthekingside
and two connected passed pawns on the queenside. The materialistic assessor would place
White in the driving seat but in fact it is Black's connected passed centre pawnsthat are the
dominantfactor.
35...Kd7!
A good place to start. As I explained earlier in the book, the reason why centre pawns are
preferableinrookendgamesisbecauseiteasierforthekingtoaidintheiradvance.Iamfar
fromsayingthatWhite'saandbpawnsareinsignificantbutclearlythewhitekingwillnotbe
swiftinofferingthemassistance.
36g4
ThefpawnisquitefaruptheboardandsoWhitelookstomakethemostofthat.Asreiterated
inthepreviousgame,though,theproblemwithhavingthreeratherthantwopawnstowork
withisthat thetempiaresplittoo manywaysandsoless progresscanbemadeinanequal
amountoftime.
36...e5(Diagram18)
95

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Now the centre pawns are on the fourth rank whilst the queenside ones lag behind on the
secondandthirdranks.
37Kg2Ke638Kg3d439h4Rc8
IsuspectthatIrejectedtheimmediate39...e4becauseof40Kf4,althoughlookingatitnow,
40...Kd5 41 g5 e3 still looks promising for Black. For example, 42 Rg2 e2! when 43 Rxe2 d3+
dropstherook.
40g5hxg541hxg5Rg842Kg4e443Kf4e344Rg2Kd545Kf3
After45b4Re846Re2,both46...Re6,keepingthingsundercontrol,and46...Kc4,intendingto
infiltrate,lookgoodforawin.
45...Re8
Theblatantplanis...d4d3and...e3e2.
46Ke2Kc447Rg4(Diagram19)
Pinningthedpawnistheonlywaytopreventitsadvance.White'squeensidepawnsmaynot
havegotfarbutatleasttheoneonb2prevents...Kc3.
47...Rh848g6
Thispawnanditscompatriotonf6docompriseadanger,butBlackhashisownagendaandhis
ownpawnsarefaster.
48...Rh2+49Kf1
49 Ke1 Kd3 50 Rg1 Rxb2 is a situation we've now seen on countless occasions. The passive
whiterookisonlyabletoguardthebackrankmateononesideoftheking.

Diagram19(B)

Diagram20(B)

Pinningthedpawn

Stillapawnup!

49...Rf2+50Kg1fxg651Rxg6(Diagram20)51...Rf5

96

ApplyingPrinciplestoPracticalPlay

Black'spawnsalwayslookedthemorethreateningbutnowhealsohasthesuperiorrooktoo.
It'sbehindWhite'spassedpawnanditalsocutsoffthewhiteking.
52f7Rxf701
Ofcourse52...e2isalsowinning,butthere'snohurry!

Example65C.WardN.Berry(BritishLeague2003)

Diagram21(W)

Diagram22(B)

Seekingasignificantmajority

Nothangingaround

(Diagram21)Blackisonlyapawndownandifhecouldliquidatetothreeversustwoonthe
kingsidethenheshouldbeabletoholdthedraw.Unfortunately,Whiteisonlytoowellaware
ofthatandintendsobtainingamorefavourablepawnimbalance.
39f8Q+!Kxf840Rxh7
This (or the one on f5) was the pawn that White was after. Now he (well, me again!) has
createdasignificanttwopawnmajorityonthekingside.Aswellashavingsomethingmeatyto
workwiththere,thewhiterookcanalwaysgetbehindBlack'spassedapawn.
40...Rc541Kg2a442Ra7Rc443h4Kg844Kf3Rb445Ra5
Iftheblackfpawnremainsonitscurrentpost,thewhiterookwillhavemorethanenoughtime
totakeitandreturnbehindtheapawn.
45...f446g4
Eschewingthefpawninfavourofkeepingthemajorityconnected.
46...Kg747Ra610(Diagram22)
Blackevidentlywasn'ttookeenonhangingaroundforthelikesof47Kh748g5Kg749h5Kh7
50Ra7+Kg851h6Kh852g6Rb853Rxa4,andwhocanblamehim?

97

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Example66T.ChristensenC.Ward(Copenhagen1997)

Diagram23(B)

Diagram24(W)

PutyourmoneyonBlack!

Stickingtogether!

(Diagram 23) This is a fascinating one. White has two passed pawns but because they are
isolateditisBlackwhohasthesuperiorpawnstructure.PlayingBlackIknewthat connected
pawnswouldbethemostdangeroustypetohaveandit'sonthatbasisthatIbuiltmygame
plan.
51...g452a6f553a7Ra8
TheblackrookisverypassiveherebutWhitewasthreatening54Rb8.Besides,essentiallyIwas
detailingmyrooktoholdupWhite'sisolatedpawns,safeintheknowledgethatthewhiterook
wouldn'tbeabletodothesamewithmysoontobeadvancedconnectedpawns.
54Ra6g3!(Diagram24)
I wasn't interested in 54...h3 55 gxh3 gxh3. I'm sounding like a broken record, but again the
pointisthatIwantedconnectedpassers!
55Kc3f456Ra1
Thereadershouldbewellawarebynowthat56Kd3f3(notdissimilartothegame)57gxf3h3
would be winning because two connected passed pawns on the sixth rank defeat a rook
(providedthereisnointerventionfromthekings).
56...f357Kd3
Thewhitekingmakesaneffortbut,as57gxf3h358Rg1g259Kd2Kf660Ke2h2
demonstrates,itisstilltoofaraway.
57...fxg258Ke2Rf801
Cutting off the king is the icing on the cake. White can't promote because his rook needs to
guardg1,butontheotherhandheispowerlesstoprevent...h3h2h1Q!

98

ApplyingPrinciplestoPracticalPlay

Example67C.WardP.Sowray(BritishChampionship,Scarborough2004)

Diagram25(W)

Diagram26(W)

Whitewantstowin

Liquidationonhold!

(Diagram 25) Currently the material situation is level, although that is a deceptive feature as
Black's d4pawn is destined to drop off. However, White ignores that to start with, instead
placingtheemphasisonadvancingthefpawnandcreatingthreatsagainsttheblackking.
37f4!?d338f5+Kf739Rg6!
Therookaimsforthed6square,fromwhereitcanattackbothoftheblackdpawns.
39...Rh4+40Kxd3Rf441Rd6Rxf5(Diagram26)42Ke4!
The reader should rest assured that even grandmasters can't look at every rook and pawn
endgame and say with all certainty whether it is a win, a loss or a draw. Here I rejected 42
Rxd7+ Ke6 43 Rxa7 Kxe5 on principle. Perhaps White could still emerge triumphant but I
preferredtokeepmorepawnsontheboardandtogetmykingactive.
42...Rf243Rxd7+Ke644Rd6+Ke745b4
Thewhiterookcutsofftheblackkingandthereisanicelittlegapinwhichthewhitekingcan
makeitsapproach.
45...Rb246b5Rc247Kd5(Diagram27)47...Rc148Rh6
Threateningthecheckonh7thatwouldbothnetthea7pawnandconsigntheblackkingtothe
backrank.
48...Rd1+49Kc6Ra1
49...Rc150Kb7Rxc451Kxa7Rc552Kxb6Rxe5wouldultimatelyleadtothegoodold'Lucena'
position.Forexample,53Kc6Re154b6Rc1+55Kb7Kd756Kb8Rb157b7Ra1.Now58Rh4
preparestobuildthebridgeand58...Ra259Rd4+Ke760Kc7Rc2+61Kb6Rb2+62Kc6Rc2+63
Kb5Rb2+64Rb4seesthekingsuccessfullyescapingfrominfrontofthepawn.
99

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Diagram27(B)

Diagram28(B)

HereIcome!

Lucenaapproaching?

50Kb7Ra451Rc6Kd752Kb8(Diagram28)
Prettymuchasdemonstratedinmypreviousnote,White'splanisbasicallytowinBlack'saand
bpawnsevenattheexpenseofhisowncandepawns.Ashisownkingmonitorsthebpawn's
queeningsquare,theapplicationofthe'Lucenatechnique'wouldthenreapthefullpoint.
52...a5
BlackdecidesnottohangaroundforRc7+xa7butWhiteisnotgoingtolosemuchsleepovera
passedapawn.
53Kb7Ra154Kxb6a455Rc7+Kd856Ra7
Justtobesurethough!
56...a357c510
Thewhitekingismorethanadequatelyshelteredandso...a3a2won'tevencarrythethreatof
acheck.

Example68D.PaloC.Ward(Copenhagen2001)
(Diagram 29) As we have discovered, the defender always has reasonable chances to draw
when he has his rook behind the opponent's extra passed pawn, as is the case here.
UnfortunatelyinthisparticularpositionWhite'sepawn(whichwouldmuchratherbeonthef
orgfile)isabigweakpointandBlackhasjusttheplantoexploitit.
42...a2!
Therookisstuckona1forawhile,althoughthatisofcourseonlytrueifthewhitekingremains
onthesafesquaresg2andh2.

100

ApplyingPrinciplestoPracticalPlay

Diagram29(B)

Diagram30(W)

Theepawnisatarget

Foretellingthefuture!

43Kh2Kf744Ra6Ke745Kg2Kd746h4h501(Diagram30)
ThismaylookprematurebutWhitecouldseewhatwasgoingtohappen.Theblackkingwas
intendingadvanceandwinthewhiteepawnthanksto'zugzwang'.Followingthatthefpawn
could waltz home to glory. Remember that the white king can't move to the ffile whilst the
whiterookmuststayontheafile.
Ihopethatyou'veunderstoodallofthatbutjustincase,let'sviewapossiblefinish:46...h547
Kh2Kc748Kg2Kb7(Diagram31)

Diagram31(W)

Diagram32(W)

Breakingthebarrier

Zugzwang!

ThewhiterookisforcedtomoveandthusBlackbreaksthebarrier.49Ra3Kb650Ra4Kb551
Ra3Kb452Ra8Kc353Ra7Kd354Ra3+Ke4(Diagram32)55Ra8(or55Kh2Kf3,theoutcome
beingthesame;it's'zugzwang'asWhitedoesn'twanttomoveandindeedcan'tdosowithout
losingsomething)55...Kxe356Ra3+Kd457Ra4+Kc558Ra5+Kb659Ra8f560Ra4f461Ra3
(61Rxf4Rb1followedbytheinevitablepromotionshowswhytherookcan'tleavetheafile)
61...f3+62Kf2(62Kxf3Rf1+isonereasonwhythewhitekingcan'thittheffile,themainline
beingtheother!)62...Rh1!63Rxa2Rh2+64Kxf3Rxa2.
101

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Example69C.WardA.Webster(Wrexham1998)

Diagram33(W)

Diagram34(W)

Opttocutoff

Onwardsandupwards!

(Diagram33)56Re2!
By guarding the second rank, this enables the white king to advance up the board. As the
emphasishereshouldbeonkeepingtherookontheefile,alsoobviouswas56f4.However,
after56...Ra457g3Ra2thewhiterookwouldbeforcedtoretreatanyway.
56...Ra1+57Kf2Ra458Kg3Rb459f4Kd760Kg4Rb561g3Ra562Re5Ra2
Asiscommoninthisexamplearookswapisoutofthequestion.Forexample,62...Rxe563fxe5
Ke664Kf4Ke765Kf5Kf766e6+Ke767Ke5Ke868Kd6Kd869e7+Ke870Ke6h671h3h572
h4 g6 73 Kf6 Kd7 when White is spoilt for choice between taking Black's kingside pawns or
usheringhomehisepawn!
63h4Ra864Kg5Ra365g4Ra466h5Ra6(Diagram34)
Whitehasmadeprogressbutatsomepointtheremustcomeabigpush.
67Kf5Rb668Ke4Rf6?
FormethisistoopassiveforBlack.Heshouldpreferthemoreactive68...Rb4+!,leavingWhite
stilltoproducethekillingplan.
69Rf5Re6+70Kf3Re771Rd5+!(Diagram35)
AstrongmoveandareallyannoyingoneforBlack.Movingthekingtotheefileasinthegame
allows White to trade rooks, but trapped on the cfile it would be it even further from the
action.

102

ApplyingPrinciplestoPracticalPlay

Diagram35(B)

Diagram36(B)

Seekingarooktrade

What,norooks?

71...Ke8
Whitehasnumerouswaystowinafter71...Kc7withonepossibleroutetovictorybeing72g5
Rf773f5Kc674Ke4Re7+75Re5Rf776g6hxg677hxg6Ra778f6gxf679Re6+Kd780g7Ra8
81Kf5Rg882Ra6Ke783Ra7+Ke884Ra8+Kf785Rxg8Kxg886Kxf6Kh787Kf7.
72Re5!Kf7
Blackwantshisopponenttohavetoworkforthewin.72...Rxe573fxe5iscomparativelyeasy,
forexample73...Kf774Ke4Ke675Kd4Ke776Kd5Kd777e6+Ke778Ke5Ke879Kd6Kd880
h6!gxh681e7+Ke882Ke6h583gxh5h684Kf6andwins.
73Rxe7+Kxe774Ke4Ke675Kd4(Diagram36)75...g6
Blackwashopingtoavoidthelikesof75...Kd676f5h677g5!hxg578f6!,butnowsimpleplay
allowsaninfiltration.
76hxg6hxg677Kc5Ke778Kd5Kd779Ke5Ke780g5!10
Returningthemovetotheblackking,whichsoonwillbeshoulderedaway,e.g.80...Kf781Kd6
Kg782Ke7Kh783Kf7Kh884Kxg6.

103

ChapterSeven

TwentyQuestions

TwentyQuestions

To round off the book I've added 20 multiple choice questions based on lessons (hopefully)
learned throughout this book. All you have to do is select the correct option out of the four
providedanduponcompletingthetest,checkyouranswersinthenextchapter.InallhonestyI
believe that most of the questions should be like a walk in the park to those that have
thoroughlyworkedtheirwaythroughthebook.Thisiswherewediscoverhowmuchhasbeen
takenonboardandfranklyI'moptimisticfor100%!

Exercise01

HowshouldBlackkickoffthis4versus4situation?
A) With 1...Ra8. He should attack and block White's passed
pawnASAP.
B) With 1...Rd5, attacking the pawn from the side with the
optionofswingingbehinditlater.
C)With1...Rd1+,intending2Kg2Ra1.Rooksbelongbehind
passedpawns.

Blacktoplay

Exercise02

D)With1...Kg7.Thekingshouldbecentralizedinendgames
and the black monarch is going to have an integral part to
playinthisone.
Which of the black pawns should the white rook opt to
take?
A) The apawn as it leaves White with a dangerous
queensidemajority.
B)Thedpawnasitsimultaneouslyleavesthewhiterookon
theseventhrank.
C)Theh5pawnasitisthemostthreateningofthelot.

Whitetoplay

D) None of them! Time is of the essence and White should


give priority to the swift creation of a passed pawn of his
ownvia1b4.

105

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Exercise03
Outoftheselectionbelow,whatistheworstmovethat
Whitecouldselect?
A)1h5,i.e.pushingapassedpawn!
B)1g5,bringingapawnnearerpromotion.
C)1Rb7,monitoringBlack'spassedpawn.
D)1Kd2.Therookwon'twinthepawnonitsownandneeds
thesupportoftheking.
Whitetoplay

Exercise04
HowshouldBlackgoabouthaltingthewhitepawn?
A)With1...Rb5,stoppingitinitstracks.
B)Via1...Rb4,cuttingofftheking.
C)Through1...Rh1,wastingnotimeingettingbehindit.
D)Calmlywith1...Kb2,initiatingthenecessaryreturnofthe
king.
Blacktoplay

Exercise05
DoesWhitehaveanyrealisticchancesofholdingthis
endgame?
A)Yes,aslongashiskinggrabsthatapawnimmediately.
B)Yes,providedhisrookcutsofftheblackkingwith1Rg8.
C)Yes,butonlyifhestartswith1Rf8.
D)NotifBlackplayssensibly.
Whitetoplay

106

TwentyQuestions

Exercise06
Assumingbestplayasalways,what'sthestoryaboutthis
rookversustwopawnsscenario?
A)Whoeveristomove,Blackiseasilywinning.
B)Whoeveristomove,it'sadraw.
C)Whoeveristomove,Whiteiswinning.
D)WithWhitetoplayit'sablackwinbutwithBlacktoplay
it'sadraw.
Whitetoplay/Blacktoplay

Exercise07
Howshouldthepawnsfareagainsttherook?
A) Very well connected pawns on the sixth rank always
defeatarook.Thehpawnsareirrelevant.
B) Very well. Without the hpawns Black would be lost but
withthemheiswinning.
C) Alright if one is happy with a share of the spoils. The
positionisadraw.
Whitetoplay

D)Badly!Therookwillpickoffthestragglersandthenreturn
tohelpdealwiththesixthrankduo.

Exercise08
Whichofthefollowingoptionsistheonlylosingmovefor
White?
A)1Rc1
B)1Ra3+
C)1Ra8
D)1Kh1.
Whitetoplay

107

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Exercise09
Regardingthisposition,whatisthetruth?
A)Blackislosing.
B)Blackcandrawbutonlywith1...Kc8.
C)Blackcandrawbutonlywith1...Ke8.
D)Blackcandrawwitheither1...Kc8or1...Ke8.

Blacktoplay

Exercise10
DoesWhitehaveanychanceofscroungingadraw?
A)Absolutelynot.Heisdeadlost!
B)Yes,ifhecutsofftheenemykingwith1Rb8.
C)Yes,ifhetrapsthekingonthebackwith1Rg2.
D)Yes,buthemuststartcheckingnow.1Rg1+hitsthemark.

Whitetoplay

Exercise11
Canyoudetecttheonlytruestatementoutofthefourthat
follow?
A)Whiteiswinningafter1Rg8.
B)Whiteiswinningafter1Ra8.
C)1Kd3isasensibleandprogressivemove.
D)WithbestplayBlackdraws.
Whitetoplay

108

TwentyQuestions

Exercise12
HowdoestherookfareagainstBlack'sconnectedpassed
pawns?
A)Well,provideditattackstherootpawn.1Rc7isbest.
B)Well,solongasWhiteplays1Rd7.
C)Whiteiswinningbutheshouldstartwith1Kb5.
D)Notgreat!Infact,Whiteislosing.
Whitetoplay

Exercise13
Whitetomovecanwinby...
A)Centralizinghiskingvia1Kf7.
B)Cuttingofftheblackkingthrough1Rf2.
C)Seekingouttheoppositionwith1Rg1.
D)Preparingchecksfromthesidewith1Ra2.

Whitetoplay

Exercise14
CanWhitedefendthisdangeroussituation?
A)Yes,byemployingthe'Philidor'techniquevia1Rg3+.
B)Yes,byplaying1a4andusingtheapawnasadecoy.
C) Yes, by placing his rook behind the pawn now 1 Rc8 is
vital.
D)No,I'mafraiditisalittlelateforthatnow.
Whitetoplay

109

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Exercise15
IsthereanywaythatWhitecandrawthisone?
A)Nope!
B) Yes. The 'safe' squares for the white king are h2 and g2
andthus1Kh3setsthatballrolling.
C)Yes.TheblackkinghasnocoverandsoWhitemustkeep
checkingit.1Rf8+isbest.

Whitetoplay

D)Yesbutthewhitekingmust'shadow'itsoppositenumber
toavoidbeingexploited.1Kf4isagoodmove.

Exercise16
Canyoudetecttheonlytruestatementaboutthisposition
andthesameonebutwithasecondwhitepawnonb5.
A)Bothpositionsaredrawn.
B)BothpositionsarewinningforWhite.
C) This one is winning for White but an extra pawn on b5
makesitdrawn.

Whitetoplay

D)Thisoneisdrawnbuttheadditionalpawnwouldtipthe
balancetoawin.

Exercise17
What'sthestoryaboutthisposition?
A)Whiteiswinning.
B)Blackiswinning.
C)It'sadraw.
D) It's a lot harder than any of the other positions in this
quiz!
Whitetoplay

110

TwentyQuestions

Exercise18

Regardingthethreepawnsversustwopawnsposition
above,onlyoneofthefollowingisfactuallycorrect.Which
isit?
A)Whiteiswinning.
B) As the white king is trapped on the back rank, Black is
winning.
C) White should easily draw and 1 Rc1 is a sensible way to
start.

Whitetoplay

D)Whiteshouldplayactively.1Ra4isagoodmove,whenit
shouldbedrawn.

Exercise19
HowwouldyourecommendWhitetostarttodefendthis
endgame?
A)With1Rd2toguardthesecondrank.
B) With 1 g4 to get the majority going and give Black
somethingtothinkabout.
C)With1Ke2tocentralizetheking.
D)With1c4totryandactivatetherook.
Whitetoplay

Exercise20
WhatisthecorrectmoveforWhiteinthisintriguinglittle
number?
A)1Rb8
B)1hxg5
C)1gxf5
D)1h5.
Whitetoplay

111

ChapterEight

Solutions

Solutions

Exercise1

Diagram1(B)

Diagram2(W)

Infront,behindorbeside?

Therightdecision!

(Diagram1)PleasetellmethatyouselectedC,because1...Rd1+2Kg2Ra1(Diagram2)must
bethecorrectwaytogo.InadifferenttypeoftestIwoulddeductmarksfor'A',tryingtoblock
thepawnwiththerook!WhilstIhavesympathyfortheselectionof'D',thefactisthatgetting
therookbehindthepawnistheonlywaytopreventWhitefromdoingexactlythesamething.
Ifthewhiterookmakesittoa2thenhewouldbetheonewiththewinningchancesbutwith
theblackrookactive,mostgrandmasterswouldpreferBlack.

Exercise2

Diagram3(W)

Diagram4(W)

Whichpawn?

Seventhranksandsecondranks!

(Diagram3)Hopefullyyouhavelearntthatconnectedpassedpawnsarethebesttypeinrook
endgamesandthus1Rxa5(A)iscorrect.

113

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Oftenitisagoodideaforarooktooccupytheseventhrankbutinthisexample1Rxd7?!Rb8
forcesthewhiterooktoretreattoamorepassiverole.After2Rd2Rb3!,(Diagram4)Whitewill
stillbeabletodrawbutthatisthebestthathecanrealisticallyhopefor.

Exercise3

Diagram5(W)

Diagram6(W)

NowforaBADidea!

Timehasbeenwasted

(Diagram5)TheanswerisDasbyfarandawaytheWORSTideaisbringingthekingback.The
easy winning plan is to advance the connected passed pawns and if required the white king
shouldbeusedtoaidintheirpromotion.Easilyhittingthemarkis1h5b42g5b33h6b24Rd2
(not4Rb7?Ra3+!and...Rb3)4...Ka15Rxb2Kxb26g6,while1g5Rh82Rd2+Ka33Rh2b44h5
b35g6b26Rxb2Rxh57Rg2Rh88g7Rg89Kd4(Whitemayaswellshoulderofftheblackking
althoughitisnotnecessaryasiteasilybeatstheenemymonarchtof7)alsoobtainsthedesired
result.
Theimmediate1Rb7isalsoobviouslygoodastherookcanbedetailedtoultimatelysacrifice
itselffortheblackpawn.
Thewhitekingbelongswithitsownpawnsandthus1Kd2?b42Kc1b33Rb7Rc8+4Kd2b25
Ra7+Kb36Rb7+Ka27h5b1Q8Rxb1Kxb19Ke3Rh810Kf4Kc211Kg5Kd3(Diagram6)12
Kg6Rg8+13Kf5Rh814Kg6withadrawwouldbearidiculousidea.Whitecan'twintheblack
pawnfornothingandasthekingisashortrangepiece,retreatingitisobviouslyatimewasting
plan.

Exercise4
(Diagram7)Bynowthisquestionshouldhavebeenbreadandbuttertoyou.Oftenracescome
downtocountingtempi.Whenitcomestodecidingwhetherornottoenterracesinthefirst
place,nothingbeatsconcreteanalysis.Itshouldbeclearthat'A'isfoolish,as2Kg4wouldready
the pawn for further advance. I don't like to criticize placing rooks behind passed pawns or
centralizingkingsbutalasboth1...Rh12Kg4Kb23h5Kc34Kg5Kd45h6Ke56Kg6Ke67Kg7!
114

Solutions

(ratherthan7h7?Rg1+8Kh6Kf7!whenapromotedqueenfallsimmediatelytothecheckon
h1,butafter9h8N+Kf610Kh7Rg2theknightislostanyway);and1...Kb22h5Kc33Kf4Kd44
h6Kd55Kf5Rf1+6Kg6Ke67Kg7leadtothesamedrawnsituation.
Yes,inboth'C'and'D'Blackisonetempooffofwinning,butbyemploying1...Rb4!(Diagram8)

Diagram7(B)

Diagram8(W)

Howtostopandwinthatpawn?

Ohyes,cuttingoff!

Blackhasallthetimeintheworld.ThisisverysimilartoExample10earlierinthebook,with
this 'cutting off' technique ensuring that the white pawn can't advance beyond h5 without
becoming detached from its king and thus easily hunted down. As the white king can't
negotiatethefourthrank,theblackkingcantakeallthetimeitneedstoreturntoactiveduty
(i.e.thebaggingofthehpawn).SotheanswerisB.

Exercise5

Diagram9(W)

Diagram10(B)

Whitemustnotdither!

Onelasttrick!

(Diagram5)Ifyoucanrecallthecontentsofanearlierpagethenyouwillnoticeabigsimilarity
withthisquestionandExample12.TheanswerisCasWhitecandrawprovidinghehasslesthe
dangerous pawns immediately. The black pawns are already a long way down the board but
115

StartingOut:RookEndgames

provided White wastes no more time, the rook can still hold them off. It is vital that Black
doesn'tgetachancetoadvancehishpawnandthatiswhy1Rf8!Kg32Rg8+Kf23Rh8Kg34
Rg8+Kf45Rf8+Ke36Re8+Kd27Rf8Ke28Re8+Kf19Rh8iscorrect.EventuallyBlackwill
havetorelentwithsomethinglike9...f210Rxh4Kg211Rf4f1Q+12Rxf1Kxf113Kxa5.
Nowobservethefailureof1Kxa5?f22Rf8Kg23Rg8+Kf14Rh8(or4Kb4h3)4...h3!5Kb4
(thejustificationbehindBlack'slastmovewasthat5Rxh3Kg2wouldleavethewhiterookon
the worst square on the board!) 5...Kg2 6 Rg8+ Kf3 7 Rf8+ Kg3 8 Rg8+ (White continues
checkingbuttheywillsoonrunout,afterwhichthepawnnotattackedwilladvance;hence8
Kc3 h2) 8...Kh4 9 Rf8 h2 10 Kc3 (Diagram 10) 10...Kg5 and White is lost, as a successful
promotionisinevitable.Obviouslythisisinfinitelybetterthan10...h1Q??11Rh8+Kg312Rxh1.

Exercise6

Diagram11(B)

Diagram12(W)

Awalkinthepark!

I'llhavethatonetoo!

(Diagram 11) Shame on you if you picked anything other than A here. With his king on the
scene, Black has the pawns well blocked and can pick them off with just a little care.
Specifically,withBlacktomovehemustavoidoverloadinghiskingvia1...Rxd6??2e8Q+!.
Themoststraightforwardwiniswiththeinitialwaitingmove...
1...Rb6
Indeed, 'D' is a ridiculous premise as Black can 'pass' any time that he wants. White would
rathernotmovebuthehasnochoice.
2Kf6
Upon2Kd5Rxd6thistimeitisofcoursecheck!
2...Rxd6+3Kf7Re6(Diagram12)
Wellwouldyoubelieveit,anothercaseofarookbehindapawn!
116

Solutions

Exercise7
(Diagram 13) If you have read this book thoroughly then you should recognize 'A' as being a
load of twaddle! That is not applicable when the rookpartneredkingis in the vicinity as it is
here. As they are too far from the black king, the hpawns are pretty irrelevant and D is the
correctanswer.Playmightcontinue
1Rc7h62Rc6h43Rxh6Kc4
Upon3...Ka34Rxh4Blackmustcommitoneofhispawnsandthenloseit,forexample4...c2+5
Kc1b2+(note5...Ka26Ra4mate!)6Kxc2.

Diagram13(W)

Diagram14(B)

Irrelevanthpawns

Haveanothergo!

4Rxh4+Kb55Rh8Kc56Rc8+Kb47Rc7!(Diagram14)
Thekeyofcourseisforcingoneofthepawnstoadvance.Thiswaitingmoveeffectivelyletsthe
whitekingin.
7...c2+8Kb2Ka49Rc4+Kb510Kxb3
andWhitewins.

Exercise8

(Diagram15)ChapterThreeexplainedthatwhendealingwitharook'sorknight'spawn(i.e.on
the a, b, g or hfiles)then the defending king and rook can happilyremain 'passive' on the
backrank.ItisthebackrankcheckinparticularthattheWhiteneedstoguardagainstandafter
1Ra3+g3,solongasthereisanimmediatereturnin2Ra1,Blackcanmakenoprogress.
Fromourstartingposition,thereisnotimetogetactiveanyway.
1Ra8??Rb1+2Kf2g3+3Kf3Rf1+4Ke2g25Rh8+Kg36Rg8+Kh2
After6...Kh37Rh8+Kg48Rg8+Blackisunabletozigzagbackwithoutdroppinghispawn.

117

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Diagram15(W)

Diagram16(W)

Hownottodraw?

Lucena

7Rh8+Kg18Rh7Rf5!(Diagram16)9Rh8Re5+10Kd2
The black king is stuck in front of its pawn but now the famous 'Lucena' technique is being
employedtohelpextractit.
10...Kf211Rf8+Kg312Rg8+Kf313Kd3
ThepointbehindBlack'sfourthrankrookliftisdemonstratedin13Rf8+Kg414Rg8+Rg5.
13...Re3+14Kd2Re401
Nextis...Rg4.
Theworstmoveis1Ra8,makingthecorrectanswerC.

Exercise9

Diagram17(B)

Diagram18(W)

Thelongorshortofit!?

Adequatecheckingdistance...just!

(Diagram17)Hopefullyitshouldbeobvioustothereaderthatthethreatwas2Rh8mateand,
as 1...Re1 2 Rh8+ Re8 leads to a lost king and pawn ending, I didn't even include that as an
option.
118

Solutions

I'm not going to come down too hard on those who selected 'B' because I would always
recommendmovingtotheshortsideofthepawn.Thatisanabsolutenecessitywhenthepawn
isonthecorffiles,butherealsoadequateis
1...Ke82Rh8+Kf73Rd8Ra14Kc7
If White readies his rook to block the checks then 4 Rc8 Rd1! 5 Kc6 Ke7 is necessary but
neverthelessquitesimple.
4...Ra7+5Kc6Ra6+(Diagram18)
Theblackrookisnearertothewhitekingthanitwouldliketobebutthatisstillfarenough
away!
6Kb7Ke7!7Kxa6Kxd88Kb6Kd79Kc5Kc710d6+Kd711Kd5Kd812Kc6Kc813d7+Kd814
Kd6
The correct answer then is D.

Exercise10

Diagram19(W)

Diagram20(W)

Livingonborrowedtime!

Aneasyplanforaneasywin!

(Diagram 19) Did you start doubting yourself on this one, because you needn't have! Black
intendsextractinghiskingfroma1andpromotinghispawn,andinthelongterm(wellnoteven
that long!) there is little that White can do about it. After 1 Rg2 Kb1 White must start the
sidewayschecks,butfollowing2Rg1+Kb23Rg2+Kc3theblackkingwillapproachthewhite
rookuntiltherearenomorechecks.Iguessthebestpracticalchanceistotryandcutoffthe
kingonthebfile.
1Rb8Rf7
Theblackrookstartsitsjourneytoadestinationthatwill'push'thewhiterookoffthebfile.
2Kg8Rf13Rb7Rb1(Diagram20)
119

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Forcingthedefendingrookoffthebfileandthusenablingthekingtoescapefrominfrontof
thepawn.Notethatmanoeuvringtherooktob2wouldhavebeenequallyaseffective.
4Ra7Kb25Rb7+Kc36Rc7+Kd47Rd7+Kc58Rc7+Kd601
Thecheckshaverunoutand...a1Qisinevitable.Awascorrect.

Exercise11

Diagram21(W)

Diagram22(B)

Don'tblowit!

Oops!

(Diagram21)YoumaywellhavewonderedwhatoptionCwasallabout,untilyourealizedthat
itisinfactthecorrectanswer!Whitecannotaffordtolosehishpawnfornothingasinaworst
casescenarioBlackcaneasilyemploythe'Philidor'technique.Thisrulesout1Rg8,whilstthe
impetuousreaderwouldhavefallenfor
1Ra8?
1Kd3isinfactaprogressivemovebecauseapproachingtheblackrookmaybecomenecessary
to eliminate spite checks. More to the point, of course, it avoids the stalemate trick whilst
bringing back the skewer into play. The pawns and rook can win the game on their own, for
example1...Kb72c6+Kxc6(thecpawnwasintentonmarchinghomeandnow2...Kc73Ra8!
doeswork)3Rc8+with4h8Qupnext.
1...Rxh72Ra7+Kc63Rxh7stalemate(Diagram22)
Oops!

Exercise12
(Diagram23)Thisisafairlystraightforwardquestion.Ifbothpawnsmakeittothesixthrank
then,becausethewhitekingisn'tupwiththepace,Blackwillbevictorious.
Oncetheline1Rc7?d22Rd7c3(with...c2upnext)isobserved,itshouldbeclearthat1Rd7!
(Diagram24)istheonlywaytogo.Thisrearattackparalysesthepawnsandprovidedtheking
120

Solutions

partneringtherookarrivesonthescenebeforeitsoppositenumber(asitdoeshere)thenthe
passerscanbeeasilypickedoff.Thecontinuation1...Kg82Kb5justifiesthecorrectanswerof
B.

Diagram23(W)

Diagram24(B)

Attackthecorrectpawn!

Paralysedpawns!

Exercise13

Diagram25(W)

Diagram26(B)

Timetofinesse!

Hotonthetrail!

(Diagram 25) Analysing the variation 1 Kf7 Kf4 2 Kg6 g3 3 Kh5 Kf3 4 Rg1 g2 5 Kh4 Kf2
demonstrates that something special is required and that comes in the form of the 'tempo
finesse'
1Rg1!
WhitedoesnotcommithiskingbeforeseeingwhereBlack'sisgoing.
1...Kh4
Upon1...Kf4Whitegoestheotherway,i.e.2Kh6!Kf33Kg5g34Kh4g25Kh3Kf26Rxg2+.
2Kf6!(Diagram26)2...g33Kf5Kh34Kf4g25Kf3Kh26Rxg2+
121

StartingOut:RookEndgames

ThecorrectanswerisCasitisclearthat1Rg1gainsthatvitaltempo.Itisimportantthatthe
reader doesn't get too confused by terms such as 'cut off', 'triangulation', 'opposition' etc.
Though all are important concepts, at the end of the day one shouldn't get sidetracked by
definitionswhenovertheboardanalysisiswhatcounts.Take,forexample,'sidewayschecks'.
Worth bearing in mind, but in this example they are never useful for achieving more than a
draw.

Exercise14

Diagram27(W)

Diagram28(B)

Forgettheapawn!

Thosesidewayschecks!

(Diagram27)TheapawnisaredherringandWhitemustforgetaboutitifheistoconducta
successfuldefence.ItposesnoproblemsforBlackintheline1a4Rh1+2Kd2c3+3Kd3Rd1+4
Ke4c25Rc8c1Q6Rxc1Rxc17a5Ra1.Also,withouttheapawnapassivedefencewouldfail
andsoitisnosurprisethat1Rg1c32Kb1Rb2+3Kc1Ra24Kb1c2+5Kc1Ra1+isofnouse
either.
AstheblackkingisalreadyonWhite'sthirdrank,1Rg3+c32Rg1Ra2flopstooandwhileI'm
onoption'A',ofcourseithasnothingtodowiththePhilidortechnique!
Thecorrectanswer,whichI'mhopingyouallknewbynow,isC:
1Rc8!Kc32Kb1Rh1+3Ka2Rc14Rh8!(Diagram28)
Thisswitchisnecessarywiththedefensiveresourcebeingthechecksfromtheside.
4...Rd15Rc8!
withadraw.

122

Solutions

Exercise15

Diagram29(W)

Diagram30(W)

Kingcoverrequired

Hideandseek!

(Diagram 29) The good old 'skewer' trick has appeared on several occasions throughout this
book and the reader should acknowledge that in this starting position the squares h2 and g2
are indeed 'safe'. Unfortunately, 1 Kh3? won't get the white king to either of them quick
enough,with1...Rh1+2Kg4a1Qbeingproofofthat.
Regarding'C',alasthecheckswilldryupandafter1Rf8+?Ke32Re8+Kd43Rd8+Kc54Rc8+
Kd65Rd8+Kc76Ra8thewhitekingisleftexposedandvulnerableto6...Rg1+.
Thekeytoobtainingthedrawistohidefromthechecks(D).
1Kf4Ke22Ke4Kd23Kd4Kc24Kc4Kb2(Diagram30)5Rb8+!
Not 5 Kb4?, when the black rook can escape from in front of its pawn and a promotion is
inevitable.
5...Ka36Ra8+Kb27Rb8+Kc28Ra8
White must check the black king when it is on the a or bfiles but elsewhere the white king
muststicktoitlikeglue!

Exercise16
(Diagram31)Thereisreallynoexcuseforyounotknowingthattheabovediagramisabasicdraw.For
example1Rg6Rf82Rg7Rh83Rb7+Ka84Ra7+Kb8.Thedefender'srookcansatisfactorilyremain
passiveunlessWhitetries5b7??,when5...Rh6+!isanicebonus!
Thingsdochange,though,whenasecondbpawnisaddedasshowninthenextdiagram32
Indeed,nowWhitehasaverysimplewinningplan.
1b7Rg82Rc8+
Yes,Whitecanjustexchangeofftherooks.

123

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Diagram31(W)

Diagram32(W)

Abasicdraw

Fromrookandpawntokingandpawn!

2...Rxc83bxc8Q+Kxc84Ka7andWhitewins.
ThecorrectanswerisD.Thiswasaratherbasiconebutitdoespaytoknowyourkingandpawn
endgames.

Exercise17

Diagram33(W)

Diagram34(B)

Rti'srook!

Ringanybells?

(Diagram33)Actually,thiswasoriginallya1929studyofRti's,butthekeyideainvolvedisnot
newtothisbook.IsupposeIshouldaccept'D'buttheanswerIwasreallyafterwasC.
1Rg8!g3
Thebestpracticalchanceas1...f32Rxg4f23Rf4haltsthefpawn,asdoes1...Kd42Rxg4Ke33
Rg5f34Rxb5f25Rf5.
2Rg4b4
Or2...Kd43Rxf4+Ke34Rg4Kf35Rg6g26Kg7Kf27Rf6+Kg38Rg6+Kf29Rf6+Ke210Rg6Kf1
11Rf6+etc.
124

Solutions

3Rxf4b34Rf1!
Both 4 Rg4 b2 and 4 Rf8 g2 5 Rg8 b2 are too slow, but White has a defensive resource
previouslydetailedinExample13!
4...g25Rg1b26Kg7(Diagram34)6...Kd4
AkeypointbehindWhite'sideaisthatafter6...Kc47Kf6Kb38Ke5Ka2Whitecanplay9Rxg2
asthebpawnispinned.
7Kf6Ke38Rb1!
Designedtoguardagainst...Kf2.
8...Kd3
8...Kf2allowsWhitetotakethebpawnwithcheck.
9Rg1!
Nowwithaprepareddefenceto...Kc2,Whitedraws.

Exercise18

Diagram35(W)

Diagram36(W)

Sameside:3versus2

Defenceinprogress

(Diagram 35) Earlier in the book I discussed how the defender can usually hold pawndown
scenarioswhentheyareallonthesameside,threepawnsversustwobeingtheclassic.Switch
thepawnsfromg3andh2tog2andh3andthedefendingkingcanparkitselfcomfortablyon
h2.Thepositionhereisstilladrawalthough,becausehiskingistrappedonthebackrank,
Whitemustplaycarefully.
1Ra4!
This prevents the enemy king from advancing to the dangerous post utilized in the following
morepassivevariation:1Rc1Kg42Rc6Kh33Rxf6Rg2+4Kf1Kxh25Rh6Kxg36Rxh5g47Ra5

125

StartingOut:RookEndgames

Rb28Ra1Kh29Ra8Rb1+10Ke2g311Rh8+Kg2,whenalosingLucenapositionisthebest
Whitecanhopefor.
1...Rd22Rb4Ke53Ra4Rd44Ra2Ke45Kf2Rc46Re2+Kd37Re6Rc2+(Diagram36)8Kg1
Here8Kf3??spectacularlyfailsto8...g4+9Kf4Rf2mate.
8...f59Re5f410Rxg5
andWhitedrawsBlackhasnothreats.HencetheanswerisD.

Exercise19

Diagram37(W)

Diagram38(B)

Apawnforsomeactivity!?

Attackingratherthandefending

(Diagram 37) We can rule out 22 Ke2 and 22 g4 as Black's threat of bringing his rook to the
seventhrankshouldnotbeignored.
ThegameFusterBronstein,Budapest1949,continuedwith22Rd2Kf823Ke2Ke724Kd3c525
Kc2Kd626Re2a527Kc1a428Rd2a329c4d430Kc2g531Kd3f532Kc2h533Kd3h434h3
Rb135g4Rc136gxf5Ke537Rc2Rxc238Kxc2Kxf539Kd3Kf440Ke2d3+andBlackhadwon
becauseofWhite'spassiveplay.
Amuchbetter(andcertainlylesspainful!)defencewouldbetosacrificeapawnforactivityand
that'swhyIlike
22c4!
In accordance with the recurrent theme throughout this book, White should want to get his
rookactive.
22...dxc423Rc1Rb2
23...Rb4!?24Rc2Ra4isabetterpracticaltry,butashecancentralizehiskingandlateractivate
therook,Whitehasfairdrawingchances.
24Rxc4Rxa225Rxc6(Diagram38)
126

Solutions

In contrast to how the original game panned out, White's rook gets to do more than just
defend. It has no problems getting behind Black's passed apawn and he should comfortably
draw.
SothecorrectanswerisD.

Exercise20

Diagram39(W)

Diagram40(B)

Whichisbest?

Immunetocapture

TheanswerisC,reproducingaveryfamiliartheme.Pleasetellmeyoufinishedonahigh!
(Diagram39)White'srookisaspassivelyplacedasitgets,butclearly1Rb8Rxa7isofnouse.
Whiteneedstobeabletoextracthisrookwithcheckandthatinvolvesluringawaytheblack
kingfromtherelativesafetyofg7andh7.Neither1hxg5fxg4,nor1h5hastheabilitytodo
that,butthatremainingoptiondoes.
1gxf5gxh42f6+(Diagram40)2...Kf7
Alternatively2...Kxf63Rf8+or2...Kh73f7.
3Rh8Rxa74Rh7+
andWhitewins.

127