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Chess Endings


Translated by John Littlewood

B.T.Batsford Ltd, London

First published in West Germany, 1973
English translation© B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1974
First published 1974
Reprinted 1977 -first paperback edition
First algebraic edition 1984
Reprinted 1985, 1986, 1988
ISB N 0 7134 4210 7 (limp)

Photoset by Andek Printing, London

and printed and bound in Great Britain by
Biddies Ltd, Guildford and Kings Lynn
for the publishers
B.T. Batsford Ltd, 4 Fitzhardinge Street,
London W 1 H OAH


Adviser: R.D. Keene GM, OBE
Technical Editor: Ian Kingston

Preface VI

I ntroduction Vll

1 Elementary Endings
King and queen against king
King and rook against king 1
King and two bishops against king 2
King and two knights against king 2
King, bishop and knight against king 3
King and pawn against king 4

2 Pawn Endings 9
King and pawn against king 9
King and pawn against king and pawn 9
A: Pawns on the same file 10
B: Pawns on different files 13
King and two pawns against king and pawn 15
A: Isolated pawns with a passed pawn 16
B: Isolated pawns without a passed pawn 20
C: Connected pawns with a passed pawn 23
D: Connected pawns without a passed pawn 28
a) When one pawn is blocked 28
b) Without blocked pawns 32
King and two pawns against king 39
King and two pawns against king and two pawns 40
A: Creation of a passed pawn 40
B: The distant passed pawn 41
C: The protected passed pawn 42
D: The blockade of enemy pawns 43
E: Other possibilities 44
Endings with more pawns 45
Practical examples 48
3 Queen Endings 57
Queen against pawn 57
Q ueen against rook (and pawn) 62
A: Queen against rook 62
B: Queen against rook and pawn 64
Q ueen against q ueen (and pawns) 74
A: Queen against queen 74
B: Queen against queen and pawn 75
C: Queen and pawn(s) against queen and pawn(s) 80
Q ueen against other pieces 81
A: Queen against two rooks 81
B: Queen against two bishops 82
C: Queen against two knights 83
D: Queen against bishop and knight 84
Practical examples 87

4 Rook Endings 95
Roo k against pawn(s) 95
Rook and pawn against rook 106
A: Rook and rook's pawn 109
B: Rook and pawn other than rook's pawn 120
a) Pawn on the seventh rank 120
b) Pawn on the sixth rank 123
c) Pawn on the second to fifth ranks 130
Rook and two pawns against rook 140
Rook and pawn(s) on both sides 154
A: Rook and pawn against rook and pawn 154
B: Rook and two pawns against rook and pawn 159
Practical examples 166
Rook against minor pieces 177
Rook against bishop 177
Rook against knight 186
Rook and minor piece against rook 190
Rook and bishop against rook 190
Rook and knight against rook 192
5 Bishop Endings 195
Bishop against pawns 195
Bishop and pawn against bishop 203
Bishops of the same colour 208
Bishops of opposite colour 212
A: Bishop and two pawns against bishop 212
B: Bishop and pawn(s) on both sides 216
Bishop and pawns(s) against knight 219
Bishop against knight and pawn(s) 226
Practical examples 233

6 Knight Endings 256

Knight against pawn(s) 256
Knight and pawn against pawn 263
Knight and pawn(s) against knight 266
Practical examples 272

In chess literature throughout opportunities for individual flights

the world countless books have of imagination. Nevertheless, there
be en writte n on opening theory, is m uch of interest in this phase of
the middlegame, chess tournaments the game , and all chessplayers
and game selections. Within this should strive to improve their
vast production, however, books play by mastering the necessary
on the endgame are comparatively technique .
few in number, despite the fact In order to pinpoint basic
that this is one of the most principles, I have decided to cut
important parts of the game of down on the number of examples
chess . but to examine them in greater
It is indeed difficult to over­ detail than is customary. In this
estimate the value of good way I hope to make endgame
endgame play and time spent on theory a little more palatable. This
this department is amply repaid. has necessarily led me to reject
The purpose of this book is to many purely theoretical analyses
give the reader practical help in and restrict myself to material
endgame technique. which will be of most be nefit to
Many chessplayers are averse to the practical player.
studying the endgame, in the In offering this volume to the
belief that it is boring. To a certain reader I hope not only to stimulate
extent they are right, for most interest in the subject matter but
theoretical endings are relatively principally to raise the average
dry in content, requiring precise level of endgame technique among
calculation and offering fe w chessplayers everywhere.

Paul Keres
Tallinn, July 1972

A normal game of chess usually leading chessplayers pay special

consists of three phases; opening, attention to this aspect of their
middlegame and ending. In the gam e, and we can find nu merous
opening a player attempts to modern examples of finely con­
develop his forces in the most ducted endgames.
effective manner and create favour­ It m ust be admitted that, from a
able middlegame chances . The purely technical point of view,
middlegame is the richest and endings are much less interesting
apparently the most difficult part to study than, for example, opening
of the game, in which the player theory or the strategy of the
aims for a decisive s uperiority or middlegame. However, this study
at least an advantageous endgame. is essential, and there-is at least the
And, finally, the ending is that advantage that most endings lend
part of the game in which we must themselves to exact analysis of
convert into a win any advantages winning or drawing possibilities.
won during the opening or In the following pages, we shall
middlegame. attempt to provide the reader with
As a result, it is clear that the the most important principles for
ending is one of the most critical the correct handling of various
stages of the game. A playe r can practical endings . We all know
sometimes afford the lu xury of an that present endgame theory in its
inaccurate move, or even a definite entirety would fill many hefty
error, in the opening or middle­ tomes, the mere sight of which is a
game without necessarily obtaining deterrent. The aim of this book,
a lost position. This is explained therefore , is to lighten the burden
by the fact that in both these some what by selecting from the
complicated phases of the game vast material available those
there are great practical difficulties endings which are of most practical
in detecting and exploiting our value. For example, we shall be
opponent's mistakes. In the end­ e xa mining all basic endgame
game, on the other hand, an error positions, presenting an indis­
can be decisive, and we are rarely pensable ABC of chess usage. Do
presented with a second chance. not underrate such an approach.
There could be no clearer proof Even great players have been
of the vital need to perfect one's known to have weaknesses in this
endgame technique. The world's phase of the game.
1 Elementary Endings

In this section we shall examine way, I 'it>b7 being possibly quicker,

positions which in fact belong b ut the given method shows how
to the ABC of every plaver easily the enemy king can be
and scarcely need any further mated in such positions.
elucidation. However, we mention
King and Rook against King
them briefly here for the sake of
completeness, first of all looking This too is always a win. As in
at the force required to mate a the above example , the enemy
lone king. king must be driven to the edge of
the board before he can be mated,
King and Queen against King although the task is slightly more
This is always a win, the only difficult. Whilst the queen can
danger being a possible stalemate . drive the king to the edge without
the help of its own king, it is
essential for the rook and king to
co-ordinate their action to achieve
this aim.

One possible winning method

from diagram I is the following:
1 1i'c3 'it>e4 2 'it>b7 'it;>dS the black
king obviously wishes to remain in
the centre as long as possible In diagram 2, White's task is
3 'it>c7 'it>e4 4 'ittd6 'it>f4 5 '§'d3 'it>gS not especially difficult. In order to
6 'it>eS 'it>g4 7 1i'e3 'it>hS 8 'it>fS 'it>h4 force the black king to the side of
9 1i'd3 'it>hS 10 '§'h3 mate. the board, it is simplest to cut off
This is perhaps not the shortest the king by using the rook along
2 Elementary Endings

the rank or the file, beginning with standable: I �b2 �e4 2 �c3 �dS
I lla4 or I lle l . However, as no 3 .i.f3+ �es 4 .i.g3+ 'it>e6 s �d4
further progress can be made the black king is now completely
without the help of the white king, cut off by the bishops and can
the clearest method is I 'i!i>b7 'i!i>e4 easily be forced into the corner
2 �c6 'i!i>d4 3 llel to force the S .•• 'it>fS 6 <t>dS <t>£6 7 .i.g4 �gS
enemy king towards the a-file 3 ... 8 .i.d7 'it>f6 9 .i.h4+ �g6 the black
'i!i>c4 4 lle4+ 'i!;>d3 S 'i!i>dS now the king's movements are even further
black king is denied access to both restricted but he must be driven
the e-file and the fo urth rank S •.. into the corner 10 �eS �f7
�c3 6 lld4 �c2 7 'i!i>c4 'i!;>b2 II �s 'it>g7 1 2 .i.e8 � 1 3 .i.g6
8 lld2+ 'i!i>cl the king already has �g7 14 .i.e7 �f8 IS �f6 'it>h8
to go to the back rank 9 �c3 �bl 16 .i.fS 'i!i>g8 1 7 'it>g6 'it>h8 18 .i.d6
10 �b3 'i!i>cl 1 1 lld3 'it>bl �g8 1 9 .i.e6+ �h8 20 .i.eS mate.
12 lldl mate. Note especially the There may of co urse be quicker
use of waiting moves by the rook. ways but the winning method
remains in all cases the same.
King and two Bishops against King
King and two Knights against King
It is clear that king and one
bishop cannot possibly mate a Whilst it is clear that a single
lone king, but two bishops easily knight and king cannot mate the
force the win , as can be seen in the enemy king, it is not so obvious
play from diagram 3. that there is no way to force a win
with two knights. In this case there
3 is a theoretical mating position,
b ut White cannot bring it about
against correct defence. Diagram
4 makes this clear, for White
cannot strengthen his position
even though the black king is in
the corner.

The winning procedure is the

same as in the previous examples.
The black king is gradually driven
to the edge of the board by co­
ordinating the bishops to control
its escape squares. The following
line of play is readily under-
Elementary Endings 3

The attempt to restrict the the knight and king can guard
king's movements by 1 li:Je7 or those squares which the bishop
1 li:Jh6 leads to stalemate. White cannot control. Let us see how it
can try 1 li:Jf8 <.t;> g8 2 li:Jd7 <.t;>h8 all works by examining the play
3 li:Jd6 <.t;> g8 4 li:J f6+ and if 4 . . . from diagram 5.
<.t;>h 8? 5 li:Jf7 mate, but Black
simply plays 4 ... � and White 5
must start all over again . However
hard White tries, there is no forced
way of mating the black king with
two knights only .
King, Bishop and Knight against
White can indeed force mate in
this ending, and it is worthwhile to
acquire the necessary technique.
Once again the black king must White must of course first bring
naturally be driven into the corner up his king, whilst the black king
of the board, and mating positions tries to remain in the centre for as
are possible in all four corners. long as possible . As soon as he is
However, mate can be forced only driven away, he heads for the
in the two corners which are of the ' wrong' corner, a8 or h l , where he
same colour as the bishop controls. can not be mated with correct
In the two other corners, mate is defence. Play might continue as
only possible ifthe defender makes follows: 1 <.t;>b2 <.t;>d3 2 li:Jc7 <.t;>c4 to
a mistake, as was the case with the hold back the enemy king 3 li:Je6
two knights. <.t;>dS 4 li:Jd4 <.t;>c4 5 <.t;>c2 <.t;>b4 no
This means that the task of the better would be 5 . . . <.t;>d5 6 <.t;>d3
attacker is fairly tricky. Firstly, 6 <.t;>d3 <.t;>cS 7 .th2 as we can see,
the enemy king has to be driven to the white pieces supported by the
the edge of the board , then into king have ta ken many squares
the corner, and finally into the away from the black king 7 ... <.t;>dS
other corner if the colour is the 8 li:Jb3 <.t;>c6 the king must retreat,
wrong one for his bishop. And so he heads for a8, whereas 8 . . .
whereas with the queen, rook or <.t;>e6 9 <.t;>e4 would drive him
two bishops it was easy to cut the towards h 8 9 <.t;>c4 <.t;>b6 better than
king off along the ranks, files or 9 . . . <.t;>d7 10 <.t;>d5 10 li:JcS <.t;>c6
diagonals, with knight and bishop 1 1 li:J a4 reaching a similar situation
such control is more difficult. The to the one after White's 8th move
two pieces constantly require the and showing a typical method of
support of their own king, so that driving back the enemy king with
4 Elementary Endings

bishop and knight t t ... <!i>b7 the board, in order to get used to
t2 <!lbS <bc8 after 1 2 . . . <!?a7 the way in which the three white
13 <!;>c6 we reach a position which pieces co-operate. It must not be
occurs later in the main variation forgotten that the king must be
t3 <bc6 <!;>d8 t4 <!;>d6 <bc8 if Black mated within 50 moves, or else a
tried to escape by 14 . . . <be8, he draw can be claimed. This makes
would be driven over to h8 after it all the more i mperative for us to
15 <be6 <M8 1 6 -'.e5 or here 15 . . . be thoroughly conversant with the
<!;>d8 1 6 lt:lb6, without being able winning method, so as not to lose
to slip away towards a8 tS lt:lb6+ valuable time driving the enemy
<!;>b7 t6 <bcS <!;>a6 t7 <bc6 <baS t8 king back.
-'.d6 <ba6 t9 -'.b8 barring the
king's retreat towards a8 and King and Pawn against King
beginning the manoe uvre to drive We could have examined this
him towards a 1 t 9 ... <baS 20 lt:ldS! ending in the section on pawn
<ba4 White's task is simpler after endings, but as we are dealing with
20 . . . <ba6 2 1 lt:lb4+ <!?a5 22 <bc5 simpler examples here , it seems
<!;>a4 23 <bc4 <!;>a5 24 -'.c7+ etc best to include it in this section on
2t <bcS <!;>b3 22 lt:lb4! a very elementary endings. In this type of
important knight move and a ending it is difficult to give general
typical way of driving the king principles, as everything depends
from one corner to the other 22 ... on the placing of the pieces. It goes
<bc3 23 -'.f4 and we can see that without saying that a win is only
the splendid position of the knight possible if the pawn can be
stops the black king escaping 23 ... promoted, so our task is to
<!;>b3 24 .teS <ba4 2S <bc4 <baS 26 establish when this can or cannot
.tc7+ <ba4 27 lt:ld3 <!;>a3 28 -'.b6 a be done.
waiting move; the black king is Of course, White wins easily
now compelled to go to al 28 ... when the enemy king is too far
<ba4 29 lt:lb2+ <!;>a3 30 <!?c3 <ba2 3t away to prevent the pawn queening.
<bc2 <ba3 32 -'.cS+ <ba2 33 lt:ld3 It is equally clear that the game is
<bat at last! The black king is now drawn when the white king cannot
mated in three moves 34 -'.b4 <ba2 prevent the capt ure of his pawn.
3S lt:lcl+ <ba t 36 -'.c3 mate. We are primarily concerned with
The reader will now realize that those positions where the black
this ending is by no means easy. It king is placed somewhere in front
is worth noting standard positions of the pawn . Let us begin by
such as those after White's 8th, examining the basic situation
19th and 22nd moves, and the given in diagram 6, with the pawn
beginner would do well to try to on the 6th ran k and the black king
drive the black king into the on the back rank in front of the
corner from various positions on pawn.
Elementary Endings 5

to be in 'opposition' or more
specifically in 'close opposition', as
compared with 'distant opposition'
when the kings are 3 or 5 squares
apart. Diagonal opposition occurs
when there are I, 3 or 5 squares
between both kings.
We say that a player 'has the
opposition' when he has brought
about one of the above-described
positions with his opponent to
move. In such cases the latter has
On the left is a typical position lost the opposition. We could now
in this ending, always attainable define the left half of diagram 6 as
even with the pawn originally follows: the win in this position
further back, as its advance to the depends on who has the opposition.
6th rank cannot be prevented. The If White has it, he wins; if Black
win here depends on who has the has it,the game is drawn.
move. With White to move the This rule applies to all similar
game is drawn, as 1 c7+ c,i>c8 2 c,i>c6 positions, except those where a
gives stalemate, and White cannot rook's pawn is involved. For
bring about the same position example, in the right half of
with Black to move. For instance, diagram 6, White cannot win even
after 1 'it>dS c,i>c7 2 'it>cS, Black with the opposition, as 1 ... 'it>h8
plays the correct move 2 .•• 'it>c8 ! 2 h7 gives stalemate.
and now both 3 �d6 'it>d8 and If the pawn is not on the 6th
3 'it>b6 'it>b8 amount to the same rank but further back, Black's
situation. Black's defence is easy: drawing chances increase sig­
he keeps his king for as long as nificantly. Consider the bottom
possible on c7 and c8 until the half of diagram 7.
white king reaches the 6th rank
when Black must immediately 7
place his king directly in front of
the white king.
In connection with this ending,
I would like to stress one extremely
important point concerning the
position of the two kings. In all
pawn endings, when the kings face
each other as above (i.e. standing
on the same rank or file with one
square in between), they are said
6 Elementary Endings

This and similar positions are out one small fact about positions
drawn, whoever has the move . with a knight's pawn . Returning
Black defends according to the to the upper half of diagram 7,
principles we have given above, with White to move, it may seem
with the play going as follows: at first sight that White can also
1 c3+ 'i.t>c4 2 'i.t>c2 'i.t>c5 3 'i.t>d3 'i.t>d5 4 win with I 'i.t>c6, as I . . . 'i.t>c8 2 b6 is
c4+ 'i.t>c5 5 'i.t>c3 'i.t>c6 6 'i.t>d4 'i.t>d6 lost for Black. H owever, I 'i.t>a6 ! is
7 c5+ 'i.t>c6 8 'i.t>c4 'i.t>c7 9 'i.t>d5 'i.t>d7 the correct move although White
1 0 c6+ 'i.t>c7 1 1 'i.t>c5 'i.t>c8! 1 2 'i.t>d6 can reach this position again even
'i.t>d8! and we have reached the after 1 'i.t>c6 which Black answers
known drawing position in which with 1 ... 'i.t>a7 ! If White now
Black has the opposition. carelessly plays 2 b6+? Black
One might think that we have replies 2 . 'i.t>a8! with a draw, for
. .

now finished with the king and both 3 'i.t>c7 and 3 b7+ 'i.t>b8 4 'i.t>b6
pawn ending, but this is far from give stalemate. So White must
being the case. What happens, for swallow his pride and play 2 'i.t>c7
instance, when the white king 'i.t>a8 3 'i.t>b6 ! 'i.t>b8 4 'i.t>a6 ! returning
occupies a· square in front of his to the winning plan.
pawn? In this case equally there
are no general rules for winning,
but White's winning chances are
much greater, especially if the
pawn is advanced , as in the upper
half of diagram 7 .
The white king has managed to
reach the important square in
front of his pawn and this fact
ensures the win in all cases,
whoever has the move and however
far back the pawn may be. With
Black to move, there is a simple If the white king is in front of
win after 1 ... 'i.t>a8 2 'i.t>c7 or 1 ... the pawn but not so advanced, we
'i.t>c8 2 'i.t>a7 , followed by the arrive at the left half of diagram 8 .
advance of the pawn . Even with In this typical position t h e win
White to move, there are few depends on who has the move. If
problems, for after 1 ®a6 'i.t>a8 White has the opposition, then
2 b6 White has the opposition , so Black loses after 1 ... 'i.t>b7 2 'i.t>d6
wins as we have seen above . All 'i.t>c8 or 2 . .. 'i.t>b8 3 'i.t>d7 3 c5 'i.t>d8
similar positions are won, except 4 c6 'i.t>c8 5 c7 etc. However, with
for those which again involve the White to move, Black draws after
rook's pawn. 1 'i.t>d5 'i.t>d7 2 c5 'i.t>c7 3 c6 'i.t>c8 !
It is, however, worth pointing 4 'i.t>d6 'i.t>d8 with the well-known
Elementary Endings 7

drawing position . mention two exceptional cases

Fro m this example, it is clear involving the rook's pawn . The
that White wins easily if his pawn defence has better chances in this
is further back , for in this case he type of ending, drawing from
can always gain the opposition by positions that would be hopeless
moving the pawn. Hence a useful with any other pawn. For example,
rule for conducting this type of in the left half of diagram 9, even
ending is as follows: the white king with the move White cannot win.
is advanced as far as possible in
front of his pawn (of course, 9 �·� �
without losing the latter), and • • • •
only then is the pawn moved. M •
�� - . M
. �
The right half of diagram 8
ill ustrates the application of this D • •••
rule. If Black has the move, he • • • D
draws easily with I . . . <.t;>g4 or I . . . • • • •
�4, b u t White t o move wins in
the following instructive way:
• • • •
1 <.t;> g3! gaining the opposition , as . � � �
compared with 1 <.t;>f3? <.t;>f5 ! when After 1 <.t;>a 7 <.t;>c7 2 a6 <.t;>c8
Black has the opposition and 3 <.t;>a8 or 3 <.t;>b6 <.t;>b8 3 ... <.t;>c7 4 a7
draws 1 ... <.t;>f5 2 <.t;> f3! maintaining <.t;>c8 White himself is stalemated
the opposition; note that 2 f4? <.t;>f6 for a change. As a rule we can state
would again draw 2 . . . <.t;>e5 3 <.t;>g4 that Black draws if he can reach
�6 4 <.t;>f4! once more White takes the critical square c8 (or f8 on the
over the opposition and applies o ther wing). An obvious exception
our rule of advancing his king to this rule is when the white king
without moving the pawn; a already occupies c6 or b6 and 1 a7
mistake would be 4 f3? <.t;>g6 5 <.t;>f4 can be played.
<.t;>f6! drawing 4 ... <.t;>e6 5 <.t;>g5 ! <.t;>f7 The right half of diagram 9
6 <.t;>f5 6 f3 is possible, b ut not 6 f4? gives us another draw for Black in
<.t;>g7 ! drawing 6 ... <.t;>e7 7 <.t;>g6 <.t;>e8 a situation that would be a loss
8 f4 only now, with the white king against any other pawn . Again
on the 6th rank, is the pawn White cannot win even with the
advanced; 8 <.t;>g7 would be move, as 1 h5 �6 2 <.t;>h7 �7 3 h6
pointless, as 8 . . . <.t;>e7 9 f4 <.t;>e6 � gives us the drawing position
would force 10 <.t;>g6 8 ... <.t;>e7 9 f5 we have j ust seen . So in general
eMS 1 0 �6! it is vital to gain the Black draws against a rook's
opposition once more, as 1 0 f6? pawn.
<.t;>g8 only draws 1 0 . . . <.t;>e8 1 1 <.t;>g7 With this example we complete
<.t;>e7 12 f6+ and the pawn queens. our treatment of elementary
In conclusion we would like to endings and move over to more
8 Elementary Endings

complicated cases, dealing in turn various endings. As already stated,

with pawn , queen , rook, bishop, we are not compiling an endgame
and knight endings. We shall reference book but presenting
however examine only those important basic positions which
positions ill ustrating general prin­ every chessplayer must know how
ciples which can be applied to to handle.
2 Pawn Endings

It may perhaps seem rather explain more fully the term

strange that we should begin with 'distant opposition'.
pawn endings, but there are good
reasons for this. Firstly, pawn
endings are relatively simple in
form (though not necessarily in
content ! ), consisting as they do of
few men, and thus provide us with
the best overall view of endings
and their treatment. Secondly,
pawn endings usually arise from
other endings and rep resent so to
speak the cornerstone of the
whole of endgame theory.
We have already examined If Black has the move he cannot
those elementary pawn endings be prevented from reaching f4
which are the basis of all pawn with a draw, as we have already
endings. If these examples have seen. The matter becomes more
given the reader the impression complicated, however, if White
that pawn endings are the easiest has the move. What will the result
of the endgames, he is sadly be then? To answer this question,
mistaken. As we shall see later, we m ust examine the position in a
some pawn endings are very little more detail . As we have seen
complex and difficult to play for in previous examples, White wins
the uninitiated. if his king can reach f6 with Black
to move. His first move is
King and Pawn against King naturally I 'it>e2 (or 1 'it>g2 giving
We return again to this ending similar variations) and it is Black
which we have already examined who m ust select the best defence.
in our section on elementary Obviously after 1 . 'it>f5? 2 'it>f3 !

endings. As a test-piece we shall White has attained his objective,

consider diagram 10 which cannot and the same applies after 1 . . .

be solved immediately by applying 'it>e5 2 'it>e3 'it>f5 3 'it>f3. The only

our given principles. We shall also co rrect defence lies in I ...'it>e6 ! in
10 Pawn Endings

order to answer 2 'Ot>e3 with 2 ... king must be ready to play to e5, f5
'Ot>eS and 2 'Ot>f3 with 2 ...'Ot>fS or g5; but g5 is no good, for with
gaining the opposition and drawing. <;&e4 White wins at least the f4
The move I . . 'Ot>e6 ! gave Black the
. square ; nor is f5 suitable for the
distant opposition and this is black king, as he must be ready to
converted into the close opposition occupy this square, in case the
as the kings approach each other. white king goes to f3. There
This example shows us the basic remains only e5, making this the
form of the distant opposition; we related square of White's e3. To
shall later examine much more continue this logic, which black
complex examples of its application. square corresponds to White's e2?
The theory of the opposition is As White can go to e3 or f3 from
important and reasonably straight­ this square, Black must have a
forward, but a player can manage related square from which he can
without it if he understands the reach e5 and f5 , i.e. e6 or f6.
theory of 'related squares'. This By this process we have re­
theory is sometimes even more discovered the correct defence for
comprehensive and comprehensible Black. After 1 'Ot>e2, only 1 'Ot>e6!

than the application of the is sufficient to draw. As we have

opposition rule, so let us examine seen above, all other moves lose .
it further by returning to diagram This is, of course, a simple
10. illustration of related squares, but
What are 'related squares'? Let we shall later give instructive
us assume that the white king is on examples of the usefulness of this
f3 and his black counterpart on f5, method of calculation.
when it is now known that White
wins if it is Black to move. We can King and Pawn against King and
call these 'related squares' i.e. Pawn
when the black king is on f5, Once again, for this type of
White's king needs to be on f3 to ending there are no general rules
win; or if Black wishes to draw, he for winning or drawing, as
must play his king to the related everything depends on the placing
square after White's king goes to of the pieces. Normally these
f3. endings result in a draw, so we are
Now let us try to find other primarily interested in those cases
pairs of related squares, from the where White can force a win . First
defender's point of view. We of all, let us divide our material
know that the white king cannot into two groups:
be allowed to reach f4, when he
wins in all variations. This means
that if the white king is on e 3 ,
threatening to g o to f4, t h e black In this case, we can take
Pawn Endings 1 1

diagram 1 1 as our basic position. have j ust seen, but the white king
meanwhile reaches the 6th ran k,
II with pawns other than the rook's
pawn, produce the same result.
An exceptional case is when the
black pawn is on g7 or b7. The
black king can then head for the
corner where he is stalemated if
the white king approaches. Rook's
pawn positions are drawn, as
Let us next examine a few
positions in which both kings have
Such positions are drawn who­ more roo m to manoeuvre, begin­
ever has the move and however ning with diagram 1 2.
many ranks back we move the
pawns. If White has the move,
Black has the opposition and
clearly draws after 1 'i.t>g4 'i.t>g6
2 'i.t>f4 'i.t>f6 etc. If Black has the
move, then he m ust lose the pawn
as follows:
1 'i.t>e6
2 'i.t>g5 'i.t>e7
3 'i.t>f5 'i.t>d6
4 'i.t>f6 'i.t>d7
5 'i.t>e5
and the pawn falls, as 5 . . . 'i.t>c6 Such positions often occ ur in
6 'i.t>e6 would still win it. However, practice and their correct evaluation
Black can still draw by applying is therefore important. We know
the principles we gave in our that White wins if he can capture
elementary endings. the pawn, and if he has the move
5 'i.t>e7! he can win comfortably, as Black
6 'i.t>xd5 'i.t>d7! cannot gain the opposition. Play
gaining the opposition and drawing might continue as follows:
as already seen. 1 'i.t>c4!
The situation changes drastically, The only way to win. If 1 'i.t>d4
however, if the pieces in diagram 'i.t>d8 ! Black has the opposition
1 1 are moved up one or two ranks. and draws.
Admittedly, White to move cannot 1 'i.t>d7
win, but if Black has the move, he 2 'i.t>b5!
is lost. He loses his pawn as we Again taking the diagonal
12 Pawn Endings

opposition. Not 2 'i!lc5? 'i!?c7 ! winning manoeuvre.

2 'i!?c7
3 'i!?c5 'i!?d7
4 'i!?b6 'i!?d8
5 'i!?c6 'i!?e7
6 'i!?c7 'i!?e8
7 'i!?d6 'i!lfl
8 'i!?d7 and wins.
This is one possibility, but
Black can also attempt to set up
a counterattack on the white
pawn by 1 . . 'i!ln. We then
Schlage-Ahues, Berlin 192 1

1 'i!?c4! 'i!lfl This position occurred in a
2 'i!?c5 'i!lg6 tournament game Schlage-Ahues,
Once again , this is a common Berlin 192 1 . With White to move,
situation, with both kings coming Black must obviously Jose his
in at the pawns from opposite pawn, but this seems unimportant
wings. A typical error would now for, in the five moves it takes
be 3 'i!?d6? when 3 . . . 'i!?f5 ! would White to win the pawn, the black
even win for Black! A useful rule king can reach the drawing square
to remember in such situations is c7 . Is the position drawn then?
that the winner must be able to The game continuation was in fact
attack the pawn from one square I 'it>e6 'i!?c3 2 'i!?d6? 'i!?d4 3 'i!lc6
below (here d7), in order to 'i!?e5 4 'i!?b7 'i!?d6 5 'i!?xa7 'i!lc7 etc,
maintain the attack whilst guarding with a draw.
his own pawn next move ('i!?d6). But White could have won by
So White continues: choosing the correct route for his
3 'i!?c6! king. In pawn endings it is
As before the white king heads sometimes possible for the king to
for d7 , whereas Black heads for f4. choose a diagonal route which is
It is clear that in this case White no further in move count but
arrives first . which restricts the route of the
3 'i!?g5 enem y king. White should have
If 3 . . . 'i!?f5 4 'i!?d6 wins at once. played:
4 'i!?d7! 'i!?f5 1 'it>e6 'i!?c3
5 'i!?d6 wins. 2 'i!?d5!
Of course, with rook's pawns As can be seen, White still
the winning chances are re­ captures the pawn in 5 moves but
duced , but diagram 13 shows prevents the black king's approach
us a subtle and unexpected via d4, e5 and d6. As a result he
Pawn Endings 13

cannot reach c7 in time and is lost. pawn and it appears as if 1 �c3

2 �b4 �e 5 2 �b4 �d5 3 �xa4 etc wou ld
If 2 . . . �d3 3 �c6 �e4 4 �b 7 clinch matters. However, Black
�d5 5 �xa 7 �c6 6 �b8 wins. has the resource I . . . a3 ! which
3 �c6 �a5 draws after both 2 ba �e6 3 �c4
4 �b7 � b5 �d6 and 2 b4 �e6 3 �b3 �d6
5 �xa7 �c6 4 �xa3 �c6 5 �a4 �b6 etc. I n
6 �b8 order to win, White must plan for
and the pawn queens. this black defence and be ready to
A simple but instructive example. capture the pawn with his king
It is interesting to note that if whilst keeping his own pawn as far
Black's king had originally stood back as possible, as follows:
on the seemingly worse square h2, 1 �bl a3
instead of b2, the game would The best defence, as White wins
have been drawn, as White cannot easily after I . . . �e5 2 �a2 �d4 3
prevent the approach of the black �a3 �c5 4 �xa4 �b6 5 �b4! etc.
king without wasting time himself. 2 b3!
As will soon be seen, 2 b4 would
only draw.
2 �e5
In such positions, if the pawn 3 �a2 �d5
can be stopped by the opposing 4 �xa3 �c5
king, the result is usually a draw, 5 �a4 �b6
unless White can capture the 6 �b4! and wins .
enemy pawn under favourable It is clear that, with the pawn
circumstances. As an example of on b4, this last move would be
this, consider diagram 14. impossible , whereas now we have
reached a well-known winning
14 position.
There are very interesting possi­
bilities when both passed pawns
cannot be stopped. Often the
game can be won by instructive
king manoeuvres, using the above­
mentioned idea that in chess the
shortest distance between two
points is not necessarily a straight
line. Let us examine an ending by
grandmaster Duras (diagram 1 5).
F. Dedrle 192 1 A cursory glance might lead us
to believe that the position is
White easily win s the black equal, for both pawns still stand
14 Pawn Endings

4 !i!lb6 g5 5 'it>c7 g4.

4 'it>d8
The point is that the black king
is now unfavourably placed on the
back rank where he can sub­
sequently be checked by the white
5 !i!/b7 ! g5
6 b6 g4
7 !i!la7 g3
8 b7 g2
on their original squares and the 9 b8'iH and wins.
placing of the white king is only B
slightly better. I n the event, 1 g5
however, this minimal advantage, Instead of trying to stop the
combined with the fact that White advance of the enemy pawn, Black
has the move, surprisingly gives attempts to push his own through ,
him a forced win. N evertheless, he a line which i s all the more
must play most accurately to tempting because he would queen
achieve this result, in particular with check. However, the white
when choosing the correct position­ king now reveals his flexibili ty
ing of his king. with the following subtle win:
1 'it>c5 ! 2 b4 g4
Clearly the white king must in 3 !i!/d4 !
some way support the advance of The black pawn will now
his pawn, as otherwise the black require support from his king, but
king can stop it. But why this this means that White can drive
move which apparently places the the king onto a square from which
king on an unfavourable square, he can be checked. Note that 3 b5?
in the firing line of a future black g3 would win for Black.
queen? The remaining moves 3 'it>gS
provide an explanation. 3 . . . g3 4 'it>e3 !i!lg5 5 b 5 ! would
A lead into the text variation, but
1 'it>g6 not here 5 !i!lf3? 'it>f5 drawing.
Black attempts to stop the white 4 b5 g3
pawn. I . . . g5 will be discussed in B. If Black tries to hold off the
2 b4 !i!lf7 white king with 4 . . . !i!lf4 then the
3 b5 !i!le7 white pawn queens first with
4 'it>c6 ! check.
Now we see why I 'it>c5 was 5 'it>e3 !i!/g4
essential. The ga me would be 6 b6 !i!lh3
drawn after both 4 b6 !i!ld7 and 7 b7 g2
Pawn Endings 15

8 �fl �h2 time-wasting move. If instead 2 . . .

9 b8't!t'+ and w ins. h 3 , then 3 �e7 h 2 4 c7 d raws, as
A magnificent study, revealing both pawns queen at the same
with limited material the com­ time. Black's first two moves
plexities that some pawn endings could have been inverted, for after
can contain. Among countless l . . . �b6 2 �f6 the threat of 3 �g5
compositions we could quote would force 2 . . . h4.
many other examples illustrating 3 �e5!
surprisingly deep ideas arising The point of the whole play. As
from relatively si mple positions. White now threatens to catch the
For the moment, let us consider pawn with 4 �f4 Black has no
one more study which is probably choice.
the most famous example in chess 3 h3
literature of king and pawn on 4 �d6 h2
either side . 5 c7 h11!t'
6 c8't!t'
with a clear draw.
Who would have assu med this
possible in the initial position?
These examples are by no means
comprehensive, but they indicate
some of the various possibilities
contained within the simplest
pawn endings. Later we shall meet
further e xamples, when more
co mplicated positions simplify
R.Reti 1922 during the solution.

Although White is to move , he King and two Pawns against King

appears hopelessly lost, fo r the and Pawn
black pawn is going to queen and Positions with king and two
White needs at least two tempi to pawns against king and pawn
stop it. His own pawn seemingly represent a very complicated
offers little hope as it can easily be section of pawn endings. There
stopped by the black king. are many and varied possibilities
However, the geometrical motif so we m ust be systematic if we are
once more comes into play, as the to obtain an overall picture of
white king performs wonders: collected material. As a rule, the
1 �g7 h4 side with the greater material wins
2 �f6 �b6 especially if his passed pawn is at a
So White has already won one distance from the other pawns
tempo by forcing Black to make a and can thus drag the defe nding
16 Pawn Endings

king away. I d5 �d7

There are also, however, many White wins easily after 1 . . . �c5
positions which admit of no easy 2 �e5 �xb5 3 d6 �c6 4 �e6 etc.
win, and i t is these positions which 2 �e5 �e7
interest us most and to which the 3 d6+ �d8!
following section is mainly devoted. The most cunning defence,
setting White a few problems.
After 3 . . . �d7 4 �d5 wins,
whereas now 4 �d5 �d7 or 4 �e6
We intend to classify endings �e8 5 d7+ �d8 would not help
of two pawns against one by White. However, White can now
separating them into various transpose to one of the elementary
groups depending on the position endings.
of the white pawns. Firstly we 4 d7!
shall examine those in which the The simplest winning method ,
white pawns are isolated and one giving up the pawn but gaining the
of them is passed. As already opposition, then capturing the
mentioned, White wins fairly black pawn with a standard win.
easily here if the pawns are some There is a more complicated way
distance apart, so we shall only to victory by 4 �d4 �e8 5 �e4
examine those positions where �d8 6 �e5 ! , a possibility we shall
there is one file between the come back to agai n.
pawns, which means that the 4 �xd7
passed pawn cannot take the Or 4 . . . �e7 5 d8'4!¥+ �xd8
black king too far away from the 6 �d6 wins.
scene of action. A typical position 5 �d5 �c7
is diagram 1 7 . 6 �e6 and wins.
Now let us see what happens
if we bring the pieces one rank
further back, giving us diagram

18 � �
.. .. ..
.. .. ..
•.• •• ..
� .. .. ..
As could be expe cted, this . -
. . ��
� .
position i s a win for White,
whoever has the move. Let us .. .. .. ..
assume that White is to move. .. � .. ..
Pawn Endings 1 7

This position is equally won for At first glance there seems no

White, but he must here be more difference , as after I e4 'i&e6 2 'i&f4
careful about a counterattack on 'i&f6 3 e5+ 'i&e7 4 'i&f5 'i&f7 5 e6+,
his own pawn. Play could continue: or 1 . . . 'i&d4 2 'i&f4 'i&xc4 3 e5 'i&d5 4
1 d4 'i&c4 'i&f5 c4 5 e6 c3 6 e7 c2 7 e 8 1W c l 't!¥
Hopeless would be 1 . . . 'i&d6 2 8 1i'd8 + followed b y 9 't!t'c7+,
'i&e4 'i&e6 3 d5+ 'i&d7 4 'i&e5 'i&e7 White wins in the same way we
5 d6+ 'i&d7 6 'i&d5 followed by have seen above. However, there
7 'i&c5 winning. is one subtle difference , as follows:
2 'i&e4 'i&xb4 1 e4 'i&d4!
3 d5 'i&c5 2 'i&f4 'i&xc4
Black has to place his king on 3 e5 'i&b3 ! !
this unfavourable square to stop With this move Black exploits
the white pawn queening first. the peculiar fact that a queen
4 'i&e5 b4 cannot win against a bishop's
5 d6 b3 pawn on the 7th rank when the
5 . . . 'i&c6 6 'i&e6 would not alter king is too far away. Insufficient
the situation. would be 3 . . . 'i&d3 4 e6 c4 5 e7 c3
6 d7 b2 6 e 8 't!t' c2 7 't!t'e3+ winning.
7 d81i' b l 't!t' 4 e6 c4
Both sides have a queen but 5 e7 c3
Black's queen is lost after: 6 e81W c2
8 't!t'c8+ 'i&b4 and the ending is drawn because
9 1i'b7+ and wins. White cannot stop Black's king
One might think that all reaching b2. We shall look at this
positions like diagram 1 8 are in more detail in our section on
won for White but there is a queen endings but feel that it is
surpn smg exception. This is wo rth a mention here.
when the black and white pawns It is clear that if positions
are on the bishop's file, as in si milar to diagram 18 are moved
diagram 1 9 . one rank down, they are drawn, as
Black can al ways attack the white
pawn . Yet, surprisingly, if we push
the position two ranks up, so that
the black pawn is on its original
square , this also limits White's
winning chances. The black king
remains in front of the pawns and
usually escapes with stalemate ,
but it would lead us too far astray
to exa mine this aspect now.
In conclusion we should mention
18 Pawn Endings

that positions similar to diagrams perhaps lose a tempo and bring

1 7 to 19 are easily won for White, about this situation?
if Black has the move . In this case, Let us for a moment return to
the white pawn cannot be attacked, our theory of related squares. We
so White has only to advance his have seen that Black must answer
passed pawn, the sole exception �c5 with . . . �c7 and �d6 by . . .
again being positions with the �d8 , s o here are two pairs of
black pawn on i ts original square. related squares . Which Black
Usually, rook's pawns sig­ square corresponds to White's d5?
nificantly reduce White's winning The white king can go to c5 or d6
chances, but in the positions from this square , so the black king
examined this is surprisingly not must be able to go to the related
the case. Consider diagram 20. squares c7 and d8. The only
square is then c8, giving us
another pair of related squares.
Continui ng this process, we
find that White's c4 (controlling
d5 and c5) co rresponds to Black's
b8 and d8 ( controlling c8 and c7);
it can indeed happen that two
squares relate to one only. And
what about White's d4? As this
square controls d5 and c5 , Black's
related squares are b8 and d8.
By doing all this preliminary
Fahrni-Alapin work, we have already solved our
problem. Let us assume that
This position could have arisen White has played �c4 and Black
from our analysis of diagram 1 7 has selected the related square b8.
moved one file t o the left with White then plays his king to d4,
White having advanced his passed compelling Black to go to the
pawn. With Black to move the win related squares b8 or d 8 . B ut he is
is easy, but how does White win if already on b8 and cannot move
he is to move? The same play as in two squares to d8. So he has to
diagram 1 7 does not work here, as move to an unrelated square,
I �d 5 �c8 2 c7? �xc7 3 �c5 �b7, when he loses. Let us see how this
or here 2 �d6 �d8 3 c7+ �c8 works out in a given sequence
both give Black a draw. So the win of moves:
is not to be achieved by simple 1 �d5 <Jlc8
means and we must look a little 2 �c4
deeper. As White would win if It does not matter here whether
Black had the move, could we c4 or d4 is selected, as they both
Pawn Endings 1 9

lead to the same result. In order to wi n, t h e white king

2 �d8 must reach d5 without allowing
Or 2 . . . �b8. Black in the meantime to capture
3 �d4! �c8 the a-pawn and be in a position to
If 3 . . . �c7 4 �c5 wins quickly. guard his pawn by . . . �b4. When
4 �dS! �c7 Black plays . . . �b4 White must be
s �cs in a position to play �d3 after
and White has reached the which Black is in zugzwang and
diagrammed position with Black cannot prevent �e4-d5 . So our
to move . After 5 . . . �d8 6 �d6 first pair of related squares are
�c8 7 c7 �b7 8 �d7 �a7 9 �c6 White's d3 and Black's b4.
(not 9 c8'it' stalemate) White Let us proceed further. When
mates in two moves. the black king is on a3, threatening
Let us close this section with to take the a-pawn, White must be
one example of this type of ready to answer this threat with
ending. �d5 , so White's e4 and Black's a3
are related squares. Consequently
Blac k's a4 (controlling a3 and b4)
corresponds to White's e3 ( con­
trolling e4 and d3), and Black's a5
(controlling a4 and b4) corre­
sponds to White's d2 (controlling
d3 and e3).
Once again we have now carried
out the most difficult part of our
task. There only remains for
White to reach d2 by careful
White's task is made extremely manoe uvring and Black cannot
difficult by the fact that his passed prevent the white king's advance
pawn is on the rook's file and that to d 5 . For completeness we might
he has no manoeuvring space for mention that if the black king is on
his king to the left of this pawn. a6 or b6, the white king can
His only chance is to attack from occupy c I , c2 or c3, when he can
the right , when he must continually always answer . . . �a5 with �d2.
reckon with a counterattack by From our last comment it is
the black king. For example , after clear that Black to move loses
the direct attempt I �c3 �a4 quickly, for after I . . . �b6 (or a6)
2 �d3 Black plays 2 . . . �b4 ! ( not White plays 2 �c3 (or c2) 2 . . . Wa5
2 .. . �a3 3 �e4 �xa2 4 �d5 3 �d2! immediately. With White
winning easily), winning one of to move, matters are more
White's pawns, with a clear draw. complex, but the win can be
Again we must look a little deeper. forced as follows:
20 Pawn Endings

1 �a3! defending side much greater

The only move , otherwise Black chances of obtaining a draw,
plays 1 . . . �a4 and White's king is especially if the attacker has no
too fa r from the related squa re e3. tempo moves available with his
The text move wins an important pawns. The deciding factors here
tempo. are the placing of the kings and the
1 �b6 gaining of the opposition. Consider
2 �b2 �as diagram 22.
The best, as other moves allow
3 �c3 with an easy win. It goes 22
without saying that Black wo uld
get nowhere by playing his king to
the centre.
3 �b3!
Again winning a tempo.
3 �b6
4 'it/ c3 (or c2) 'it/aS
If 4 . . . �a6 White wins by
'it/c2(c3)-d 3-e4 d5 etc .
s 'itld2!
The winning move , not found This is a typical situation in
until later by Kling. The theory of which at first glance it is difficult
related squares, however, makes it to say whether White wins or not.
all so easy! A thorough analysis is required.
s �a4 As a general rule, we can say that
6 'it/ e3 ! �b4 the defending side should restrict
7 'itld3 as far as possible the freedom of
and White reaches his goal, the white pawns, so that they have
winning easily after 7 . . . �a3 no tempo moves at their disposal.
8 'itl e4 'it/ xa2 9 'it/d5 or here 8 . . . On the other hand , the attacking
�a4 9 �d5 'itl b4 10 a 3 + etc. side must try to maintain this
Ther e are many such examples freedom and attempt to bring his
in which the apparently com­ king a s far forward as possible. If
plicated solutions can be readily the reader keeps these points in
understood in the light of related mind, he will easily understand
squares, whose i mportance will be the following va riations. We shall
seen in other positions to which begin with the simplest case , with
we shall now proceed. Black to move .
1 eS!
King moves do not help, e .g.
This kind of position gives the 2 'itl e4 'itle6 or 2 �d2 'itl e6 3 �c3
Pawn Endings 21

\t>d5 etc. The text move is the sole �f5 2 �d3 �f4 3 �e2 �g5 ! etc.
wi nning attempt. 1 �f7
2 �f5 The best chance. After l . . e5.

Black's only move to draw, as 2 f4! or l . . . �e7 2 �e5 �d7 3 d4

2 . . ef+ 3 �xf4 �e6 4 �e4 �d6
. �e7 4 f4 �d7 5 d5 ( or 4 . . . �f7 5 f5)
5 �d4! would win for White, White wins comfortably.
whereas now 3 fe �xf5 is 2 �e5 �e7
co mpletely drawn. 3 f4 �d7
Apart from this simple line, 3 . . . �f7 loses at once to 4 f5.
Black also has another drawing 4 �f6!
method, requiring accurate play, If 4 d4? �e7 ! Black would draw,
as follows: as the reader can check for
1 �e5 himself.
But not l . . . �f5 2 d4 �g6 3 �f4 4 �d6
\t>f6 4 �e4 followed by 5 �e5 5 d4
winning, as will be seen later. Winning the opposition and the
2 �e2 ga me . Also possible is 5 �f7. as
After 2 d4+ �d5 or 2 f4+ �f5, 5 . . . e5 6 f5 wins.
B l ack threatens 3 . . . e5 and if 3 f4 5 �d7
(or d4), we would arrive at a 6 �f7 �d6
symmetrical position to the one 7 �e8! �c6
a rising after Black's I . . . e 5 . 8 �e7 �d5
2 �f4 9 �d7 �xd4
Other king moves also draw, 10 �x e6 and wins.
hut the text move is the most It is worth noting that White
i nstructive. won this ending only because he
3 d4 �g 5 ! had the tempo move 5 d4 at his
This time the only move, for disposal. For instance , if we look
J . �f5? 4 �e3 wins for White as
. . at the position after White's 6th
we have seen. Black must make move and give him the move
s u re that he can answer �e3 with instead of Black, with best defence
.. . >t>f5 , and the draw is forced, as it is only a draw. Let us examine
White cannot stre ngthen his this in more detail.
position. In order to win, White must
Going back to diagram 22, with gain the opposition with his king
White to move, he wins as follows: on f7 when Black's king is on d7,
1 �e4! as we have seen. Other related
Obeying our rule about ad­ squares are White's f6 and f8
va ncing the king as far as possible! corresponding to Black's d6 and
T his is the only way to win , as d8, and if White's king is on the
I �f4? e5+ 2 �g4 �g6, or l f4 �f5 knight's file, then g8 and g7
2 �f3 e 5 only draw, as does l d4 correspond to Black's e8 and e7.
22 Pawn Endings

But what about g6? Black's e6 is at the critical moment, and he

occupied by his pawn so he has wins nicely as follows:
here only the distant opposition I 'Ot>fS!
on c6, a square to which Black If his pawn were on f2 he would
must be ready to play as soon as have no problems and could win
White plays 'Ot>g6. at once with I 'Ot>g5 'Ot>e5 2 f3, but in
This means that the game might this position 1 'Ot>g5 would only
continue I 'Ot>f6 'Ot>d6 2 Wg7 'Ot>c7! draw after 1 . . . 'Ot>e5 2 f4+ 'Ot>e6
not 2 . . . 'Ot>e7? 3 'Ot>g6! 'Ot>d6 4 'Ot>f6 3 f5+ We5 , and 1 'Ot>g4 fails to 1 . . .
'Ot>d7 5 'Ot>f7 winning 3 'Ot>g6 'Ot>c6 ! 'Ot>e6 2 'Ot>g5 'Ot>e5 when h e i s in
4 'Ot>f7 'Ot>d 7 S 'Ot>g8 'Ot>c8! again zugzwang. He must first bring his
the only move, as both 5 ... 'Ot>e8 pawn to f4 to guard e5 from the
6 Wg7 'Ot>e7 7 'Ot>g6! and 5 . . . 'Ot>c6 black king.
6 'Ot>f8 'Ot>d6 7 'Ot>e8 lead to a loss 6 dS I 'Ot>d6
there is nothing else 6 ... 'Ot>d7! not White was threatening 2 f4
6 . . . ed? 7 f5 and White queens followed by the penetration of his
with check 7 Wg7 or 7 de+ 'Ot>xe6 king to h6 via h5. For example, if
and 8 . .. 'Ot>f5 7 ... ed and both 1 . . . 'Ot>d4 2 f4 'Ot>d5 3 'Ot>g4! (not
pawns queen together. 3 'Ot>g5 'Ot>e6! and White is in
If White's two pawns are zugzwang) 3 . .. 'Ot>d6 4 'Ot>h5 'Ot>e6
doubled, he ca n only hope to win 5 'Ot>g5 and 6 'Ot>h6 wins. So Black
if his rear pawn has important goes back with his king to prevent
tempo moves available . Consider entry.
the interesting position in diagram 2 f4 'Ot>d7
23. 3 'Ot>g4!
Again 3 'Ot>g5? 'Ot>e6! draws for
23 Black.
w 3 'Ot>e8
4 'Ot>hS
As will be seen later, 4 'Ot>g5 'Ot>f8
again puts White into zugzwang.
4 'Ot>f8
S 'Ot>gS
Now it is Black who is in
zugzwang and he must allow
White in on one side or the other.
It is interesting to note that if the
As the black king is much more whole position were one rank
actively placed than the white further back, Black would draw
king, it seems at first unlikely that by 5 . . . 'Ot>f8 ! waiting to see which
White can win . However, his way White goes, but he lacks the
pawn on f3 gives him a vital te mpo necessary space here.
Pawn Endings 23

s � g8
Or 5 . . . �e8 6 �h6 �f8 7 �h7
wi nning easily.
6 �rs �h7
It is now too late for 6 . . . �f8
7 �e5 �e8 8 �d6 �d8 9 f5 ! (the
winning tempo !) 9 . . . 'i&e8 10 �c7
wi nning.
7 �e4 !
White must still proceed care­
fully. 7 �e5 �g6 ! gives Black a
draw, as White wants this position Diagram 24 is a key position in
with Black to move. this ending. As it does not matter
7 'i&h6 whose move it is, we shall make
8 �d S 'i&g6 White's task a little more difficult
9 �eS �hS by giving Black the move.
1 0 �d6 �h6 1 �cs
11 �e7 �g6 2 �d3 �dS
12 fS+ and wins. 3 �e3 �eS
A beautiful study with a subtle 4 �f3!
solution. We im mediately realize the
tremendous advantage of a pro­
C : CON N E CTED PAWNS W I T H A tected passed pawn which does
PASSED PAWN not need the white king to remain
When White's pawns are con­ near it and yet greatly restricts the
nected and one of them is passed, enemy king's activity. In this
he usually has excellent winning example the black king dare not
chances. Black's defensive possi­ leave the quadrant represented by
bilities are limited and he can only the b5-b8-e8-e5 squares, or else
hope for a draw when White's the b-pawn queens. This means that
pawns are not very advanced or if 4 . . . �f5 cannot be played, so
the black king has an unusually Black is forced to relinquish the
fa vourable position. In the follow­ opposition.
ing we try to indicate the factors 4 �dS
by which a position can be s �f4 �d6
evaluated. 6 �e4
Let us start by examining White would make no progress
positions with the pawns on the a­ with 6 �f5 �d5 , when he would
and b-files. At the same time we have to return to the 4th rank.
shall consider how far advanced 6 �e6
the pawns are, and in this way 7 �d4 �d6
cover all types of position. 8 �c4 �c7
24 Pawn Endings

So Black has been compelled to 3 'it>d4 'it>b5 4 'it>c3 ! 'it>c5 5 b4+ etc,
concede White the 5th rank, but he but Black to move can draw by
has various defensive possibilities. counterattacking the pawn with
9 'it>c5 1 . . . 'it>c3 2 'it'd I 'it>b2 ! , when White
A simpler win is 9 'it>d5 'it>b6 must force stalemate .
10 'it>d6 'it>b7 I I 'it>c5 etc , but we Let us now turn to positions
shall give the longer win in order where the white pawns are on the
to show one or two instructive b- and c-files. Move the position in
points. diagram 24 one file to the right
9 'it>b7 (white pawns on b4 and c5 etc)
10 'it>d5! and it is even easier for White to
White would spoil everything win, as is the same position one
with 1 0 b6? 'it>a6 ! I I 'it>c6, giving rank further down (white pawns
stalemate, and after 10 'it>d6 'it>b6 on b3 and c4 etc). Further
I I 'it>d7 'it>b7 Black keeps the explanation seems unnecessary.
opposition. It is equally clear that this
10 'it>c7 position moved two ranks down
II 'it>e6 'it>b6 (white pawns on b 2 and c3 etc) or
If I I . . . 'it>b7 1 2 'it>d7 'it>b6 two ranks up (w h ite pawns on b6
12 'it>c8 wins. . and c7 etc) cannot be won for
1 2 'it>d6 'it>b7 White, just as in the corresponding
13 'it>c5 (d7) positions already examined. There
with an easy win. is, however, a difference if the
If the position in diagram 24 is position in diagram 24 is moved
moved one rank up (white pawns one file to the right and one rank
on a5 and b6 etc), it can no longer up, giving us diagram 25.
be won . Although the white king
reaches c6, the b-pawn cannot be
advanced because of the stalemate
we have already seen. Equally
drawn is the position one rank
further up (White's pawns on a6
and b7 etc), for the black king can
clearly not be driven fro m the b8
a nd c7 squares.
If this position in diagram 24 is
moved one rank down (white
pawns on a 3 and b4 etc), it is still This position is won for White
won, but two ranks lower (white as follows:
pawns on a2 and b 3 etc) brings I 'it>d6
about a change . White to move 2 'it>e4 'it>e6
still wins, 1 'it>c2 'it>c5 2 'it>d3 ! 'it>b4 3 'it>f4 'it>d6
Pawn Endings 25

The passed pawn severely re­ Compared with the similar

st ricts the black king's movements, positions we have seen, this one
so that White can im mediately contains an intere sting new possi­
advance his king. bility. In order to give Black the
4 1!7f5 \t>c 7 most favourable defensive position
5 1!7e6 1!7c8 we have placed his king on e4 and
White is now suddenly faced given him the move, but this does
wi t h a problem. If 6 1!7d6 1!7d8 not change the basic characteristics
7 c7+ \t>c8 8 1!7c6?, Black is of the position . Let us first see how
s t a lemated, so a sacrifice is called Black copes with White's usual
I or. winning method:
6 c7! 1!7xc7 1 1!7f4
7 1!7e7! and wins. 2 1!7f2? 1!7e4
The black pawn will be captured 3 1!7e2!
a n d White obtains the winning White m ust admit the error of
position given in diagra m 7. his previous move, because the
We shall now turn to positions normal 3 1!7g3 will not work here.
rl'sulting from moving diagram 24 Black replies 3 ... 1!7d3 ! 4 d5 1!7xc3
t wo files to the right. It is easy to 5 d6 lt>b2 6 d7 c3 7 d81W c2 and
sl'c that this position and its draws, as we saw in our analysis of
ro u nterpart one rank further up diagram 1 9. This means that
( white pawns on c5 and d6 etc) are White's usual win does not suffice ,
won for White . Equally the same but he does have a chance to
posi tion moved two ranks up penetrate via the queen's wing.
( white pawns on c6 and d7 etc) is 3 \t>f4
won, because White has the 4 1!7d2 1!7e4
possibility of penetrating to the 5 1!7c2 lt>d5
q u censide via a6. The position one Black m ust be ready to answer
ra nk further down (with a slightly 1!7d2 with . . . 1!7e4 and 1!7a3 with . . .
d i fferent placing of the kings) lt>b5 , and i t seems h e can succeed,
�ivcs 'us diagram 26. as 6 lt>b2 1!7c6 7 1!7a 3 lt>b5 , and
6 1!7d2 1!7e4 both get White
nowhere. However, there is one
6 \t>cl !
This waiting move zugzwangs
Black. If he plays 6 . . . 'Ct>e4 then
7 lt>b2 1!7d5 8 1!7a3 wins, whereas
6 ... 1!7c6 fails to 7 1!7d2 and 8 1!7e3 .
So Black is lost.
Having seen this winning method,
we should be able to evaluate
26 Pawn Endings

correctly the same pos1t10n one One file to the left , as we have
rank further down (white pawns seen , this position could not be
on c2 and d3 etc). White to move won, but here matters are different.
wins by I ®d I ®f3 (preventing 4 �c l ®d5
2 ®e2) 2 ®c l ®e3 3 ®b l etc. 5 ®b2 ® c4
However, Black to move can draw 6 ® a3! wins.
by I . . . ®f3 ! 2 ®d l ®e3 3 ®c l As a result of the above
®d4, when White has no space for example, we can state that with
the tempo move we saw in the pawns on the centre files (as in
diagram 26 ( 6 ®c I ! ), his king diagram 27) all positions are won
being already on the back rank. for White, however advanced the
After 4 ®b l ®c5 5 ®a2 ®b4, or pawns may be. It does not matter
4 ®d I ®e3 the game is drawn. where the kings are placed for the
If we move the position in black king cannot stop White's
diagram 26 one file to the right, king from penetrating via a3 or f2.
with the white pawns now both on The other attempt, to counter­
the centre files, White's winning attack in the centre, equally fails.
chances are increased, the tric kiest For example, in the position with
position being the one with white pawns on d2 and e3 and
White's d-pawn on d2, as in king on c I , and black pawn on d3
diagram 27: and king on c4, Black can try 1 . . .
®b3 2 ®d1 ®b4 3 ® e 1 ®b3, i n
order t o answer 4 ®f2 with 4 . . .
®c2 ! , but White wins by 4 e4! ®c4
5 ®f2 ®d4 6 ®f3 ®e5 7 ®e3 etc.
Matters beco me a little more
complicated again if we push the
position further over to the right,
as seen in diagram 28:

White to move wins easily with

®e I ®g3 2 ®d I etc, but even
with Black to move , White wins
because his king now has the use
of the a-file to penetrate down the
1 ®g3
2 ® e1 ®f3
3 ®d1 ®e4 It hardly needs stating that
Pawn Endings 27

White's chances are vastly reduced attack by 4 . . . \t>e3 5 g5 \t>xe3 6 g6

h ere . He m ust try to penetrate via \t>e2 7 g7 f3 8 g8 'i!¥ f2 reaching an
the queen's wing, as the h-file is ending similar to the one in our
hopeless for this purpose. However, analysis of diagram 26? In fact the
to advance on the queenside, he position is different, and the white
m ust gain the opposition, and the king's position gives him a neat
distant opposition will not do. It is win with 9 'i!¥g2+ \t>e i 10 \t>c2 !
easy to see that he cannot succeed fl 'i!¥ I I 'i!¥d2 mate.
in doing this from the diagram, if 5 lt>b4 \t>d4
Black defends correctly by using White can make no further
t he distant opposition. progress. If 6 \t>b5 Black can
White can of course try to choose between 6 . . . \t>e3 , which
utilize the fact that the black king now works, or 6 . . . \t>d5 . If 6 \t>b3
is tied down within the c4-c8-g8-g4 lt>d5 7 \t>a3 \t>c5 etc, and finally
q uadrant, and penetrate down the 6 g5 lt>e5 7 lt>c5 \t>f5 8 \t>d5 lt>xg5
a-fi le. But Black can use the 9 lt>e 5 \t>g6 I 0 \t>xf4 \t>f6! gives us
opposition to defend successfully the standard drawing position .
a gainst this plan also, and White From the above, it is clear that
m ust in this case take into account White's winning chances are even
a possible attack on his f-pawn. less if diagram 28 is moved down a
Let us see what might happen : rank, but Wh ite wins with the
1 \t>d4 position moved up , as the passed
The simplest, but I . . . \t>e6 or pawn restricts the black king's
. . . \t>d6 are also possible. Black ac tivity too much. For example,
m ust play so that he can always with White's pawns on f4 and g5
a nswer \t>d3 with . . . \t>d5 and lt>c3 and king on e3, and Black's pawn
with . . . lt>c5 . There is no point at on f5 and king on e6, the black
t he moment gaining the distant king is tied to the d5-h5-h8-d8
opposition, as the white king quadrant and cannot prevent the
cannot be prevented from using entry of White's king via c5, e.g.
the a-file. 1 ... lt>d5 2 lt>d 3 \t>e6 if 2 . . . \t>c5
2 \t>d2 3 g6 wins 3 \t>d4 \t>d6 4 lt>c4
If 2 lt>f2 \t>e5 3 lt>g2 lt>f6 4 \t>h3 \t>e6 5 lt>c5 and White soon
�g5 etc draws. wins the pawn.
2 \t>c4 And now we must exa mine the
3 lt>c 2 \t>d4 case when the passed pawn is on
4 \t>b3 lt>d5! the h-file, as in diagram 29.
Black must quickly take the Following our analysis of
diagonal opposition, as 4 . . . \t>d3 diagram 28 we can in all j ustice
fa ils to 5 g5, and 4 . . . \t>c5? allows claim that this position is also
5 lt>c3 ! gaining the opposition . drawn, but as there are one or two
B u t what about the counter- diffe rences in the defensive play,
28 Paw'! Endings

1 5 �c5 and White reaches d4

29 � � 12 �aS �eS 13 �a4 �e4 14 �a3

- .
- �eS ! 15 �b3 �dS ! and we are
� a B back where we started.
Moving the position in diagram
B R•R 29 one rank down can only reduce
� � �
� ··" .-� White's chances, but the position
. . �
� � - ?:----�
� one rank further up is won for
• • = . White. For exa mple , with White's
pawns on g4 and h5 and king on
. �. �-"·" "• f3 , and Black's pawn on g5 and
let us look at it a little more king on f6, Black's king is again
closely. tied down and cannot stop the
1 �e3 �eS entry of White's king, e.g. 1 ... �eS
2 �d3 �dS 2 �e3 �f6 3 �e4 �e6 4 �d4 �f6
As in the previous example, 5 �dS with an easy win. Equally,
Black must keep the opposition , White wins with pawns on g5 a nd
or else W hite will occupy the key h6, or g6 and h 7 , unless in the
square d4. latter case the black king is on h8
3 �c3 �eS! when the position is stalemate !
Black m ust defend even more
accura tel y than in diagram 28, as D: CONNECTED PAWNS WITHOUT
he cannot attack the pawn here (it A PASSED PAWN

is not a bishop's pawn). He cannot a) When one Pawn is Blocked

leave the d4-h4-h8-d8 quadrant An example of such a position is
and he must never lose the diagram 30.
opposition. For instance , after
3 . . . �e4? 4 �c4 �e5 5 �c5 the
wh ite king penetrates via d4 or d6.
4 �c4 �e4
5 �cs �es
6 �b6 �d6
7 �a7 �e7!
Maintaining the distant op­
8 �b8 �d8
Once again, White can make no
further progress and the game is
drawn. The contin uation might be It is clear that, with no passed
9 �b 7 �d 7 10 �a6 �e6 11 �b6 pawn , White's winning chances
�d6! but not I I . . . �f6 1 2 �b5 are lessened, as he can only win by
�5 13 �b4! �e6 14 �c4 �e5 advancing his king. To do this,
Pawn Endings 29

however, he needs to gain the be won for White, assuming of

opposition, so in most cases it is course that Black has the opposition.
t h e opposition which decides one For example, with White's pawns
wa y or the other. on b5 and c4 and king on d4, and
If White's pawns are as advanced Black's pawn on b6 and king on
as in diagram 30, he can often win d6, Black can answer 1 \t>e4 with
l" Vcn without the opposition . The 1 ... \t>e6 2 c5 is no threat 2 \t>f4
h l ac k king is tied within the \t>d6! (not 2 . . . \t>£6? 3 cS) and the
d 5-a5-a8-d8 quadrant, so White threat of 3 . . . \t>cS forces the white
wins as follows: king back. However, after 3 \t>e3
1 \t>eS! Black must avoid 3 . . . \t>e5? 4 \t>d3
I c6+ looks tempting, as I . . . \t>e6 5 \t>e4; or 3 . .. \t>c5? 4 \t>d3
he+ fails to 2 \t>c5 \t>d8 3 \t>d6! \t>d6 5 \t>d4. Instead, 3 ... \t>e7!
<J.>c8 4 \t>xc6 winning, but in fact with the distant opposition, gives
I c6+ is an instructive mistake. him the draw. If Black were to
Black draws with I . . . \t>c8 ! 2 \t>d6 move in the original position, he is
...V b8 (threatening 3 . . . be) 3 c7+ lost after 1 ... \t>e6 2 CS! or 1 \t>c7

...Vc 8 etc. 2 \t>eS \t>d7 3 \t>dS \t>c7 4 \t>e6 etc .

1 \t>c6 Moving the position in diagram
He cannot maintain the op- 30 further to the right does not
position with I \t>e 7, as alter the result which is always a
2 c6 wins. win for White, whoever has the
2 \t>d4 \t>d7 move. However, with White's
3 \t>dS pawns on f6 and g5 and king on
Reaching diagram 30 again, but h5, and Black's pawn on f7 and
with Black to move. king on h7, when the white king
3 \t>c8 can no longer penetrate on the
4 \t>e6 right, another winning method
Care is still required, as 4 c6? must be used. The contin uation
\!;b8 ! draws. Also possible , how­ might be : 1 ... \t>h8 2 gS fg+ 3 \t>h6 !
ever, is 4 \t>d6 \t>d8 5 \t>e6 ( 5 c6? \t>g8 4 \t>xg6 winning, or with
..t>c8 ! ) 5 . . . \t>c8 6 \t>e7 etc. White to move 1 g6+ fg+ 2 \t>gS
4 \t>d8 \t>h8 3 \t>h6 ! winning in the same
5 \t>d6 \t>c8 way. However, with white pawns
6 \t>e7 \t>b8 on g6 and h5 Black can draw by
7 \t>d7 \t>a8 simply playing his king to g8,
And only now does the pawn when there is nothing White can
advance win. do.
8 c6 ! be Nor does White have any
9 \t> c7 and mate in 3. winning chances if the opposing
If the position in diagram 30 is pawns are on the rook's file. For
moved one rank down, it cannot example, with White's pawns on
30 Pawn Endings

a5 and b4 and king on c4, and on fl , Black must not pia y his king
Black's pawn on a6 and king on to the g-file, for then White wins
c6, the opposition gives White by 1 �e 2 �f7 2 �d3 �e7 or 2 . . .
nothing, for after 1 ...�d6 2 bS �6 3 �d4 3 �c4 �d7 4 �bS �c7
ab+ 3 �xbS �c7 the a-pawn 5 �a6! etc. Secondly, Black must
cannot queen. White would win always be alert to a possible e5, so
only if he could capture the c5 must never place his king on the
square with h is king along h-file.
with the opposition, clearly an Futhermore , as far as the
impossibility. opposition is concerned, Black
We have now considered all only has to worry about the a-, b-,
cases similar to diagram 30, but let f- and g-files. This is because the
us finally see an example of white king can not pene trate on
correct defence by means of the the c-, d- and e-files so Black can
distant opposition . (31) forget about the opposition on
these files, as long as he is ready to
31 regain it as soon as he leaves them.
With these points in mind, the
reader should easily follow our
1 �g4 �g6
Not l . . . �e5? 2 �f3 �f6 3 �f4
gaining the opposition and winning.
2 � h4 �f6
As we have stated, Black dare
not play 2 . . . �h6 because of 3 e 5 ! ,
but h e could well play 2 . . . �f7 ,
As already mentioned, if Black then later take up the opposition
has to move he loses quickly after again on the g-file.
I . . . �g6 2 e5, or l . . . �e7 2 �g5 3 � g3 �g7!
W£7 3 �f5 �e7 4 �g6 etc. With Again 3 . . . �e5? loses, as does
White to move, the position is 3 . . . �g5? 4 �f3 ! when Black
drawn, although Black must cannot go to f5 and 4 . . . �f6 5 �f4
defend very carefully. wins for White.
Consider the dangers which 4 �g2 �g8
threaten Black. First of all he must It is safest to keep the distant
never allow the white king to opposition, although 4 . . . �g6 is
reach the 6th rank. I n other also possible ; after 5 � �f6
words, h e must maintain the 6 �e2 Black does not need to
opposition whilst keeping his king worry about the opposition on the
on the same file as White's king. e-file, so 6 . . . �e7 7 �e3 �e8 ! 8
For example, with the white king �4 �f8 ! 9 �f5 �f7 etc. holds the
Pawn Endings 31

d raw. positions which up to now

5 o;t>g 1 o;t>g7 depended on the opposition are
The only move . If 5 . . . o;t>f7 6 won for White because he can
<Ji>fl ! o;t>f8 7 o;t>f2 o;t>f7 8 o;t>f3 o;t>f8 always gain a tempo . Further
l) o;t>f4 o;t>e8 10 o;t>g5 o;t>f7 1 1 o;t>f5 elucidation of this point seems
wins, or here 6 . . . o;t>e7 (if 6 . . . o;t>g7, superfluous.
t he white king heads for a6, as the However, it is inte resting to
black king cannot reach b7 in note that such a pawn sometimes
t i me) 7 o;t>g2 o;t>f8 8 o;t>f2! o;t>e7 9 wins positions so far considered
\t>g3 o;t>f7 1 0 o;t>f3 o;t>e7 1 1 o;t>g4 wins. hopeless, such as diagram 32.
6 o;t>fl o;t>f7
Again the only move , as should
now be clear.
7 o;t>e2 o;t>e7
8 o;t>d 2 o;t>d7
9 o;t>c 2 o;t>c7
Black -eould have chosen any
s4 uares on the files for his last
t h ree moves, as the white king
c a n not approach, but he must
now be accurate again .
1 0 o;t>b2 o;t>b 8 J. Kiing 1 848
10 . . . o;t>b6 was also possible, but
not 10 . . . o;t>b7? 1 1 o;t>b3 ! and White If White's h-pawn were on h 3 ,
wins, as the reader can check for there would be no doubt about the
h i mself. draw, whoever is to move . Has
1 1 o;t>b3 o;t>b7 this extra pawn move, then, such
1 2 o;t>a3 o;t>a7 significance that it can alter our
Our analysis ends here , as evaluation of the position? After
White cannot strengthen his all, as the opposition does n9t
position further, if Black keeps the matter in diagram 32, why should
o pposition. White can try other a reserve move by the h-pawn be
s4 uares, but the correct defe nce of any importance?
fo r Black can be fo und without This would normally be the
�rcat difficulty by applying the case , but we must examine whether
�iven principles . White can first improve h is king's
It could also happen that position, before using his extra
White's unblocked pawn is further pawn move. The first thing that
hack and has tempo moves. This springs to mind is for White to
ci rcumstance of course greatly occupy the 4th rank with his king.
favours White whose winning He could then use his tempo move
chances are vastly increased. All to gain the opposition, when
32 . Pawn Endings

Black cannot prevent an entry via remain on the related square e6,
f5 . This means that White wins if and he loses. Let us see what
his king reaches e4 before h3 has happens in practice:
be en played. 1 ..t>f2!
Furthermore, White has an Also correct is the sequence
additional threat of playing h4 if originally given by Kling: I <;i>f3
the black king goes too far away. ..t>e5 2 <;i>g3 <;i>f6 3 <;i>g2 <;i>e6 4 ..t>f2
As Black could not allow h5, he etc. The text line ts one move
would have to take the pawn, faster.
when his king m ust be ready to 1 ..t>e6
occupy g6 as soon as White's king As White threatens 2 <;i>g3 and
captures on h4. In that case, the 3 h4, the black king must quickly
black king must be on f6 or the aim for f6 . If I . . . ..t>e5 2 <;i>f3 wins.
ending is lost. 2 <;i>g2 ! <;i>f6
Now that we have progressed so Or 2 . . . ..t>e5 3 <;i>f3 <;i>d5 (to
far, we can look for some pairs of prevent 4 ..t>e4) 4 <;i>g3 <;i>e6 5 h4
related squares. When White's gh+ 6 ..t>xh4 <;i>f6 (too late) 7 <;i>h5
king is on g3 , threatening h4, the <;i>g7 8 <;i>g5 ! wins. Other king moves
black king must be on f6, as we lose to ..t>f3-e4 or <;i>g3 and h4.
have seen. As White's king on f3 3 <;i>g3 !
would threaten to occupy e4 as Black is now i n zugzwang.
well as g3, the only square for 3 <;i>g6
Black's king is then e5, controlling If 3 . . . <;i>e6 4 h4 etc , and other
f6 and e4 a nd finally, the white moves lead into the main line.
king on e3 would control both e4 4 <;i>f3 <;i>f6
and f3 , giving the black king again 5 ..t>e4 ..t>e6
one square only: d5. This gives us 6 h3!
three squares corresponding to At last, the decisive reserve
Black's f6, e5 and d 5 . tempo is used! White now wins the
Continuing the process, what opposition and the game after 6 . . .
happens when W hite plays ..t>f2? <;i>f6 7 ..t>d5 etc. A most i nstructive
This controls e3 , f3 and g3, so example.
Black must be ready to occupy d5,
e5 and f6, giving us e6 as the b) Without Blocked Pawns
related square. As for the white We shall now turn to the group
king on g2, controlling f3 and g3, of positions in which White has no
the related square must again be passed pawn but neither is one of
e6, controlling e5 and f6 . This his pawns blocked by a black
gives us the solution to our pawn, giving him a backward
problem: as soon as the black king pawn. Such positions are usually
occupies e6 , White must play <;i>g2 favourable for him. Consider
(or ..t>f2), wh ereupon Black cannot diagra m 3 3 .
Pawn Endings 33

positioned on the side of his

l l
� � unopposed pawn .
• • Our evaluation of diagram 33
• • •• does not change if the position is
moved up or down , or one or two
• • • files to the left. However, if it is
B - � U rt> B moved three files to the left, with
• • • • the white pawns on b4 and c4, it is
• • • • drawn even if White has the move.
The continuation might be: 1 'i.t>e4
�� �
. .
� .
� after I 'i.t>c3 'i.t>c7 2 'i.t>b3 'i.t>b6 3 'i.t>a4
This position is a win for White, 'i.t>a6 4 c5 'i.t>b7, the white king
a l he has the move, but Black to cannot penetrate on the left 1 ...

move has the tactical possibility 'i.t>e6 2 'i.t>f4 'i.t>f6 3 c5 'i.t>e6 4 'i.t>e4
I ... f5+! 2 ef 'i.t>f6 which draws for 'i.t>f6! 5 'i.t>d4 'i.t>e6 6 'i.t>c4 'i.t>d7 and
h i m. If the white king were White can make no progress. The
u n y w here else, such as h4, the same applies if this position is
position would be a win even with moved further down , but if placed
B l a c k to move. one rank further up , with white
General principles tell that pawns on b5 and c5, White can
White should obtain the best win by 1 c6+ 'i.t>e7 2 'i.t>e5 'i.t>e8 3
position for his king before 'i.t>e6 'i.t>d8 4 'i.t>f7 etc.
moving his pawns. Here, for If the position in diagram 33 is
1 11stance, both I e5 fe and I f5+ moved four files to the left, it is
o.Jig7 only draw, so White must equally drawn, as we shall see later
li rst manoeuvre with his king as when we look at positions with a
f o ll ows: white rook's pawn.
1 'i.t>f3 'i.t>f7 At this stage we must consider
I f I . . . 'i.t>h5 2 'i.t>e3 'i.t>g4 3 f5 wins, an exception which occurs with
hut not here 2 e5 'i.t>g6! 3 'i.t>e4 'i.t>f7 the black pawn on the bishop's
a nd Black draws. file, as in diagram 34.
2 'i.t>e3 'i.t>e6
3 'i.t>d4 'i.t>d6
4 f5 !
The white king is well-placed,
so the time has come to move a
pawn. We have now reached a
well-known winning position in
which both 4 . . . 'i.t>c6 5 e 5 and 4 . . .
<J/c7 5 'i.t>c5 'i.t>d7 6 'i.t>d5 win
quickly. A useful rule to remember
is that the white king should be
34 Pawn Endings,

This is the same as the position 7 f4 and wins. Black must be able
in diagram 33 moved one rank to answer �d3 with . . . �c5 .
down and the white king on h3 6 �d3 � c5!
instead of g3 . This small difference, 7 �c3
which would usually be un­ The only try for a win. After
important, gives Black a draw, 7 e4 �d6! 8 �d4 fe 9 �xe4 �e6
whoever has the move, because of or 7 f4 �d5 Black draws.
the special nature of the bishop's 7 �d5
pawn. Let us exa mine the position 8 �b4
thoroughly, beginning with White If 8 f4 �c 5 draws, but not 8 . . .
to move : �e4? 9 �d2 �d5 l O �d3 wins.
A 8 f4!
I �g2 This is the point. Black uses the
Not of co urse l �g3 f4+ ! with peculiar nature of the bishop's
an immediate dra w, and l �h2 pawn, as we saw in diagrams 1 9
�6 wo uld change nothing. and 26.
I �f6 ! 9 e4+ �d4
Otherwise White wins by playing 10 �b3 �e3!
his king over to the queen's wing, 11 e5 �xf3
e.g. l . . . �g6 2 �f2 �f6 3 �e2 �e5 12 e6 �g2
(if 3 . . . �e6 4 �d3 �e5 5 �c4 �d6 13 e7 f3
6 �d4 �e6 7 e4! wins) 4 �d3 �d5 I4 e8'i¥ f2
5 f4! as we saw in our analysis to and White cannot win as his king
diagram 3 3 . Equally ins ufficient is is too far away, as we shall see
1 . . . f4 2 e4 �f6 3 �f2 �e5 4 �fl ! later in our section on queen
and wins, as we saw with diagram endings.
26. Now with Black to move :
2 �g3 8
2 �f2 �e5 (e6) would lead to I �6!
the main line. The only move to draw. If the
2 �f7 ! black king plays to the rook's file,
Once again, the only move. The then White wins by �g3-f2-e2-d 3
king must not go to the g-file etc, and if 1 . . . �g6 2 �h4 would
because of 3 �f2, nor to the e-file force the above line . Now 2 �h4
because of 3 �h4. Now both 3 �f4 �g6! or 2 �g3 �f7 ! draw for
�f6 and 3 �h4 �g6 are no good Black.
for White, so he must make an 2 �g2 �e6
attempt on the queenside. If 2 . . . �f7 3 �g3 ! and Black is
3 �f2 �e6 in zugzwang, e.g. 3 . . . �f6 4 �f4,
4 �e2 �d5 or 3 . . . �g6 4 �f2 or finally 3 . . .
5 �d2 �d6 �e6 4 �h4 etc. However, 2 . . . �e7
Not 5 . . . �e5 (or c5) 6 �d3 �d5 is also playable.
Pawn Endings 35

3 Wg3 Wf7 ! 2 Wg2 wf6!

a nd we have reached the same 3 wn wes
position as in line A. 4 We 1 Wd4
Clearly the attack against White's 5 Wd2 Wc4
bishop's pawn is not possible if If 5 . . . We4 6 Wc3 Wd5 7 Wd3
I he position in diagram 34 is We5 8 e4! etc wins. So far our
moved up one rank , but it is most analysis has followed that of
remarkable to find that, one rank diagram 34, but now we see the
fu rther down, giving us diagram subtle differences between the two
1 5 , the position is lost for Black if positions; White's e-pawn has the
he is to move ! option of moving two squares!
6 e4! Wd4
If 6 . . . fe+ 7 Wxe3 Wd5 8 Wf4
7 f3 Wc4
He cannot allow the white king
to d3.
8 We2 Wd4
9 Wf2 WeS
10 Wfi!
The winning manoeuvre we saw
in diagram 26. Black is now in
P. Keres 1 942 zugzwang and cannot prevent
White's king from pentrating via
White to move cannot win, for d3 or h3.
i f I Wg2 f3+, or I f3+ Wh4, Going back to diagram 3 3 , if we
whereas after I Wh l f3 ! 2 e3 WgS move the position one file to the
would follow, or I Wg I f3 ! 2 e3 right and place the kings to the left
\!i>fS ! , both giving us known of the pawns, we arrive at diagram
d rawing positions. 36.
However, although in diagram
.1 4 it did not matter whose move it
was , this is not the case here . Black
t o move is surprisingly in zugzwang
a n d loses as follows:
1 wrs
We already know that I . . . WgS
l oses after 2 Wh3 Wh5 3 Wg2 Wg4
4 Wfl Wf5 5 We I We5 6 Wd2 Wd4
7 f3 etc. White also wins after I . . .
f3 2 e3 Wh4 3 Wg I Wg4 4 Wfl Wf5
5 We I We4 6 Wd2 etc . The white king is on the correct
36 Pawn Endings

side of the pawns, alongside his

u nopposed pawn , so the win is 37 � � � �
easy. With White to move, he • • •••
plays 1 g5 'it>d6 2 f5, or here 1 ...
'it>f7 2 'it>d5 'it>e7 3 'it>e5 etc. With
� . . .
Black to move, play goes 1 ... 'it>d6 � • - � � 13:.
2 'it>d4! again not 2 f5 'it>e7 ! • • • •
drawing, n o r 2 g 5 'it>e6 etc 2 . . . 'it>e6 . � � �
3 'it>c5 g5 otherwise the white king
breaks thro ugh 4 f5+ 'it>e5 5 'it>c6
• • • •
and wins. . . � �
Moving this position up or Not 2 . . . 'it>d7? 3 h6 winning.
down changes nothing, even with 3 'it>d6 'it>f8
the white pawns on f2 and g2, Also possible is 3 . . . 'it>e8 4 'it>e6
when Black admaittedly draws by 'it>f8 5 'it>d7 wn etc.
1 ... 'it>d4 2 'it>d2? 'it>e4 3 'it>c3 g3! 4 'it>e6 'it>e8
4 f3+ 'it>e3 with a counterattack But this is the only move, as 4 . . .
against White's g-pawn, but 2 f4! 'it>g8 5 'it>e7 'it>h8 6 w n 'it>h7 7 h 6
wins. The same position moved to g h 8 g6+ wins for White . In other
the right, however, would be words, Black must not allow his
drawn, as we shall see later. king to be driven into the corner
We have not yet discussed before White has played g6.
positions arising from diagram 33 5 wr5 wn
which contain a white rook's We are back to the original
pawn. Clearly this fact increases position .
Black's drawing chances, although 6 g6+ 'it>g8
as it is difficult to give general and Black easily draws by keeping
rules here , each case has to his king on g8 or h8 .
considered individ ually. Let us Moving the position in diagram
begin with positions where the 37 one rank down changes nothing,
black pawn is on the knight's file as far as the result is concerned.
and the white king has not White has winning chances only if
managed to occ upy any square in his king succeeds in occupying the
front of his pawns. As a basic square in front of his pawns. For
position we give diagram 37. instance , if in diagram 37 we move
Black draws easily in this the black king to h7, White wins,
position. If he has the move, I . . . whoever has the move . White to
g6+! draws immediately. With move plays 1 'it>e6 'it>g8 2 'it>e7 'it>h7
White to move, the continuation 3 'it>f7 'it>h8 4 'it>g6! but not 4 h6?
might be: 'it>h7 ! drawing 4 ... 'it>g1 5 h6 gh
1 'it>e5 'it>e7 6 'it>xh6 winning. Black to move
2 'it>d5 'it>f7 equally loses after 1 ... 'it>g8 I . . .
Pawn Endings 37

l.t>h8 2 <t>g6 <t>g8 3 h6 leads to the

previous variation, and 1 . . . g6+ 2
1!7f6 gh 3 <t>fl wins 2 <t>g6 <t>h8
-' <M7 not 3 h6? <t>g8 ! drawing 3 ...

<3 h 7 4 h6 gh 5 g6+ a n d White wins.

If White's pawns are further
back, allowing the white king to
move in front of the m , Black's
drawing chances with a knight's
pawn are minimal. Take diagram
� X as an example .

Ill White can win here only if he

has the move , as Black to move
draws easily with 1 . . . <t>f4 2 <t>e2
<t>e4 3 <t>d2 <t>d4 (3 . . . h3 4 g3 <t>f3
is also playable here , but not with
White's pawns further up the
board) 4 <t>e2 (or 4 <t>c2 <t>e3 etc)
4 . . . <t>e4 5 h3 <t>f4 6 <t>f2 <t>e4 and
White can make no progress.
1 <t>e3 h3
No better is 1 . . . <t>f5 ( 1 . . . <t>g5
White wins comfortably, whoever 2 h3 <t>f5 3 <t>f3 wins) 2 <t>f3 <t>g5
has the move . 3 <t>e4! <t>g4 4 h3+! (but not 4 <t>e 5?
1 <t>f5 h6! 5 g3 <t>f3 etc) 4 . . . <t>g3 5 <t>f5
With Black to move , play might <t>xg2 6 <t>g4 winning.
�() 1 <t>f8 2 <t>g6 <t>g8 3 h5 <t>h8
00 0 2 g3 <t>f5
4 h6 <t>g8 5 g5 winning. Or 2 . . . <t>g5 3 <t>O <t>f5 4 g4+ etc.
1 g6+ 3 <t>d4!
Otherwise the white king reaches No good is 3 <t>f3 <t>g5 , as now
g6 with a win , as seen above . 4 g4? <t>h4 ! gives Black a draw
2 <t>e5 (5 <t>f4 is stalemate). The text
But not 2 <t>g5? <t>g7 2 <t>f4 <t>f6 move gains the opposition.
drawing. 3 <t>g5
2 <t>e7 4 <t>e5 <t>g4
3 g5 <t>fl 5 <t>e4 <t>g5
4 <t>d6 and wins. 6 <t>f3!
If Black has a roo k's pawn Blac k is now in zugzwang and
i nstead of a knight's pawn , his loses after both 6 . . . <t>f5 7 g4+ and
drawing chances are much greater. 6 . . . <t>h5 7 <t>f4.
Our basic position is diagram 39. Moving the position in diagram
38 Pawn Enpings

39 one or two ranks fu rther up pawn falls eventually.

changes nothing. Black to move 4 g4+ r:J;; f4
draws and White to move wins. 5 \t>d5 c;t;g5
But the position three ranks up, The co unterattack 5 . . . <;t;g3 ,
with White's pawns on g5 and h5 , which would b e good if the
i s drawn, whoever has the move. position we re one rank further
Black would of co urse continue down, fails here . Consequently
I ... r:J;;f7, whereas White to move we can state that diagram 40,. a
can only stalemate Black after rank lower, would be drawn, ·

I r:JJe 6 h6 king moves are also whoever had the move .

playable 2 g6 r:J;;g 8 3 'i!71"6 � 4 g7+ 6 \t>e5 �g6
r:J;;g 8 5 �g6. 7 r:J;;f4 �f6
We already know that all 8 g5+ and wins.
positions similar to diagram 39 Diagram 40, one rank higher,
are drawn if Black has the move. gives the same result, but is drawn
But what happens if we change the if two ranks higher, whoever has
position slightly, giving us diagram the move , as we saw when
40? diagram 39 was moved three
ranks up.
40 Fro m our previous analysis, we
can concl ude that Black has the
best drawing chances when his
pawn is on its original square . I n
this case Black can draw even
when White's king is in front of his
pawns , as we can see if we take
diagram 4 1 (diagram 38 with a
black rook's pawn instead of a
knight's pawn , and his king on
White to move can only draw,
as we have seen, but with Black to
move , the opposition wins for
White as follows :
I �e5
1 . . . <;t;g5 2 �4 tra nsposes to a
win we have already seen , and 1 . . .

h4 2 g4+ �e5 3 �e3 wins even

more easily.
2 �e3 <M5
3 �d4 h4
The only chance , otherewise his First of all, with White to move:
Pawn Endings 39

A The same position , with Black

1 �rs to move, cannot be drawn if
If 1 h5 h6+ 2 �f5 �fl IS a moved fu rther down the board.
k nown draw. For example, with white pawns on
l �f7 g2 and h2 and king on g3 , and
2 �eS black pawn on g5 and king on
Or 2 g5 �e7 (or 2 . . . �g7) 3 h 5 g5, Black loses after l �fS if 1 . . .

\!.>17 etc. h4+ 2 �f3 �f5 3 h3, or here 2 . . . h 3

2 �e7 3 g3 �f5 4 g4+ White wins also
3 gS �f7 2 �f3 �eS 3 g3 �fS 4 h3 as in
a nd White can make no progress. diagram 40.
This position , with White to This systematically covers the
move, is drawn eve n if moved most important aspects of endings
fu rther down the board . of two pawns against one, giving
Now, with Black to move: the reader a comprehensive picture
II of this type of ending. Of course
l there are many other interesting
The most natural defence, and instructive examples which we
a l tho ugh 1 . . . �h8 or 1 . . . �f8 are have had to om it, as they would
a lso playable , as we know that have led us too far astray . Readers
Black is not worried abo ut the who are interested enough can
advance of White's pawns. Only always look these up in reference
I . �g8? would be an error, as
. . works on the endgame.
2 'i&h6 �h8 3 g5 �g8 4 h5 �h8
5 g6 hg 6 hg wins fo r White. Black King and two Pawns against King
m ust always play to answer �h6 This kind of ending needs a
with . . . �g8 . Another mistake is little co mment, as it is usually won
I . h6+? 2 �f5 �fl 3 h 5 winning.
. . for White without difficulty.
2 �h6 There are, however, a few ex­
No better is 2 �f5 �e7 3 �e5 ceptions which players should
\!.>17 4 �d6 �f6 or here 4 h 5 �e7 know. For instance , two or even
l' l <.: . If Black had originally played more pawns on the rook's file do
his king to h 8 , White wo uld now not win . The game is also drawn if
have played 2 �f6 �g8 3 g5 �f8 ! Black can manage to win one of
( n ot 3 . . . �h8? 4 �fl ! ) 4 g5 �g8 , the pawns in a favourable position.
but this too is drawn. From our previous analyses we
2 �g8 also know that White cannot win
3 gS �h8 if he has doubled pawns on the 5th
4 hS �g8 or 6th rank. For example, in
5 g6 hg diagram 42, even with Black to
6 hg �h8 move, the position is drawn after
with a draw. l ... �c8! 2 �d6 �d8 3 c7+
40 Pawn Endings

42 44

otherwise the black king returns

to f7 3 ... c;t;c8 when both 4 c6 and King and two Pawns against
4 c;t;c6 give stalemate. King and two Pawns
An inte resting draw is to be seen We cannot give specific rules
in diagram 43: about this type of ending, because
we have here equality of material
usually leading to a draw. However,
43 apart from material advantages a
position can also have other
advantages which can have a
decisive effect on the result. We
are referring to positional ad­
vantages, some of the most
i mportan t of which will now be
illustrated by simple examples. Of
course, these positional elements
also occur in more complex
endings which are beyond the
scope of the book.
Despite his seemingly hopeless
situation, Black to move can draw
here by l ... �g7 2 �e6 <MS, as This is achieved by a pawn
both 3 h6 and 3 �f6 give breakthrough which usually occurs
stalemate, and the h-pawn cannot when both kings are in another
win on its own. part of the board and as a result
Finally, let us mention another cannot stop or support the
typical drawn position, diagram resulting passed pawn . The pawn
44 . White to move cannot win, breakthrough is usually connected
as I \t>h8 �f8 2 h7 �f7 is with a pawn sacrifice, giving both
stalemate. sides a passed pawn. This means
Pawn Endings 41

1 h:l t the attacker must accurately offer by I . 'i.t>e6, then 2 cb 'i.t>d7

. .

ca l culate that the enemy pawn 3 aS wins easily.

m n not become more dangerous 2 aS!
l han his own. Consider diagram But not 2 ab cb 3 c6 'i.t>e6 and
.J 'i . Black draws. After the text move
Black obtains a passed b-pawn
but the white king is near enough .
2 b4
3 'i.t>e4 b3
4 'i.t>d3 and wins.
The white a-pawn cannot be
prevented from queening.

One of the most common and

i mportant positional advan tages
in pawn endings lies in the
Following the usual principle of possession of a distant passed
hri nging the white king nearer, pawn . By 'distant' we mean how
W h ite achieves nothing, as after far the pawn is away fro m the
I ..tlc4 'l!le6 the draw is unavoidable. main scene of action . The principal
l l o wever, a pawn sacrifice gives advantage of such a pawn is that it
W h ite a win: can l ure the enemy king away,
1 cS ! leaving the attacking king free to
In calculating such a break­ create an advantage on the other
l h ro ugh White must consider the side. The distant passed pawn is so
l o l lo wing points. Firstly, that strong that it often more than
a ll c r I . . be 2 aS the black king
. compensates for other, even
ca nnot stop the passed pawn. material, advantages.
Sl'condly, that the newly created
hlack passed pawn can be stopped
hy White, and thirdly, that the
pu wn sacrifice cannot be profitably
• ll'd ined.
1 bS
We select the third possibility as
lllack's defence. The fi rst two
mnditions are fulfilled, as after
I be 2 aS this pawn cannot be
. . .

ca ught, whereas after 2 ... c4 3 a6

,. , 4 'i.t>e3 the black c-pawn is Without his passed pawn White
� l o pped. If Black declines the would lose , as the black king
42 Pawn Endings

would penetrate via c4 or e4. The

passed pawn , however, reverses 47
this result.
1 f5
Even though this pawn is now
lost, it takes the black king away
from the main scene of action (the
b-pawns), allowing White to win
1 lt>e5
2 f6 \t>xf6
3 \t>xd4 \t>e6
4 lt>c5 \t>d7 1 h5
5 lt>xb5 lt>c7 2 'it>d3 \t>d5
6 \t>a6 wins Black tries to stop the white
It is clear from this example that king captu ring his h-pawn.
the passed pawn gains in value the 3 \t>e 3 lt>e5
further it is away from the main 4 \t>f3 \t>d5
scene of action. For instance, if The black king can go no
the white pawn were on h4 i nstead further without allowing the
of f4, White wo uld win even if b-pawn to queen.
Black had an extra pawn on a6. 5 lt>b3 and wins.
The reader can test this for White simply captures the
himself! h-pawn , then returns to the queen­
side, while Black looks on help­
When a passed pawn is also
protected by another pawn, it
beco mes a very strong weapon
indeed, even stronger than the
distant passed pawn (unless this
can queen of co urse). Its main
strength lies in the fact that it
limits the activity of the enemy
king, at the same time allowing its
own king complete freedom .
Diagram 47 illustrates these
White's p rotected passed pawn It is worth mentioning that in
on b5 here proves stronger than such cases, White must always
Black's h-pawn , giving White a check that Black cannot draw by
win as follows: attacking the base pawn. To
Pawn Endings 43

prevent this, the protected pawn Finally we m ust point out that
must be at least on the fourth the defence can sometimes draw
rank. For example, in diagram 48, by attacking the base pawn with a
White cannot win. After 1 ..t>e3 pawn . For example, i n diagram
..t?c3 2 ..t>xf3 Wb2 3 b4 ..t>xa2 4 b5 50, Black draws by 1 ..t>e4 f3
..tlb2 5 b6 a2 draws. 2 ..t>xf3 b5 3 cb ..t>xd5 .
However, even a protected
passed pawn on the fou rth ran k is
not always sufficient to prevent a
wunterattack. Positions often arise in which
a single pawn can blockade
(i.e. render immobile) two or even
three enemy pawns. This clearly
represents a tangible advantage ,
as the following example shows:

In diagram 49, White again

ra nnot win. Play m ight go 1 ..t>f4
h5 2 �g5 ..t>e4 3 ..t>xh5 o r 3 b 5 Wd5
4 ..t>xh5 ..t>c5 draws 3 ... ..t>d3 ! 4 b5
oJ/xc3 5 b6 Wd2 6 b7 c3 7 b8� c2
w i t h a theoretical draw, as we White has the advantage of a
ugain arrive at the peculiar case of distant passed pawn, but this
t h e bishop's pawn . alone is insufficient to win because
his king is too far a way from
Ill Black's pawns. Black to move
would easily draw by 1 . . . c5
2 We3 c4 3 Wd4 ..t>xf4 4 ..t>c5 ..t>e4
5 Wxb5 ..t>d3 . White can, however,
first blockade the enemy pawns,
which is equivalent to giving
himself an extra pawn.
1 b4! c5
The only co unterchance, as 1 . . .
We6 2 We4 Wd6 3 Wd4, followed
by the advance of the f-pawn, is
44 Pawn Endings

hopeless for Black.

2 be b4
'Or 2 . . . <i!te6 3 'i!te4 b4 4 f5+ etc.
3 c6
White must play exactly, as the
apparently simpler 3 <i!te3 would
throw away the win, after 3 . . . b3
4 'i!td3 b2 5 <i!tc2 <i!te6 ! and Black
captures one of the pawns, with a
draw. Try it for yourself!
3 'i!te6
After 3 . . . b3 4 c7 White would
queen with check.
4 fS+ ! opponent's pawns to queen.
The white pawns are so advanced In spite of these facts, however,
that they can win even without the White has a vital advantage in that
help of the king. his pawns are nearer to their
4 'i!td6 queening squares, thus co mpletely
5 f6 b3 li miting the black king's mobility.
6 f7 'i!te7 As will be seen, this means that
7 c7 and wins. Blac k can be compelled to make
weakening pawn moves once his
E : OTH E R POSSI BI LITIES king is in zugzwang. We shall even
Apart from the above-mentioned demonstrate that Black is already
advantages , there are vario us in zugzwa ng in the given position
other elements which help in pawn and would lose at once if were not
endings , s uch as the better king White's move.
position, pawns which are further Let us first then consider a few
advanced, connected pawns as possibilities from diagra m 52 with
against doubled pawns, and so on. Black to move. King moves fail
To examine all these elements for after I . . . <i!te8 2 'i!te5 wins the
individually would lead us too d-pawn because of the th reatened
far astray, so we shall restrict 3 'i!te6 followed by mate. As I . . d3

o urselves to a couple of examples , 2 'i!te3 loses the d-pawn im­

beginning with diagram 52. mediately, there re main only
At first sight this position seems moves with the c-pa wn.
to offer both sides equal prospects, In the co urse of the sol ution we
as they have two connected passed shall see Black is also in zugzwang
pawns each, with both kings able after I . . c5 2 <i!te4, and if I . . c6
. .

to stop them. It also appears 2 l!lf3 'i!te8 (or 2 c5 3 <i!te4) 3 'i!te4

. . .

impossible to advance the pawns c5 4 'i!td5 White reaches the

further without allowing the winning position that will also
Pawn Endings 45

appear·in the sol ution.

Having demonstrated that Black 53
is in zugzwang in the original
position, we now have the task of
manoeuvring him into one of the
above losing variatio ns. Here IS
how it is achieved:
1 'it>f3! c6
The most testing defence . Both
I . . c5 2 'it>e4 and I . . . 'it>e8 2 'it>e4

c5 3 'it>d5 lead to the main line.

2 'it>f4
But not 2 'it>e4? c5, when White C. Salvioli I 887
himself is in zugzwang and only
draws . 1 'it>f3
2 c5 Of course I 'it>e3 is an alternative,
3 'it>e4! as White is aiming for the e4
And now Black is in zugzwang square . Black to move would win
and must give way to the white by a similar manoeuvre.
king. His next move is forced. 1 'it>f6
3 'it>e8 I . . . 'it>e6 transposes into the
4 'it>d5 'it>d7 main line, and I . . . e 5 2 'it>e4 'it>e6
Again the only move, for 4 . . . d3 3 e3 wins for White . Finally, I . . .
5 'it>e6 gives mate next move , and e 6 2 'it>e4 'it>f6 3 e3 'it> fl 4 'it>e5 'it>e7
4 . . . 'it>fl 5 'it>d6 d3 6 'it>d7 allows 5 e4 wins in the same way.
White to queen with check. 2 'it>e4 'it>e6
5 'it>c4 'it>e8 3 e3
6 'it>xc5! d3 Putting Black into zugzwang
7 'it>d6 'it>f7 and so forcing an ent ry for the
Or 7 . . . d2 8 'it>e6 d i 'i!t 9 f7 mate . white king.
8 'it>d7 and wins. 3 'it>f6
A better king position can 4 'it>d5 'it>f7
sometimes be enough to convert a 4 . . . e6+ 5 'it>d6 'it>f7 6 e4
draw in to a win, as we see in transposes.
diagram 5 3 . 5 'it>e5 e6
This position i s completely 6 'it>d6 'it>f6
symmetrical and it seems im­ 7 e4 wins.
probable that White can achieve Black's e-pawn is lost whatever
any advantage . However, having he plays.
fi rst move gives him the chance to
set up a favourable king position Endings with more Pawns
and win as follows : We have not yet examined any
46 Pawn Endings

endings in which one side has Black.

more than two pawns. This type of 1 h6
ending does not really belong to White wins easily after I . . . hg
the purely theoretical positions we 2 hg etc.
have been discussing so far, taking 2 ..tod5
on more and more the character of Again White must avoid 2 f6+?
a practical example. For this gf+ 3 ..t>f5 ..t>f8 with a draw,n result.
reason we shall restrict ourselves 2 ..t>f6
here to a few positions only, 3 ..t>e4
selecting those which illustrate Or 3 ..t>d6 ..t>xf5 4 ..t>e7 and 5 ..t>f7
some aspect not yet dealt with . winning also .
Firstly, let us consider a position 3 ..t>e7
which has practical val ue in 4 ..toeS ..t>fS
assessing those endings where one 5 ..t>e6 ..toeS
side has a pawn majority on the 6 ..t>d6
wing. But not 6 f6? <M8 drawing.
6 ..tofS
54 7 ..tod7 ..togS
S ..t>e7 ..t>hS
9 f6 gf
1 0 ..t>f7 wins.
And now with Black to move :
Pawn moves would lose more
quickly, e.g. I . . . h6 2 g6 (or 2 gh gh
3 f6+ winning, but not 2 f6+? ..t>f7
with a draw) as in line A , I . . . g6
G . Lolli I 763 2 hg hg 3 fg ..t>e8 4 ..t>d6 etc
We shall show that White's 3 : 2 2 g6+
pawn majority i s much easier to Or 2 ..t>d6 which also wins.
u tilize than the 2: I majority we 2 ..togS
h ave fully examined in previo us 3 ..t>e6 ..t>hS
examples. First with White to 3 .. . hg wo uld transpose into
move: line A.
A 4 ..t>f7 hg
1 g6 5 h6 gh
The simplest. I ..t>d5 wins too , 6 fg and mate in 3 .
but not I h6 gh 2 gh ..t>f7 or 1 f6+? In diagram 5 5 we see a problem­
g f+ 2 gf+ ..t>f7 3 ..t>f5 ..t>e8 (or g8) like finish which everyone should
4 ..t> e6 <MB, both of which draw fo r know thoroughly, as it can easily
Pawn Endings 47

occur in practice. The pawn instead of g6, White's combination

breakthrough is much more subtle would lose after I b6? cb 2 a6 ba
t h an the one we saw in diagram 3 c6 \t>e6 etc. In other words, a
45. player m u st weigh up all factors
befo re plunging into such a sharp
Finally, let us give the reader
some practical advice about such
positions as diagram 56.
56 � � � �
. , . .• •
• • • •
. . -��
Black i s threatening t o take his • • • •
king over to the queenside , when • • • •
t h e most White can hope for is a
d raw. At first sight it looks a s
A. • • •
t h ough nothing works, as both �� �� . .
I c6 be 2 be and I b6 ab 2 cb cb A drawn result springs im­
lead to nothing. There is, however, mediately to mind. Admittedly
a fine breakthrough combination W hite has a distant passed pawn,
which wins in a few moves. but this has little significa nce, as
1 b6 cb his king is so far away from
Or I . . . ab 2 c6 cb 3 a6 wins. Black's pawns, and Black is
2 a6 ba threatening to advance these and
3 c6 and wins. eliminate White's a-pawn. However,
In playing such a combination, which pawn does Black advance
the reader must of course make first to make sure of the draw?
sure that all the given elements are It may seem that it does not
present. If the pawns were all one matter in which order the pawns
rank further down the board, the are advanced, but if the reader
whole plan would be pointless as remembers what we said about the
Black would be able to accept blockade of pawns , he will realize
both pawn sacrifices, queen his the importance of choosing the
own pawn and remain with correct pawn here . A good general
material advantage. Equally, the rule is to advance the pawn which is
black king must be far enough unopposed by an enemy pawn. In
away fro m the c-pawn, otherwise this position it is the b-pawn . We
he could stop it queening. For shall even show that the advance
instance, with the black king on f6 of the a-pawn is quite wrong and
48 Pawn Endings

leads to a loss for Black. pawn endings, all of which must

So the correct plan is 1 ... bS! be thoroughly mastered by the
2 g6+ or 2 'i!te 5 'i!tg6 3 'i!td5 'i!txg5 chessplayer. In this section we
4 'i!tc5 'i!tf5 5 'i!txb 5 'i!te6 6 'i!ta6 exami ne which ill ustrate how the
'i!td7 7 'i!txa7 <i!tc7 drawing 2 ... above principles can be applied in
'i!tg 7 3 'i!tgS aS 4 'i!tfS b4 and White more difficult endings.
must now force the draw by S 'i!te4
a4 6 'i!td4 b3 7 ab ab 8 'i!tc3 . Let us 57
see what happens, the n, if Black B
selects the faulty I . . a5? instead of

I . . . b5 ! (or the waiting I . . . 'i!tg7).

1 aS
This move loses because White
ca n now blockade both black
pawns, which i s equivalent to
being a pawn up. A s Black has a
pawn on the fourth rank, he can of
co urse sacrifice his b-pawn and
:queen his a-pawn , b ut i n this Stoltz -Nimzowitsch I 928
situation this too proves unavailing.
2 a4! bS A cursory glance at this position
Black can not wai t either, as might give us the impression that
White wins after 2 . . . b6 3 g6+ 'i!tg7 White stands better. He has two
4 'i!tg5 b5 (4 . . . 'i!tg8 5 'i!tf6 'i!tf8 strong connected passed pawns on
6 g7+ �g8 7 �g6 wins even more the queenside, is blocking the
quickly) 5 ab a4 6 b6 a3 7 b7 a2 advance of the d-pawn with his
8 b8'i!t and 9 'i!tc7+ followed by king and i s holding up Black's
mate in two moves. kingside pawns. What has he to
3 ab a4 worry about? Upon closer examin­
4 g6+! 'i!tg 7 ation, however, Black's advantages
Or 4 . . . 'i!te7 5 g7 'i!tf7 6 g8'i!t+ become clear. By advancing his
'i!txg8 7 b7 and White queens with f-pawn he ca n create two passed

check, a useful tactical point to pawns on the g- and d-files, and
remember. these cannot be stopped by the
s b6 a3 white king, whereas White's queen­
6 b7 a2 side pawns are not far enough
7 b8'i!t a I 'i!t advanced to be dangerous. So
8 'i!tc7+ and mate in 2. both sides have important ad­
vantages and o ur task is to decide
Practical examples which of these prevail. As is often
We have now dealt with the the case in such situations, the
most impo rtant basic elements of player with the first move has a
Pawn Endings 49

vital tempo, as N i mzowitsch calculated .

demonstrated in the following Equally subtle is our next
instructive play: example which occurred in a game
1 f4! betwee n two grandmasters of
It is clear that Black has no time world class .
to lose. If White had the move
here , he would win by 1 Wd3! not
I b6 Wd6 2 Wd3 f4 3 ..t>xd4 f3 ! etc,
drawing 1 ... f4 2 gf+ Wd5 or 2 . . .
..t>xf4 3 b 6 and queens with check
3 b6 g3 4 b7 g2 5 b8't!V g1 t!V 6 't!Ve5+
and White picks up the d-pawn
with a won queen and pawn
2 gf+
If White declines the offer by
2 b6 or 2 a5, then 2 . . . Wd6 ! gives
play similar to the main line. Flohr-Capablanca 1 935
2 ..t>d6 !
Black does not recapture the It is immediately clear that
f-pawn not only because White White has impo rtant positional
would then queen with check, but advantages, as Black's pawn
because the black king's role is to position is badly weakened by his
hold up White's queenside pawns. doubled pawns. If White's king
Equally good is 2 . . . Wd5 3 a5 ..t>c5 reaches f4, Black must sooner or
4 a6 Wb6 or here 4 b6 ..t>c6, as the later lose a pawn and the ga me. To
white king cannot stop both reach f4, the white king must first
of Black's pawns. occupy f3 , when he has tempo
3 aS g3 moves with his h-pawn which
4 a6 ..t>c7! ensures that his king reaches f4.
Now everything is clear. White's What can Black do to counter this
pawns are stopped, whereas one plan?
of the black pawns must queen. If he plays passively, then White
5 ..t>e2 d3+ will carry out the above plan with
Or 5 . . . g2 6 Wf2 d3+ etc. an easy win. This means that
6 Wxd3 g2 Black's only chance lies in playi ng
7 ..t>e4 g l t!V . . . h4 at the moment when he can
and Stoltz soon resigned. answer gh by . . . f4, eli minating the
This instructive example shows white e-pawn. But this would not
us how complicated a pawn work with the white king on e2
breakthrough can be and how and black king on e5 , as W hite
exactly all variations m ust be would captu re the h-pawn and
50 Pawn Endings

answer I . . . f4 with 2 h 5 ! Wf5 3 ef, 2 We2

keeping all his pawns and winning. As already mentioned , 2 Wd2
To draw, Black must be able to h4! 3 gh f4! 4 h5 fe+ 5 ..t>xe3 Wf5
capt ure the e-pawn with check, draws .
i.e. the white king must be on d2 or 2 We4 !
f2. In other words, with the white Black has now attained his
king on e2 and b lack king on e4, objective and White is in zugzwang.
White to move would have to As a king move alldw . . . h4, he
place his king on d2 or f2, allowing must use up an important tempo
. . . h4! drawing. On the other hand , by advancing his h-pawn .
the same position with Black to 3 h3 ..t>d5
move is a win for White, as . . . h4 Not of course 3 . . . We5? 4 Wf3
does not work, and so the white winning.
king occupies f3, the winning 4 ..t>f3 ..t>e5
square . and both players agreed to a draw.
Black must obviously plan his After 5 h4 Wd5 6 Wf4 ..t>e6 , White
defence most carefully and it is no longer has the vital tempo
interesti ng to see how Capablanca move with his h-pawn.
tackles the prohlem: B
A 1 ..t>f7!
1 ..t>eS! This move leads to an alternative
Showing complete understanding but riskier draw, with the king
of the s ubtleties of the positio n. reachi ng g5 j ust in time.
The obvious gain oft he opposition 2 ..t>e2
by 1 WdS? would lose Other king moves are no better,
instructively to 2 Wd2 ..t>eS 2 . . . e.g. 2 Wd4 ..t>e6 3 ..t>c3 ..t>f7 4 ..t>d3
We4 3 We2 puts Black i n Wg6 ! (not 4 . . . We6 5 We2 and
zugzwang, a nd 2 . . . h 4 3 gh f4 4 ef 6 ..t>f3) 5 ..t>d4 ..t>g5 6 ..t>d5 Wg4
We4 5 h5 wins for White, which is 7 We6 Wh3 draws.
why the b lack king needs to be on 2 ..t>g6
e5 3 We1 ! WdS 4 ..t>f2 We4 forced , 3 ..t>f2 ..t> h6 !
as White was threatening 5 Wf3 The black king must not occupy
5 We2 WdS or 5 . . . h4 6 gh f4 7 h 5 g5 until the white king is on f3. For
Wf5 8 e f wins 6 Wf3 ..t>e5 7 h 3 Wd5 i nstance , 3 . . . Wg5? 4 Wf3 h4 5 gh+
8 Wf4 ..t>e6 9 h4 winning the fro nt Wxh4 6 Wf4 Wh3 wins for White.
f-pawn and the game. 4 Wf3 Wg5
Strangely eno ugh , Black has 5 h3
another means of defending Or 5 h4+ Wh6 6 ..t>f4 Wg6 7 e4 fe
successfully, by playing his king 8 Wxe4 Wf7 9 ..t>f5 Wg7 1 0 We6
over to g5, equally guarding the f4 Wg6 I I We? Wg7 ! drawing. The
sq uare and preparing . . . h4. We text move looks dangero us for
shall examine this later under B. Black, as 5 . . . Wh6 6 Wf4 Wg6 7 h4!
Pa wn Endings 51

wins for White , b ut another h-pawn can easily be stopped.

resource saves him . However, to the great surprise of
5 h4! Tarrasch, the World Champion
6 'it?g2 produced the following imaginative
Or 6 gh + 'it?xh4 7 'it?f4 'it?xh3 (the drawing manoeuvre:
point ! ) 8 'it?xf5 'it?g3 9 'it?xf6 'it?f3 1 h4 'it?g4
drawing. 2 'it? g6 !
6 'it?h5 The point. Tarrasch had only­
Black can also draw with 6 . . . hg considered 2 'it?f6 c4 3 be be 4 'it?e5
7 'it?xg3 f4+ 8 ef+ 'it?h5. c3 ! 5 be a4 and this pawn cannot
7 'it?f2 hg+ be stopped. Lasker's move gains a
8 'it?xg3 'it?g5 vital tempo as he threatens 3 h5
9 h4+ 'it?h5 and Black is forced to waste a
10 'it?h3 f4 move by capturing the pawn. This
11 ef f5 means that the white king can
and the position is clearly drawn. retreat along the light-squared
Our next example shows us a diagonal (b l -h7) instead of the
clever king manoeuvre such as we dark one (a l-h8 ) which is blocked
saw in diagram 1 3 . by a pawn , a vast difference as we
shall see .
59 2 'it?xh4
w 3 'it?f5 'it?g3
It m ust have been about here
that Tarrasch awoke from his
dream of victory, for if he now
continues with his original plan he
loses as follows: 3 . . . c4 4 be be
5 'it?e4 c3 6 be a4? (he could still
draw by 6 . . . 'it?g5 7 'it?d5 'it?f6)
7 'it?d3 ! as the white pawn on c3
no longer forces the white king to
Lasker-Tarrasch 1 9 1 4 waste a m ove in order to reach b2.
4 'it?e4 'it?f2
Tarrasch had brought about 5 'it?d5 'it?e3
this position on the assumption Now Black must be careful not
that White could now re sign. to lose the game.
Black in fact th reatens to win on 6 'it?xc5 'it?d3
the queenside, even without the 7 'it?xb5 'it?c2
help of his king, by I . . . c4 2 be be 8 'it?xa5 'it?xb3
follo wed by 3 . . . a4 and 4 . . . c3. It 12 - 12
looks as though the white king can We have already talked a great
do little about this, and the white deal about the opposition and its
52 Pa wn Endings

importance, with special emphasis attack the white pawns.

on the distant opposition and However, the win is by no
related squares. However, the means easy for Black, for White's
reade r may well feel that such king can go as far as e4 and still
ideas belong to the realm of keep an eye on the b-pawn , and
endgame studies rather than the white pawns on h4 and g4
practical play. The following form a barrier which cannot be
extremely interesting example from broken by . . . g5 , allowing White a
the 1 9 3 7 Kemeri international protected passed pawn himself
tournament may help to disprove after h5. As the game was
this fallacy. adjourned here, both players had
time to make a thorough analysis
60 of the position and White resigned
B without co n tinuing! Let us now
see why:
1 a5!
Clearly an essential move, as
Black must protect his b-pawn
before White isolates it by 2 a5 .
For this reason, 1 . . . g5 wo uld fail
to 2 h5, and as Black has no time
for 2 . . . g4 because of 3 a5, White
can support his passed pawn with
Berg-Petrov 1 9 3 7 3 g4.
2 g4
Once agai n, appearances c a n b e Black was now threatening 2 . . .
deceptive, for although material i s g 5 3 h g r:!;g7 , or here 3 h5 g 4 with a
evenly balanced, with both kings straightforward win as in diagram
holding the enemy pawns, it is 24.
Black who has a winning advantage. 2 r:!;g8
This is mainly because he can 3 r:!Jc2 r:!Jf7
immediately set up a protected 4 r:!;d3 r:!;e6
passed pawn, whereas White As can easily be seen, the
cannot achieve this. opposition plays the main part
The advantage of a protected here. For example, with the black
passed pawn lies in the fact that i t king on d4 and the black king on
severely limits the freedom of the d6, if White has to move , then
enemy king whilst allowing one's Black can immediately penetrate
own king to wander at will. In this via c5 or e5. As we shall show
case, the white king must constantly later, we can discount the fact that
keep an eye on Black's b-pawn, White has pawn moves available
whereas the black king can always on the kingside.
Pawn Endings 53

Black cannot gain the opposition allows the black king to reach c5
d i rectly, because White has e4, d4 by 5 . . . <Jld5 6 <Jld3 <Jlc5 ! . As c3 is
or c4 for his king, as soon as the not available for the white king, he
hlack king plays to e6, d6 or c6. So loses after 7 <Jle4 (7 h 5 <Ji;d5) 7 . . .
B lack has to make sure of the <Jlc4 8 <Jle3 <Jlc3 ! and the b-pawn
d istant opposition . With the black queens.
k i ng on e7 or d7, the related 5 <Ji;d6
�q uares for the white king are e3 Again a quicker way would be
and d3 but as c3 is not available to 5 ... <Jld7 6 <Jld3 or 6 h5 <Jle7 ! 7 g5
t he king, he cannot take the <Jle6! wins by zugzwang 6 . . . <J;c7
opposition if the black king plays etc, but we wish to point out an
to c7. interesting trap.
All that remains is to find the Note also the important variation
hcst way of carrying out Black's 5 . . . b3 6 <Jld3 <Jle5 7 <Jlc3 <Jlf4
p l a n , without allowing White when 8 g5 ! cleverly draws for
t ac tical chances. The most econo­ White after 8 . . . <Jlg4 9 <Jlxb3 <Jlxh4
mical method would be 4 . . . <Jle7 10 <Jlc4 <Jlxg5 1 1 <Ji;b5 <Jlf5 12 <J;xa5
� <Jle3 <Ji;d7 6 <Jld3 <Jlc7 ! but we g5 1 3 <Jlxb5 g4 and both sides
�l· lcct a longer way so that we can obtain a queen.
I ndicate some additional points 6 <Ji;d4 <Ji;d7!
u hout the position . Black must play exactly and not
5 <Jle4 (61) place his king on c7 until the white
king is on the third ran k . This is to
�I make s ure that his king can reach
II e5 if the white pawns advance .
An instructive error, for instance,
is an immediate 6 . . . <Jlc7? which
admittedly gains the opposition
but allows White to save himself
by 7 h 5 ! <Jld6 8 g5 when the threat
of h6 forces 8 . . . <Jle7 9 <Jle3 <Jle6
10 <Jle4, and White's has regained
the opposition thus preventing . . .
<Jlf5 .
l .ct us take this position as the 7 <Jld3
�t n rting point of our analysis, as it 7 <Jle4 <Jle6 gives Black the
hl· st ill ustrates the various possi­ opposition, and both 7 g5 <Ji;e6
h i l i ties open to both sides . 8 <Jle4 g6, and 7 h5 <Jle6 lose at
I t is first worth noting that if once.
W h i te tries to maintain the distant 7 <Jlc7!
opposition by 5 <Jle2, in order to Only now can this move be
u nswe r a later . . . <J;c7 by <Ji;c l , this played without danger, as 8 h5
54 Pawn Endings

would fail to 8 . . . �d6 9 g5 �e5 ! , continuation .

o r here 9 �e4 �e7 ! 10 g 5 �e6 ! etc. 11 �d6
After the text move White is Or 1 1 . . . �c5 1 2 �e3 �d5
compelled to give up the opposition. winning.
8 �e4 12 g5 �e6!
Neither 8 �c4 �c6 nor 8 �d4 13 �d4 �f5
�d6 would change anything, and 14 h6 gh
8 h5 �d6 ! 9 �e4 �e7 ! 10 g5 �e6! 15 gh �g6
gives us the zugzwang position and B lack captures the h-pawn
we now know. after which he wins as shown
Black also wins after 8 g5 �d6! in diagram 24. An un usually
not 8 . . . �d7? 9 h5 drawing 9 �e4 interesting and instructive example.
�e7! again 9 . . . �e6? 1 0 h5 draws Finally we give a position
10 �e3 �e6! both 10 . . �f7 1 1 h5
illustrating the importance of the
and 10 . . . g6 1 1 �d3 lead to a draw opposition and tempo moves with
11 �e4 g6, and Black wins pawns.
because his king obtains the f5
square .
8 �c6!
Gaining the diagonal opposition.
9 �d4
Black also wins after 9 g5 �d6
10 �d4 �e6 1 1 �e4 g6 , or 9 h5
�d6 1 0 g5 �e6.
As a general rule, with the white
pawns on g5 and h 5 , Black m ust
always take the opposition on e6
when White plays �e4.
9 �d6 Randviir-Keres 1 947
Black has achieved his objective
and wins co mfortably. Black has an extra pawn but has
10 �e4 difficulties owing to the better
Pawn moves would be answered placing of the white king, White's
by 10 . . . �e6. dangerous passed central pawn
10 �c5 and the backward pawn on h7.
11 h5 However, a pawn is a pawn, and
We choose the pawn advance as one of its uses might be to play . . .
our main line which could , of h 5 t o force the g-pawn . A more
course , occurred earlier. Equally important use of this h-pa wn is as
hopeless is 1 1 �d3 �d5 12 �e3 a tempo move ( . . . h6) at a critical
�e5 ! (simplest), and 1 1 g5 �d6 moment, to gain the opposition ,
12 h5 �e6 transposes into the text which may prove vital in forcing
Pawn Endings 55

the win. As we shall demonstrate to prevent the threatened 8 . . . h 5

l a ter, Black wins this ending only 9 gh 'i.t>g7 followed b y 1 0 . . . 'i.t>h6,
because he has this tempo move at which he could now answer with
his disposal - with the pawn on h6 10 'i.t>f3 'i.t>h6 I I 'i.t>g4. Black would
the ending is drawn! win easily after 8 'i.t>d4 h5 9 gh 'i.t>g7
1 'i.t>b5 10 'i.t>d5 g4 I I 'i.t>e4 'i.t>h6 12 'i.t>f4
The only way. White draws 'i.t>xh 5 .
a fter I . . . 'i.t>b6? 2 'i.t>c4 a5 3 a4, as 8 'i.t>f8!
3 . . . h6 is then forced. The winning move w h ich recalls
2 a4+ the winning method of diagram
This check is forced, as Black 26. White is now in zugzwang. His
wins quickly after 2 'i.t>d3 c4+ king dare not leave the e-file by
3 'i.t>d4 c3! 4 'i.t>xc3 'i.t>c5 etc. Black 9 'i.t>d4 because of9 ... h 5 ! , nor can
cannot now take the pawn because he retreat as this allows the black
of 3 d6 winning. king to reach d6 . He m ust choose
2 'i.t>b6 between the two evils.
3 'i.t>c4 aS! 9 'i.t>e3 'i.t>e7
In this way Black reaches the 10 'i.t>e4 'i.t>d6
position we have seen , without 1 1 'i.t>d4 h6!
having to use up his precious Only now does Black play his
te mpo move . . . h6. trump card, with his king one rank
4 d6 further up and on the d-file. He
Or 4 'i.t>c3 'i.t>c7 5 'i.t>d3 'i.t>d6 6 'i.t>c4 gains the opposition and thus
h6 7 'i.t>b5 'i.t>xd5 8 'i.t>xa5 'i.t>c6 ! manages to advance his king even
9 l!la6 c4 winning. more. It is clear that without this
4 'i.t>c6 tempo move Black could not win
5 d7 'i.t>xd7 despite his extra pawn.
6 'i.t>xc5 'i.t>e7 12 'i.t>e4
Black can achieve nothing in White has no time to counter­
t he centre or on the queenside, as attack on the queen's wing, as
t he white king is too active, but he after 1 2 'i.t>c4 'i.t>e5 13 'i.t>b5 h6 1 4 gh
ran threaten a breakthrough by . . . 'i.t>xf5 Black wins quickly.
h 5 n o w that the resulting white 12 'i.t>c5
h - pawn can be stopped. For 13 l!;>e3 'i.t>d5 !
1 11stance , he neednot fear 7 'i.t>b5 , M uch simpler than the alter­
when 7 . . . h 5 ! 8 gh g4 9 h6 'i.t>f7 native winning plan of 1 3 . . . 'i.t>b4
wins at once. In other words the 14 'i.t>d4 'i.t>xa4 1 5 'i.t>d5 'i.t>b3
white king dare not leave the 1 6 'i.t>e6 a4 etc.
s4 uare c l -c5-g5-g8. 14 'i.t>d3 'i.t>e5
7 'i.t>d5 'i.t>f7 15 'i.t>e3 h5!
8 'i.t>e4 16 gh 'i.t>xf5
White must brin g his king over 1 7 'i.t>f3 'i.t>e6
56 Pawn Endings

Again simpler than 1 7 . . . g4+ of pawn endgames. There are of

1 8 'it>g3 'it>g5 19 h6 etc. course many positions which
18 'it>g4 'it>f7 cannot be dealt with in this book.
19 'it>f7 'it>g7 As already stated , however, we
0- l intend our material to be in­
structive rather than exhaustive. If
With this exa mple we end our the reader st udies this material
discussion of pawn endings. The carefully, he ,will have enough
reade r has been provided with the information to steer him through
most important basic positions the most complex endings. Let us
ill ustrating the essential principles now turn ·to queen endings.
3 Queen Endings

We began with pawn endings queen usually wins easily. However,

because to a certain extent they complications do arise when the
form the basis of endga me theory. pawn has reached the seventh
Now we shall examine the indivi­ rank. This situation is common
dual pieces in descending order of enough in practical play, as we
strength, starting with the queen. have already seen, so the reader
It is far more difficult to must know exactly how to handle
systematize queen endings than such positions. Let us begin with
was the case with pawn endings, as diagram 63 .
there are so many possibilities.
For instance , it is well known that
the queen usually wins against one
of the other pieces, or against two
minor pieces, whereas it only
draws against two rooks or one
rook plus a minor piece . We shall
therefore refrain fro m examining
such positions in detail.
We are primarily interested in
positions or groups of positions in
which a win or a draw can be
demonstrated from general prin­ When Black has a centre pawn
ci ples, with few exceptions. A nd in on the seventh, White always
these endings we shall first consider wins , h owever far away his king is,
t hose which have the most practical apart from the exceptional cases
value. There is neither the space when the pawn cannot be prevented
n or the necessity for examining from queening next move because
here all possible ramifications of of u nfavourable placing of the
q ueen endings. white pieces. ( For example, with
the white king on e6, quee n on d8,
Queen against Pawn and the black king on e2, pawn on
At first sight it may seem strange d2, the white king blocks off the
for us to consider endings with queen's checking possibilities, so
such material disparity, as the that I . . d l � cannot be stopped. )
58 Queen Endings

White wins from the diagram

by forcing the black king onto the 64
square in front of his pawn , thus
giving him a tempo in which to
bring his king nearer. Play might
proceed as follows:
1 �b2 �e1
No better is I . . . �e 3 2 �c2.
2 �b4 �e2
3 �e4+ �
4 �d3 �e1
5 �e3+ �1
White has achieved his ai m and 6 �a3 �b1
can now gradually bring up his 7 \lrb3 �a1
king by repeating the above and we now realise the vital
manoeuvre . difference ; White dare not touch
6 �b7 �c2 his king, because Black is stale­
7 �e2 �c1 mated, and 8 �c2, threatening
8 �c4+ �b2 mate, also gives stale mate . This
9 �d3 �c1 means tha t White can make no
10 �c3+ �d1 progress, so the position is drawn.
Again the black king has to And yet there are positions in
block h is pawn and White can which White wins if his king is
play I I � c6, followed by the same near enough. "Fo be more precise ,
tempo-gaining line we have already the king m ust be within the area
seen. There seems little point in represented by a l -a5-d5-e4-e l as
continuing the play, as the reader indicated on diagram 64. For
can check for himself that the example , let us see what happens
position is easily won . with the king on d5 (diagram 65).
It is clear that White can also
use the same method against the 65
knight's pawn, but the situation
changes with a rook's pawn or
bishop's pawn. Consider diagram
First of all , let us try the same
winning plan as from diagram 63:
1 �g2 + �b 1
2 �fl+ �b2
3 �b5 + �c2
4 �a4+ �b2
5 �4+ �c2 White wins by 1 �g2 + �b 1 if
Queen Endings 59

l . . �b3 2 �g7 ! �c2 3 'ti'a l wins

. 1 �a2 �d1
at once 2 �c4! a 1 � 3 �b3! when , 2 'it'a4 �d2
despite equality of material, Black 3 �d4+ �e2
cannot prevent mate . 4 �c3 �d1
Now let us try the king on e4 5 'it'd3+ �c 1
(diagram 66). The win is achieved White can only force the black
here in a different way by 1 'ti'g2+ king to block his pawn once, so
�b1 2 �3! a1 � 3 �c2 mate. must immediately bring his king
6 �b7 �b2
7 �d2 �b1
8 'fi'b4+ �a2
9 �c3 �b1
1 0 'fi'b3+ �a1 !
The point! Black is not compelled
to return to c l , as I I 'it'xc2 gives
stalemate. White cannot strengthen
his position any further and the
game is drawn.
We have again indicated in
If Black has a bishop's pawn , diagram 67 the area within which
the outcome again depends on the the white king must be to force a
white king's position , but in win. A few examples will make
addition it is important to take this clear. With the king on d 5 ,
into consideration the placing of White wins b y 1 'it'g5+ �d1 2
the black king. Diagram 67 shows �g1 + �d2 3 'ti'd4+ �e2 4 �c3
the black king on a central file. �1 5 �d3+ �c 1 6 �c4 �b2 7
�d2 but not 7 'ti'e 2 �b l 8 �b 3 ?
67 c l ltJ + drawing, altho ugh here
8 �c3 c l'ti'+ 9 �b3 still wins 7 ...
�b 1 8 �b3 c 1 � 9 'it'a2 mate.

� � 'if �
• • •
• • • •
• • • •
. . -�·
• • • •
This position is drawn, as the
white king is too far away. Play

"""" •
. •
might proceed: � � � �
60 Queen Endings

Placing the white king over on equally has no trouble, as 1 'it'g2

g4 (diagram 68), the winning �b l 2 �b3 ! c l 'it' 3 'it'a2 is mate.
method is 1 'it'a2 �c3 1 . . . �d 1 Once again we must mention a
2 �f3 2 'it'a3+ �d2 3 @b2 �d1 position in which the white king
4 �f3! c 1 'it' 5 'it'e2 mate. Finally, stands outside the winning zone
with the king on e5, outside the but can still cause Black problems.
given zone, White seems to win by With his king on b5, White plays
1 'it'a2 �d 1 2 �e4 cl 'if 3 �d3 ! 1 'it'g2 �b1 2 'it'e4 �b2 3 'it'e2 and
forcing mate. Black has a better after 3 . . . �b l ? 4 �b4! c'l 'it' 5 �b3
defence, however, in 1 ... �c3! wins as already seen . Black must
2 'it'a3+ �d2 3 'it'b2 �d1 when defend more precisely with 3 . ..
White cannot strengthen his posi­ �a 1 ! when 4 'it'xc2 is stalemate,
tion. and 4 'it'd2 �b l ! 5 �b4 c l 'it'
From the above analysis we see draws because the white queen is
that in certain cases White can win attacked.
only because the black king is We have now covered all
unfavourably placed on d l and endings with a queen against an
must lose a tempo when he is advanced pawn on the 7th rank.
forced to go to c 1. If we now place The given rules apply in all cases
the king on the other side of the except when the white pieces are
pawn, on the knight's file, the so unfavourably placed that the
white king needs to be much pawn cannot be stopped from
nearer to force a win, as shown in queening.
diagram 69: Against a pawn on the 6th rank,
the queen always wins, except
69 when the pawn cannot be prevented
from playing to the 7th rank, as
seen in diagram 70.

This position is of course drawn.

In order to win, the white king
must be within the i ndicated area
(a4-c4-d3-e3-e l ). On e3 and e l he Chess World 1 865
can easily stop the pawn by a
subsequent �d2. On a4, he White would win easily if his
Queen Endings 61

king were not so unfortunately the q ueen has good winning

placed on the long black diagonal. chances , but the second pawn
For example, with the king on b8, sometimes saves an otherwise lost
I 'tltb1 + <t>b2 2 't!fh8! <t>b3 3 't!fd4 c2 position.
4 <t>a1 wins. As it is however, as For example, if Black possesses
White cannot prevent the further two pawns on the 7th rank, White
advance of the pawn, Black draws can win only if his king is fairly
by: near the pawns, as is the case when
1 't!fh1 + <t>b2 the second pawn is on the 6th . We
2 't!fb7+ <t>c1 do not intend to examine the
3 <t>f6 n umero us possibilities here , b ut
It is interesting to note that even any interested reader can always
now White would win if his king look them up in a more specialised
were on h6, as after 3 <t>g5 ! c2 book on the endga me. Let us
4 <t>f4 he would be within the make do with one example,
winning zone (see diagram 67). diagram 7 1 , which reveals Black's
3 c2 defensive resources.
4 <t>e5 <t>d2
As we saw in diagram 67, the 71
position is now drawn, but we
shall again give the correct
5 't!fb2 <t>d 1
6 't!fb3 <t>d2
7 't!fa2 <t>c3
And now 7 . . . <t>d 1 ? 8 Wd4 ! c l 't!f
9 <t>d3 with a win for White,
whereas now, after 8 't!fa3+ Wd2
White can make no progress.
There are one or two further Without Black's . a-pawn, the
e xceptional positions where White position would clearly be drawn,
ca nnnot force a win. For instance, but strangely enough White cannot
with the white king on c6, queen profit from the fact that there is
o n d8 and the black king on e2, now no danger of stalemate. With
pawn on f3 , after 1 't!fe8(e7)+ <t>fl the wh ite king on a4, for instance,
White cannot prevent the advance victory is easily attained by 1 't!fg7+
of the pawn, so the position is <t>f2 2 't!fh6 <t>g2 3 't!fg5+ <t>f2 4
d rawn (2 <t>d5 f2 3 <t>e4 Wg2, as in 'tlth4+ <t>g2 5 't!fg4+ <t>f2 6 't!fh3
diagram 69). Wg1 7 't!fg3+ <t>h1 8 <t>b5! a4
If Black has pawns in addition 9 't!ff2 and 1 0 't!ffl mate. However,
t o one on the 7th rank , the as in diagram 7 1 the a-pawn is not
possibilities are various. In general blockaded, White cannot carry
62 Queen Endings

out this manoeuvre against correct with the white king on a8, queen
defence. on b7, and the black king on h 1 ,
1 �g8 + �f2! pawns on g2 and h4, White cannot
Black must never allow the win. After the plausible con­
white queen to reach g4. For this tin uation 1 �f3 Black was
reason, he loses after 1 . . . �fl threatening 1 . . . h3 and 2 . . . �h 2
2 �c4+ �g2 3 'ti'g4+ �f2 4 'fi'h3 1 ... �h2 2 �f4+ �h3 3 �f2
�g l 5 'ti'g3+ �h l 6 �f2, or after g1 'ti'+! 4 'ti'xg 1 is stalemate. White
1 . . . �f3 2 �g5 ! a4 3 �h4 �g2 wins here if his king is no further
4 �g4+ etc. However, Black can away than f6, when 1 �f3 �h2
also draw by 1 . . . �h3 2 'ti'd5 �g3 ! 2 �f2 h3 3 �g5 �h 1 4 'fi'f3 �h2
as in the main line. 5 �h4! g l 'fi' 6 �xh 3 mate is
2 �h7 �g3 possible.
3 'ti'd3+ �g 2
4 'ti'e4+ �g3! Queen against Rook (and Pawn)
The only move to draw. As A : QUEEN A G A I NST ROOK
already mentioned, Black must The ending of queen against
not let the queen reach g4, when rook and pawn will involve us in
his king would be forced to h l . some complex analysis , but before
This means that both 4 . . . �g l we go into this , le t us briefly
5 �g4+ followed by 6 � 3 , and consider how the queen forces a
4 . . . �f2 5 'ti'h l �g3 6 �b7 would win against a rook alone.
lose for Black, as White gains an
i mportant tempo on the main line.
5 �b7 a4
6 �c6 a3
7 �d S a2
8 �h1 a1 'ti' !
The extra black pawn completes
his mission by sacrificing himself
and giving the black king the g2
9 'ti'xa 1 � g2
and the game is drawn as we saw
in diagra m 64. Strangely enough , In general, apart from a few
White would win from diagra m 7 1 special cases, the queen wins
i f his king were o n any other against a rook , but this win is not
square than a8! easily achieved, as the following
Finally, let us consider a hidden analysis shows:
defensive possibility which occurs 1 �f3+ �eS
with a knight's pawn supported by 2 �e4+ �d6
a rook's pawn . In the position 3 �d4
Q ueen Endings 63

In order to win, White must use

both his king and queen to drive 73
the black king to the edge of the
3 lic6
We are not claiming that this is
Black's best defence , but no
matter where the roo k goes, White
will eventually manage to drive
the black king to the edge of the
board by advancing his own king.
Let us assume, for instance, that
Black tries to prevent the king's several winning moves. Also
advance by 3 liaS. White would
... possible is 10 't!fh8 'it>e 7 1 1 't!fg8 !
then proceed 4 @'g6+ 'it>d7 after lid7+ (or 1 1 . . . 'it>d7 1 2 't!Vf8 etc )
4 . . . 'it>e7 5 1t'b6 lih5 6 'it>e4 a 1 2 'it>e5 li c 7 1 3 't!fg7+ 'it>d8 1 4
position is reached which is 't!ff8+ 'it>d7 1 5 'it>d5 ! li b 7 1 6 1t'f7+
symmetrical to the text position 'it>c8 1 7 "it'e8+ 'it>c7 1 8 'it>c5 ! and
S @'f6 li bS or 5 . . . 'it>c7 6 't!fe6 'it>b7 wins easily, as after 18 . . . lia7
7 'it>c4 'it>c7 8 'it>b4 and the rook 19 't!fe7+ 'it>b8 20 't!fd8+ 'it>b7
must retreat 6 't!Vn+ 'it>d6 6 . . . 'it>c6 21 'it>b5 Black will soon lose the
7 't!Ve6+ 'it>c7 8 'it>c4 is quicker rook. White equally wins after
7 't!ff8+ 'it>d7 8 1t'f6 ! liaS 9 'it>c 4 10 't!fb8 but Black can set up a stiff
'it>c7 1 0 't!fe7+ 'it>c6 I I 't!Ve6+ 'it>c7 resistance by 10 . . . lic2!
1 2 'it> b4 and the black rook 1s 10 'it>c8
forced back. If 10 . . . lib7 White continues
4 't!feS+ 'it>d 7 1 1 "it'f7+ 'it>c8 12 "it'e8+ 'it>c7
5 'it> dS lic7 1 3 'it>c5 and wins as in the last
After 5 .. . lia6 6 "it'g7+ 'it>d8 (or note.
6 . . 'it>e8 7 't!fc7) 7 "it'f8+ 'it>d7 8
. II 'it>d6 'it>b8
1rf7+ 'it>d8 9 'it>c5 wins. Or 5 . . . 1 1 . . . lia7 loses immediately to
llc l 6 't!ff5+ 'it>e8 7 't!fh5+ 'it>d7 12 't!ff8+ 'it>b7 13 't!ff7+ 'it>b8 1 4
K 't!Vg4+ 'it>e8 9 'it>d6 wins. 't!fe8+ 'it>b7 1 5 't!fd7 + 'it>b8 1 6
6 't!Ve6+ 'it>d8 't!fd8+ 'it>b7 1 7 't!Vc7+ etc, a s does
7 't!fg8+ 1 1 . . . 'it>b 7 1 2 't!fb4+ 'it>c8 1 3 't!Va5
It is important to avoid the trap etc.
7 'it>d6 lic6+ ! 8 'it>xc6 stalemate. 1 2 't!feS ! lib7
7 'it>e7 After other moves Blac k loses
8 "it'g7+ 'it>d8 even more quickly, as can easily be
9 't!Vf8+ 'it>d7 (73) see n .
1 0 't!ff4 1 3 'it>c6+ 'it>a8
This is probably the simplest of 14 "it'al + 'it>b8
64 Queen Endings

1 5 't!t'a5
B : Q U E E N A G A I N ST R O O K A N D
Philidor demonstrated that this
position is a forced win, as long
ago as 1 777! The situation is m uch more
15 llbl complicated now that Black has a
After 1 5 . . . llh7 1 6 't!t'e 5+ 'it?a8 pawn. Sometimes the analysis is
17 't!t'a l + 'it?b8 1 8 't!t'b l + wins ; or so tricky that the assessment of a
15 . . . llb3 16 't!t'd8+ 'it?a7 17 't!t'd4+ given position has changed over
'it?b8 1 8 't!t'f4+ and the rook is lost. the years . From the many possible
Equally insufficient is 15 . . llf7 16
. endings we intend to consider only
't!t'e5+ 'it?a7 17 't!t'e3+ etc. those in which the pawn protects
1 6 't!t'd8+ 'it?a7 the rook and is itself protected by
1 7 't!t'd4+ 'it?a8 the king. Other positions can
1 8 't!t'h8+ 'it?a7 always be examined by the reader
1 9 't!t'h7+ wins t h e rook. in more specialized endgame
We feel that t his example gives books.
an accurate picture of how to play Let us begin with positions in
with a queen against a rook , but it which the pawn is on its original
is worth mentioning one of the square, as in diagram 7 5 .
exceptional cases:

A . Philidor 1 803

Black to move draws because As Philidor demonstrated years

the white king cannot escape ago, White cannot win in this
perpetual check. Play might go position. Blac k cannot be zug­
1 ... llh7+ 2 'it?g2 llg7+ 3 'it?f3 zwanged, as his rook can always
llf7+ 4 'it?g4 llg7+ 5 'it?f5 llf7+ play from c6 to e6 and back. This
6 'it?g6 llg7+ 7 'it?h6 llh7+ ! when means that the white king cannot
8 'it?xh7 gives stalemate. Of course , cross the sixth rank, nor the black
White t o move would win from king be driven away from the
such a position. protection of his pawn.
Queen Endings 65

1 ti'b8+ We7 Black in zugzwang, e.g. 3 . . . Iih6

2 ti'g8 Iic6 (if 3 . . . Ii b i 4 't!t'e8+ Wc7 5 ti'f7+
3 't!t'g7+ Wd8 followed by 6 ti'g8+ and 7 ti'h7+
4 't!t'f8+ Wc7 wins , and if 3 . . . Iib2 4 't!t'e8+ Wb7
5 't!t'a8 Iie6 5 ti'e4+ Wa6 6 ti'd3+ Wb7 7 't!t'f3+
White can make no further Wb8 8 ti'f8+ followed by 9 'tlt'g7+
p rogress and the game is drawn . equally wins the vulnerable rook)
l 'h e game is equally drawn if the 4 ti'e8+ Wb7 5 ti'e7+ Wa6 6 't!t'f7 !
position is moved to the righ t or Iib6 7 't!t'd7 ! transposes to the
l l "f t , except in the case of a rook's main line ; or 3 .. . Iia6 4 Wb5
pa wn, when Black loses , as m Iib6+ 5 Wa5 and Black loses
d 1 a gram 76. either his pawn or his rook .
3 't!t'd7!
Now Black is in zugzwang and
must soon lose the rook, e.g. 3 ...
llb2 if 3 . . . llb i 4 't!t'a4+ and
5 't!t'e4+ wins 4 't!t'd3+ Wb7 5 't!t'f3+
Wc7 6 't!t'f7+ followed by 7 't!t'f8+
and 8 't!t'g7+ wins.
White's task is usually easier,
however, if the black pawn has left
its original square . Let us begin
with diagram 77, with the black
pawn on its third rank.
J. Berger I 9 22

The difference here lies mainly

1 1 1 t he fact that the rook no longer
h n s an extra square available
w h l· re he can be protected by the
pnwn. As he has only one square
( htl ), t h is means that once his king
1 � � t a l emated, the rook must move
• • w a y , allowing the white king to
( H' I I l' t ra te .
1 wb7
W h ite to move would win at A. Philidor I 77 7
1 1 1 1 n· by I 't!t'c7 ! , e.g. I . . . Iib i
! .cH+ Iib8 3 ti'c6+ Iib7 4 Wd6 Philidor has proved that this
11 1 1 1 1 Black must give up his pawn. position is won for White, albeit
2 ti'e7+ Wa6 with some difficulty . Compared
Aft e r 2 .. . Wb8 3 't!t'd7 places with diagram 75, White's queen
66 Queen Endings

now has an extra rank from which

he can drive the black king into a
less favourable position. In order
to win, White must firstly drive
the black king to d5, secondly
force . h is own king over the fifth
rank, and thirdly penetrate with
his king over the king's file. B lack
then loses his pawn. All this is
brought about by the use of the
zugzwang weapon.
1 'ith7+ lt>d8 A . Philidor 1 777
Not of course l . . . 1!7f8 2 'itd7 ,
and l . . . lt>e8 2 'itc7 would make wins by l l lt>f3 llf5+ 12 lt>g4 lld5
W hite's task easier. l . . . \t>e6 2 13 1!7f4! , or here l l . . . \t>e5 12 'itc3+
'itc7 ll c5 3 'itd8 lle5 4 'ite8+ lt>d5 1!7f5 l 3 'itc4 etc . Other rook moves
5 'itc8 leads to the main line. lose as follows: if 9 . . . llh5 l O
2 'itf7! lt>c8 'ita8+! \t>d4 l l 'ita4+, and if 9 . . .
Again 2 . . . llc5 3 'ite6 \t>c7 ll e 7 1 0 1!7f5 llf7+ l l \t>g5 ! (if
4 'ite7+ \t>c6 5 'itd8 transposes to l l \t>g6 llf4 can be played) and
the main line. Black must quickly play l l . . . lle7
3 'ita7 \t>d8 in order not to lose his rook.
Or 3 .. . ll c5 4 'ite7 etc. 1 0 lt>fS lleS+
4 'itb8+ 1!7d7 If l 0 . . . \t>d4 1 1 'itc6 d5 1 2 'itc2 !
5 'itb7+ \t>d8 lle5+ l 3 lt>f6 lle4 1 4 \t>f7! and
6 'itc6 \t>e7 Black m ust allow the white king to
7 'itc7+ 1!7e6 cross the king's file.
8 'itd8 \t>dS 11 lt>f6 lle4
The situation would not be The only move , as otherwise
altered by 8 . . . ll f5+ 9 \t>g4 lle5 1 2 'ifb7+ wins material.
l O 'ite8+ \t>d5 l l 'itc8 etc. White 12 'itc3
has now attained his first objective Suggested by Guretzky-Cornitz
and must next force his king over and simpler than Philidor's 1 2 'itf5+
the fifth rank . which equally wins.
9 'itc8! (78) 12 lle6+
We have reached the first Or 1 2 .. . lle5 l 3 1!7f7 etc.
important zugzwang position, as 13 1!7f7 lleS
indicated by Philidor. B lack 1 4 lt>f8! (79)
cannot prevent the advance of Bringing abo ut a zugzwang
White's king. position to attain his third
9 lle4+ objective, crossing the king's file
If 9 . . . 1!7d4 l O 'itc6 lld5 White with his king.
Queen Endings 67

IV 80

14 lle4 B . Guretzky-Cornitz I 864

Nor would 14 . . . lle6 help, after
I � �b3+ �e5 I6 �f7 ; or I4 . . . 1 lle8
oJ/c4 1 5 �c4+ �f5 I 6 't!t'd3+ �e6 After 1 . . . lle2 White can play
1 7 'iile 8 and White's king penetrates. 2 't!t'a3+ and bring about variations
15 �d3+ lld4 which arise from diagram 80 with
Or 15 . . . �e5 I 6 �e7 d5 I 7 't!t'g3+ White to move , or he can continue
l oll owed by I 8 �d6 with an easy 2 't!t'd 1 + lld2 2 �e 3 3 �e5 d3

Win. 4 't!t'g l + �f3+ 5 �d4 d2 6 't!t'd i

1 6 't!t'f5+ �c4 wins; or here 4 �d2+ 5 �d4
0 0 .

1 7 't!t'c2 + �d5 �c2 6 't!t'b6 lld2 7 't!t'c6+wins

1 8 �e7 ll e4 + 3 't!t'b3+ �e2 4 �e4 �e1 after 4 . . .
O r I 8 . . . �e5 I 9 't!t'c3 ! d5 d 3 5 't!t'g8 ! wins quickly 5 't!t'f3!
.'0 �e3+ lle4 2 I 't!t'g5+ �d4+ lld1 6 �d5 lld2 7 �c5! losing a
•1 2 � 6 wins. te mpo 7 ... lld1 8 �c4 lld2 9 �b3
1 9 �d7 and wins after 9 ll d i 1 0 't!t'e4+
o o •

u nd White wins easily. If now I9 0 0 0 followed by I I �f2, or 9 lle2

. o o

lld4 20 �c6+ �e5 2 I 't!t'f3 wins at IO 't!t'g3+ ! etc.

kast the pawn . I 0 0 .�e2 also loses quickly after
I f Black's pawn stands on 2 't!t'c2+ �e i 3 �f4 etc .
t he fourth ran k , the winning 2 �a3+ ltJe2
111cthod is the same, but problems Or 2 �d2 3 't!t'b4+ winning
0 0 .

n r i se if the pawn has reached the the pawn.

l l ft h rank, as in diagram 80. 3 �a 4 lld8
We have left out the preliminary If 3 llf8+ 4 �e4 d3 5 fi'b5
o o •

moves and come straight to the lld8 6 't!t'h5+ �fl 7 �e3 etc wins.
r ritical position. For almost a 4 �aS
h u ndred years it was thought that and after 4 ... llf8+ 5 �e4 d3
t h i s position was won for White 6 't!t'h5+ Black loses either the
only with Black to move, as pawn or the rook (6 • o o�d2
l ollows: 7 't!t'h6+).
68 Queen Endings

However, with White to move, �c3 d2 9 �f3 \t>c l ! 1 0 �c3+ lt>b 1

diagram 80 was long considered a 1 1 �3+ \t>c l 1 2 �c4+ \t>d l
draw, because no way could be 1 3 1!7f3 ll e7 1 4 1!7f2 lle8 and
found of bringing abo ut the same White cannot win. However,
position with Black to move. White has in fact several ways of
Finally in 1 949 Cheron succeeded winning and we quote Cheron's
in demonstrating the win, as method:
follows: 7 �b3
1 �c5 lle2 A verbakh and Lisitsin later
If 1 . . . ll e l 2 �b5+ wins the suggested the alternatives 7 �d4
pawn or the rook. and 7 �4+ 1!7c2 8 \!7[3 which lead
2 �a3+ 1!7d2 to variations similar to the main
Or 2 . .. 1!7c2 3 �a2+ \t>d3 line.
4 �3+ \t>d2 5 \t>f4 etc. 7 lle1
3 lt>f4 1!7c2 Not of course 7 . . . llf2+ 8 lt>e4
If 3 . . . d3 4 �3 b rings about lle2+ 9 \t>d4 winning, but 7 . . . lle8
the main line, whereas after 3 . . . 8 �2+ also wins after 8 . . . lt>e l
lle l (e8) 4 �b4+ wins, o r 3 . . . lle3 9 �5! lld8 1 0 1!7e3 lt>fl l l �f5+,
4 �2+ \t>d3 5 �3+ \t>d2 (or 5 . . . or 8 ... \t>d l 9 �b5 lld8 1 0 lt>e3
1!7e2 6 �c2+ lt> e 1 7 �c4 etc) 6 �c4 \t>c l (c2) 1 1 �c5+ \t>d l 12 �b6.
lld3 7 1!7e4 wins. 8 �2+ lt>d1
4 �a2+ \t>d3 9 1!7f3 lle2
5 "irb3+ lt>d2 After 9 . . . lle7 (or e8) 1 0 � 1 +
6 �c4 d3 (81) \t>d2 1 1 �b4+ wins.
10 �c3 lld2
81 1 1 �c4
But not 1 1 1!7e3 ll e2+ 1 2 \t>xd3?
lle3+! 13 1!7xe 3 giving stalemate.
Black must now lose the pawn.
This example proves that B lack
cannot draw even with a central
pawn on the sixth rank, so we can
now state that Black can draw
only if his central pawn is on its
original square.
His drawing chances are in­
B . Guretzky-Cornitz 1 864 creased with a bishop's pawn. In
fact it was thought for a long time
For a long time this position that Black always draws with a
was assumed to be drawn on the bishop's pawn, on whichever rank
basis of analysis by Guretzky­ this is placed. New analyses by
Cornitz which went 7 �c5 \t>d l 8 Halberstadt and Cheron have,
Queen Endings 69

however, demonstrated that this 5 �c4 lib5

generalization is faulty, at least 6 !t'f7 lic5+
with the pawn on the second or I f 6 . . . lidS 7 �b4 wins, or 6 . . .
third rank. Let us examine one of li b 6 7 !t'e8 ! wins .
the possibilities more closely. 7 �b4 lid5
8 �a4 lib5
9 !t'g7
This is the position White has
been angling for, as Black cannot
now prevent the manoeuvre !t'b7-
9 lid5
10 'i!rb7 lib5
I f 1 0 ... lid l I I !t'b4+ �c7
12 �f4+ �b6 (or 12 . . . �b7
1 3 !t'f7+ �c8 14 �aS etc) 1 3 !t'e3+
�c7 14 !t'g3+ �d8 1S �aS wins
V . Halberstadt 1 93 1 easily.
11 !t'c8 �d5
1 'i!rb6! Or I I . . . lidS 12 !t'd8+ �cS
Halberstadt proved in 193 1 that 1 3 !t'c7 lid 1 (if 1 3 . . . lid3 1 4 !t'aS+
Black would be in zugzwang if he �c4 1 S !t'a6+) 14 !t'aS+ �c4
had to move in the original I S !t'b4+ wins.
position. White can easily bring 12 'it'd 7+ �c5
about this situation. 13 !t'd8!
1 �d7 Again placing Black in zugzwang.
Or I . . . lieS+ 2 �d4 lidS+ 13 �c4
3 �c4 winning easily. Or 1 3 . . . lib4+ 14 �aS libS+
2 'i!rb7+ �d6 I S �a6 lib4 1 6 !t'd3 ! and wins as
3 !t'a7! we saw in our analysis of diagram
White has now attained his first 78.
objective and Black m ust allow 14 !t'd6 lic5
the white king to cross the d-file. If Black now had the move he
3 lie5+ would be forced to give up the
Black cannot maintain his rook pawn, but i t is not easy for White
on the d-file, as 3 . . . lid2 4 �fS to bring about this situation.
lidS+ S �f6 or 3 . . . lid I 4 !t'a3+ 1 4 !t'e6+ �d3
�d7 S !t'h3+ ! �c7 6 !t'g3+ lid6 If I S . . . �c3 1 6 !t'e3+ �c4 1 7
7 !t'eS �d7 8 !t'g7+ followed by !t'e4+ �c3 1 8 !t'b4+ wins, and
9 �eS both allow the white king to 1S . . . �d4 16 !t'g4+ leads to the
penetrate. main line.
4 �d4 lid5+ 16 !t'h3+ �d4
70 Queen Endings

Or 1 6 . . . \t>c4. If the king goes of this.

to the seventh rank, then 1 7 \t>b4 1 'it'f7+ \t>b8
wins. Black must not allow the white
17 'i¥g4+ \t>d3 queen to occupy a7 after 1 . . . lt>c8 ,
If 1 7 . . . \t>d5 1 8 't!t'd7+ either o r even after 1 . . . \t>c6 2 'i¥a7 lla5
forces the king to the e-file, when 3 'i¥b8 when latest analysis proves
19 \t>b4 wins, or leads to zugzwang that Black cannot hold the
after 1 8 . . . \t>c4 19 'i¥d6 ! If 1 7 . . . position.
\t>e5 1 8 't!t'd7 also wins. 2 't!t'e6 \t>b7
18 'iVdl + lt>c3 3 'i¥d7+ lt>b8
Again both 1 8 . . . \t>c4 19 't!t'd6 or 4 \t>e4 lt>a8
1 8 . . . \t>e4 19 'i¥d7 win for White. 5 'i¥a4+ \t>b7
19 'iVcl + \t>d4 6 \t>d4 llc7!
20 'i¥d2+ wins. Allowing the white king past
Black can choose between 20 . . . the fifth ran k, but this has no
\t>c4 2 1 'i¥d6 o r 2 0 . . . \t>e4 (e5) significance here. Again latest
2 1 'i¥d7 , which both lead to an research gives a win for White
easy win for White. after 6 . . . lt>b8 7 'i¥a6 \t>c7 8 'i¥a7+
There are many more interesting lt>c6 9 't!t'b 8 or 6 . . . lla5 7 't!t'd7+
positions involving the bishop's \t>b8 8 'i¥c6 lt>a7 9 'i¥c7+ lt>a6
pawn, b ut they do not come 10 'i¥b8 etc.
within the scope of this volume 7 \t>d5 llc5+
and should be studied in more 8 \t>d6 llc7
specialized endgame books. 9 'i¥b5 llc5
Black's best drawing chances 10 'i¥d7+ \t>b8
are fo und in positions containing 11 'i¥g4 llc7
a knight's pawn, wherever this Black m ust not permit \t>d7-d8.
pawn may be, as long as his pieces 1 2 'i¥e2 lt>b7
are favourably placed. Let us White cannot strengthen his
consider diagram 83 as an example position any more, so Black

B . Guretzky-Cornitz 1 864
Queen Endings 71

Even when the b-pawn is 4 llb7!

fu rther advanced , Black usually But not 4 ... lt>b6 5 't!t'b8+ lt>c6
draws, as can be seen from the (or 5 . . . lt>a5 6 't!t'd 8+ lt>a4 7 't!t'd2+
hasic position in diagram 84. etc) 6 't!t'a7 llb6 7 lt>d4 lt>b5 8
After 1 .. . llc5+ 2 \t>d6 llc8! 3 't!t'd7+ lt>b4 9 't!t'c 7 llh6.. IO 't!t'e7+
1!7d7 llc4 4 \t>d8 llc5 5 't!t'b2+ lt>a4! lt>a4 I I 't!t'e8+ lt>a5 I 2 lt>c5 wins.
6 lt>d7 llc4 the white king cannot 5 't!t'c5+
cross the c-file, as it is impossible 5 lt>c5 leads to nothing after 5 . . .
t o drive the rook away from the llb5+ 6 \t>c6 llb6+ 7 lt>c7 llb5 for
fi le. the white king will now be checked
Now let us consider the case of back to c4.
t he rook's pawn, and in particular 5 lt>b8
a position, diagram 85, in which 6 't!t'd6+ lt>a7
t h e pawn is on the third rank. 7 't!t'd4+ lt>a8
8 lt>c5 llb5+
8.� Or 8 . . . \t>a7 9 lt>c6+ lt>a8 with
the same position.
9 lt>c6 llb7 (86)


B . Guretzky-Cornitz I 864

This is drawn unless the white

k i ng can cross the b-file or reach
\'K . Equally, the black king m ust The basic position in this type
r l' m ain on the corner squares. of ending. White cannot win.
! ' l a y might go: 1 0 't!t'd8+
1 't!t'e7+ lt>b 8 White could set a cunning trap
2 't!t'e8+ \t>b7 here by 1 0 't!t'f4. If Black then
3 't!t'd8 lt>a7 carelessly replies 10 ... llb5? he
4 't!t'c8 l oses after 11 \t>c7! lt>a7 or 1 1 . . .

W hite has obtained some success llb7+ I 2 lt>c8 llb5 I 3 't!t'c7 wins
u n d Black must now allow the 12 't!t'd6 llb8 1 3 't!t'c5+ lt>a8 1 4
w h ite king past the fifth rank. 't!t'c6+ lt>a7 1 5 't!t'd6 ! ll b 7 ! 1 6 lt>c8
l l owever, this has no real sig­ llb5 1 7 't!t'd7+ \t>a8 18 't!t'c7 and
ni ficance. Black will soon lose his rook.
72 Queen Endings

However, B lack should simply

play 1 0 ... 'it>a7! when White can
make no progress.
10 llb8
Or IO . 'it>a7 I I 1Wc8 llb6+
. .

1 2 'it>c7 llb5 can also be played .

l l 1i'd5
If I I 1Wa5 'it>a7 I 2 1Wc7+ 'it>a8
1 3 'fi'f4 ll b 7 ! again brings about
the required position.
11 llb7!
Not of course I I . . 'it>a7? 12 'it>c7

etc, whereas now Black can or 2 . . llb6 3 'it'a8+ \t>b5


always check the white king away 4 \t>b 3 etc. 3 'it>d3 ! llb6 Black is in
from c8 and White has no way of zugzwang and must allow the
strengthening his position. The white king over the fourth rank. If
game is drawn. 3 . . . a4 4 'it>c3 is the simplest way to
From the above analysis it is win 4 1Wc7+ 'it>a6 5 'it'c8+ 'it>a7 6
now clear why White would win 'it>c4 llb7 7 1i'd8 \t>a6 8 \t>c5 llb5+
with his king on the a-file. 9 'it>c6 winning.


For example , in diagram 87, However, B lack draws if his

White would win as follows: pawn has reached the sixth rank
1 1We7+ 'it>b8 2 'fi'd7 \t>a8 3 1Wc7 with his king in front of it. For
llb1 or 3 . . . llb7 4 'it'd8+ 'it>a7 example, in diagram 89, White
5 1i'd4+ followed by 'it>a5 4 'fi'd8+ can make no progress. Play might
'it>a7 5 1i'd4+ 'it>a8 6 'it>a5 wins . go: 1 'fi'f3 llb4 2 1i'd5+ 'it>a1 3 1Wa5
White would also win with the llbl+ 4 'it>c2 llb2+ 5 'it>c3 'it>a2 6
black pawn on a5 or a4. For 1Wa4 llb1 and Black draws.
example , in diagram 88, play Finally, let us examine positions
might go: 1 1i'd5 'it>a6 2 1Wc6+ \t>a7 in which the black rook supports
Queen Endings 73

the pawn fro m behind. Everything Black is in zugzwang and loses

depends upon how far advanced after 3 . . . llg6 4 't!t'f7+ llg7 5 "@'e8 !
the pawn is. In general, White llg6 6 ®h4 g 3 7 ® h 5 a n d the
wins against a pawn on the fourth mating threats force at least the
rank, whereas with the pawn on win of Black's pawn.
the fifth ran k the placing of the Also 1 .. . ®e8 loses to 2 "@'f6
pieces decides matters. If the pawn llg8 3 ®h2! g3+ 4 ®g2 and the
has reached the sixth rank, pawn is again lost.
however, Black usually manages 2 't!t'f2
to draw. Only in exceptional cases With this clever tempo move,
can White force a win, as in White manages to drive back the
diagram 90. black pieces. 2 't!t'fl is also
possible, but not 2 "@'f4 llg6! and
it is W hite who is in zugzwang.
2 llg6
White also wins easily after 2 . . .
llg5 3 "@'e3+ ®f6 4 "@'f4+ ®g6
5 ®h4, or 2 . . . ®e6 3 "@'f8 llg6 4
®h4! g3 5 ®h5 etc.
If 2 . . llg8 3 't!t'c5+ ®f6 4

@d6+ ®f7 5 "@'d5+ ®f8 6 't!t'e6 we

arrive at the main line.
3 't!t'f4! llg7
We have already seen 3 . . . ®e6
Kling and H orwitz 1 8 5 1 4 'ti'f8 and 3 . . . llg8 4 't!t'e5 + would
shorten the solution by one move.
The pawn i s blockaded by the 4 'ti'fS! llg8
white king, but at first sight it 5 't!t'eS+ ®f7
seems difficult for White to 6 "@'dS+ ®f8
st rengthen his position. He achieves 7 'ti'e6!
a win by the following subtle play: Again Black I S placed m
l 't!t'fS+ zugzwang and is reduced to
The composers began their m oving his rook between g8 and
solution with 1 't!t'd5+ ®f6 2 't!t'c6+ g7. White now wins by using the
n nd demonstrated the win after same tempo-losing manoeuvre
�:omplicated variations. They ap­ twice.
parently did not wish the black 7 llg7
k i ng to go to g8, but there is no 8 ®h2
need to fear this and the text move White could also win by 8 't!t'f6+
is the shortest way to victory. ®g8 9 't!t'f5 ®h8 10 't!t'f8+ ®h7
l ®e7 1 1 'ti'e8 ! as we saw in our notes to
If I . . . ®g8 2 "@'f6 ®h7 3 'ti'f8 the first move.
74 Queen Endings

8 g3+ opponent's queen is immediately

9 'i& g2 lig8 captured . However, victory can in
The trap 9 . . . lif7 would lose to fact be achieved in certain positions
10 'it'c8+ followed by I I 'i&xg3 but which must be known thoroughly.
not 10 'i&xg3? lig7+ I I 'i&h4 lih7+
12 'i&g5 lig7+ 13 'i&h6 lih7+!
when 14 'i&xh7 is stalemate.
l 0 'it'f6+ 'i&e8
l l 'i&h l ! g2+
l 2 'i&gl wins.
Blac k is forced to relinquish his
pawn by 1 2 . .. lif8. With this
example we conclude our examin­
ation of queen v rook and pawn.
We have only been able to
discuss a small part of all the
possible positions and have not This is a typical example of a
touched at all upon endings with successful mating attack which
more than one pawn . Ho weve r, White carried o ut as follows:
we feel that the reader has been l 'it'g2 +
given sufficient basic positions to White cannot win by I 'it'h8+?
enable him to deal with this type 'i&b I 2 'it'h I+ 'i&a2 3 'it'd5+ 'i&b I !
of ending. and the white queen cannot get
any nearer to the black king.
Queen against Queen (and Pawns) Equally I 'it'h2+? fails to I . . . 'i&a3 !
Endgames with queen and 2 'it'd6+ 'i&a2 3 'it'e6+ 'i&b I !
pawns on both sides are among 4 'it'e I + 'i&a2 etc. In such positions
the most difficult in chess. Even in White must always be ready
the most clear-cut example of to give check on the a-and b-files
queen and pawn on the seventh to prevent the black king
against queen alone , it is by no from clinging to the a2 and b l
means easy to formulate general squares.
principles. In the following pages, l 'i&a3
we hope to offe.r the reade r an 2 'it'aS+ 'i&b2
overall picture of queen endi ngs, 3 'it'b7+ 'i&c l
along with the conclusions reached We now see the point of White's
by present-day theory. play in checking on the b-file .
Black's king cannot go to a2 as
4 'i&c2 ! would immediately win for
I t may seem a little mad to White. H owever, the text move
mention s uch an ending, for there proves just as unsuccessful.
is apparently no win unless the 4 'it'c6+ 'i&b2
Queen Entlings 75

5 'irb5+ 'i!i>a3
6 'ira5+ 'i!i>b2 93
7 'irb4+ <i!i>a2
Now forced, as after 7 . . 'i!i>c l .

8 'ird2+ 'i!i>b I 9 'irc2 Black 1s

8 'i!i>c2! forces mate.
If the white queen is near
enough, the win can sometimes be
achieved even if the black king
occupies a2. For example, diagram
Although Black has the move
92 he cannot avoid a loss. White
threatens 'i!i>f2 (g3 )+ followed by
mate. If 1 ... 'irh4 2 'ira1 + leads to
mate, as do 1 ... 'i!i>g1 2 'ira7+ 'i!i>h1
3 "it'h7+ 'i!i>g1 4 'irg7+, or 1 ... 1!¥fl+
2 'i!i>g3+ 'i!i>g1 3 'ira7+ 'i!i>h1
4 'irb7+ etc. What a queen!

This ending is not only difficult

White wins by 1 'ireS+ 'i!i>a2 to conduct but even trickier to
2 'irc4+! not 2 'ira5+? 'i!i>b l ! analyse. We usually arrive at
drawing 2 ... 'i!i>a3 if 2 . . . 'i!i>b I 3 'irc2 positions in which both kings are
mate 3 'ira6+ etc, as we have subject to checking by the enemy
already seen. queen, making it virtually im­
However, if we were to change possible to analyse every variation
diagram 9 1 by placing White's king fully. We must therefore restrict
on the more favourable square d2, ourselves to guiding principles
he almost always wins irrespective which can be illustrated by one or
of the placing of his queen. two concrete examples.
There are one or two other Because there are so many
positions in which White can win. possibilities, we shall deal only
For instance, the enemy queen can with positions containing a pawn
occasionally be captured after a on the seventh rank . Despite this
series of checks, or an unusual limitation, there still remain a
mating attack is possible. A most n umber of complex situations
surprising example comes from a which we cannot hope to investigate
study by Kantorowitsch: fully in a volume such as this.
76 Queen Endings

For a long time it was thought offers White good winning chances,
that this type of ending was mainly because the white king can
usually drawn because the side take refuge from checks by using
with the pawn could rarely both sides of the pawn.
succeed in promoting it. Only the As White to move could win at
bishop's pawn was considered to once by 1 't!t'c2+ �a3 (a5) 2 't!t'c3+
give winning chances. In recent followed by 3 �8 . let us see how
times, however, as great deal of Black, to move , defends such a
exact analysis has shown that all position. H e has not a great deal
positions containing a pawn on of choice which means that we can
the seventh rank offer good analyse the position out to a clear
winning chances. The rook's win.
pawn is an exception to this, A
although even in this case some l 't!t'b3+
chances have been discovered. 1 . . . 1!¥a7 2 �f8 loses at once and
In order to give the reader an we shall examine 1 . . . �a3 and 1 . . .
idea of the difficulties faced by 't!t'c7 i n variations B and C .
both defender and attacker in 2 �f8
such positions, we intend to The simplest, although White
discuss one or two examples in can also win by 2 '§'e6 'i¥f3+ 3 't!t'f6
some depth. In this way we can 'it'h5+ (or 3 . . . '§'d5+ 4 �g7 '§'g2+
pinpoint several winning methods 5 �f8 wins) 4 �g7 't!t'g4+ 5 �f8
which can be applied generally to '§'b4 6 'i¥a6+ �b3 7 't!t'e6+
similar positions. followed by 8 �g8 .
2 '§'b4
94 White exchanges queens after
2 . . . 't!t'a3 3 '§'d7+.
3 1!¥e5!
The reader should note that
well-calculated q uiet moves often
achieve more in s uch endings than
the seemingly more forceful checks.
This move places Black in
2 �b3
If 3 -. . . 't!t'a3 4 �g7 wins, and if
This position could have occurred 3 . . . �a3 4 'iVa i + forces the
in the game Alekhine-Stoltz ( l 942) exchange of queens.
and is a reasonably favo urable 4 'i¥e6+ wins.
example of the type of situation After 5 �g8 the pawn queens.
which can arise when the attacker B
has a central pawn. Such a pawn l �a3
Queen Endings 77

In this way Black stops the 3 'i¥e3+

white queen gaining the important There are of course other
�:entral squares d4 or e4 without winning methods, but the text
loss of time. move illustrates an important idea
2 'i¥£4! which is well worth learning as it
There are obviously other often occurs in these endings.
winning methods, b ut the text 3 <t>c2
move threatens 3 <t>f8 , so Black If 3 .. . <t>a2 4 <t>f6 wins, or 3 . . .
must move his queen. <t>c4 4 'iVc 1 + wins. Other king
2 1Wa7 moves allow the white queen to
Both 2 . . . 'i¥b3+ and 2 . . . 'i¥d7 reach d4 with check.
lose to 3 <t>f8 , and if 2 . . . 'i¥d5+ 3 4 <t>g6
<i;g7 1Wg2+ (or 3 'i¥b7 or d7 The white king begins a journey
4 <t>f8 wins. back to the first rank and Black
3 <t>e6 1Wa8 cannot prevent this, however
The only move , for 3 m uch he checks.
't!t'b6 (a6)+ allows 4 'i¥d6+. 4 'i¥c6+
4 'i¥d6+ <t>b2 Or 4 . . . 'i¥d6+ 5 <t>g5 'i¥d5+
If 4 . . . <t>a4 5 1Wd7+, or 4 . . . 6 <t>h4 ! 1Wc4+ (if 6 . . . 'i¥h 1 + 7 <t>g3)
<i;a2 (b3) 5 'i¥d5+. 7 <t>g3 1Wg8+ 8 <t>f2 'i¥f7+ 9 <t>e 1
5 'i¥e5+ <t>c2 (cl) etc, as in the main line.
Again 5 .. . <t>a2 (b3) allows 5 <t>g5 'i¥g2+
6 'i¥d5+ and 5 .. . <t>b l fails to 6 <t>£4 1Wh2+
6 'i¥b5 + followed by 7 e8 'i¥ . Or 6 . . . 1Wfl + 7 <t>g3 and Black
6 'i¥c5+ wins. has no more checks.
White either exchanges queens 7 <t>£3 'i¥h5+
on d5 or else queens his pawn after If 7 . . . 1Wh3 (h 1 )+ 8 <t>f2 'i¥h2+
7 'i¥b5+. 9 <t>fl 'iVh 1+ 10 'iVg l ! etc, as in the
c main line.
1 'i¥c7 8 <t>g2 'i¥g6+
2 1We4+ After 8 . . . 'i¥g4+ 9 <t>fl 1Wd 1 +
White is a1mmg to place his 1 0 'iVe 1 ! o r 8 . . . 'i¥d5+ 9 <t>f1 1Wh 1 +
queen on d4 when <t>f8 will win at 1 0 1Wg l ! Black has n o more checks
once, so Black m ust try to prevent which do not allow the exchange
this. of queens. Nor is he saved by 10 . . .
2 <t>b3 'i¥h 5 1 1 'i¥f2+ <t>d3 1 2 'i¥g3+ and
The only move. After 2 . . . <t>a3 the white queen eventually gains
3 'i¥d4 wins at once, as 4 <t>f8 is control of the e8 square. This is
threatened and 3 . . . 'i¥b7 fails to the manoeuvre we were talking
4 'iVa 1+. Or if 2 . . . <t>a5 (b5) 3 <t>f6 about; the white king retreats to
'i¥b6 (d6)+ 4 'i¥e6 ! and Black has the first rank when B lack's king is
no more checks. on the seventh rank, and this
78 Queen Endings

means that Black's checking White's plan is si mple but

possibilities are restricted because effective , and we have already
of the threat to exchange queens seen the basis of it. He intends to
by interposing with check. It is place his queen on f2, then
clear that the same method will proceed according to the position
work, for example, on the a-file of the black king. If the latter
when Black's king is on the b-file occupies the sixth rank , then the
(White's king on a8, queen on a7 white king will head for g2, and if
and Black's king on b2). the black king goes to the eighth
9 wn 'i!fe8 rank, then White checks on fl and
Check allows the exchange of plays his king to g l . In both cases
queens. Black would have no more checks
1 0 Wel l wins . and could not stop the pawn
Whatever Black plays, he cannot queening. There is no defence to
prevent I I 'i!fe6 followed by this plan.
1 2 'i!fd6 and 1 3 'i!fd8. 1 Wal
As we can see from the above White would win in the same
example, a central pawn offers way after queen moves.
White very good winning chances, 2 <ct>g7
but what about the other pawns? White m ust make a few
Diagram 95 ill ustrates the case of preparations before beginning his
a bishop's pawn. plan. An immediate 2 'i!fg l + Wb2
3 'i!ff2+ Wa3 4 Wg7 would not do,
as Black can stop the white king's
advance by playing 4 . . . 'i!fg5 +
5 <ct>h7 'i!fh5+.
2 'i!fd4+
3 Wh7 'i!fe4+
4 Wh6 'i!fc6+
After 4 . . . 'i!fe6+ 5 Wg7 'i!fe7 (d7)
6 'i!fg l + followed by 7 'i!ff2+ wins
as in the main line.
5 Wg7 'i!fb7 r(d7)
6 'i!fgl + <ct>b2
In order to avoid . a host of 7 'i!ff2+ <ct>al
complex variations involving checks Or 7 . . . <ct>a3 (b3,c 3) 8 <ct>h6 and
by the black queen, we have the king returns to g2.
chosen a relatively favourable 8 'i!ffl + <ct>b2
position . The object of the exercise 9 Wh6 wins.
is to demonstrate how the win is Play might go 9 . . . 'i!fc6+ 1 0 Wg5
achieved in such positions. 'i!fd5+ 1 1 Wg4 'i!fe4+ 1 2 Wg3
1 'i!fg3! 'i!fg6+ 1 3 <ct>h2 'i!fh6+ 14 <ct>gt 'i!ff8
Queen Endings 79

there are no more useful checks ! move, as after 2 'irg4 Black would
I S '@f6+ \t>a2 16 \t>fl ! followed by have to transpose to the main line
ti'e6-e8 . There are other winning by 2 . . . '@d5+. White could also
methods from the diagrammed answer 1 . . . 'irg8 with 2 'ird7
position but the one we have given winning.
i s the most instructive . 2 '@g4 !
Extensive analysis has shown The most clear-cut winning
t hat White has very good winning method. White now threatens to
chances with the bishop's pawn , play his king to g l , so Black must
but there are more difficulties to seek salvation in checks.
be overcome than with the centre 2 'irdS+
pawns. Let us now consider If 2 . . . '@f2+ 3 \t>d3 and Black
positions containing a knight's has no more checks, and if 2 . . .
pawn. Black's defensive possibilities '@g8 3 We 1 etc wins.
are greater here, but White still 3 \tel !
wins in most cases. One example, White must play precisely in
diagram 96, should suffice . order to escape the many checks.
For example, 3 \t>e2 'i!t'b5+ 4 \t>f2
\16 'i!t'b6+ 5 \t>g2 '@c6+ 6 \t>h2 '@h6+
and the king cannot escape
perpetual check.
White must play his king to the
g-file in such a way that Black has
no effective diagonal checks.
3 'i!t'hl+
If 3 ... '@e5+ 4 'i!t'e2+; or 3 . . .
'@a5+ 4 'i.t>fl , o r 3 . . . 'irg8 4 \t>f2
(threatening 5 \t>g l ) 4 . . . '@f7+ 5
\t>g l '@a7+ 6 \t>h l etc.
Again we have selected a 4 \t>f2 '@h2+
reasonably favourable position, 5 'irg2 wins.
having omitted the lengthy man­ We shall not examine positions
oeuvre required for the king to involving the rook's pawn, which
reach d2. White to move would only offer slender winning chances.
win at once by 1 '@f2, so let us look The reason for this is clear:
a t Black to move. White's king has difficulty escaping
1 'irf7 the checks. The examples we have
I . . . 'ire6 loses to 2 'ira7+ \t>b2 chosen are relatively few in
3 '@b8+ \ta l 4 'ira8+ (but not number, but we can nevertheless
4 g81!¥? 'i!t'e3+! with stalemate) draw some important co nclusions
followed by 5 g8 '@ . Nor would from them. We first see that both
I . . . '@g8 improve on the text queens must strive to occupy a
80 Queen Endings

commanding central position from If White has more than one

where they can quickly switch to pawn, the win is usually easy, so
any part of the board. Secondly, we shall next consider positions in
we have shown that White can which both sides have pawns.
seldom make any progress without
using his king out in the open.
Thirdly, in order to check most
effectively, Black must place his Here again there are a wealth of
king as far away as possible from possible positions which can
the pawn. For this reason, his king hardly be systematized. Moreover,
usually stands best at the edge of as in practice both sides usually
the board or in the corners. The have pawns left on the board,
reader should try out similar these positions mostly belong to
endgame positions so as to become the practical endings section. So
familiar with both attacking and we will restrict ourselves to
defensive possibilities. analysi ng an interesting position
Before concluding this section, with two pawns against one.
we must point out one further idea
which can occur in queen endings
with knight's pawn. (97)

H . Friedmann-Gilg 1 936

White has a stong passed pawn

Black can force an immediate which is, however, hefd r by the
draw, as was demonstrated long black queen. The presence of
ago by Lolli. He plays 1 ... '@11 4 + pawns on the kingside gives both
2 'iWh7 or 2 \t'g8 'iWd8+ 3 \t'f7 kings better protection from
'iWd7+ 4 \t'f6 'iWd4+! 5 \t'g6 'iWg4+ checks, but White wins by the
etc. 2 . . . 'iWd8+ 3 g8'iW or 3 'iWg8 following subtle play:
'iWh4+ etc 3 . . . 'iWf6+ 4 'iWgg7 'iWd8+ 1 'iWe3
5 'iWhg8 '@h4+ 6 'iW7h8 'iWf6+ when Threatening 2 'iWe/+ \t'g6 3
despite his two queens White 'iWe8+ followed by 4 a8 'iW , and at
cannot escape perpetual check. the same time providing the white
· Queen Endings 8 1

k i ng with a safe retreat square on As w e have already mentioned,

�3 . we shall examine other endings,
1 �a2 with pawns on both sides, in our
An imaginative defence. White's practical endings section.
l h reat is prevented because at the
end Black's queen mates on h2. If Queen against other pieces
anstead I . . . $f8 2 �h6+ wins the We have already dealt with
pawn with check, and I . . . 'it>f7 endings of queen against rook,
al lows 2 �3+ and the pawn soon against pawn, and against rook
q ueens. However, White's task is and pawn. In general a queen and
n ot so easy after 1 ... �a4 (which minor piece cannot win against a
rontrols e8) when 2 �e7+ 'it>g6 queen alone, although exception s
\ �7 !ta2 , or 2 �6 �e4! both are possible. Equally, endings
� i ve Black good counterplay. with queen against rook and
White wins by 2 'it>h5! 'it>f7 2 . . . minor piece are usually drawn. On
•a5 3 g 5 3 �d3! 'it>e7 3 . . . �a5 + the other hand, a queen wins
4 'i!t'f5 �d2 5 �h7+ 'it>e6 6 'i!t'g8+ easily against a single m i nor piece,
and 7 a8 � 4 �h7+ 'it>d6 5 �b7 but a minor piece in conj u nction
11Va5+ 6 'it>g6 �g5+ 7 'it>f7 etc. with a far advanced passed pawn
2 'it>g3 'it>f7 can sometimes draw.
Preventing 3 'i!t'e7+ followed by H owever, with two rooks, or
4 �e8+. two bishops, or two knights, or
3 �d3! bishop and knight, against a
An alternative is 3 �e4! �a3+ queen , the result depends on the
4 lt>h4 'i!t'b2 or 4 . . . �a2 5 'i!t'h7+ placing of the pieces. Let us
...tlf8 6 a8�+ ! , or 4 . . . �d6 5 't!Vh7+ examine these fo ur possibilities in
lt>c6 6 �c2 5 �c4+ 'it>g6 or 5 . . . turn.
oJ;g7 6 �c7+ and 7 a8 � 6 �d3+
followed by 7 a8� winning.
3 'it>g7 This ending is usually drawn, so
4 �d7+ 'it>h6 we will just analyse an exceptional
Seemingly setting up a successful position in which the two rooks
defence. win because of an unfavo urably
5 g5+! 'it>xg5 placed black king. (99)
If 5 . . . fg 6 �c6+ or 5 . . . 'it>g6 1 llh7+ 'it>g8
(, �e8+, both followed by 7 a8 � . 2 llhe7
6 �g7+ 'it>f5 White's first move took away g8
Or 6 . . . 'it>h5 7 �h 8+ etc. fro m Black's queen and also
7 �g4+ wins. prevented the black queen from
After 7 . . . 'it>e5 8 �f4+ the white escaping ( I llf7 �d6 ! ). He must
q ueen checks on f3 or e4, then constantly be on the watch for the
promotes his pawn . latter threat which would give
82 Queen Endings

f-file wins.
99 6 'Ot>f2!
But not 6 'Ot>f3? 't!Vc6+ o r 6 'Ot>fl ?
't!Vb5+. N ote that 4 llcd7 would
have allowed both these king
6 'Ot>g8
7 llg7+ 'Ot>fS
Or else the queen is lost as we
have seen.
8 llh7! 'Ot>g8
Black has no checks and his
H . Rinck 1 9 1 6 queen cannot simultaneously pre­
vent the mates on a8 and h 8 .
Black perpetual check, and the 9 llag7+ 'Ot>fS
following rook moves can be 10 llh8+ wins the queen.
understood in this context. I t m ay even be possible for the
2 'Ot>h8 queen to win against two rooks,
Queen moves along the rank but only if the latter are loose ,
fail to 3 llg7+ 'Ot>h8 4 llh7+ 'Ot>g8 i.e. not guarding one another or
5 llbg7+ 'Ot>f8 6 llh8+ winning the guarded by the king. If either side
queen . has a minor piece as well this i11
3 llbc7! usually sufficient to ensure the
Why this square? The idea is to win . Even the ending of queen
answe r 3 . . . 't!Vg8 with 4 Wfl ! when against rook and two minor piece11
c4 is denied to Black's queen and is worse for the side with the
after 4 . . . 't!Vf8+ 5 llf7 't!Vg8 6 'Ot>f2 ! queen, b ut should usually be
would lead to zugzwang, winning drawn.
the q!Jeen o r mating. So Black
m ust continue to play waiting
moves. With a queen against minor
3 'Ot>g8 pieces, the result usually depends
4 lla7 on the placing of the pieces. Fom
4 llcd7 would also win, as in the minor pieces usually win, th ree'
main line , but not 4 'Ot>e l 'Ot>h8 minor pieces do no more than
5 llf7 because of 5 . . .'t!Vb4+, draw, and two minor pieces can he
whereas 4 llb7 'Ot>h8 would give us disadvantageous. Let us begin by
the same position as after Black's examining diagram 1 00 in wh ich
second move. the two bishops manage to hold
4 'Ot>h8 their own .
5 llf7 't!Ve8+ Diagram 1 00 shows the set-up
If 5 . . . 't!Vg8 any king move to the Black m ust aim for. Both bishops
Queen Endings 83

4 'ifb6 etc transposes to variation a

3 !fa7 J.c3 4 !t'g1 + '.t>h7 5 !fh2+
'.t>g8 6 !t'b8+ '.t>h7 7 !fc7 wins a
2 !fe6+ '.t>g7
3 '.t>f4 J.h7
Black must of course keep his
bishops near his king, but at the
same time prevent '.t>f5 . If 3 . . . J.f7
4 !fd7 '.t>g6 5 !t'g4+ fol lowed by
6 '.t>f5 wins for White.
4 !t'd7+ '.t>g6
G . Lolli 1 763 Even safer is 4 . . . '.t>g8 , but the
text move draws.
stand best next to each other to 5 '.t>g4 J.g8
prevent the advance of the enemy 6 !t'e8+ '.t>g7
k ing and the king is best placed Or 6 ... J.f7 7 !t'd7 J.g8 etc.
near the corner, next to the two 7 '.t>f5 J.h7+
bishops, on the second rank. This 8 '.t>e6 J.g8+
means that he has sufficient room 9 '.t>d7 J.f7
t o manoeuvre whilst being well and we have now reached approxi­
protected from attacks on both m ately the same position as in
sides. The defence goes as follows: diagram 100, with the board
1 !t'd7+ '.t>g8! turned 90 degrees. White has
But not 1 . . . J.f7? which allows made no progress and we cannot
t he white king to approach by see what else he can do. After
2 <MS! giving the winning variations: 10 !t'e4 J.g8 1 1 !t'g4+ '.t>f7 1 2
a ) 2 . . . J.c3 3 !fa7 J.b2 the bishop !fh5+ '.t>g7 1 3 '.t>e8 the simplest is
has no other moves, a nd 3 . . . '.t>g8 1 3 . . . J.e6 1 4 'it'f3 J.f7+ 1 5 '.t>d7
l oses to 4 !fa8+ 4 'ifb6 J.a3 if 4 . . . J.g8 and so on. The position is
.tc3 5 !t'g l + '.t>h7 6 'it'h2+ '.t>g8 drawn.
7 !fb8+ '.t>h7 8 !fc7 wins a bishop Even in the middle of the board ,
� !fd4+ '.t>f8 or 5 .. . '.t>g8 6 '.t>f6 t h e t w o bishops can often draw
M8 7 !t'd8+ J.e8 8 '.t>e6 wins against a queen, but play is m uch
6 !Val or the composer's solution more complex and is of little
(, !fh8+ '.t>e7 7 !fe5+ Wf8 8 '.t>f6 practical interest to us here.
de. 6 ... J.b4 or 6 . . . J.e7 7 !t'h8+
.ig8 8 '.t>g6 etc, or 6 . . . J.d6 7
"t!f"h8+ '.t>e7 8 !t'f6+ wins 7 !t'h8+ Rather surprisingly, the two
<J.Je7 or 7 . . . J.g8 8 '.t>g6 8 !fe5+ k nights offer even better chances
and Black loses his bishop on b4. than the two bishops, and this
h) 2 ... J.b2 2 . . . J.a 1 3 !fa7 J.b2 ending is considered a draw. Black
84 Queen Endings

must of course post his pieces together. Black can bring his
correctly. At first sight, the pieces towards the centre whenever
knights might appear to be best he likes, as there is little to fear.
placed defending each other, but 3 it::l h f8
this is not the case. Such a set-up 3 . . . it::l f6+ would be risky after
would allow the enemy king to slip 4 �f5 it::l h 4+ 5 �g5 it::l f3+ 6 �f4
in th rough the gaps created, when it::l h 4 7 'it'h3 it::l g 6+ 8 �f5 and
the queen would drive the White's king gives him some
defending king away from the winning chances .
knights . As with the two bishops, 4 'it'd6 �f7
the main task of the defence is to 5 'it'd5+
prevent the approach of the If 5 �h 5 it::l e 6 and Black aims
enemy king, so the knights are for a position with his knights on
best placed as in diagram 1 0 1 . At e6 and e5 and king on f6. There is
all events they m ust stay close to little White can do to prevent this.
the king and m ust not cling to the 5 �g7
edge of the board. White has been able to make
hardly any progress. As he cannot
101 play 6 �g5? it::l h 7+ and his queen
is lost, he must play 6 'it'd4+ �
7 �f5 it::le 7+ 8 �e4 it::l fg6 when he
has achieved nothing.
In such endings it is difficult to
quote definite drawing positions,
but it is j ust as difficult to prove
how White can win against correct
defence . For this reason, queen
against two knights is, with
T. von der Lasa reason, held to be drawn.
1 'it'e6 �g7
2 �f3 it::l h 7 I
2 . . . it::l h 8 3 �f4 it::l t7 would Unlike the other two com-
create m ore difficulties for Black, binations of minor pieces, bishop
as after 4 'it'c6! threatening and knight offer only slight
5 'it'g2+ it would not be easy to drawing chances, mainly because
prevent the advance of White's these two pieces have difficulty in
king. holding back the advance of the
3 �g4 enemy king. Diagram 1 02 shows
If 3 'it'd7+ �g8 4 'it'd8+ �t7 5 us that the defence cannot even
'it'c7+ it::l e 7 and 6 . . . it::l f6 when the survive from a relatively favourable
black pieces also work well position.
Queen Endings 85

2 �f6
1112 3 1Wg4
White also wins after Karstedt's
suggested 3 !Vg3 �d4 4 'ifb3+ �f6
5 �c6, but the text move seems
3 �e5
4 1Wc4+ �g6
5 !Ve4+ �f6
6 1Wd5!
M uch stronger than B ilguer's
6 �c6 liJf5 7 1Wf3 �e6 8 1Wb3+ �f6
P.Bilguer 1 843 9 1Wd5 , as Black could vary with
6 . . . �e6 ! posing problems for
Bilguer himself gave this position White. Black is now in zugzwang.
us drawn, a verdict accepted by his
contemporaries. Berger was the 103 � � �
fi rst to demonstrate that Black
ca nnot defend the position. It

B � � <Jt �
• . ­
� � �·� �
would take u s too far to present a
complete analysis here , so we will -�-�---�
� � ' "" ' �
j ust examine one fairly clear
variation :

• • •
1 1Wg2 . � � .
Simpler than Bilguer's 1 !fd5+ • • • •
lt.>g6 2 1Wg2+ which gives Black � � � �
I he option of playing 2 . . . �h7 (h6).
1 �e5 6 �f4
The other possibility 1 . . . �g8 Black cannot prevent the ap­
( I . . �f8 2 1Wg6 is even better for
. proach of the white king. Black
White) 2 !Vg6 �a 1 (2 . . . �h4 loses after 6 . . . �a 1 (or 6 . . . �b2
l �h6) 3 !Va6 �e5 4 �e7 followed 7 1Wf3+ liJf5 8 !fc6+ �g7 9 'ifb5
h y 5 !Vc4+ and 6 �f7 wins easily etc) 7 !fc6+ �f7 8 !fc4+ �g6 9
for White, as does 1 . . . liJf5 (or 1 . . . !fc2+ �f6 10 1Wf2+ liJf5 1 1 !Vb6+
lilh5 2 !fd5+ �g6 3 !fe4+ and �g7 1 2 1Wa5 , and his pieces are
4 �e6 etc) 2 1Wd5+ �g6 3 !fe4 very badly placed after 6 . . . �g3
followed by 4 �e6, or 1 . . . �h4 2 (or 6 . . . �h2 7 !fc6+ �f7 8 1Wf3+
1id5+ �g6 3 1We4+ winning a �g8 9 �e7 etc) 7 !fc6+ �g5 8 !fc3
p1ece. ltJ h 5 9 1Wf3 , or 6 . . . �b8 7 !fc6+
2 !Vg5 �f7 8 !fb5 �h2 9 1Wfl + �g8
If 2 1Wd5+ �f6 and White has 1 0 �e7 , or 6 . . . �f5 7 �e7 �f4
no good waiting m ove. 8 �f7 etc.
86 Queen Endings

7 't!Vc6+ �g5 zwang. White can make no

If 7 . . . �f5 8 �e7 which would progress.
also be good after the text move. I �e7 .ih8
8 't!Ve4 l.Uf5 2 �e6 .ig7
9 �e6 l.U g3 3 �rs .th8
After 9 . . . l.Ug7+ 1 0 �f7 ltJ f5? 4 �g5 .ig7
I I 't!Vd5 �g4 I2 !t'e6 wins the The position remains practically
knight. unchanged.
10 't!Vf3 5 't!Ve8+ �h7
and White has disturbed the co­ 6 �h5 .ih8
ordination of Black's pieces , so 7 't!Ve7+ .ig7
that the ending can now be 8 �g5 �g8
asssessed as won for him. If the and White can neither advance his
reader wishes to pursue this king nor bring about zugzwang.
analysis, he can check it in a m ore The ga me is clearly drawn.
specialized book on endings . We might also mention the
However, even with bishop and position in diagram I 05 . White
knight there are exceptional cannot free his king from the
positions in which the queen has stalemate position. However, these
no winning ch ances. One of the are exceptions and do not alter
most well-known is the following our general assessment of a win
position . for the queen against knight and
bishop .

M . Karstedt 1903
With this, we finish our s urvey
The black pieces are ideally of the basic positions arising from
posted for defence, with the queen endings. Such endings
bishop protecting the knight, and cannot be so easily classified
the king the bishop, whilst allowing as pawn endings, and we often
enough space for manoeuvring have to base our judgement on
without being driven into zug- general positional considerations.
Queen Endings 8 7

However, we have indicated many positional superiority. I t is ex­

key ideas for the handling of the tremely instructive to see how
various positions. Capablanca uses these elements to
In conclusion, let us now see how bring about a win.
this knowledge can be applied to a 1 �e6
few endings from practical play. Although the white queen is
passively placed , it is defending
Practical examples the b-, d- and g-pawns, so Black
Our first example, diagram 1 06, can make no progress with o ut the
comes from a tourna ment game help of his king which ts now
Lisitsin-Capablanca, Moscow 1935. heading for d5.
2 h4 f6
1 06 3 �e3
B If White tries to use his passed
d-pa wn by playing 3 'it'e2+ �d6
4 'it'e4, Black replies 4 . . . g5+ 5 hg
'it'xg 5+ 6 �f3 'it'xb5 7 'it'f4+ �d7 !
when 8 'it'xh6 'it'd3+ 9 'it'e3 'it'xe3+
1 0 �xe3 gives him a won pawn
3 'it'c4
4 g3
Black was threatening to increase
Lisitsin-Capablanca 1 93 5 his pressure by 4 . . . �d5 which
would now be countered with
As material is even a n d Black 5 'it'g2+. However, this pawn
has neither real threats nor a move entails a further weakening
mating attack, the position might of the king's wing, and in
a t first sight seem equal. However, particular of the f3 square. In the
closer examination reveals several following play Capablanca ex­
small advantages for Black. Firstly, ploits in masterly fashion the
his queen is powerfully centralized weakness of this square .
on d5, secondly, his pawn position Bondarevsky has recommended
is more compact, thirdly White's a more active defence for White by
pawns are weak, reducing the means of 4 'it'b 1 ! , certainly giving
white queen to a passive role, and White better prospects than the
fourthly the black king is better game continuation. After 4 . . .
protected from checks than is 'it'c3+ 5 'it'd3 'it'xd3+ 6 �xd3 �d5
White's. Black wins the ending (7 �e3 g5 !
Viewed individually, the above 8 hg fg 9 �d3 h4 1 0 �e3 g4, or
advantages are minimal, but here 8 g3 g4 ! 9 �d3 f5 1 0 �e3 �c4
t ogether they give Black a clear etc),but White can instead play
88 Queen Endings

5 'it>e2 ! with counterplay, for even 10 't!Vf3+

though Black wins a pawn by 5 . . . 11 'it>eS 't!Vf6+
't!Vxd4 6 't!V xg6 't!Ve5+ 7 'it> f3 't!Vxb5 , 12 'it>dS 't!Vd6+
White h a s some drawing chances 0- l
after 8 't!Vg8+ 'it>e5 9 't!Vb8+ etc. A Black forces the exchange of
good general rule in queen endings queens next move and easily wins
is not to use the queen as a passive the pawn ending.
defender but always be on the In queen endings, passed pawns
l ook-out for active counterplay. are vitally i mportant. It is clea r
4 gS that a passed pawn supported by
5 hg fg the queen is a force to be reckoned
6 't!Vh2 with, and many a time such
Surprisingly, White has been a pawn has compensated fo r
forced into a kind of zugzwang material disadvantage. This means
position, a rare situation indeed in that pawns can sometimes br
queen endings. The pawn ending sacrificed to create a passed pawn
after 6 't!Ve2 would clearly be lost, and save what would would
and 6 'it>e4 g4 7 'it>f4 'it>f6 8 'it>e4 otherwise be a totally lost position.
't!Ve6+ 9 'it>d3 't!Vd 5 ! seems un­ Diagram 1 07 illustrates this typr
attractive for White. of imaginative defence.
Relatively best is 6 't!Vb I 't!Vc3+
7 'it>e2 losing a pawn after 7 . . .
't!Vxd4 but giving White some
drawing chances with 8 't!Vg6+ 't!Vf6
9 't!Vxh 5 .
The counterattack begun by the
text move is a desperation measure
which quickly loses.
6 't!Vb3+
7 'it>e4 g4!
Threatening 8 . . . 't!Vf3 mate, so
forcing the white queen back to
defence. Rubinstein-Capablanca 1 9 1 4
8 't!Ve2
Or 8 't!Vf2 't!Vd5+ 9 'it>e3 't!Vxb5 White i s a pawn up and has 11
etc. more actively posted queen. Thr
8 't!Vxg3 black queen on the other hand iN
9 't!Vc4+ 'it> e7 tied to the defence of his queensidr
1 0 't!Vc8 pawns. If Black defends passive l y
At last White looks like ob­ White will advance his pa w n
taining some counterplay but it is majority a n d soon obtain 1 1
all too late. winning position.
Queen Endings 89

What can Black do? His c-pawn 'ili'e4+ 6 'it>h2 !fc2 etc. Despite his
is attacked and after I . . . c4 2 a3 two extra pawns, there may be no
the black queen would be per­ way for White to utilize his
manently tied to the protection of advantage , but he should at least
the a-pawn. Nor would I !fc8
. . . have tried this line.
change the situation much, as the 2 be
q ueen would still be tied down to 3 !fxc3 'ili'bl +
passive defence. Finally, there is 4 'it>h2 !fxa2
the counterattack by I . . . 'ili'e4, but We can now see the first results
t h is is ineffective after 2 !Vxa6, of Black's play on the queen's
when White is two pawns up and wing. He has created a passed
has a secure king's position. a-pawn which threatens to march
( 'apablanca finds another way of on to the queening square.
creating excellent counterchances. Moreover White m ust lose time
1 b4! defending his f-pawn, after which
The object is to create a passed he himself has to start an action
pawn as quickly as possible. on the kingside. His winning
2 !fxc5? chances have gone.
This makes Black's task relatively 5 !fc8+ 'it>h7
easy. No better is 2 cb 'i!i'xb4 but 6 'it'fS+ g6
2 c4! would pose more problems Of course 6 . . . 'it>g8 was also
for Black, as both 2 . . . !fc8 3 'ili'b6 possible, but the text move gains
a n d 2 . . . !fa7 3 'i!i'd8+ followed by an important tempo, even though
'1Va5 are no good for him. As soon it slightly weakens his kingside.
u s White fixes Black's queenside 7 !ff6+ a5
pawns, he can proceed with the 8 g4 a4
nd vance of his pawns. 9 hS gh!
However, Black has one in­ Black must be carefu l , as 9 . . .

teresting possibility at his disposal. a3? 1 0 h6 ! 'it>xh6 I I !t'h8+ 'it>g5

l i e can counterattack by 2 . . . 'i!i'e4 ! 1 2 'it>g3 ! gives a mating attack .
when 3 !fxc5 'ili'b I + 4 'it>h2 !Vxa2 Similarly 9 . . . !fe6 loses t o 1 0 hg+.
"' 1!Vxb4 !fxf2 gives White no 10 !ffS+
l'ha nces. So best is 3 !fxa6 when Rubinstein decides not to play
B l a c k coolly replies 3 . . . 'it>h7 ! with fire. I ndeed 10 gh !t'e6 !
l l· a v i n g White with difficult prob­ would give Black winning chances.
l e m s to solve . His queen is tied to 1 0 'it>g7
t he defence of his a- and c-pawns, 11 !fgS+ 'it>h7
u n d the capture of either would Or I I . . . 'it>f8 1 2 !t'd8+ etc.
I( I Ve Black a strong passed pawn. 12 !fxhS+ 'it>g7
It White guards his h-pawn with 13 'it'gS+ 'it>h7
4 �3, Black forces repetition of Y2 - Y2
1 1 1 o ves after 4 .. . 'ili'b I+ 5 'it>g2 Black cannot escape perpetual
90 Queen Endings

check and White has nothing �e5 3 'ti'g7+. White cannot now
better than to take the draw. In play 3 e7 because there is
queen endings, as we have said, perpetual check after 3 . . . 'ti'f6+.
passed pawns are more important 3 �g6 'ti'gl +
than material considerations. We pointed out many times that
It might be thought that purely ill-considered, purposeless checks
theoretical endings have little often have disastrous consequences.
application to practical play, but The text move in no way improves
this is hardly the case with queen the position of Black's queen but
endings, many of which arise after gives White a useful tempo by
pawn promotion on both sides. forcing his king to go where it
Diagram 1 08 is such an example, wants to go! Such checks should
also illustrating the inexact play always be avoided. We already
which often occurs in endgames. know that active centralized
queens are called for in this kind
1 08 of ending, and as White has not
w been able to centralize his own
queen, it is up to Black to take his
chance of playing 3 ... 'ti'e 5!
As Alekhine himself admitted
after the game, this move would
have given Black a draw. 4 'ti'c8+
or 4 'ti'a7+ get nowhere after 4 . . .
�d6, and 4 � f7 gives Black
perpetual check by 4 . . . 'ti'h5+
5 �7 1!rh4+ 6 'i!ie8 'irh8+ etc, as does
Alekhine-Stoltz 1 942 4 e7 'ti'g3+ 5 W 'ti'f4+ 6 �e8 'ti'b8+
7 'ti'd8 'ti'b5+ 8 �f7 'ti'fl + etc.
In general such positions offer 4 �f7 'ti'hl
White good winning chances, or Black can no longer prevent the
are even theore tically won, but advance of the pawn , qor has he
one circ u mstance favours Black any chance s of perpetual check .
here . His king is near the pawn For instance, after 4 . . . 'ti'f2+
and prevents the white queen from 5 �e8 'ti'g3 6 'ti'e7+ �c6 7 'ti'f6
taking up a dominating position �g8+ 8 �e7 'ti'h7+ 9 �f8 Black
in the centre where it would be could resign . Or 4 . . . 'ti'fl + 5 �eH
able to protect the white king from 'ti'a l (to prevent White's 'ti'e7+
checks. Let us see the game and 'ti'f6) 6 'ti'c7+ �b5 7 e 7 and
proceeded: White's king soon escapes the
1 'ti'f7+ �d6 checks .
2 'ti'd7+ �c5 Black most stubborn defence is
Black loses his queen after 2 . . . 4 ... 'ti'f2+ 5 �e8 'ti'h2 but afte r
Q ueen Endings 91

f1 't!fe7+ and 7 'ik'f6 . White can wins 8 �e6 'ik'h3+ 9 �d6 '@d3+
udvance his pawn when Black 1 0 �c7 '@c4+ 1 1 �b8 1Wb3+
would hardly be able to hold the 12 �a7 'ik'f7 1 3 'ik'd6 ! wins . O r
position. 7 'ik'f5 ! 'ik'b7+ 8 e7 winning a s w e
5 'ik'c7+ �b5 showed in our analysis of diagram
Stoltz defends badly and makes 94.
Wh ite's task fairly easy. But even Of course , the text move does
� . . . �b4 would not save the game not spoil anything, unlike Stoltz's
u tter 6 't!t'f4+ �a3 7 e7 'ik'h7+ (or error, but unnecessarily complicates
7 . . . 't!t'd5+ 8 �g7 'ik'd 7 9 �f8 wins) matters.
K <be6 'ik'h3+ 9 �d6 'ik'd3+ 1 0 �c7 7 �a3
_.d+ I I �b7 'ik'b2+ I 2 �a7 'ik'g7 8 'ik'd3+ �b4
I ' 't!fd6+ and I 4 �a6 wins. This loses immediately but even
6 'ik'e5+ �a4 (1 09) the better 8 . .. �b2 would
I f the king goes to the third rank eventually lose. White could play
t he n 7 e7 'ik'h7+ 8 'ik'g7 wins at either 8 e7 'ik'h5 + 9 �e6 'ik'g4+
o n c e , and 6 . . . �b4 is certainly no I O �d6 (or I O 't!t'f5) , or 8 'ik'f5
I m p rovement on the text line. followed by 9 e7, as in the analysis
to diagram 94 .
/ IIIJ 9 'ik'f5!
II' Now even simpler than 9 e7 etc.
9 'ik'c6
Black would have more choice
after 9 . . . 'ik'b7+ IO e 7 but would
still lose. 1 0 . .. '@c7 transposes
into t he main line, IO . . . 'ik'a7
I I �f8 loses at once, and IO . . .
�a3 I I 'ik'f4! 'ik'a7 I 2 �e6 wins, as
we saw from diagram 94.
10 e7 'ik'c7
Alekhine-Stoltz I 942 1 1 'ik'e4+ �a3
1 2 'ik'd4!
7 'ik'd4+ Now the threat of I 3 �f8
Alekhine he re makes the same cannot be prevented, as I 2 . . . 'ik'b7
m i s ta ke as his opponent did fails to I3 'ik'a l + and I 4 'ik'b l +.
,.u rlier, by needlessly checking the Black could resign but hopes for
h l u c k king into a better position one last trap.
w h i lst in no way i mproving the 12 'ik'h2
position of his queen. White has 13 'ik'c5+ �a2
t wo simple ways of winning. 14 e8'ik' 't!t'f4+
t ·: i t her 7 e 7 't!nt7+ if 7 . . . 'ik'f3+ or 1 5 �g7 'ik'g3+
7 . . . 't!t'fl +, then 8 'ik'f6 and 9 �f8 1 6 �f8 !
92 Queen Endings

Careful to the end. After a queen versus rook ending with a

1 6 'iWg6? 'iWc3+! would produce a pawn on either side. An interesting
surprising stalemate. Black now position arises.
finally resigned . 3 'iWfS tt:l xh3+
Diagram 1 1 0 provides us with 4 'iWxh3 llc6
an interesting example of queen White was now ostensibly so
against rook and knight . shaken by the knight sacrifice that
he continued planlessly and finally
agreed to a draw with White's
king on f5 , queen on c3, pawn on
g4, and Black's king on g8 , rook
on e6, pawn on fl. White can in
fact make no progress in this
position, for the black king cannot
be driven from g8 or g7, nor the
black rook from the third rank.
However, let us forget about the
game continuation and devote our
attention to the position reached
Samisch-Prins 1 93 8 after the sacrifice. It turns out that
White threw his chances away by
White has a clear material allowing Black's king to reach g8.
advantage which is, however, The king had to be kept on the
difficult to convert into a win. All e-file when we shall prove that
the pawns are on the same wing, White could force a win:
White has no passed pa wn yet, 5 'iWh4+ <t>e8
there are no points of attack in As we have seen in our analysis
Black's camp and as the roo k can of queen versus rook endings, 5 . . .
oscillate between d4 and f4, f6 would only help White .
zugzwang is out of the question. 6 'iWh8+ <t>e7
Nevertheless White has a clear 7 <t>f2 I
winning plan: play g3 and create a Now that Black's king has been
passed pawn which he can then restricted, White plans to play his
queen . H e could prepare this with pawn to g5 and his king to f5 or
1 'iWh8 but instead endangers his h5. Black can only wait.
chances of victory by playing 7 llg6
overhastily: 8 ct>f3 lle6
1 g4 hg 9 <t>g4 llg6
2 fg lLlgS 1 0 <t>hS lle6
A clever defensive move which Not of co urse 1 0 . . . llxg3?
almost saves Black. He eliminates 1 1 'iWe5+ etc.
the passed pawn and brings about 11 g4 ll g6
Queen Endings 93

12 g5 lle6 (1 1 1) rare situation in which White's

material advantage has to be
Ill geared to stopping a strong
II' passed pawn.

Samisch-Prins 1 93 8 (variation)

White can now proceed to more Flohr-Ozols 1 9 3 7

ac tive measures in this theoretically
won position . At first sight it seems that Wh ite
13 !t'b8! llg6 wins easily, but on closer exa min­
The only move , as 13 . . . \t>d7 ation certain diffic ul ties emerge.
t a i ls to 14 1!rf8 , and 1 3 . . . lld6 Black has the move a nd can
14 't!Yc7+ would allow the exchange immediately advance his pawn to
of pawns. the seventh rank. Indeed, if it were
14 1Wb4+ lt>e8 not for the h-pawn, Black co uld
Black cannot let the queen draw at once by giving up his
reach f8 and 14 . . . lld6 fails to rook for the knight, then advancing
1 5 't!Yb7+ and 1 6 1!kb8+ exchanging his pawn. In addition, the win is
t h e pawns, as we have seen. not always guaranteed even if
1 5 1We4+ lle6 White wins the rook, for his
Or 15 . . . lt>f8 16 'it'xg6 fg+ knight is far away from the scene
1 7 �xg6 lt>g8 1 8 'it>h6 'it>h8 1 9 g6 of action.
wins. Fi rst of all, let us briefly
16 'it'xe6+ fe exa mine the ga me continuatin:
1 7 \t>h6 and wins. 1 llb2+
The pawn cannot be stopped. A The idea behind this move is to
most instructive winning method drive the white king to the third
a nd not at all obvious, for even rank so that the rook can later pin
a fter the ga me both players were pieces along this ran k . However,
wnvinced that g4 was the decisive the plan cannot be executed and
mistake that threw away the quickly leads to a loss. By 1 . . . f2 !
wm. Black co uld have set White
Diagra m 1 1 2 presents us with a difficult problems, as we shall see
94 Queen Endings

later. allows Black to draw by 3 . . .

2 �c3 llg2 ll:xa 3 ! 4 �xa3 h5 ! 5 !t'g3+ �fl
Now 2 . . . f2 would be answered 6 lt>b2 h4 etc.
by 3 'ti'f3 �g l 4 !t'g4+ �h2 5 !t'd l 3 �h2
�g2 6 lLlc4 ! winning. 4 !t'd1 !
3 tt:Jc4 The winning move , threatening
Not of co urse 3 'ti'xf3? llg3 5 'ti'fl followed by 6 lLlc4. As
pinning the queen. Black cannot play 4 . . . �g2 5 lLlc4 !
3 f2 he m ust elimi nate t h e knight.
4 lLl d2 ! 4 ll xa3
Black h ad hoped for 4 lLle3? 5 �xa3 �g2
when 4 . . . llg3 ! would have If the black pawn had already
drawn. Now, however, the game is advanced to h5 or h4, the game
lost and Black resigned after 4 ... would be drawn, whereas now
h5 5 �d3 h4 6 lLln + �g1 7 'ti'a1 White wins without great difficulty.
�h1 8 �e3 h3 9 �f3 llg1 1 0 'ti'b1 6 !t'g4+ �h2
nxn 11 !t'xfl + �h2 1 2 'ti'xf2+ 7 !t'f3 �gl
�h1 13 �g3 with mate next move. 8 !t'g3+ �fl
So far so good, but could White 9 �b3 h5
have won against the better move If 9 . . . �e2 10 'ti'g2 �e l l I �c2 !
I f2 ! given by the tournament
. . . WinS.
book as drawing for Black? Let 10 �c2 h4
us analyse: 1 1 !t'g4 h3
1 f2! 1 2 �d2 h2
2 !t'f3! 13 !t'f3 �g 1
The tournament book continues 1 4 �e2! wins.
with 2 'ti'b8+ �h l 3 !t'b7+ �h2 4 With this example we conclude
'ti'xh7+? �g2 5 !t'e4+ �h2 leading our discussion of queen endings.
to a draw after 6 !t'f3 �g l 7 !t'g4+ Once again we have only been able
�h2 8 !t'd l ll:xa3 ! 9 �xa3 �g2 to consider a few among many
etc. possibilities, but hope that we
However, this variation contains have indicated the basic essentials
a gross error. White should not of such endings. If the reader
capture the h-pawn, for we have wishes to study these further, he
already shown that an extra pawn should turn to specialized books
is a hindrance to the defence in on the endgame or play through
such endings, preventing the games contai ning instructive end­
stalemate resource. games. Only through this kind o f
2 �g1 intensive st udy can he hope to
3 !t'g4+ understand fully the many rami­
Even here White must be fications of this difficult aspect o f
careful. For instance , 3 'ti'e3? endgame play.
4 Rook Endings

Of all endi ngs there is no do ubt especially when the king cannot be
t h a t rook endings are by far the brought up quickly enough and
1 1 1 ost common. For this reason the rook has to stop the pawn on
t hey are probably the best analysed, its own. Occasionally there are
w r t h most examples coming from exceptions when the pawn proves
p r a c tical play. In spite of all this, stronger than the rook, and we
h o wever, they form the most shall begin with the classic case of
d r l fic ult part of e ndgame theory, this.
u r r d amongst leading specialists
• • r r l y a few have a thoro ugh grasp

' tl t hem. Even the best grandmasters

1 1 1 t he world have had to work
h u r d t o acquire the technique of
r • " ok endings. It is said of
I 'u pahlanca that in his early years
I l l' e x haustively analysed more
t hu 11 a thousand such endings,
hl' l o re he attained his splendid
r r r rr � t e ry in this field.
l r r view of the above, one can
h u r d l y exaggerate the importance F. Saavedra 1 895
• II u �ood understanding of this

t y pr of ending. As in queen This position occ urred in a

o · r r d r r r�s . there is a vast range of game played in 1 895 which ended
� �� �� � i h i l ities, but these are easier to in a draw. After the game
• ' ' ' � " fy and assess. In the following Saavedra demonstrated that White
�•·• t r o n we intend to give the can win in the following imaginative
r •· u d n a limited selection of way:
l '" � l l l l r n s which are basic to rook 1 c7 lld6+
I l l d i i i i( S . This is forced, as d8 and c5 are
inaccessible to the rook. The next
ll uuk n�ainst Pawn(s) few moves can easily be understood
I he rook usually wins against a in this light.
ptr w r r hut there are many exceptions, 2 'it>b5 lld5+
96 Rook Endings

3 'it>b4 li:d4+ these are rare occurrences. More

4 \t>b3 ll:d3+ useful to us are those positions in
5 lt>c2! which the rook can stop the pawn ,
Only now does White play his the main question being whether
king to the c-file, as 5 ... li d l is or not they are won . Such
now impossible. The ga me seems positions arise when the pawn is
over, but Black is not finished yet. protected by the king and cannot
5 ll:d4 immediately be stopped by the
6 c8 ll ! enemy king. Let us begin with a
6 c 8 'i¥ lic4+! 7 ..Wxc4 IS typical set-up:
stalemate. White now threatens
7 li aS mate, so Black's reply is
6 li:a4
7 \t>b3
and White wins the rook or forces
8 li:c l mate . A glorious position
of classical beauty!
The same idea is presented in an
even more complicated form in
the following study by Selesniev:

l l4 It is clear that the rook on its

own cannot win , but can the white
king arrive in time to stop the
pawn queening? It is fairly easy to
ans wer this question if we count
moves. In order to stop the pawn,
the white king must reach g2 (or
e2 if the black king is on the g-file ).
He needs 6 moves r for this,
whereas Black needs only 5 moves
to reach a position with his king
White wins as follows: 1 f7 on e2 and pawn on f2. We can
li:c6+ 2 lt>e5! bu t not 2 lt>e7 lic l ! concl ude from this that White
3 f7'ti¥ lie I + and 4 . . . ll:fl + wins only if he has the move, as
drawing 2 . . . llc5+ 3 \t>e4 ll c4+ follows:
4 lt>e3 li:c3+ 5 \t>f2! li: c2+ 6 lt>g3 1 lt>e7
li:c3+ 7 lt>g4 li:c4+ 8 \t>g5 la cS+ Black to move draws by l . . . f4
9 lt>g6 li:c6+ 1 0 lt>g7 and White 2 lt>e 7 f3 3 \t>f6 f2 4 \t>g5 lt>cJ
queens next move. 5 \t>g4 lt>e2 etc.
As already sta ted, however, 1 f4
Rook Endings 97

2 'i!tf6 f3 followed by 6 'i!te3 .

It makes no difference whether W e have n o t y e t exhausted all
l l l a c k moves his pawn or his king. the possibilities of diagram 1 1 5.
3 'i!tg5 f2 Instead of moving the white king,
4 'i!tg4 'i!te3 let us place the white rook on d 1 ,
5 'i!tg3 'i!te2 with White to move. The normal
6 'i!tg2 wins. sequence comes up against a
( > f course, positions are not difficutly, as after 1 'i!te7 f4 2 'i!tf6
u l wa ys so clear-cut. We have seen f3 3 'i!tg5 f2 4 'i!tg4 'i!te3 5 'i!tg3 'i!te2
thut the white king has to the white rook is attacked, so the
o 1 p p roach on the opposite side to game is drawn. In order to win
t l u· r n e m y king, for his way not to from this position, White must
l u· h !ucked. Black can sometimes first improve the placing of his
1111 1 1 1 valuable time by preventing rook by 1 l:l:el+! 'i!td4 or 1 . . . 'i!tf3 2
t l u· k i n g ' s approach and this can l:l:fl + \t7g4 3 'i!te7 f4 4 'i!te6 f3 5
l u· 1 1 1 1 effective method of defence. 'i!te5 'i!tg3 6 'i!te4 f2 7 'i!te3 etc
1 :or example , if we change 2 l:l:fl ! 'i!te4 , and only now play
d • u wa m 1 1 5 by placing the white 3 'i!te7! f4 4 'i!tf6 f3 5 'i!tg5 'i!te3
k I I I lo( o n c7. White cannot win with 6 'i!tg4 f2 7 'i!tg3 winning.
t i lt' move, even though theoretically In practice , positions occur
1 1 1 � k i n g only needs 5 moves to where the rook is not on the first
• •· u l ' h g2. The reaso n for this is rank but somewhere behind the
t h u t the black king can force pa wn along with the king. Let us
W h l l r to waste time, as follows: analyse such a position:
I ·Jt d6 f4 2 l:l:a4+ or 2 'i!te6 f3, or
. ' ·Jtr 5 f3 3 'i!tc4 f2 4 'i!tc3 'i!te3 etc

l . . . \t>c3 3 'i!te5 f3 4 l:l: a3+ 'i!te2 5

·J.·,•4 f2 6 l:l:a2+ 'i!tel 7 'i!te3 fl lLJ + !
o 1 1 1 d B l ack draws . O r 1 l:l: e 1 + 'i!td4
I Ufl \1ie4 3 'i!td6 f4 4 'i!te6 or 4 'i!tc5
I I \ \t>c4 'i!te3 6 'i!tc3 f2 etc 4 ... f3 5
·J.·If1 \t>c3 6 \t7g5 f2 7 'i!tg4 'i!te2
· • � 1 1 1 1 1 d rawing.
l i t h e white king i s on the wrong
" l o l l - , h e must be correspondingly
u o ' o l l l' r the queening square to win.
I " ' l' Xa mple, if we place the king M . E uwe 1 9 34
1 1 1 1 d1 i n diagram 1 1 5 , White wins
hy I \t>c5 f4 2 'i!tc4 'i!te3 or 2 . . . f3 White has various ways of
I ll1· l t and 4 'i!td3 3 'i!tc3 'i!te2 or winning, so we will choose one of
I . IJ 4 l:l: e 1 + 'i!tf2 5 'i!td2 'i!tg2 6 the m as our main line:
·.II •· I 11 7 l:l:e2 4 'i!td4 f3 5 l:l:a2+ 1 \t7d6
98 Rook Endings

Alternatives are 1 IIf8+ <t>e4 as the rook cannot go to g6,

2 <t>f6 or 2 !Ig8 <t>f4 3 �f6 g4 4 Black dra ws after 4 l!a 1 \t>f4 5
<t>g6 g3 5 <t>h 5 etc 2 . . . g4 3 <t>g5 g3 <t>d3 <t> f3 etc. One final attempt by
4 <t>h4 g2 5 !I g8 <t>f3 6 <t>h3 White is 1 liaS+ <t>f4 2 <t>f6, but
winning, or 1 1i g8 or first I <t>fl Black still draws by 2 . . . g4 3 :ii a4+
1 . . . g4 2 <t>f7! <t>f4 3 <t>g6 g3 4 <t>hS \t>f3 4 \t>f5 g3 5 lla3 + <t>f2 6 <t>f4
�3 5 <t>h4 with an easy win. g2 7 1i a2+ <t>fl 8 <t>f3 g 1 lt:l +! etc .
1 g4 This ending cannot be won as we
If Black tries to prevent the shall see later.
king's advance by I . . . <t>e4 White However, if in the diagra mmed
wins after 2 !Ig8 <t>f4 3 <t>d5 etc . position we place the white king
2 <t>d5 <t>f4 on fl , White wins wherever his
3 <t>d 4 <t>f3 rook is posi tioned. The reader can
If 3 . . . g3 4 lU8+ and 5 <t>e3 check for h i mself.
wms. Final l y let us look at a most
4 <t>d3 g3 interesting study by Reti:
Or 4 . . . <t>f2 5 1lf8+ <t>g2
6 <t>e2 etc.
5 1if8+ <t>g2
6 <t>e2 <t>g1
7 <t>f3 g2
8 1ig8 <t>h1
9 <t>f2! wins.
However, if we change the
placing of the white rook, our
asssessment of this positio n may
alter. For example, with the rook
on a6, White can no longer win, as
the rook is unfavourably placed R . Reti 1 928
on the 6th rank. After 1 !If6+
<t>e4! the rook blocks its own king The rook must retre a t, because
and must lose a te mpo by 2 !Ig6 I 1ia4 (or h4) fails to I . . . e4 2
�4 3 <t>f6 or 3 <t>e6 g4 4 <t>d5 g3 lia5+ \t>f4 3 <t>e6 e3 4 1ie5 \t>O
5 <t>d4 <t>f3 draws 3 . . . g4 with the 5 <t>d5 e2 6 \t>d4 <t>f2 drawing, as
rook again blocking his king's White is a tempo too late.
approach via g6, or here 2 <t>d6 g4 1 ll e2 (e3) ! !
3 <t>cs g3 4 1ig6 <t>f3 5 <t>d4 g2, This retreat i s not only surprising
both drawing. but even incomprehensible without
If instead 1 <t>f7 g4 2 <t>g7 g3 3 a thorough analysis of the position.
<t>h6 <t>f4 4 <t>h5 g2 and 5 . . . <t>f3 1 ll:e1 seems more logical, as after
draws, or 1 <t>d6 g4 2 <t>d5 g3 3 1 . . . e4 2 <t>e7 <t>f4 3 <t>d6 e3 4 <t>d5
<t>d4 g2! (king moves would lose), <t>f3 5 <t>d4 e2 6 <t>d3 White wins
Rook Endings 99

•·u � i l y . However, B lack has a more

' u u ning defence in 2 . . . �e5! when 1 18
l t o t h 3 �f7 �5 ! and 3 �d7 �d5 !
l r u d t o n o progress for White. He
1 1 1 1 1 � l therefore move his rook, and
••� it dare not leave the e-file
I H"ra use of 3 . . . e3 3 ll e2 is forced
( I lie3 transposes). But now
l l l a c k can play 3 ... �d4 or 3 . . .
oJ/1 4 4 �e6 e 3 5 �f5 �d3! gaining
t h t· vital tempo to draw.
In other words , 2 . . . �e 5 ! would
p l u c c White in zugzwang, which by a noteworthy manoeuvre which
t' K pla ins the text move . often occurs in such e ndings:
1 e4 1 liaS!
Or 1 . . . �f4 2 lle l e4 3 �e6, or White profits from the fac t that
hnc 2 . . . �f5 3 �e7 etc winning the pawn cannot advance to the
l'll �ily. sixth rank without the help of the
2 lle1 ! king which is now shut off from
< >nly now does the rook go to one side of the pawn. He m ust not
t h e fi rst rank. play the alte rnative 1 �b7? �e5!
2 �e5 2 �c6 g4 3 llg7 or 3 �c5 g3 4 �c4
3 �e7! �e4! 5 llg7 �f3 6 �d3 g2 7 �d2
Now it is Black who is in �f2 8 llf7+ �g3 ! 3 . . . �f4 4 �d5
t u gzwang and he m ust give way to g3 5 �d4 �f3 6 �d3 or 6 llf7+
1 h l· white king. 3 �g6? would spoil �e2 ! 6 . . . g2 and Black draws .
•·vnyt hing, as 3 . . . �f4! 4 �h5 e3 1 �g6
'\ l!lh4 �0 draws. The pawn cannot advance as
3 �d4 after I . . g4 2 �b7 g3 3 lla3 ! it is

Or 3 . . �f4 4 �d6 e3 5 �d 5 etc.

. lost, and even if the pawn does not
4 �f6 e3 go to the sixth the king is
5 �f5 �d3 permanently cut off.
6 �f4 e2 Black now intends to bring his
7 �f3 wins. king up first, but this costs a great
< >nc of the best studies with this deal of time which White uses to
1 1 1 1 1 1 crial . It is amazing how much advance his own king.
� u h t l c t y is contained in such a 2 �b7 �h5
� 1 1 1 1 p i e setting. 3 �c6 �g4
Before we end this part, let us Black must lose even more time
m usider two useful positions in order to prevent the white
�1 vcn in diagram 1 1 8 . king's advance, as 3 . . . �h4 loses
I n the top positio n White wins at once to 4 �d5 g4 5 �e4 g3
] 00 Rook Endings

6 ®f3 etc. they are blockaded, the rook wins.

4 ®d5 ®f3 Let us consider a few examples:
Or 4 . . . ®f4 5 ®d4 g4 6 ®d3 ®f3
7 Iif5+ etc.
5 ®e5!
Much simpler than 5 ®d4 g4
when White must avoid the pitfall
6 'i!?d3? g3 7 lU5+ ®g4 ! 8 la:f8 or
8 la:fl g2 9 la:a i ®f3 etc 8 ... g2
9 ®e2 g1 lt:l +! White must play
in s tead 6 la:a3+ ®f4 or 6 . . . ®f2
7 'i!?e4 7 ®d3 ®f3 8 ®d2+ ®f2
9 I.I a8 g3 10 la:f8+ followed by
I 1 ®e2 winn ing.
5 g4 Tarrasch-J anowski 1 907
6 la:a3+
wi th an easy win . This instructive position occurred
The reader should remember in an important tournament game.
th is idea of using the rook on the White has strong passed pawns
fifth rank to cut off the enemy but they still need the support of
ki ng . the king, as otherwise the rook
The bottom position of diagram would simply pick them up by l . . .
I 1 8 is drawn, despite the fact that la:f5 , 2 . . . la: xg5 and 3 . . . la:f5 . A s it
W hi te has the move. The reason is, White can support the pawns
fo r this lies in the unfavo urable with his king , but must play
po si tion of White's rook. For exactly.
ins ta nce , if the rook were on 1 ®d4!
g8 , White would win easily by Following the principles we
I ciJc3 b2 2 liaS+ ®b i 3 la:b8 ®a I have already stated, White advances
4 w c 2 ! etc . his king whilst at the same time
Pla y fro m the diagram might go hindering the black king's approach.
as fo llows: Black to move would easily draw
1 ®c3 b2 by I . . . ®c3 2 ®e4 ®c4 3 ®e5 ll g i
2 la:g2 4 f 7 (or 4 ®£5 ®d5 a n d Black
Or la:g8 b i lt:l + ! draws. wins ! ) 4 . . . la: xg5+ 5 ®e4 (or 5 ®e6
2 ®a1 la:g6+) 5 . . . la:g i 6 ®e5 with a
3 la: xb2 stalemate . draw.
If Black h as two pawns, then 1 ®b3
every thing depends on the placing Black m ust bring his king
of the pieces. If the pawns are nearer the pawns as quickly as
advanced and supported by the possible. Rook moves are useless,
king, they can often win , but if for after I . . . la:f5 2 ®e4 ! la:xg5 3 f7
Rook Endings 10 I

U �4+ 4 'i!te3 llg3+ 5 'i!tf2 wins. 7 'i!;>d7!

2 'i!;>e5 Profiting from the fact that
M aizelis subsequently showed Black cannot play 7 . . . 'i!te5 .
t h a t 2 'i!td5 ! would have made Instead 7 'i!tb6 would only draw
Wh ite's task easier. Black's king is after 7 . . . llg6 8 'i!ta5 (8 'i!tc7 'i!td5
� l· p t away from c4, and 2 . . . llf5+ 9 'i!td7 'i!te5) 8 . . . llg5+ 9 'i!ta4 li g 1
l oses to 3 'i!te6 llxg5 4 f7. After 2 . . . 1 0 'i!ta3 'i!tc3 1 1 'i!ta2 llg2+ etc.
oJ/ d 3 'i!te6 'i!td4 4 f7 wins, o r here 7 'i!td5
I . . lie I+ 4 'i!tf7 'i!td4 5 g6 'i!te5
8 'i!te8
(l \t>g7 ! And now 9 f7 cannot be
2 'i!;>c4 stopped.
3 g6 8 'i!te6
S tronger according to Maizelis 9 f7 llal
1 s 3 'i!te6 ! ll e 1 + (as 4 f7 was The last try, threatening mate.
t h reatened) 4 'i!tf7 'i!td5 5 g6 10 f8 li:l + !
t h reatening 6 g7 and after 5 . . . 'i!te5 followed b y 1 1 g8 't!V winning.
or 5 . . . llg 1 6 'i!tg7 ! and 7 f7 wins. This example has shown us that
3 llel+ the rook has excellent defensive
4 'i!;>d6 chances against advanced pawns,
But not 4 'i!tf5 'i!td 5 ! 5 f7 llfl + sometimes in seemingly hopeless
and 6 . . . 'i!te6 drawing, or here 5 g7 situations. O ur next position
llfl+ 6 'i!tg6 llg l + 7 'i!tf7 'i!te5 reinforces this point.
X 'i!te7 llg2 etc.
4 ll g l ! 120
In the actual game Janowski
played the weaker 4 . . . lld l +
5 'i!te7 lle l + 6 'i!t f7 and had to
resign. On the other hand, the text
move poses i nteresting problems.
5 g7
The only move, as Black draws
after 5 f7 :!Ixg6+ 6 'i!te5 llg5+
7 'i!te4 llg 1 ! etc.
5 'i!td4
Preventing 6 f7 when he draws H. Keidanski 1 9 1 4
by 6 . . . llg6+ and 7 . . . llxg7. Now
White cannot win by 6 'i!te6 'i!te4 Compared t o t he previous
7 'i!tf7 'i!tf5 , nor by 6 'i!te7 'i!te5 etc. example, the black king is here
6 'i!tc6 ! more favo urably placed, whereas
Threatening 7 f7 . If now 6 . . . the rook is at the moment in rather
llg6 7 'i!tb5 wins. a passive position, being unable to
6 'i!tc4 prevent the threatened f6. Black's
102 Rook Endings

first task , therefore , is to improve hopes for 9 . . . lie6 I O f7 winning,

the position of this rook. but Black has a stronger move.
1 llcl ! 9 llc6+
Even simpler according to 10 \t>b7 lib6+
Kopayev is I . . . lic4+ ! 2 \t>e5 1 1 'i.t>a7 lie6!
(2 'i.t>d5 llc5+ 3 'i.t>d6 lixf5 ! or a nd the draw is clear, for White
2 'i.t>d3 lic3+ 3 \t>e2? lic8 ! and 4 . . . cannot prevent I 2 . . . 'i.t>d6 and
'i.t>c5 etc) 2 . . . \t>c5 3 e 7 lic l giving I 3 . . . llxe7.
us the main variation. We already seen that far
2 e7 advanced pawns can be neutralized
This move gives the defence the or captured by the rook, if they are
most problems, whereas 2 'i.t>d5 is unsupported by the king. Here is a
harmless after 2 . . . lifl 3 \t>e5 further example of this:
'i.t>c5 , or here 3 e7 llxf5+ 4 'i.t>d4
lifl ! etc . I2 1
2 f6 is also easier to answer,
Black playing 2 . . . lid I+ 3 'i.t>e5
'i.t>c5 4 f1 (or 4 e7 :!l e i + and 5 . . .
'i.t>d6) 4 . . . ll e I + 5 'i.t>f6 lifl + 6 \t> e7
'i.t>d5 7 'i.t>d 7 lif6 drawing.
2 lid1+
3 \t>e5 'i.t>c5
4 \t>e6
Again 4 f6 lie l + and 5 . . . \t>d6
gives an easy draw, or 4 'i.t>f6 lie !
5 'i.t>f7 'i.t>d6 6 e8'ff (6 f6 'i.t>d7 7 'i.t>f8 Black to move wins easily by
lie6 etc) 6 . . . llxe8 7 \t>xe8 \t>e5 I . . . f3 or I . . . g2, but with White to
draws. move the rook can destroy the
4 liel+ pawns on its own by 1 lig6 ! \t>d7
5 \t>d7 lldl+ 2 llg 4 g2 or 2 . . . \t>e6 3 llxf4 and
6 'i.t>c7 4 lig4 3 ll x g 2 \t>e6 4 llg5! \t>f6
If 6 'i.t>e8 llfl and the king must 5 lia5 with an easy win , as the
return to the d-file . Or 6 \t>c8 lie I pawn can never advance.
7 f6 'i.t>d6 8 'i.t>d 8 lia l ! draws. Very inte resting positions arise
6 lle1 when the king is cut off at the side
7 f6 lle6! of the board but his pawns are fa r
The only move, preventing the advanced, as in our next example .
threatened 8 'i.t>d7 lid l + 9 'i.t>e8 With White t o move , the
and IO f7 . position seems hopeless for B lack
8 'i.t>d7 lid6+ as the pawns cannot be stopped .
9 'i.t>c8 However, Black saves himse l f by
Not 9 \t>e8 lixf6. White now using the unfavourable position of
Rook Endings 103

3 \t>g1 lig2+
Not 3 . . . lib2? 4 a7 li b l + 5 \t>h2
lib2+ 6 \t>h3 lib l 7 b8� lih l +
8 �h2 winning, but 3 . . . lih8 is
equally possible.
4 \t>h1 lig8
5 a7 lih8+
6 \t>g1 lig8+
7 \t>fl lih8
and White can make no progress,
e.g. 8 \t>e 1 \t>e3 9 \t>d 1 \t>d3 1 0 \t>c 1
after J . Moravec 1924 \t>c3 1 1 \t>b 1 li h 1 + 1 2 \t>a2 lih2+
13 \t>a3 lih 1 1 4 \t>a4 \t>c4 1 5 \t>a5
W h ite's king which cannot escape \t>c5 16 \t>a6 li a l mate, so the king
1 he constant mating threats. must turn back.
1 b7 When the pawns are isolated,
Si milar variations arise after the rook usually wins, unless
I n7 lia2! 2 \t>d 1 (2 \t>fl \t>f3) 2 . . . they are far advanced. An instructive
·J/d J 3 \t>c l \t>c3 4 \t>b 1 lia6 5 b 7 position from practical play is
ll h6+ 6 \t>c l lih6! 7 \t>d l \t>d3 given i n diagram 1 23 .
K ..tic 1 \t>e3 9 \t>fl \t>f3 10 \t>g 1
ll).\6+ 1 1 \t>fl lih6 and White
1 11 1 1 not escape the mating threats.
1\ 1 1 astonishing dra w !
1 lih2!
The only square for the rook.
I . li b2 loses to 2 \t>d 1 \t>d3 3 \t>c 1
. .

·J/d 4 a7 lih2 (if 4 . . . lia2 5 b 8 � ! )

'I <J/ d I \t>d3 6 \t> e 1 \t>e3 7 \t>fl \t>f3
K ..t>g l lig2+ 9 \t>h l etc. Or 1 . . .

ll u 2 2 \t>d l \t>d3 3 \t>c l \t>c3 4 b8�

lla l + 5 � 1 wins . Lehner-Rotschild 1 8 8 1
2 \t>fl
I f 2 \t>d 1 \t>d3 3 \t>c 1 \t>c3 4 \t>b 1 I n the actual game, play went
l l l u c k can draw either by 4 . . . 1 lixh7? \t>d5 ! 2 lif7 \t>e4 3 \t>c5 f3
llh2+ 5 \t>a 1 lib6 6 a7 li a6+ 4 \t>c4 \t>e3 5 \t>c3 f2 6 \t>c2 \t>e2 7
I <Jih I li b6+ 8 \t>c 1 lih6! or by lie7+ \t>f3 ! \12 - \12 . White's first
·I . . . lih I+ 5 \t>a2 lih2+ 6 \t>a3 move was a serious error for the
ll h I 7 \t>a4 \t>c4 8 \t>a5 \t>c5 and dangerous pawn is the f-pawn not
1 hl· king must return. the h-pawn . He could have won as
2 \t>f3 follows:
1 lif8!
1 04 Rook Endings

Or 1 1Id8+ �e5 2 �c5 etc, with In this position B lack to move is

the same result. in zugzwang and loses quickly,
1 �e5 e.g. 1 ... �h7 or 1 . . . �h5 2 �f4
2 �c5 �e4 �h6 3 �xf5 2 1I g5 �h6 3 1I x f5 h2
After 2 . . . h5 3 1Ie8+ �f5 4 �d4 4 lift g3 5 �f3.
h4 the simplest win is 5 �d3 and H owever, White to move can
6 �e2. seemingly do nothing decisive, as
3 �c4 �e3 after 1 �f4 �h7 2 1Ig5 �h6 White
4 �c3 h5 cannot capture the f-pawn because
Or 4 . . . f3 5 1Ie8+ �f2 6 �d2 h 5 of 3 . . . h2 winning. If he continues
7 1I h 8 �g2 8 � e 3 followed b y 3 1Ig8 �h7 4 1Ia8 Black plays 4 ...
9 1Ig8+ with an easy win . �g7! but not 4 ... �g6 5 1If8 ! �h6
5 liteS + �f2 6 1If6+ and 7 1I xf5 winning 5 1Ia6
6 �d2 �f7! not 5 . . . �h7 6 �g5 ! �g7
6 1Ih8 would waste time after 7 1Ia7+ followed by 8 �f4 and
6 . . . �e2 when White must play 9 1Ia5; 5 . . . �g8 or 5 . . . 'it>f8 also
7 1Ie8+ again, as 7 1Ixh5 f3 draws . lose to 6 1Ia5 6 1Ih6 �g7 7 1Ih5
6 h4 �g6 8 1Ig5+ if 8 1Ixf5 h2 9 1Ig5+
7 1Ih8 �g3 �h6 10 1Ig8 �h7 wins 8 ... �h6
8 �e 2 h3 9 1Ig8 �h7 10 1Ia8 �g7 and we
9 1Ig8+ and are back where we started. Black
10 �f2 must watch that the rook does not
with an easy win. reach f8 or, as we shall see later,
Endgames with rook against in some lines g8.
three or more pawns belong to the Yet despite all this, White to
sphere of the practical ending. Of move can still force a win, as
so me interest to us here is the case Kopayev has shown in the following
when the rook is up against th ree fine analysis:
connected pawns, as in our next 1 �e2
diagram. White intends to lose a tempo
and bring about the same diagram
124 with Black to move. As we sh all
see, Black cannot prevent this, so
diagram 1 24 must now be assessed
as won for White, whoever has the
move .
1 �h5
There is no pawn move available .
2 �f2 �h4
If 2 . . . �h6 3 �e3 gives u s
diagram 1 24 with Black t o move ,
H . Lehner 1 887 and 2 . . . f4 3 1Ih8+ leads to the
Rook Endings 105

11unn line. White wins if his king is near and

3 llg7 f4 the pawns are no further advanced
t l r 3 . . . '.t>h5 4 '.t>e3 '.t>h6 5 ll g 8 than the fourth rank. With a pawn
11 1 1 t l again White has achieved his on the sixth, Black has good
11 1 1 1 1 . Even the present position drawing chances, and a pawn on
W 1 1 � l ong thought to be drawn, but the seventh usually forces White
l l w following winning plan of to look for a draw.
1>. "Jlayev is convincing enough.
4 llh7+ '.t>g5
5 '.t>g1 !
! h i s is the subtle point. White's
Ia I l l !( heads for h2 to prevent for
1 ' \' rr the advance of the pawns.

l l l u r k will then be forced to play

l .l when '.!;>g3 proves decisive .
5 '.t>f5
hen easier for White is 5 . . . f3
t1 'lit f2 '.t>f4 7 llf7+ and 8 c,!;>g3 .
6 '.t>h2 '.t>e4
N o r would previous play be any For example in diagram 1 25
l u· t t e r . After 6 . . . c,!;>g5 7 llf7 ! or Black to move wins by 1 ... f3+ !
t1 . . \t>e5 7 ll g7 '.t>f5 8 ll g 8 ! White 2 llxf3 h 1 t!f + 3 '.t>xh1 '.t>xf3 4 '.!;>g1
It 11 res 8 . . . f3 when 9 '.!;>g3 wins g2. White to move can draw by
I' II N I I y. 1 �h1 ! as 1 ... f3 or I . . . '.t>h3 2 llf3
7 llg7 '.t>f3 2 llxf3 '.t>xf3 gives stalemate.
8 llg8! Finally, another interesting study
:l.ugzwang! Black must give up by Reti:
n pawn.
8 '.t>e2 126

Or 8 .. . g3+ 9 '.t>xh3 '.t>f2

10 Ila8 etc.
9 llxg4 f3
10 lle4+ <t>n
11 c,!;>g3
B u t not l l l!?xh 3 f2 with a draw.
11 f2
Or I I . . . h2 1 2 '.!;>xh2 f2 1 3 ll f4
11 1111 1 4 '.t>g2.
12 llf4 wins. R. Reti 1 929
We can draw various conclusions
I 1 o m this fine piece of analysis. As the white king is far away
1\ jlainst three connected pawns, from the scene of action, his only
106 Rook Endings

hope is to draw. To do this he between the pawns.

must eliminate at least one of the We could show many mon·
dangerous connected pawns, b ut interesting positions in which the
which one is the all-important rook has to fight against severa l
question. Reti's solution gives us pawns, but this would take us too
the answer: far afield. Let us instead turn to
1 ll g8 ! perhaps the most i mportant part
The alternative I llf8 would of the simpler rook e ndings, rook
lose in the following instructive and pawn against rook.
way: I . . . f3 2 llf4 b4 3 llxg4 b3 4
Rook and Pawn against Rook
llg l (4 llg5+ �d4 5 llg4+ fails to
5 . . . �e5 ! 6 ll g5+ �f4, but not We have already mentioned
here 5 . . . �d3 6 llb4 �c2 7 ll c4+ that rook endings are in practice
�2 8 lld4+ �e2 9 ll e4+ etc) 4 . . . the most common of all e ndings
f2 5 ll f l b 2 6 �g7 �d4 7 �f6 and therefore represent an especially
� 3 ! wins. 8 . . . �e2 is threatened important part of endgame theory .
and 8 llb l fails to 8 . . . �c2 and For this reason the reader mus t
9 . . . b I 'i!f. We shall soon see the devote special attention to the
difference between this and the following section. In spite of their
main line. apparent simplicity, rook e ndings
1 g3 are in reality very difficult to play
The only chance, as I . f3 ..
well and often contain subtleties
2 llxg4 and 3 llf4 wins the f-pa wn, which one would hardly suspect at
and I ... �d4 2 llxg4 �e3 3 llg5 first glance.
leads to the capture of the b-pawn.
2 ll g4 b4
3 llxf4 b3
4 llfl
The o nly way of holding both
4 g2
5 ll gl b2
6 �g7 �d4
7 �f6 �e3
Again threatening to win by 8 . . .
� . b u t White in this case has a
l>atisfactory defence. Before we proceed to a thorough
8 llbl ! �d3 examination of basic positions, le t
9 ll g1 ! draw. us briefly consider the few
Black can bring his king no exceptional situations i n which
nearer. For White to draw like this, rook against rook can win, even
there must be at least fo ur files without pawns on the board. Of
Rook Endings 107

• • • u rs c , this can only happen when progress is to be made .

n � i ng is in a mating net or when We can usually talk of a win
t h nc is a forced win of a rook. For only when the defending king is
·· � n m ple, in diagram 1 27, Black not in front of the pawn and the
I. · � l· s even with the move, for he attacking king is near the pawn.
1 1 1 1 1 s t give up his rook to prevent Apart from this, it is difficult to
m u t e . Black equally loses in the give any general indications abo ut
po� i t ion with White's king on e6, a win or a draw, as the result of
t o o k on a6, and Black's king on each position can often be changed
•· H . rook on f5 . by a slightly different placing of
the pieces. This makes it all the
more vital for the reader to learn
the basic positions thoroughly, so
that he understands the various
Finally, before we look at
particular positions, there are one
or two general considerations
which apply to most rook endings.
Firstly, the passed pawn should
be supported by the king and the
enemy king kept as far away as
l :inally, in diagram 1 28, White possible, usually by cutting it off by
to move wins the rook by I ll h6+ use of the rook along a rank or file.
n ml 2 ll h7+. Naturally, these Secondly, the rook is best placed
I' M:cptional positions usually occur behind the pawn, either to support
d uring a more complicated ending its advance most effectively, or to
t n t her than on their own (see the prevent its advance whilst main­
Snavedra position), but are worth taining maximum mobility. These
lra rning. important rules in rook endings
The reader will soon see how will often be applied in the
romplicated even the simplest following pages.
looking ending can be, but these Let us begin our examination
hasic positions must be fully by considering a classic example,
u nderstood before more complex the Lucena position, known almost
posi tions can be attempted . 500 years ago.
This is why a relati vely large This is a typical winning
pa rt of this book is devoted to position when the pawn is on the
I hcse endings. Many chess players seventh rank with its own king in
may find it a little dull to study fron t of it and the enemy king cut
�uch basic elements b ut this off. The win is forced by the
k nowledge is indispensable if any following characteristic manoeuvre:
1 08 Rook Endings

4 �f7 nn +
129 5 �g6 li:gl +
6 �f6 ll:fl+
White was threatening 7 li:e5
and 8 ll:g5 , a nd 6 ... �d6 loses to
7 lld4+ followed by 8 li:d8 or
8 ll:d5 .
7 �g5 ll:gl +
8 llg4!
Here is the reason for playin g
this rook to the fourth rank. All
checks are stopped and the pawn
Lucena (?) 1 497 (?) now queens.
Another classic position must
1 �e7 be known before we can move on,
2 llel+ the famous Philidor position i n
It is clear the black rook m ust diagram 1 30, in which the black
not leave the rook's file, when the king is placed directly in front ol
white rook would take it over, the pawn.
allowing �h8. White wo uld get
nowhere by 2 llf7+ �e8 3 ll f8+
�e7, as his own king is still tied in.
2 �d7
A quicker way to lose is 2 . . . �f6
3 �f8 , or 2 . . . �d6 3 �f8 ll f2+
4 �e8 li:g2 5 li: e7 followed by
6 �f8 .
3 li:e4!
We shall soon see why the rook
plays here. Instead 3 �f7 would be
pointless, for after 3 . . . ll f2+
4 �g6 llg2+ 5 �f6 ll:f2+ 6 �e 5 A. Philidor 1 777
ll:g2 the king must go back to f6 .
3 ll:e5 would also win, altho ugh S uch positio ns are usua l l y
the e ndi ng after 3 . . . �d6 4 �f7 drawn but there are one o r I W l l
li:f2+ 5 �e8 �xe5 6 g8� would exceptions . Philidor demonstra ted
offer White more difficulties than how the defence should handk
the text continuation. this type of ending:
3 li:h1 1 ll:a6!
Black must wait, as 3 . . . llf2 Black's plan is si mple. He fi r N I
loses to both 4 �h7 and also 4 llh4 stops t h e king's advance so t h u t
followed by 5 �h8. h e can answer checks b y play i n 11
Rook Endings 109

Ius king between e7 and e 8 . If pawn from one side only. However,
W h i te plays his rook to g6, Black as many different positions are
t' H· h a nges rooks and draws the possible which are difficult to
pu wn ending. To make any assess, we intend to examine this
1 1 1 og ress White must advance his type of ending in more detail.
p 1 1 w n , when Black immediately
p l 1 1 ys his rook up the board so as 131
I • ' check the white king a way from
l ot· h i nd .
2 llb7 llc6
3 lla7 llb6
4 e6
1 :o rced sooner or later. White
1 1 1 1 w t h reatens 5 \t>f6 .
4 llbl !
Now that the e6 square has been
• k u ie d to the white king, Black's
1 1 1 1 1 k can calmly move away. The J. Berger 1 922
•h uw is clear for the white king
, 11 1 1 110t defend effectively against This is perhaps the most
t h e co ming checks. unfavourable position for White,
W h ite to move could try to win with his pawn on the seventh rank
hy I �f6 but does not succeed a nd his rook tied to the defence of
tlllll • n st best defence which is 1 . . . it, with no freedom of movement
U t· l ! Even Philidor's con tinuation at all. White can hope to win only
I . . l H I+ 2 \t>e6 \t>f8 ! does not if the black king is badly placed,
l t tNr . as the composer wrongly b ut even this factor is insufficient
oi�Nu med. We shall be returning to here . Play might go :
1 hrst· possibilities later, after we 1 \t>f7 \t>f5
h n vc looked at some other basic Black has little choice, as
1 1 1 • M t ions. 2 llg8+ was threatened.
It see m s best to classify these 2 �e7 \t>e5
t' I H i i n gs according to the placing 3 \t>d7 \t>d5
t t l t h e pawn, assuming that the 4 \t>c7 \t>c5
l o l n c k k ing is never in front of the 5 llc8
pn w n . The last attempt, as 5 \t>b7
llb l + followed by 6 . . . lla l (+)
gets him no further.
W i t h a rook's pawn, White's 5 ll xa7+
w l u n ing chances are restricted is 6 \t>b8+ \t>b6 draw.
1 1 1 l w nt of the pawn. The reason is In s uch positions Black's king is
• h· u r: t h e king can s upport the best placed on g7 or h7, after
1 10 Rook Endings

actively on the second ra n k

i n stead of at a I, then W h ite
usually has good winning prospects.
H e re is a n e x a m p l e of how to
handle such p o s i t i o n s :

which White has no winning

c h a n c e s a t a l l . F o r e x a m p l e , in
diagram 1 3 2, White can do
nothing, e.g. I 'Ct>f5 li: a 2 2 'Ct>e5
I! a l 3 'Ct>d5 li:a2 4 'Ct>c5 I!al 5 'Ct>b6
li:b l + 6 'Ct>c6 li: a l e t c . The k i n g A . Ch e r o n 1 9 23
c a n n o t g u a rd t h e p a w n wi t h o u t
be i ng d r i v e n away i m mediat e l y . W h i te to move wou l d of course
H ow e v e r , i f t h e b l a c k k i ng w e re win easily by I 'Ct>d4 li:d7+ 2 \t> c5
in a worse position i n diag r a m I!e7 3 lt>b6 e t c . H o we ve r , B l a c k t o
1 3 1 , W h ite c o u ld w i n , a s i n t h e m ove draws in t he fo llowing
fo l l owi n g s t u d y by Troi t s k y . i n te re s t i n g way:
I lt>f6+
S u rpri s i n g l y enough , t h e b l ac k
k i ng h a s t o m o ve a w a y fro m t h e
pa w n ; as I ... lt>d6+ l o s e s to 2 \t>d4
'Ct>e6 o r 2 . . . 'Ct>c4 I!c7+
li: d 7 3
4 lt> b 5 li: d 7 5 'Ct> b6, or h e re 4 . . .
ll c 5 + 5 lt>b4 wi n n i n g 3 lt>c5 'Ct>e5
4 lt>c6 ! when B l a c k i s i n zugzwang,
e . g . 4 . . . 'Ct>c6 5 'Ct> b6 , o r 4 . . . 'Ct> e4
5 'Ct>d6 , or fi n a l l y 4 . . . li: e 6 + 5 lt>d7
I!d6+ 6 lt>c7 .
2 'Ct>d4 I! t7!
W h i t e w i n s b y I 'Ct> f4 lt>f2 2 'Ct>e4 T h u s se t t i n g up a n e w de fe n sive
'Ct>e2 3 'Ct>d4 'Ct>d2 4 'Ct>c5 \t>c3 o r 4 . . . pos i t i o n on t h e f-fi l e . We s h a l l
li: c l + 5 \t> b 4 I! b l + 6 'Ct>a3 a n d s o o n s e e t h a t t h i s fi l e offers h i m
Black has no defe n ce aga i n s t certai n advant ages compared t o the
7 I! d 8 + 5 li:c8! llxa7 6 lt>b6+. e-fi l e . W e have a l ready seen t h a t
I f t h e b l a c k rook i s placed l e s s 2 . . . \t>c6 l o s e s to 3 'Ct>c5 , and 2 . . .
Rook Endings Ill

lld7+ to 3 �c5 llf7 4 'i!tb6 etc. position. White's king can get out
3 'i!td5 only if his roo k reaches b7 or bS,
Or 3 cc!tc5 'i!tf5 4 �b6 lif6+ and b ut this gives Black's king time to
'I . . lif7 draws. Black cannot be
. reach c7 with a drawn result.
h ro ught into zugzwang. I llh2 'i!td7
3 'i!;>f5 2 lih8 cc!tc7
4 'i!td6 'i!;>f6! 3 llb8 llcl
Black must careful, as 4 ... lif6+ Simplest, although 3 ... lid i
loses to 5 �e7. 4 llb7+ 'i!tc6 5 llb2 li dS+ 6 llbS
5 'i!tc6 'i!tf5 lid I 7 lieS+ 'i!;>d7 S llc2 lib I etc,
6 �cS �f4! also draws.
The o nly move. If 6 . .. 'i!tf6 or 4 lib2 cc!tc8
t1 . . llc7+ then 7 �b6 wins at
. The position is drawn, as White
I I IICe. can make no further progress if
7 'i!tb6 llf6+ Black keeps his rook on the c-file
8 'i!tc7 llf7+ a nd plays his king to c7 and cS.
9 'i!tc6 �f5 Leaving this file could be dangerous,
White cannot make any progress, e.g. 5 llb4 li h i ? 6 lic4+ �d7 7
n� his king cannot simultaneously 'i!tb7 lib l + S 'i!ta6 ll a l + 9 'i!tb6
t h reaten the critical squares b6 lib I + 10 cc!ta5 lia I + I I ll a4 wins .
n n d e6, when he could zugzwang White can win only if the black
Black. The position is drawn. king is at least as far away as the
These examples have demon­ f-file, as in our next example.
' t rated how badly placed White's
r o o k is on aS, cutting down his
winning c hances . Let us now
r Ka mine positio ns in which the
w h ite king is in front of the pawn.
I I�

M . K arstedt I 909

The white rook can reach bS

without the black king having
M . Karstedt 1 909 time to occupy c7. The winning
method is very instructive:
This is a typical drawing I llc2 �e7
1 1 2 Rook Endings

2 llc8 \t>a5 ! drawing.

But not 2 llc7+? \t>d8 3 llb7 8 lt>d5
llc l ! when 4 \t>b8 allows 4 . . . llc8 Or 8 .. . lt>b5 9 llc8 :S:h8+ 1 0
mate, so Black draws. lt>c7 llh7+ 1 1 lt>b8 wins, whereas
2 \t>d6 now 9 llc8 is answered by 9 . . .
White wins more easily after lt>d6.
2 . . . \t>d7 3 llb8 lla l 4 \t>b7 llb l + 9 lla6 Ii: h8+
5 lt>a6 Ii:a 1 + 6 lt>b6 ll b 1+ 7 \t>c5 10 \t>c7 wins.
llc l + 8 \t>d4 and so on. Let us now t urn to positions in
3 llb8 llal which the pawn is on the sixth
4 lt>b7 Ii:bl + rank, and begin with the white
5 lt>c8! roo k in front of the pa wn .
Now 5 \t>a6 would be waste of
time after 5 . . . Ii:a l 6 \t>b6 :S:b l + 138
7 lt>a5 lla 1 + etc.
5 Ii:cl+
6 lt>d8 :S:hl
7 :S:b6+ \t>c5 (13 7)

J. Va ncura 1 924

This is one of the most

important drawing positions in
this type of ending (the pawn
could be further back). It is
8 llc6+ ! characterised by the placing of the
The simplest, although 8 lib 1 white rook in front of the pawn ,
would also win after 8 . . . llh7 (or the black king on g7 or h7 and the
8 . . . llh8+ 9 lt>c7 llh7+ 1 0 \t>b8 black rook attacking the pawn
llh8+ 1 1 lt>b7 llh7+ 12 lt>a6 from the side. Wh ite can make no
llh6+ 1 3 \t>a5 llh8 14 llb8 ll h l progress and the position is
1 5 llc8+ wins) 9 :S:a 1 lih8+ 1 0 drawn.
\t>d7 ll h l (or 1 0 . . . llh7+ 1 1 \t>e6 l \t>b5 llf5+
etc) 1 1 lt>c7 wins. Not, however, The king m ust be driven from
8 Iia6? llh8+ 9 \t>e7 llh7+ 1 0 lt>e8 defence of the pawn, as 2 llc8 was
llh8+ 1 1 \t>f7 :S:a8 1 2 \t>e7 \t>b5 1 3 threatened .
:S:a l lt>b6 1 4 lt>d6 ll xa7 1 5 Ii:b l + 2 lt>c6 ll f6+
Rook Endings 1 13

3 �dS lib6 defence. Let us first ascertain the

No further checks a re required, plans to be followed by both sides.
hut the rook m ust maintain the The first point is whether White
attack on the paw n . has to bring his king across to the
4 �eS lic6 pawn quickly to prevent the
Or 4 . . . lib5+ and 5 . . . lib6, but approach of the black king. As
not 4 . . . lif6? 5 lig8+! Black must always bear in mind
S lia7+ �g6 the possibility of a7, his king has
Or 5 . . . �g8 . It is clear that to be ready to return to g7 or h7,
Wh ite cannot stre ngthen his which means it can to to f7 or f6
position, if Black sticks to his but dare not move onto the e-file.
d rawing plan. As s oon as White For example, 1 ... �f7 2 �f2
plays a7, Black p lays . . . lia6 and �e7 (e6)? 3 a7! �7 4 lih8 was the
draws as in diagram 1 3 1 . threat 4 lih8 li xa7 S lih7+ wins.
Now that we are acquainted S o there is no danger of the black
with this basic drawing position, king approaching the pawn.
we can consider a more general The second point of interest is
set-up in which the win or the whether Black can play passively
d raw depend upon the placing of and allow White's king to reach
White's king. a 7 . He cannot, for White wins as
follows: 1 �f2 �h7? 2 �e2 �g7?
/ .It; 3 �d3 lia4 4 �c3 �f7 S �b3 li a 1
6 �b4 libl+ 7 �cs net+ 8 �b6
libl+ 9 �a7 �e7 1 0 lib8 net
1 1 �b7 libl+ 12 �a8 li a 1 13 a 7,
continuing as in our analysis of
diagram 1 36.
All this means that Black must
take active measures if h e is to
draw. His aim is to reach the
drawing position shown in diagram
1 38 , as follows:
S . Tarrasch 1 908 1 �f2 li aS !
2 �e3
Over the years the assessment of 2 lia7+ changes nothing, as
t h is position has changed. In 1 908, Black simply plays 2 . . . �g6,
Tarrasch gave analysis p roving a although 2 . . . �g8 is p ossible.
win for White (in the book of the 2 li eS+
Lasker-Tarrasch match). Vancura's 3 �d4 li e6 !
d rawing position (diagram 1 3 8) a nd w e have reached Vancura's
changed all this, and we now position which we know is drawn.
k now that Black draws with best It would, however, be wrong to
1 14 Rook Endings

assume from this that all positions

similar to diagram I 39 are drawn. 1 40
As we have said, everything
depends on the placing of White's
king. For example, with the king
on the fourth rank, the rook can
obviously not use the same
method to arrive at Vancura's
position .
Is it then essential for Black's
rook to gain a tempo to reach the
third rank? Why cannot Black
leave his king on g7 and play his I 'it>e3 fails to 1 . . . lie ! + and 2 . . .
rook away from the a-file , then lie6, and I 'it>d2 li b I 2 lia7+ 'it>g6
back to the third rank? Play might draws for Black, e.g. 3 lib7 liai
go, from diagram 1 39, 1 'it>f2 li c l , 4 lib6+ (or 4 a7 'it>f6 5 'it>c3 'it>e6
a n d a s Black i s threatening 2 . . . 6 'it>c4 'it>d6) 4 . . . 'it>f7 5 'it>c3 'it>e7
lic6, White must move his rook. drawing. Equally ineffective is
2 lib8 lia1 3 lib6 'it>f7 4 'it>e3 'it>e7 1 lia7+ 'it>f6 2 'it>d3? 'it>e6 3 'it>c4
5 'it>d4 'it>d7 6 'it>c5 'it>c7 7 li b7+ 'it>d6 and Black draws.
'it>c8 8 'it>b6 lib1 + 9 'it>a7 li c l gives This analysis shows that, with
White noth i ng (even simpler here Black to move, the position is
3 . . . lia3 ! ) so he must try 2 li a7+ drawn after I . . . li c l or I . . . lia5.
Where does Black now play his 1 lia4
king? Black loses after 2 .. . 'it>f8 The al ternative method I . . .
3 lib7 and 4 a7 , but draws with lid l + 2 'it>c4 lid6 fails t o 3 'it>b5 !
2 ... 'it>g6 3 lib7 lia1 4 a7 lia3 lid5+ 4 'it>c6 li a 5 5 'it>b6 winning.
5 'it>e2 'it>f6 etc. This means that Or 1 . . . li ft 2 li a7+ ! not 2 lic8
Black has a second way of lia i 3 lic6? 'it>f7 4 'it>c4 'it>e7 5 'it>b5
reaching Vancura's position , so 'it>d7 6 lic4 lib l + 7 'it>a5 lia l +
long as the white king is far 8 'it>b6 li b I + 9 'it>a7 lib2 etc. 2 ...
enough away. How far must this 'it>g6 or 2 ... 'it>f6 3 lih7! 'it>g6 4 lib7
be the n , if Black is to draw? Before transposing; or here 3 . . . lia i 4 a7
defining these limits, let us examine 'it>e6 5 'it>c4 'it>d6 6 'it>b5 winning
a further position , as seen in 3 lib7 lia1 4 a7 'it>f6 , or 4 . . . lia4
diagram I 40. 5 'it>c3 'it>f6 6 'it>b3 lia i 7 'it>c4 'it>e6
The white king is j ust near 8 'it>c5 or 8 lih7 wins 5 'it>c4 'it>e6 6
enough to his pawn to achieve the 'it>c5 or 6 lih7 with an easy win.
win in the following instructive Finally, Black can try I . . . lih I
fashion: to prevent 3 lih7 after 2 lia7+
1 'it>d3 'it>r6 ! and to draw after 3 lib7
The only winning move , as lia i 4 a7 'it>e6 5 'it>c4 'it>d6 .
Rook Endings 1 15

However, the rook is badly placed

on the h-file and allows White to
win by 2 �c4! li h 6 3 �b5 lih5+
4 �b6 li h6+ 5 �b7 , as the black
k i ng now interferes with the
rook's action.
2 �c3 llh4
Black cannot wait, because
l ®b3 and 4 ®b4 is threatened.
If 2 . . . lif4 3 lia7+ �f6 4 li h 7
Wg6 5 llb7 w i n s as w e have
a l ready seen. P.Romanovsky 1 950
3 li a7+ �f6
The point of his previous move. 1
White wins after 3 . . . ®g6 4 lib7, Black has an alternative and
whereas now 4 lib7 l:la4 5 a7 ®e6 perhaps even simpler drawing
6 ®b3 li a l draws for Black. method in 1 ...l:laS! 2 ®e4 li eS
4 � b3! lih1 3 li a7+ Black threatened 3 . . . lic6,
The black king dare not play to and 3 llb8 ll a5 4 li b6 ®f7 5 ®d4
t h e e-file because of 5 lia8 �e7 6 ®c4 �d7 also draws 3 ...

loll owed by 6 a 7 , and if 4 . . . li h 8 �g6 ! but n o t 3 . . . ®f6? 4 ®d4 l:lc6

.'i l:l b 7 �e6 6 a7 l:l a8 7 ®c4 �d6 5 llh7 �g6 6 a7 lla6 7 llb7
K �b5 wins. winning 4 lib7 liaS S a7 or
S li aS li a 1 5 ll b6+ W 6 ®d4 �e7 etc S ...

The threat is 6 a7, and 5 ... �g7 �f6 6 �d4 �e6 7 ®c4 ®d6 8 ®b4
(, �c4 wi ns, as we saw in our note lla1 and Black draws comfortably.
to move I . However, other moves lose for
6 'i!tb4 Black. I . . . li b l fails to 2 lia7+
a nd White wins by playing his �g6 (or 2 . . . �f6 3 ®e4 llb6
k i ng to a7. B lack cannot play 6 . . . 4 llh7 etc) 3 li b7 lia l 4 llb6+ !
<Jie7 (or e6) because o f 7 a 7 . We W 5 ®e5 as Black is forced into
h a ve already de monstrated this 5 .. �e7 6 li b7+ and 7 a7 winning.
w i n n ing m ethod. Or I . . llh I 2 li a 7+ �f6 3 ®e4!

We can now define the zone ®e6 4 lia8! and 5 a7 wins.

wi thin which the white king must Or I . llfl + 2 �e5 llf6
. .

he s i tuated for Black to draw with 3 ll g8+ wins.

t h e move . Diagram 141 illustrates 2 lia7+
t h is. As already mentioned, White
In order to give an example of only draws after 2 1l b8 lia I 3 llb6
ro rrect defence by Black, let us liaS ! 4 ®e4 Wf7 5 ®d4 ®e7 etc.
a s s u me that the white king is on M eanwhile, B lack is th reatening
14. 2 . . llc6.
1 16 Rook Endings

2 � g6 Black has no choice, as 1 . . .

The only move. After 2 . . . �f6? li: e 1 + only helps the white king to
(or 2 . . . �f8? 3 lib7 and 4 a7 wins) reach a 7 and 1 . . . li:b I 2 lia7+
3 �e4 ! lic6 (3 . . . �e6 4 lia8! and �g6 3 lib7 lia 1 4 a7 wins.
S a7) 4 lih7 �g6 S a7 lia6 6 lib7 2 �d4
liaS 7 �d4 �f6 8 �c4 �e6 9 �b4 We give this continuation
and 10 �bS wins. because it could also arise from
After the text move, Black the 1 �e4 line. White can also win
again threatens to play 3 . . . lic6. by 2 �d6 li fS 3 li:a7+ �f8 (or 3 . . .
3 lib7 lieS �g8 o r 3 . . . �g6 4 li: e 7 wins,
An alternative drawing line is whereas now 4 lie7 fails to 4 . . .
3 .. . �f6! as 4 �e4 can be liaS S a 7 li: a6+) 4 �e6 liaS S
answered by 4 ... lia l S lia7 �e6 li:a8+ �g7 6 �d7 lifS 7 lie8
6 li:a8 �d6 7 a7 �c7 etc. After winning.
4 li:b8 li:a I S li: a8 li:a4+ ! 6 �e3 2 li bS
�g7 7 �d3 lif4 8 li:a7+ �g6 ! 9 3 lia7+ �f6
li:b7 li:a4 1 0 a7 �f6 I I �c3 �e6 Or 3 . . . �g6 4 li:b7 liaS 5 a7 �f6
1 2 �b3 li:a 1 1 3 �c4 �d6 Black 6 �c4 �e6 7 �b4 lia 1 8 �c S wins.
draws . 4 �c4
Notice that this variation does 4 lih7 also wins after 4 . . . liaS
not disprove our indicated drawing (or 4 . . . �g6 S li:b7) S a7 �e6 6
zone for the position of the white �c4 �d6 7 �b4 lia 1 8 �b S etc.
king, as diagram 1 4 1 is only valid Not, however, 4 lib7 liaS S a7
with the black king on g7, not e6 �e6 6 �c4 �d6 7 �b4 li: a 1
as here, after White's 6th move. drawing.
4 a7 4 lib6
After 4 �e4 liaS S li a 7 lieS! Or 4 . . . liaS S li:a8 and the white
again threatens 6 ... lic6. king reaches a7.
Or 4 li:b8 li:aS S li: a8 �g7 s �cs li:e6
followed by 6 . . . lieS, and White 6 li:h7
can make no progress. and wins easily after 6 . . . �g6 7 a7
4 liaS li:a6 8 lib 7 etc.
S �e4 �f6 In order to complete our
and draws after 6 �d4 �e6 7 �c4 discussion of diagram 1 4 1 , let us
�d6 8 �b4 li:a I etc. finally examine what happens
Now let us see how White to with the white king on fS . Black
move can win from diagram 1 4 1 : draws by 1 ... liaS+ ! but not I .. .
1 �eS li:fl+ 2 �e S ! li:f6? 3 li:g8+, or 1 . . .
Or 1 �e4, as illustrated by our lib 1 2 li a7+ �h6 3 li:b7 and 4 a7
zone , with play similar to the main 2 �e6 or 2 �e4 li:cS, as already
line. analysed 2 ... lihS ! if 2 . . . ligS ,
1 liaS+ then Wh ite wins b y 3 li:a 7 + �g8
Rook Endings 1 1 7

·I ..tlf6 ll:a5 5 '.t>g6 '.t>f8 6 �a8+ '.t>e7 '.t>d6 5 '.t>b7 ll:b l + 6 '.t>c8 ll:c l +
I a7 3 lia7+ or 3 'it>d7 � h6 4 'it>c7 7 'it>d8 ll:h l 8 ll:b6+ '.t>c5 9 ll:c6+ !
U t h! with Vancura' s position 3 ... If Black has the move , he draws
·.l• t.: !! 4 ll:f7 �aS! and now 5 a7? by l . . . '.t>d7 2 �b8 � c l 3 '.t>b7
l 1 1 i ls to 5 ... �a6+. �b l + 4 '.t>a8 � c l followed by 5 . . .
l 'his analysis points to the 'it>c7 .
' I I ITcct defence with the white In t h e same way w e can state
k 1 1 1 g on e6. Black . draws by 1 .. . that the following position is
U h l ! (not l . . . �g l ? 2 '.t>f5! or l . . . drawn:
U t i ? 2 '.t>e5 ! ) transposing to our
l u d i cated drawing line.
143 • • .• .•
We can now turn to positions in m� .� W
?� · LJ B
w h ich the white king has been �� � � �
o i l i ven in front of h is pawn,
hq.d nning with diagram 1 42.
� � � �
� � � �
� � � �
. � . . ,.....�

�-� � �
White can do no better than
reach diagram 1 3 5 by playing '.t>a8
and a 7 . However, if the black king
is on f7 , with White's rook on e2,
then White wins easily by 'it>a8 and
a7 followed by �c2-c8-b8 (see
This typical set-up i s won for diagram 1 36).
W h ite, if he has the move, as To complete our examination
l 1 1 1 l o ws: of positions with a white pawn on
1 ll:b8! ll:dl a6, let us consider diagram 1 44.
O r I . . ll:a l 2 '.t>b7 with play
� �

'• l l l l i l a r to our main line.

2 '.t>b7 ll:b l + � � � �
( ) r 2 . . . �d7+ 3 '.t>b6 �d6+ !3, � w � • � �
·I oJ/a5 ll:d5+ 5 '.t>b4 �d l 6 a 7 wins.
3 '.t>a8 lial
� � � �
4 a7 � � � �
n ud we have arrived at the main � � � �
va riation arising from diagram
I \6. White wins easily after 4 . . .
� � � �
.J.>d 7 5 '.t>b7 �b l + 6 '.t>a6 ll:a l + 7
. � � .
,.....7. • . •
.J.>h6 ll:b l + 8 '.t>c5 , or after 4 . . . N.Grigoriev 1 9 3 6
1 1 8 Rook Endings

White to move wins at once by methods remain the same, except

1 a7, but Black cannot save the for the fact that Black can
ga me even if he has the move . sometimes advantageously post
Play might go: his rook in front of the pawn, as
1 llcl+ shown in diagram 1 45 .
If Black tries 1 . . . <2Jf7 in order
to answer 2 a7 with 2 . . . <2;g7 !
White plays 2 <2;b7 llb l + 3 <2Ja7
<2Je7 4 llb8, giving us diagram
142, so Black must seek salvation
in check s.
2 <2;b5
After 2 <2Jb7 lib 1+ 3 <2Ja7?
Black draws by 3 . . . <2Jd7 !
(diagram 1 42).
2 llb1 +
The th reat was 3 a7.
3 <2Jc4 A . Cheron 1 927
An alternative is 3 <2Ja4 lla l +
(or 3 . . . <2Jf7 4 <2Ja5 :§:a 1 + 5 <2;b6 To all appearances White has
lrb l + 6 <2Ja7 <2Je7 7 llb8) 4 'i&b3 all factors in his favour. The black
<2Jf7 5 <2Jb4, the black king dare king is cut off and his rook alone
not pia y to the e-file because of a 7. cannot prevent the combined
3 llcl + advance of White's king and
4 <2Jb3 pawn. Despite all these advantages,
White wins equally by 4 <2Jd3 however, Black can save himself
lldl+ 5 <2Je3 ! lld7 6 <2Je4! not 6 a7? by an extremely subtle defence:
<2Jd5 ! drawing 6 <2;d6 or 6 . . . <2Jf6
... 1 <2Jb5 lld8 !
7 llb8 l:la7 8 llb6+ 7 a7! l:le7+ We here see one advantage of
8 <2Jd 4 lld7 9 <2Jc4 etc, but an even the rook being in front of the
simpler winning method is 4 <2Jb4! pawn. Black can offer exchange of
llbl+ or 4 . . . llc7 5 llh8 5 <2Ja3 rooks, as he would draw the
<2;£7 5 . . . l:la l + 6 <2Jb2 and 7 a7 ending after 2 llxd8 <2Jxd8 3 <2Jb6
6 <2Ja4 etc. <2Jc8. This means that White's
4 l:lc7 rook is driven from the d-file ,
5 a7 lle7 which allows Black to bring his
6 <2Jc4 <2Je 5 king nearer to the pawn.
7 <2Jc5 wins easily. Note that the careless l . . . llb8+
If White's pawn is not so far l oses 2 <2Jc6 ll b 1 (or 2 . . . lla8 3
advanced, it is clear that B lack' s lla4 lrc8+ 4 'i&b7 llc l 5 a6 lrb l +
drawing prospects are increased. 6 <2Jc7 ll c l + 7 <2Jb6 llb l + 8 <2Ja5
In general, however, the defensive wins) 3 a6 ll a 1 4 <2Jb5 lab ! + 5 <2;a5
Rook Endings 1 1 9

lia l + 6 :ii a 4. 1 4 lig6+ �cS 1 S li g 1 lic7

2 :ii c4 16 licl + �d6 followed by 17 . . .
Or 2 lia4 �d7 3 a6 �c7 � 6 , a n d White i s back where h e
d rawing. started.
2 li b8+!
Black must play exactly. After
2 . . �d7 3 a6 lia8 (or 3 . . . lic8

4 a7!) 4 �b6 li b8+ S �aS lia8

6 lih4 ! lig8 7 a7 �c7 8 lih7+ and
9 �a6 wins.
3 �a4
Or 3 �a6 �d7 or 3 �c6 lic8+
4 �dS �d7 , both drawing.
3 �d7
4 a6 lieS
Even simpler is 4 . . . :ii b 1 S �aS
lia l + 6 �b6 lib l + 7 �a7 li b2 etc. It must be stressed that Black's
S :ii b4 �c6 defence is only possible beca use of
We select the most complicated the favourable position of his
defensive method for Black in pieces.
order to show that he draws even
t his way. There was again a
si mpler line in S . . . lih8 6 �aS or
() a7 lla8 7 lib7+ �c6 6 ... ®c7
7 lib7+ or 7 a7 li hS+ 8 �a4 li h 8
c: t c 7 . . . �c8! n o t 7 . . . �c6? 8 li b6+
<Jic7 9 a7 :ii h 1 1 0 li a6! winning, or
h c: re 9 . . . llhS+ 1 0 �a6 lih2
I I lic6+! 8 libS or 8 �b6 :ii h 6+
I) ®a7 :ii c6 8 ... lih7 and White
ra nnot make any progress.
6 �aS lic7!
7 lib6+ �cS Even slight alterations would
The black king cannot now be allow White to win. For example ,
d r i ven from the c-file, so Black in diagram 1 46, White wins by 1
d ra ws. For example 8 lib7 �c6 1 �bS . Black no longer has the
., llbl �cS 10 li b6 �dS or 1 0 . . . 1 . . . lid8 resource . Equally, in
ll h 7 I I lib7 li h 1 1 2 lic7+ �d6 1 3 diagram 14 7, White wins by 1 �bS
llc4 lla l + 1 4 �b6 lib l + draws lid7 2 lia4! since the black king
I I lih6 1 1 �bS li eS+ 12 �b4 cannot stop the pawn.
llc4+ 13 �b3 lic7 draws 1 1 . . . If White's rook is, for example ,
oJ.>c!i 1 2 lig6 :ii f7 1 3 li gS+ �c6 on d2 (diagram 1 48) his winning
120 Rook Endings

white king can now support his

1 48 pawn from both sides, and t hirdly,
the white rook has more freedom
of action, with space on both sides
of the pawn. Black thus finds it
much harder to draw such
positions, and sometimes fails to
draw even if his king occupies the
pawn's queening square.
We shall systematically examine
the most important positions in
this type of ending, beginning with
chances disappear, even though the cases where the white pawn
Black cannot play 1 . . . Ild8 . Play has already reached the 7th rank.
might go: 1 �b5 ll: b8+ 2 �c6
Iic8+ 3 �b7 Ilcl ! 4 a6 both 4 Ilb2 a) Pawn on the Seventh Rank
and 4 Ila2 are answe red by 4 . . . We have already discussed an
®d7 4 . . . ll: b l + 5 �c7 5 �a7 �e7 example of this in L ucena's
draws 5 . . . licl+ 6 ..W8 ll:a1 7 Ilh2 position (diagram 1 29), where we
Iid1 +! 8 �e8 ll:g1 9 ll:h6+ �d5 showed how White converted his
10 a7 or 1 0 �d7 �c5 1 1 �c7 advantage into a win. Let us now
Iig7+ etc 10 . . . Il g8+ 1 1 �f7 ll:a8 consider further basic positions.
draws .
There are of course many 149
more interesting positions of rook
and rook's pawn against rook,
containing subtle and surprising
points. However, for our purpose
enough has been seen. We s hall
now con sider rook e ndings with
pawns other than the rook's
pawn , and shall discover that they
offer even more interesting and
complex possibilities.
S .Tarrasch 1 906
This is a win for White , even
It is clear that these endings with Black to move. As 1 ll:fl +
offer W hite more winning chances �e6 2 �e8 is th reatened, Black
than was the case with the rook's must immediately begin checking
pawn. Firstly, Black can hardly the white king, but this proves
ever exchange rooks. Secondly, the insufficient.
Rook Endings 121

1 liaS+ the black rook.

2 <tlc7 lia7+ Both these examples show us
3 't;cS how Black must defend, but what
White can also win by 3 'tlc6 happens if the position of the
�a6+ (or 3 . . . lia8) 4 'tlb7 etc. pieces is slightly changed? In
3 liaS+ diagram 1 49 White wins no matter
4 'tlb7 and where his rook is, except on b7 .
5 <tlc7 wins.
This example demonstrates that 15 1
Black lost only beca use his rook
was not far enough away from the
pawn and this allowed the white
king to gain a vital tempo by
attacking the rook . If we move
every piece, except the black rook ,
one square to the right (diagram
1 50), then Black can draw.

I n diagram 1 5 1 Black draws by

1 ... liaS+ 2 'tlc7 'tle7! as the white
rook cannot check on the e-file .
One might imagine that the same
would apply with the rook on b6,
but White wins after 1 ... liaS+ 2
<tJc7 <tle7 by playing 3 lia6! lihS
3 . . . lid8 4 lie6+ ! 4 lia1 !
Even here, however, Black
would draw if he had an extra file
S.Tarrasch 1 906 for his rook on the queenside.
In diagram 1 50, matters are not
1 liaS+ so simple. Admittedly, if the white
2 'tld7 lia7+ rook were on the h-file , nothing
3 't;d6 lia6+ would be changed, but with his
4 't;d5 rook on the d- or c-file White
Or 4 'tlc7 lia7+. Or 4 <tlc5 would win easily. For example,
liaS+, or even 4 . . . li e6
. placing the white rook on c3, we
4 liaS+ have: 1 ... liaS+ 2 'tld7 l:la7+
and the game is drawn , for the 3 lic7 winning, and the white rook
white king cannot escape the on the d-file can interpose either
checks without forsaking his on d8 or, after 'tld7-e6, on d6. The
pawn which is then captured by b-file is no good for the rook, as an
122 Rook Endings

exchange of rooks would lose the lle6 7 llf8+ - the point! 6 lla 1 !
pawn . An exception to this is ifthe llb8 7 �c7 followed by 8 c3ifd7
rook is on b8, preventing I . . . wins .
lla8+. White wins after 1 . . . lld2 We can generalize about such
the threat was 2 �d7 lld2+ 3 �c6, positions by stating that Black can
and I . . . lla7 fails to 2 �d8 2 lld8 draw if:
followed by 3 �d7. I ) his king is on the shorter side of
White also wins with his rook the pawn and not more than one
on the e-file , as his king can simply file away,
escape the checks, when the pawn 2) his rook is at least three squares
m ust queen . away and can check horizontally,
Once again , exceptional draws and
are possible with the white rook 3) the white rook stands relatively
on c6 or c7, allowing 1 ... lla8+ passively (see notes to diagram
2 �d7 c3iff7 etc. I 50).
Changing the position of Black's In conclusion , the reader may
pieces can also have important be interested in the following
consequences. For example, with exceptional position:
the black rook on the b-file
(say, b2) White wins after 1 ... 153
llb8+ 2 c3ifd7 llb7+ 3 c3ifd8 llb8+ 4
c3ifc7 lla8 5 lla1 ! followed by
6 c3ifd7 wins.


N . Kopayev I 9 5 3

At first it would seem t h a t Black

can draw this position for, as will
be seen, White cannot use the
Black is also lost if his king is on same winning method as in the
g8 , e.g. 1 ... lla8+ 2 c3ifd7 lla7+ corresponding position of diagram
3 c3ifd6 or 3 �e6 lla6+ 4 �5 lla5+ I 50 (black king on g8). However,
5 �f6! ll a6+ 6 �g5 lla5+ 7 �g6 White can win in the following
and 8 llf6-d6 wins 3 ... lla6+ 4 instructive fashion, by using the
�c5 lla8 or 4 . . lla5+ 5 �c6!
. fact that the black rook is only two
5 �c6! �g7 or 5 . . . lla6+ 6 c3ifb7 files away from the pawn:
Rook Endings 123

1 llc8+ Before we examine systematically

2 rtle7 llc7+ this type of ending, let us consider
3 rtlf6 an important basic set-up.
I f 3 rtle6 llc8, White has
nothing better than to transpose /54
to the main line with 4 rtlf6, as
4 rtld7 lla8 5 ll a l fails 5 . . . llb8!
(the extra square ! )
3 llc6+
4 rtle5!
Our previous winning method
does not work here, as after 4 rtlf5
lic5+ 5 <tlg6 llc6+ 6 rtlh5 llc5+ 7
'i!7h6 llc6+ 8 llg6 ll xg6+ 9 rtlxg6
Black is stalemated.
4 llc8 S .Tarrasch 1 906
Or 4 .. . llc5+ 5 <tld6 llc8 6 lie U
'i!7g7 7 lle8 wins. Note that if This position is drawn and has
Black's rook were now on the three distinguishing factors:
b-file, he would draw here by 4 . . . I ) the pawn is on the sixth rank,
llb5+ 5 <tld6 llb8 6 lle l rtlg7 2) the black king is o ne file away
7 lle8 llb6+ 8 rtlc5 llf6. from the pawn,
5 llg6! 3) the black rook is three files
The winning move, made possible away from the pawn.
only because the white king has Play might go:
left the sixth rank. 1 lld8
5 rtlh7 After I rtld6+ rtlf8 or I . . . rtlf6 2
If 5 . . . lla8 6 lla6 and 7 rtlf6 llf7+ rtlg6 Black draws com­
wms. fortably. O ther moves transpose
6 llc6 lla8 into the main line.
7 rtlf6 llb8 1 lla7+
8 lle6 and Black dare not play I . . . lla l ?
9 lle8 wins. 2 'i!7e8 ! rtlf6 3 e 7 rtle6 4 llb8 lla6
5 'i!7f8 winning, but I . . . ll a6 2 lld6
b) Pawn on the Sixth Rank
lla8 ! etc is possible.
With the pawn on the 6th rank, 2 lld7
Black's drawing chances are There is nothing better, as
increased. Although his king must 2 rtle8 rtlf6 is an immediate draw,
still be no more than a file away and 2 'i!7d6 lla6+ 3 rtle5 lla5+ 4
from the pawn and on the short lld5 ll a l 5 rtld6 rtlf8 gives Black
side, the position of his rook is not equality.
so critical. 2 lla8
124 Rook Endings

The rook can play to other 8 e7 cJie6!

squares, except a6, as we shall see 9 cJif8
later. Strangely enough, White cannot
3 lid6 win. 9 lid l liaS+ 10 lidS li a7
A crafty move against which gives him nothing.
Black m ust defend exactly. Other 9 lif2+
rook moves on the d-file allow 3 . . . 10 cJie8 lia2
lia7+ 4 cJ;>eS cJif6 which would Y2- Y2
now be answered by 5 e7+ We can now turn to further
winning. Nor can White play examples, beginning with diagram
waiting moves with the rook, e.g. 1 55.
3 lib7 lia1 or 3 . . . cJig6 4 cJie8+ or
4 cJid7 liaS 5 e7 cJif7 transposing, /55
or 4 cJid6+ cJif6 5 lif7+ cJig6 4 ... B
cJif6 5 e7 liaS+ 6 cJid7 cJif7 7 lib1
lia7+ with a clear draw.
3 cJ;>g6!
The only move to save Black.
He would Jose after 3 ... li a7+ (or
3 . . . lia l ) 4 cJieS cJif6 5 e7+, or here
4 . . . liaS+ 5 lidS, and 3 ... libS
fails to 4 lidS lib7+ 5 cJid6 lib6+
6 cJid7 ! lib7+ (or 6 . . . cJif6 7 lif8+
and S e7) 7 cJic6 winning. N.Grigoriev 1 937
4 lid7
Or 4 cJid7 cJif6. Or 4 lidS (d l ) The remaining positions are all
lia7+ 5 cJieS cJif6. White can make with Black to move, as otherwise
no progress. the white rook would check the
4 cJ;>g7 king away from the g-file, with a
5 lic7 lia1 decisive advantage. Despite the
6 lid7 lia2 fact that Black's roo k is not far
The last moves are played so as enough from the pawn, he draws
to prove that Black does not need in the following way:
to play his rook to aS. Only 6 . . . 1 lib7+
li a6? would Jose after 7 cJieS+ cJif6 2 cJid6 lib6+
S e7 cJie6 9 cJif8 ! , as Black cannot Not of course 2 . . . cJifS 3 liaS+
now check on the f-file. or 2 . . . cJif6 3 lifl + etc.
7 cJie8+ 3 cJid7 lib7+
After 7 lid6 , threatening S cJieS , 4 cJid8 lib8+
Black's only move i s 7 . . . liaS ! Black checks the king until it
drawing. leaves t he d-file.
7 cJif6 5 cJic7 lib2
Rook Endings 125

6 lifl the pawn queens. Now to o ur

To prevent the th reatened 6 . . . analysis of diagram 1 56.
\t>f8 which Black would play after 1 lib8 !
ll lie l . The best defence. Other waiting
6 lia2! moves s uch as 1 . . . li b 1 or 1 . . .
and Black has obtained the drawn �g6 would allow White t o play
position which we saw in our 2 liaS, transposing to the main
analysis of diagram 1 50. variation. The text move prevents
Taking diagram 1 55 as our this and sets White complex
starting point, we can now discuss problems.
t he variations which arise if we 2 <iW 6 + !
ch ange the position of White's The only move. If 2 lia 1 lib7+
rook or Black's king. Nothing draws (diagram 1 5 5). If 2 lid7
happens if we place the rook on liaS draws (diagram 1 54) , and if
t he f- or h-files, or on a 1 -a6, as 2 �d7 both 2 . . . �f6 and 2 . . . �f8
Black would successfully defend draw.
in the same way. However, most 2 �f6
other positions of the rook win for Black has no choice as the
White . Diagram 1 56 has the rook following lines show:
on a7. 1) 2 ... <iW8 3 �d7! lie8 3 . . �g7

4 <t>e7 ! transposes to the main line,

and 3 . . . �gS 4 lia1 lib7+ 5 �dS
libS+ 6 �e7 lib7+ 7 �6 wins
4 lial lie7+ 5 <iifd6 lib7 6 liaS+
�g7 7 e7 wins.
2) 2 ... �g6 3 lial! lib6+ or 3 . . .

lib2 4 li e 1 4 �d7 lib7+ 5 �c6

lib8 6 �c7 lib2 7 li e l ! .ll c2+ 8
<iifd 7 lid2+ 9 �e8 and 1 0 e7 wins.
3 <iitd 7!
But not 3 lif7+ �g6 4 lift
White wins, as Black cannot liaS ! etc. The text move brings
ch eck on b7, but the winning abo ut a zugzwang position which
method is both interesting and White wins only because it is
mstructive . It is worth mentioning Black to move . The reader can
t hat, with the rook on a8, White chec k this for himself.
wins fairly easily. He threatens 3 �g7
2 �e8 and 3 e7, and after I ... After 3 . . . �g6 White wins as in
1Ib7+ or 1 ... lib 1 2 �e8 lih 1 variation 2 in the note to Black's
_l lia7 + �f6 4 e7 li h S+ 5 �d7 �f7 2nd move, and rook moves
ll lia 1 wins 2 <iifd 6 lib6+ 3 �d7 q uickly lose to 4 e7. However,
1Ib7+ 4 �c6 lie7 5 �d6 lib7 6 e7 White now seems to be in
1 26 Rook Endings

difficulties. This move would only draw

4 We7! with the white rook on c8 (2 . . .
Another subtle move, again ..t>f6), but in that case 2 ..t>d6 ll: b6+
placing Black in zugzwang. Not of 3 wd7 ll: b7+ 4 wc6 wins easily.
course 4 ll:a1 ll:b7+ drawing With the rook on c4 or c5 , 2 Wd 8
(diagram 1 5 5). allows Black t o d raw by 2 . . . ..t>f6 3
4 ll:b1 e7 ll:xe7! 4 ll: f4+ 'it>e5 etc.
After 4 . . . Wg6 5 ll: a 1 ll:b7+ An alternative winning method
6 ..t>d6 we again arrive at variation is 2 'it>d6 ll: b6+ 3 'it>d7 not 3 :S c6
2 in the notes to Black's 2nd ll:b8 ! 4 ll: c l wf8 ! , or here ..t>f6
move, and after 4 . . . ..t>g8 5 ..t>f6 (or drawing in both cases 3 . . . ll:b7+
5 ll:a 1 ) 5 . . . l:H8+ 6 ..t>g6 ll:b8 7 with the white rook on c4 or c5,
:Sg7+ wh8 8 :Sf7 ..t>g8 9 e7 wins. I f 3 ... wf6 ! draws 4 ll:c7 ll:b8 5 ll:c8!
4 . . . ll:c8 5 ll:a 1 ll:c7+ 6 ..t> d 8 and ll:b7+ 6 ..t>c6 winning easily.
7 e7 wins. 2 ..t>f6
5 ll:a8 ! With the white rook on c6,
a n d we have finally obtained Black could now draw 2 . . . ..t>f8 !
diagram 1 56 with the white rook and on the previous move, after
on a8, already analysed· as a win. 2 'it>d6, by 2 . . . 'it>f6 ! If instead 2 . . .
A very fine sequence of moves ll:b8+ then 3 ll: c8 wins quickly.
worthy of an endgame study. 3 e7!
If we place the white rook on Only this subtle move can win
c l , we h ave the position given in for White.
diagram 1 5 7. 3 ll:b8+
4 ..t>d7
157 • • • • Also possible is 4 ..t>c7 ll:a8 5
.. .� ��
.� .. �� .� "· ···· ll:a 1 ! ll: e8 6 ..t>d6, or here 4 . . . ll:e8
. -�- . 5 wd6 :Sa8 6 :an+ ..t>g7 7 ll:a 1 !
winning .
• • • • 4 ll:b7+
• • • • 5 ..t>d6 ll: b6 +
• • • • Or 5 . . . ll:b8 6 :a n + Wg7 7 'it>c7
. ..
. .. �. . .. ll:a8 8 ll:a 1 ! wins.
6 Wc7! ll:e6
.. •

. D B
. . ,.....�
7 ..t>d8 ll:d6+
This is a win for White, as are all 8 we8 and wins easily.
placings of the rook on the c-file, If the white rook in diagram 1 57
except c4, c5 and c6. We shall see is placed on e 1 . White wins after
later why these squares only lead 1 . . . ll:b7+ 2 W d8 ll:b8+ 3 Wd7! not
to a draw. 3 wc7? ll:a8 ! drawing 3 . . . ll:b7+
1 ll:b7+ 4 ..t>c8 ll:e7 5 ..t>d8 etc. However,
2 ..t>d8 with the white rook on e5, we have
Rook Endings 127

an exceptional draw, as in this Threatening 4 We8 which cannot

final position B lack could play be pl ayed at once because of 3 . . .
5 .. Wf6 ! It is also known that,
. Wf6 4 e 7 We6! drawing.
with the white rook on e8, Black 3 lib7+
can draw by l ... li a2 ! 4 Wd6 lib6+
Diagram 1 58 illustrates the Black is unable to prevent t he
white rook o n the d-file. threatened 5 e7 by 4 . . . wf6 as
5 lif8+ and 6 e7 follows.
5 wd7 lib7+
6 wc6 lie7
Or 6 . . . lia7 7 lid7+ wins .
7 Wd6 wins.
We have now a nalysed all
possible displacements of t he
white rook in diagram I 55 . To
summarize our conclusions: White
wins if h is rook stands on the
c-, d-, e- or g-files, with the
Again this is won for White , on exception of White's c4, c5, c6, e5
whichever square on the file rook and e8 squares. He also wins with
is placed, the only exception being his rook placed on a7 or a8. All
d7 when Black draws by I . . . lia2! other positions of the rook give
(see the analysis to diagram I 54). Black a draw with correct defence.
l lib7+ Let us now change diagram I 55
With the white rook on d5 , by moving the black king to g6.
Black could try l . . . Wg6 but This slight alteration can sometimes
White still wins by 2 lidS or 2 lid I be vitally important and lead to
2 ... lib7+ the threat was 3 We8 , different treatment of the position.
and 2 . . . Wf5 loses to 3 Wf7 3 lid7 Diagra m I 59 can be our starting
libS or 3 . . . lib6 4 lia7 Wf5 5 point for a discussion of this.
liaS+ Wg6 6 li a i ! lib7+ 7 Wd8
lib8+ 8 Wc7 lib2 9 lie I ! winning,
a position we shall come back to
later 4 lia7! Wg7 and White wins ,
as we saw from diagram 1 56, with
5 wd6+ wf6 6 wd7 ! Wg7 7 we7 !
2 lid7 libl
Transposition would occur after
2 . . . lib8 3 lid8 lib7+ 4 Wd6 , and
2 . . . lib6 fails to 3 we8+ wf6 4 e7
we6 5 Wf8 !
3 lidS N . Grigoriev I 937
128 Rook Endings

Although with the black king 4 '\t>c7 lla8! 4 ... llb7+ 5 '\t>d6
on g7 this position was drawn, it is lib6+ and Black draws , as is clear.
now a win for White as follows: The position is equally drawn
1 llb7+ with White's rook on the f- or
Forced, as White was threatening h-files . For instance, with the rook
2 Jig l+ '\t>f5 3 '\t>f7 winning. on f l , Black defends by 1 . . . lib7+
2 '>t>d8 :!lb8+ 2 '\t>d8 :!lb8+ 3 '>t>c7 lia8! drawing
After 2 . . . '\t>f6 3 e7 :!lb8+ White as in the play from diagram 1 50.
wins either by 4 '\t>c7 :!le8 5 '\t>d6 With the rook on the c-, d- or
lib8 6 lifl + '\t>g7 7 '\t>c7 lia8 8 e-files, White wins as from diagram
lla l ! or by 4 '>t>d7 lib?+ 5 '\t>d6 1 55 , but there are two noteworthy
llb6+ 6 '>t>c7 :!le6 7 '\t>d8 lld6+ differences :
8 '\t>e8 etc. Firstly, White now wins with
If the white rook were on a5, his rook on c6 after 1 ... lib7+ or
Black would draw by 2 . . . '\t>f6 I . . . lib8 2 li c l lib?+ 3 '\t>d8
(even after 2 '\t>d6). We shall lib8+ 4 :!lc8 and 5 e7, or here 3 . . .
return later to the drawing position ..t>f6 4 e 7 lib8+ 5 '>t>d7 lib?+ 6
with the rook op. a4 and a6. '\t>d6 :!lb6+ 7 '\t>c7 lie6 8 '\t>d8
3 '\t>c 7· lib2 2 '>t>d8 :!lb8+ Black no longer has
4 lie l ! the saving 2 . . . '\t>f8 ! 3 lieS and 4 e7
Here lies t h e difference ! With winning easily.
his king on g7, Black could play Secondly, and this time in
4 . . . '\t>f8 , whereas now the pawn Black's favour, White cannot now
cannot be stopped. Not however win if his rook is on e4, as it is too
4 lifl lla2! d rawing, as we saw in near the pawn. Play might go : 1 ...
our analysis of diagram 1 50. :!la2! This draws equally against
4 lic2+ the rook on e5, but with the rook
5 '\t>d7 :!ld2+ on e8 Black draws by I . . . lib?+ 2
6 '>t>e8 and '>t>d6 lib6+ 3 '\t>d7 lib?+ 4 '\t>c6
7 e 7 winning easily. lla7 2 lig4+ otherwise Black
With White's rook on a4 (or reaches the drawing position seen
a6), the position is drawn after 1 . . . in diagram 1 54 2 ... '>t>f5 3 :!ld 4 if
lib7+ 2 '>t>d8 or 2 '\t>d6 lib6+ the white rook were not attacked
3 '>t>d7 '\t>f6! 4 lif4+ '\t>e 5, or here 3 '>t>f7 would now win 3 ... '\t>e5!
4 lia I lib?+ ! With the white roo k but not 3 . . . '\t>g6 4 '>t>e8! followed
on a6, 2 '>t>d6 '\t>f6 ! draws 2 ... '\t>f6 ! by 5 e7, or 3 . . . lia7+ 4 lid? lla6
or, with the rook o n a6, 2 . . . lib8+ 5 lid6 lia7+ 6 '\t>f8 winning 4 lid I
3 '>t>c7 lib I as White cannot play :!la7+ 5 lid7 lia6 a nd Black
his rook to the e-file. In this draws.
position , however, 2 . . . :!lb8+ With other rook positions, the
loses to 3 '\t>c7 lib I 4 lie4! 3 :!l e4 winning method is the same as
or 3 e7 li xe 7 ! 3 ... :!lb8+ 4 '\t>d 7 or against the black king on g7,
Rook Endings 129

l' Xcept with the rook on the d-file. wins by 4 ..t>d6+ ..t>f6 5 Wd7 ! Wg7 6
I n this case, White has more We7 ! :S b l 7 :S a8 :Sb7+ 8 Wd6
p roblems, as we see in diagram :Sb6+ 9 ..t>d7 :Sb7+ 1 0 Wc6 :Se7
l llO. I I ..t>d6 :Sb7 12 e7 etc. The reader
m ust refer back to diagram 156 for
I MJ detailed analysis of this important
To summarize our conclusions:
White can win fro m diagram 1 59
if h is rook is on t h e a-, c-, d-, e- o r
g-files, with exception of his a4,
a5, a6, c4, c5, d5, d7, e4, e5 and e8
squares. The game is d rawn if the
rook is on these squares or the f­
or h-files.
We have devoted a fair amount
1 :S b7 + of space to endings with the pawn
With the white rook on d5, on the sixth rank, but not without
l l l u c k would draw by I ... :Sa2! good reason. Such positions form
.' oJ/cH <M6 3 e7 ..t>e6! , and I . . :Sa2!
. the basis of all endings with rook
• • l.�o d raws against the rook on d7. a nd pawn against roo k, and
White wins, however, with his therefore need to be k nown in
wok on d4, after I . . :Sa2 2 ..t>e8!
. some detail, with all their refine­
•Jill! 3 e7 ..t>e6 4 :S e4+ etc. ments. Time spent on acquiring
2 :Sd7 :Sb8 this knowledge is by no means
< )r 2 . . :Sb6 3 :S a7 ..t>f5 4 :Sa5+
. wasted.
oJ;j.tll 5 :Sa l winning as in diagram If all these pos1t10ns were
I W. Or 2 . . . :S b l 3 :Sa7 again moved one file to the right, it is
WillS. clear that Black's drawing chances
3 :S a7! would be increased , as his rook
In diagram 1 58 (with Black's would have more manoeuvring
k 1 1 1 1-( o n g7) White could win easily space. However, the basic treatment
ha· • �· hy 3 :Sd8 :Sb7+ 4 ..t>d6 :Sb6+ of s uch positions remains the
' oJ/d 7 :Sb7+ 6 Wc6 etc, but now same. To complete our discussion,
,, . Ua7! would draw as 7 :Sd7 let us consider an example where
w • • u ld n o longer be check. This the black king is situated on the
l l ll'll l l s t hat White has to choose a wrong (i.e. the longer) side of the
l o t l ll-(l' r way. pawn.
3 ..t>g7 The main result is that the black
• • • u l wc a rrive at diagram 1 56 (with rook is short of space fo r effective
l l l u r k 's best defensive move I . . . horizontal checking. Black loses,
l.l h K ) . As w e saw there, White even with the move, as follows:
130 Rook Endings

which Black's king occupies o r

threatens to occupy t h e queening
square of the pawn. I n this respect
diagram 1 62 is of great practical

1 lia1
Blac k could draw, if he had
a nother move, by 1 ... lia7+ 2 lt>c6
lia6+ 3 lt>b7 lia l ! etc . Equally,
Black could draw, if his king were Kling and Horwitz 1 85 1
on b7, by 1 . . . li h l ! (diagram 1 54).
2 lieS lia7+ This position was analysed
White threatened 3 lt>d8 and more than a century ago and was
4 d7 . fo und to contain an important
3 lt>c6 lia6+ defensive resource. First of all let
4 lt>c7 lia7+ us see how W hite, to move, wins:
5 lt>b6 lid7 1 lt>c7!
6 lt>c6 wins. The only move. After 1 lia8
lid2 2 lt>c6 lt>e7 ! Black draws, as
c) Pawn on the Second to the we shall show in our analysis of
Fifth Ranks Black to move . An im mediate
The further back the pawn is, 1 lt>c6 fails to 1 . . . lt>e7 2 lid7+
Black's drawing chances are corre­ lt>e8 .
spondingly increased. We do not 1 lia1
intend to discuss all possible Or 1 . . . lic l + 2 lt>d7 lia l 3 lic8
positions sysematically, as this and 4 d6 winning as in diagram
would ta ke us too far, considering 161.
the wealth of material available. 2 libS!
The main point to remember is In our a nalysis to diagram 1 6 1
that Black continues to use the we have already s hown that 2 d6?
same defensive resources we have lia7+ 3 lt>b6 lia l leads to a draw.
already mentioned, and with a 2 lia7+
greater chance of success. 3 lib7 liaS
With the pawn on the fifth ran k , 4 lt>d7!
however, n e w positions arise i n Not 4 d6? lt>e6 5 d7 lt;e7
Rook Endings 13 1

d r a wing. Black can now play only rook immediately switches to the
w a i ting moves. d-file to prevent the advance of the
4 �f6 pawn. A simple but most effective
5 d6 �f7 move, well worth remembering, as
6 ll:b1 it often occurs in more complex
M any roads now l ead to Rome. positions.
1\ l i ng and Ho rwitz continued 3 ll:c2
h llc7 �f6 7 ll: c l ll: a7+ 8 �c6 The point of Black's plan is that
l! a6+ 9 �c7 ll: a4 1 0 ll:d l , 3 �c6 �e7 ! holds up the pawn,
w h e reas Levenfish and Smyslov and after 4 li c7+ �d8 5 ll: h 7 ll:d2!
l l'l:ommend 6 �c6+ �e8 (or 6 . . . 6 �d6 �c8 7 li h8+ �b7 we have
·J/f6 7 ll:e7) 7 �c7 �f7 8 ll:b8 arrived at a position similar to the
l! a 7+ 9 �b6. However, the text diagram.
move seems the most logical. White makes no progress either
6 ll:a7+ after 3 ll:c5 �e8 4 �c7 �e7 etc.
7 �cS 3 �e8!
Or 7 �c6 ll:a6+ 8 �c7 lia7+ Just in time to prevent White
11 Ii[b7 lia8 1 0 ll: b8 wins. from cutting him off by 4 lie2,
7 �e6 with a winning position.
S d7 li aS+ 4 lia2 lid 3
9 �b7 li dS Black cannot move his king,
1 0 �c6 wins easily. when 5 ll:e2 follows, and if the
This wi nning method shows us rook leaves the d-file, White wins
n othing new, but the position with by 5 li a8+ and 6 �d7 etc.
Black to move contains an 5 ll:aS+ �f7
i n teresting and instructive drawing 6 lia7+
l i ne: Or 6 �c6 �e7 ! Or 6 lid8 ll:a3!
1 li a l ! 6 �eS
In order t o prevent 2 �c7 . As and White can make no furtheF­
we saw in our analysis to diagram progress.
1 6 1 , White cannot allow horizontal
checks by the rook .
2 ll:cS
Black now seems lost, for after
2 . . . lia6+ 3 �d7 ll:a7+ 4 ll:c7
White wins as shown above, and
otherwise there seems no defence
to the threatened �d7 followed by
2 lid1 !
The solution ! Now that the
white rook has left d8, the black A. Philidor 1 777
132 Rook Endings

We can now turn to a version of 6 . . . lia 1 7 lid8 lia7+ 8 cJfe8 ,

Philidor's position (diagram 1 30) Black has to fi n d the subtle 8 . . .
and follow his analysis, in which lia6! 9 lid?+ 'i.t>g8 1 0 li d 6 lia8+
he wrongly evaluates the position 1 1 lid8 lia6! drawing. After 8 . . .
as won for White. 'i.t>g6 White wins b y 9 lid6+ 'i.t>f5
Philidor's analysis runs: 10 e6 'i.t>e5 1 1 lib6 followed by
1 lUI +? 1 2 e7.
The first inexactitude which 6 e6+ 'i.t>g7
however does not yet throw away Or 6 . . . 'i.t>f6 7 lif8+ and 8 e7
the d raw. If White's rook were wins.
now on a7 he would win by 2 'i.t>e6 7 'i.t>e7?
when both 2 . . . 'i.t>f8 3 lia8+ 'i.t>g7 An incomprehensible error,
4 'i.t>e7 and 5 e6 (diagram 1 56), and throwing away the win. I nstead
also 2 . . . 'i.t>d8 3 lia8+ 'i.t>c7 4 'i.t>e7 7 lia8 ! lid l + 8 'i.t>e8 and 9 e7 wins
and 5 e6 (diagram 1 6 1 ) give White without difficulty.
the win . 7 lie2?
We have already indicated the And this finally throws away
correct defence in our analysis to the draw. Diagram 1 54 shows us
diagram 1 62: 1 . . . liel ! 2 'i.t>e6 'i.t>f8 that 7 . . . lia l ! is the only defence,
as a general rule, it is best to play e.g. 8 lid8 lia7+ 9 lid? lia8 (or
the king to the shorter side, but 9 . . . li a 1 ) draws .
Black also d raws by 2 . . . 'i.t>d8 3 8 lid8 lie1
lih8+ 'i.t>c7 4 lie8 li h l ! 3 lih8+ It is too late for 8 . . . lia2, when
'i.t>g7 4 lie8 or 4 li a8 lie2! 4 . . . 9 'i.t>e8 and 10 e7 wins.
li a1! 5 lid8 lie1 ! a n d draws . 9 lid2
2 'i.t>e6 'i.t>f8! Even quicker is 9 'i.t>d7 lid l + (or
The only move. After 2 . . . 'i.t>d8 9 . . 'i.t>f6 1 0 lif8+ and 1 1 e7)

3 lih8+ 'i.t>c7 4 'i.t>e7 White wins as 1 0 'i.t>e8 followed by 1 1 e7 winning.

in diagram 1 6 1 . 9 li e3
3 lih8+ 'i.t>g7 There is no longer any defence.
4 lie8 lie1 10 lig2+ 'i.t>h7
Again not the most exact. As we 1 1 wf7 lif3+
saw from digram 1 62, the correct 1 2 'i.t>e8 li e3
defensive method IS 4 . . . li a l ! 13 e7 wins.
5 lid8 li e l ! An excellent example of the
5 'i.t>d7 'i.t>f7? subtleties contained in the simplest
The decisive error. By 5 . .. looking position, and a suitable
lidl+ 6 'i.t>e7 liel 7 e6 lia1 ! B lack ending for trying out our newly
could bring about the draw we acquired knowledge.
gave in our analysis to diagram If we move the position in
1 54. Here 6 . . . li e 1 si mplifies diagram 1 62 one or two files to the
Black's defence, for if instead left, it is won for White, as the
Rook Endings 133

horizontal checks by the black

rook are either too short or
1 mpossible. In addition, the Philidor
position can produce the following
a fter faulty defence by Black:

1 114 • • • •
� B� .
. m .
'"'"� �l!
d -
d � �
:;� .
� . . .
• • • • cannot advance his pawn without
• • • • the help of the rook. After 1 'i.t>c4
• • • • ii:c8+ 2 'i.t>b 5 ii:d8! 3 'i.t>c5 ii:c8+ 4
'i.t>d6 ii:d8+ 5 'i.t>e 5 ii:e8+ 6 'i.t>f5
� . . � ii:d8! White is back where he
This is easily won fo r White by started. This method of defence is
I ii:h7 'i.t>g8 2 ii:g7+ 'i.t>f8 or 2 . . . very important and can often save
'l!l h 8 3 ii:g l and 4 'i.t> f7 3 e7+ 'i.t>e8 Black, as for example in diagram
4 ii:g8+. The result is not changed 1 66.
if the position is moved to the left
or right, except for two files to
t he right, when the white rook has
i nsufficient space to manoeuvre ,
so that 1 ii:h7+ 'i.t>g8 2 g7? l:ld6+ or
I ii:e6 ii:a8 2 g7+ 'i.t>g8 both dra w
for Black.
These positions are fairly simple
t o understand without further
analysis, but a good player must
k now them off by heart . It is not
a lways possible in the Philidor As already m entioned, White
position to cut off the enemy king m u st use his rook to help his pawn
fro m the sixth rank, so we must advance. By exploiting the un­
1 hen use other resources to save favourable position of Black's
t he position. king, White wins as follows:
I f the position is further back , 1 'i.t>b4!
on the fou rth rank at least, then He cannot invert moves with
t he black rook is often more I ii:d4 because of 1 . . . ii:d8 ! (one
e ffectively placed in front of the advantage of the rook in front of
pawn rather than behind it. For the pawn ! ) and the pawn ending is
example, in diagram 1 65 White drawn after 2 ii:xd8 'i.t>xd8 2 'i.t>b4
134 Rook Endings

'lt>c8 ! only because the black rook has

1 llb8+ insufficient space to give horizontal
2 'lt>a5 llc8 ! checks from the left. Move the
Black m ust not check tho ught­ diagram position at least two files
lessly, as 2 . . . lla8+? 3 'lt>b6 allows to the right, and White cannot
White to advance the pawn, or win. It is also clear that B lack's
attack the rook after 3 . . . llb8+ drawing possibilities would dis­
4 'lt>c7 etc. appear if his rook were behind the
3 'lt>b5 llb8+ pawn instead of in front.
4 'lt>a6 llc8 If we move the position in
5 lld4! diagram I 66 one file to the left,
Now that White has pushed his then White can no longer win, as
king forward as far as possible, he the move 2 'lt>a5 ! is no longer
guards the pawn with his rook and possible . For example, 1 'lt>a4
Black cannot stop the pawn lla8+ 2 'lt>b5 llb8+ 3 'lt>a5 lla8+
advancing. 4 'lt>b6 llb8+ draws.
5 'lt>e6 Or after 1 llc4 Black has either
If the black king were already 1 ... llc8 or 1 ... 'lt>d6 2 'lt>a4 'lt>d5!
here, the n 5 . . . 'lt>e5 would draw at but not 2 ... lla8+ 3 'lt>b5 llb8+
once . In other words, diagram I 66 4 'lt>a6 'lt>d5 5 ,llg4 ! winning
would be drawn with Black's kirig 3 llc5+ 'lt>d6 4 'lt>a5 lla8+ 5 'lt>b5
on e6 or e 5 . However, if the king is llb8+ 6 'lt>c4 llh8 etc drawing.
on e4 or beyond, White can win by This las t variation is important, as
I lle l + d riving him two files away the I . . . llc8 resource is not always
from the pawn. We shall come available (i.e. with Black's king on
back to this point later. d5).
6 'lt>b7 llc5 Matters become eve n more
Or 6 . . . 'lt>e5 7 lld5+ winning the interesting if the black king is cut
rook. off two files away from the pawn,
7 'lt>b6 llc8 as in the basic position in diagram
8 c5 wins. I 67.
It is now clear that, with Black
to move, diagra m I 66 is drawn
either by I . . . lld8 (see note to
move I above) or by I . . . 'lt>e6 (see
note to move 5). In other words
White's winning chances are
minimal if the black king is no
more than a file away from the
pawn .
We must also point out that
White wins from diagram I 66
Rook Endings 135

The following winning method Or 7 . . . llc8 8 c5 llb8+ 9 c2tc7

applies to a central pawn also, and wms.
is slightly different from the one 8 cS
arising from diagram 1 66, although Or 8 lld 1 ll h 6+ 9 'it>c7 llh5
no less instructive : 1 0 lld5 wins .
1 c2tb4 8 'it>d8
The order of moves is not so 9 lla1
important here , as Black could But not 9 c6? llh2 and Black
not play 1 . . . lle8 even with his draws. Alternative rook moves
king on f7. After 2 llxe8 'it>xe8 such as 9 lld 1 + or 9 llg 1 also win .
3 c2tb4 'it>d8 4 'it>b5 ! the pawn 9 llh2
ending is a loss for him. The exact 10 ll a8+ and
position of the black king is 11 c6 (+) wins easily.
1 llb8+ 168
2 c2taS llc8
3 c2tbS llb8+
4 'it>a6
Again we see the importance of
the extra file, which is why a
similar position with a knight's
pawn is only drawn .
4 llc8
S llc1 !
In this position White can also
win by 5 lle4 'it>f5 6 llh4 As already stated, a similar
(threatening 7 c2tb7) 6 . . . llb8 7 c5 position with a knight's pawn is
when both 7 . . . 'it>e6 8 lld4 and 7 . . . only drawn , but White wins if the
't!le5 8 llh6 win. H owever, this line black king is further back. For
would be impossible with the example, in the position in diagram
black king on f5 or if the whole 1 6 8 , White wins by 1 lld4 'it>e6 or
position were moved one file to 1 . . . lld8 2 llxd8 c2txd8 3 'it>a4 c2tc8
l he right. 4 ct>a5 ! wins 2 'it>c4 llc8+ or 2 . . .
S 'it>e7 'it>e5 3 lld5+ 'it>e6 4 b5 llc8+ 5 llc5
6 c2tb7 llcS c2td7 6 b6! wins 3 c2tbS llb8+ or
If the position were one file 3 . . . 'it>e5 4 lld7 'it>e6 5 lla7 wins
fu rther to the right , Black could 4 'it>c6 �S S llh4 wins.
now try 6 . . . lla8 but White would Also with the king too far
slill win by 7 d5 lla7+ 8 c2tb6 lld7 advanced (on e4 for example as in
( or 8 . . . lla2 9 lle l ! etc) 9 'it>c6 'it>e7 diagram 1 69), Black loses to
10 d6+ 'it>d8 l l llh 1 etc. 1 lld6! �S 2 lla6 'it>dS 3 c2ta4 and
7 c2tb6 llhS the pawn advances. Or White can
136 Rook Endings

Before we analyse this position

in detail, let u s clarify one or two
169 points. If White advances his king,
play might go : 1 <t>c3 lic8+ 2 <t>d4.
It is inadvisable for Black to
continue checking now, as after
2 . . . lid8+ 3 <t>c5 lic8+ 4 <t>d6
lib8, his king can be driven away
by 5 lift+. So play continues 2 •..

lib8 3 <t>c4 lic8+ 4 <t>d5 li b8.

Now White must guard his pawn,
b ut 5 lib 1 allows the king to head
for the queenside with 5 . . . <t>e7 ,
play the more complicated 1 lid7 and after 5 lie3 <t>£5 6 lif3+ <t>g4 ,
<t>e5 2 <t>c4 lieS+ or 2 . . . <t>e6 the rook is forced to give way. So
3 lid4 as given above 3 <t>b5 lib8+ it appears that White must
4 <t>c5 lic8+ 5 wb6 lib8+ 6 lib7 prepare the advance of his king.
winning. The above analysis indicates
In order to win every time with that the black king is relatively
the knight's pawn, the black king well placed on f6. For instance, if
m ust be at least three files fro m the he were on f8, 1 lie4 and 2 b4
pawn , and there is hardly any need wo uld win easily. Nor would the
to show the reader how this is king stand well on . . . f4. White
done. Play is similar to the wins by 1 <t>c3 lic8+ 2 <t>d4 lib8 or
above analysis and only beco mes 2 . . . lid8+ 3 <t>c5 lic8+ 4 <t>d6
interesting if the pawn is on the lib8 5 li b l ! r,t;e4 6 b4 <t>d3 7 b5
third rank. Possibilities are then <t>c2 8 <t>c7 ! wins 3 li b 1 ! not
extremely complex and demand 3 Wc4 lic8+ 4 <t>d5 lib8 5 li b 1
very exact play, as can be seen r,t;e3 ! 6 b 4 <t>d3 7 b5 <t>c2 8 lib4
from our next example. <t>c3 drawing. Nor 3 li f t + <t>g5 4
li b 1 <t>f6 etc. 3 ... <t>f5 4 <t>d5 !
1 70 winning a vital tempo 4 ... Wf6 5
b4 <t>e7 6 <t>c6 and 7 b5 winning
Black would lose with his king
on f5, after 1 <t>c3 lic8+ 2 <t>d4
lib8 3 <t>c4 lic8+ 4 Wd5 lib8 or
4 . . . lid8+ 5 <t>c5 lic8+ 6 <t>d6
lib8 7 lib 1 <t>e4 8 b4 <t>d3 9 b5
<t>c2 1 0 <t>c7 ! wins 5 li bl
transposing to the above quoted
N . Grigoriev 1 937
Rook Endings 137

When we come to our main the following improvement for

u nalysis, we shall consider the case White : 9 llg3! l:l:h6+ 1 0 �b7
of the black king on f7. If the king l:l:h7+ 11 l!tb8 l:l:h4 or 1 1 . . . �d7 1 2
rs further up the board, say on f3 , l:l:g6! l:l: h4 1 3 l:l: b6 and 1 4 b4 wins
Wh ite wins comfortably b y 1 l:l:e6 12 l:l:d3+ �e7 13 �c7 l:l:b4
M4 2 �a3 l!tf5 or 2 . . . laa8+ 3 14 l:l:e3+ l!tf6 1 5 l!td6 and wins as
<J/b4 �f5 4 l:l:c6 l!te5 5 �c5 and in the main variatio n.
11 b4 wins 3 l:l:a6 l!te5 4 b4 �d5 5 However, the winning method
-J.>a4 �c4 6 l:Ic6+ �d5 7 b5 l:Ia8+ is much longer and more comp­
K l!i>b4 etc. Notice that occasionally licated than our main variation.
we have not continued our analysis 1 l!tf5
hryond a certain point, after I f I . . . l!tf7 2 l!tc3 etc wins, as
1 l r i ving the black king one more White will force b4.
l i lc to the right. We shall 2 l:l:e3 l!tf6
1lrmonstrate later that this leads After 2 . . . l!tf4 3 l:l: e 1 we arrive
lo a win for White . at one of the given pos i t ions, with
All the given variations clearly the king on f3 , f4 or f5 . The text
crul icate that the black king stands position would also arise if the
hudly anywhere except on f6. This black king were originally on f7.
h· nds to the surprising conclusion After I l:l:e3 Black would have
1 h u t in diagram 1 70 Black is nothing better than I . . . l!tf6.
111 11 1:tically in zugzwang! Now that Ho wever, White could also win
Wl' are aware of this fact, the easily by I l:l:e4 l!tf6 2 l!tc3 l:l:c8+ 3
' l ra rcst winning plan is no longer �d4 l:l: b8 4 �c4 l:Ic8+ 5 �d5 l:l:b8
h u rd to find: 6 b4 l!tf5 7 l:l: h4 e tc.
1 l:l:e4 Instead of 2 . . . l!tf6 Black has a
l 'h c aim of this and the next cunning defence in 2 . . . l:l:h8 3 b4
1 1 11 1Vc is to bring about diagram �f4! 4 l:l:e1 l:l:h3! preve nting the
I /0 with the white rook on e3, and advance of White's king. White
W l' s h a ll see why this is necessary. then wins in the following in­
1\ 1 I he beginning of our disc ussion structive fashion: 5 �c2 ! not of
W l' mentioned the possibility course 5 b5? l:l: h 5 , but also 5 l:l:e8
I <JJ d l:l:c8+ 2 �d4 l:l:b8 3 l!tc4 �f5 ! 6 b5 l:l:d3! 7 b6 l:l:d6 8 l:l:b8
U 1·K I 4 l!td5 l:l:b8 5 l:l:b1 �e7 l!te6, or 5 l!ta2 l:l:d3 ! 6 b5 l:l:d5 7
c i r r l(o riev assumed that Black l:l:b I l!te5 8 l!ta3 l!td6 9 b6 l!tc6
1 1 1 1 w draws after 6 �c6 l:l:b4! draws for Black 5 . . . l!tf5 the
1 lll'l + �8 7 . . . �f6 8 l:l:e3 l:l:b8 waiting move 5 .. . l:l:g3 loses to
'J <JJ d l:l:b4 l O �d6 ! leads to the 6 b5 l:l:g5 7 b6 l:l:c5+ 8 �d3 l:l:b5
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 line 8 l:l:e3 l:l:h4! 9 l:l:e5? 9 l:l:e6 etc. 6 b5 �f6 or 6 . . . l:l:g3
U h fl l 10 �b7 l:l:h7+ 1 1 l!tb8 l!td7! 7 b6 l:l:g7 8 l!tc3 l:l: b7 9 l:l: b i i!te6 1 0
l l llc5 l:l:h4 13 l:l:b5 l!tc6 etc. �c4 l!td7 I I l!tb5 l!tc8 1 2 l!ta6
l l u wc ver, Kopayev later fo und l:l:d7 I3 l:l:h l l:l:d8 1 4 l!ta7 l:l:d7+
138 Rook Endings

I S 'i.t'a8 wins 7 b6 'i.t'f7 or 7 . . . lih8 in turn has forced the black kin)(
8 'i.t'c3 lib8 9 libi 'i.t'e6 1 0 'i.t'c4 one file further away.
Wd7 I I 'i.t'bS 'i.t'c8 I 2 lic l + and 7 'i.t'gS (1 71)
I2 ... 'i.t'b7 allows mate in two
S lib1 lihS 9 'i.t'e3 'i.t'e6 10 'i.t'b4
'i.t'd7 1 1 lie1 ! lieS 1 2 lieS winning
( I 2 . . . lic6 I 3 'i.t'bS).
The above variation not only
shows us a new defensive resource
but also a s ubtle winning method
for White. I t is worth noting that
after Black's 4 . . . lih3 ! , if his king
now s tood on fS instead of f4, he
would dra w after S 'i.t'c2 'i.t'f6 6 bS
lihS 7 b6 lieS+ 8 'i.t'd3 libS as
White could no longer play 9 lie6. Despite his advantage, White'�
Or S bS lid3 ! 6 'i.t'c2 lidS 7 li b i task is still not easy. If 8 'i.t'c7 lil h4
lieS+ 8 'i.t'd3 'i.t'eS 9 b 6 lic8 draws. 9 'i.t'c6 lib8 and the pawn cannot
Now let us return to our main line: advance. Rook moves allow t ill'
3 'i.t'e3 black king to return . In order to
White could play 3 lie i and win, White has to switch pla n�
bring about diagram I 70 with back to placing his rook on h X ,
Black to move, but we now know when he will win because Black ·�
that Black can change his defensive king is j ust far enough away.
plan by 3 . . . lih 8 ! when White is S 'i.t'eS! lieS+
compelled to play 4 lie3, as 4 b4? Or 8 . . . 'i.t'g4 9 lid3 ! lic8+ ( t o
lih3 ! S 'i.t'c2 'i.t'f7 6 bS lihS 7 li b i stop I O b4) 1 0 'i.t'b6 lib8+ I I '�.ll" 7
'i.t'e6 draws. lib4 I 2 'i.t'c6 'i.t'f4 (or I 2 . . . J::[ hX
3 lieS+ 13 lid4+ 'i.t'fS I4 b4 'i.t'eS IS llh4
4 'i.t'd4 libS wins) I3 'i.t'cS lib8 I 4 b4 li[cX I
Or 4 . . . lid8+ S 'i.t'cS lic8+ I S 'i.t'dS lid8+ I 6 'i.t'c4 J::[ c X I
transposing. I 7 'i.t'b3 'i.t'e4 (or I 7 . . . lib8 I 8 J::[ LI � .
5 'i.t'eS lieS+ o r 1 7 . . . 'i.t'eS I 8 b S etc) I 8 lldt•
6 'i.t'd6 !. libS 'i.t'eS I9 lia6 and wins as we sa w i n
Or 6 . . . lid8+ 7 'i.t'c7 lid4 8 'i.t'c6 our analysis o f diagram I 6 7 .
lih4 9 'i.t'b S lihS+ 10 'i.t'a4 and the 9 'i.t'd4 libS
pawn advances . 10 'i.t'e3 lieS+
7 lif3+! Here , or previously, IO . . �)(4 .

The point of the whole man­ 1 1 lifl would only help White .
oe uvre . The fact that White's 1 1 'i.t'b2 libS
pawn was guarded by the rook on After a great deal of trouble a mi
e3 allowed S 'i.t'cS and 6 Wd6 which subtle play, White is now almoNt
Rook Endings 139

huck where he started, with the

v11al difference that the black king
1 � four files away from the pawn
1 1 1 � 1 ead of three. This is the
do· r i d i n g factor.
1 2 llfi !
l l eading for b l . There 1s no
o ld e n ce to this plan.
12 �g6
1 3 � c3
Beginning the old dance routine
l o o 1 t he last time !
13 llc8+ K ling and Horwitz 1 85 1
1 4 �d4 llb8
15 �c4 llc8+ king is a rank away from the .
16 �dS llb8 pawn. Black has drawing chances
17 llb1 ! only when the white pieces are
1 -' i n a l l y . The black king now awkwardly placed or the pawn has
oi l l i VeS tOO late. not advanced much. At first sight
17 �f7 diagram 172 seems to give B lack
18 b4 �e7 good dra wing chances, for the
19 �c6 and wins easily. white pieces are tied to the defence
A 1 remendous piece of analysis of t he pawn. However, White
hv < i rigoriev, full of subtle and frees his game by the following
" I I p r i s ing points. We have brought typical manoeuvre:
l l l o o I he reader's attention in order 1 llh8!
loo convince him about the But not 1 d7? lle6+ 2 �f7 which
o h l l 1 c u l ties even the simplest would indeed win after 2 . �d6?
. .

l o o o o k i ng ending can co ntain. All 3 lle8! but which only draws after
l hr mor e reason, then, for studying 2 . . . llf6+! 3 �g7 �e6 4 lle8+
- � � � h e n d ings before we are faced 'it>xd7.
w 1 1 h t h em over the board. 1 llxd6
there a re many more interesting 2 llhS+ wins.
o• I H IJ!n mcs with the pawn on its This position is still won if we
o o l l jl l l l a l square or with a centre move it to the left , but it is clear
1 • n w n on the third rank, but we that, one file to the right, it is
- h n l l dispense with these . Instead, drawn after 1 llh8 ll xe6 2 llh5+
h• l 1 1 � e xa mine two exa mples in �g4 etc.
w h h h the defending king is placed Diagram 1 73 is another position
h o• h l l u l the pawn. of practical value. White's pieces
1 1 1 general such positions are are more effectively placed than in
w o o n for White, especially if the the preceding example, yet sur-
140 Rook Endings

prisingly eno ugh Black to move 6 l:Ie2+ �f7 7 d 7 , reaching a

can draw. position of the diagram 1 49 type .
Moving t h e position t o t h e right
does not change the result, but,
two files to the right, Black has to
defend differently. After 1 . . . 'i!;>h�
2 g6+ 'it>h6 3 l:Ia6 llg2 4 llf6 l:Ig l ?
5 l:I f2 l:I a 1 6 l:Ih2+ wins, a s
Black's king m ust go to g5 .
However, Black has a stalematl"
resource in 4 .••l:Ig5! 5 n n llf5+ 1
6 llxf5 stalemate. Note that Black
dare not play 3 . . . ll g5? as 4 l:If6 !
then places him in zugzwang, and
White to move wins by I e6, but wins fo r White.
Black to move draws as follows: With this, we conclude our
1 �f5 treatment of rook and pawn
Blac k m ust use this opportunity against rook. We make no apology
to bring his king to the fo urth for the size of this section which
rank. only serves to indicate the extra­
2 e6+ �f6 ordinary importance of this type
3 ll a6 lle2! of ending. More complex rook
The rook must play a waiting and pawn endings are usual ly
move on the e-file, as both 3 .. . reduced to one of these bask
lid ! +? 4 'it>e8 and 5 e7+, and 3 . . . positions which must therefore be
'it>g7 4 ll a2 win for White . known thoroughly.
4 lld6
Rook and two Pawns against Rook
After 4 e7+ �f7 the d raw is
clear. The ending of rook and two
4 l:Ie1 pawns against rook is usually won
5 :!I d2 ll a 1 ! quite easily for White . Even if hr
Again the only move , as White has to lose one of the pawns he ca n
was th reatening to win with normally use this opport unity to
6 llf2+ and 7 e7. Of course 5 . . . set up a theoretically won position
l:Ixe6 fails to 6 llf2+. with the re maining pawn. Only in
6 llf2+ 'it>g7 exceptional cases can Black hopr
and Black has reached a drawn for a draw, and it is a few of thcsr
position of the diagram 1 54 type . cases with the most practical value
If the position in diagram is that we shall examine no w.
moved one file to the left, it is won Our first position is extremely
for White after 1 ... 'it>e5 2 d6+ 'i!;>e6 interesting. Despite the fact th; ;t
3 ll a6 lld2 4 llc6 l:Id1 5 l:Ic2 ll a 1 his rook pro tects both pawns and
Rook Endings 141

rook would not then be able to

check on g7.
3 �b3 lif3+
Forced, as 4 lic6 was threatened.
4 <;!;>c4 lif4+
s �dS lib 4
Black only checks until the
white king leaves the vicinity of
the a-pawn . For example, 5 . . .
lif5+? fails t o 6 �e6 lif4 7 a5 and
Black cannot play 7 . . . lif5.
6 � c6 lif4
Smyslov-Bondarevsky 1 940 Again 7 a5 was the threat.
7 <;!;>d7 lid4+
l h n l his king has freedom of 8 �c7 lif4
movement along the rank, White 9 aS lifS!
• n n not force a win. Black keeps All according to the Vancura
In mind the important Vanc ura recipe (diagram 1 38).
p os i tion (diagram 1 3 8) and draws, 10 �d7 lidS+
w h i le the pawn on h6 plays no part 11 <;!;>e7 lieS+
n l n i l in the proceedings. 12 �f6 lieS
1 �d3 1 3 liaS libS
l{ook moves would lose a pawn 14 a6 lib6+
nl once and if the king heads for and W hite can make no progress.
l h r h-pawn he can always be After 15 �e7 lixh6 ( 15 . . . lic6 is
• hrc ked away from g5 or h5. also possible) 16 �f7 lib6 17 lia7
1 lib4 �h6 18 �f8 lib8+ 19 �e7 lib6
2 <;!;>c3 lif4 20 �d8 lif6 2 1 <;!;>c8 a draw was
B l a c k's plan is simple. His rook agreed. As can be seen, this
1 1 1 11 1 n tains a horizontal attack on defensive method is of great
l l u- a-pawn, then checks away the practical value.
w h 1 1 c king as soon as it approaches There are many other exceptions
l l u- pawn. To do this s uccessfully, when two pawns do not guarantee
1 1 1 1' rook must choose a file along a win. Sometimes the reason for
w l ul'h it can check from every this is the poor position of White's
�• p m re , and as far away as possible king, or unusually active black
h o m the a-pawn . It is clear that pieces , or the fact that one of the
l l u- f f i l e is ideal for this, altho ugh
- pawns is almost worthless. Most
l l u· r fi l e is far enough from the
- of these positions seldom occur in
p n w n and 2 . . . lie4 is also practical play, so we s hall devote
p l n v n h l e . On the other hand 2 . . . our attention to those few which
11 1!4 is not a s acc urate because the will prove of most value to the
1 42 Rook Endings

reader. 3 Wf8 etc) 3 ile8 ll a7+ 4 We6!

When the two pawns are the ila6+ 5 Wf5 ila5+ 6 lle5 ll a I 7 f7
bishop's pawn and rook's pawn llfl + 8 we6 Wg6 9 llg5+ ! Wxg5
on the same wing, theory states 10 h7 winning, as the king w i l l
that the game is usually drawn, escape the checks b y heading for
surprising though this may seem. f8 .
However, to defend such positions J ust a slight alteration of the
requires the utmost exactitude, position, placing White's rook on
because there are many situations d6, would allow Black to d raw by
which win for White, especially 1 ... ila7+ 2 We8 ila8+ 3 We7 or
when the pawns are far advanced. 3 lld8 ila6 etc 3 . . lla7+ 4 lld7

In view of the great practical value ila8 5 lld8 if 5 f6 Wxh6 d raws 5 . . .

of this ending, we intend to disc uss l:la7+ 6 Wf6 lla1 7 l:le8 l:l a 2 when
it in some detail, beginning with White cannot play 8 Wfl because
diagram 1 75, our first critical of 8 . . . Wxh6.
position : 2 ile8
Not of co urse 2 f6 Wxh 6
d rawing.
2 ila7+
Or 2 . . . lla6 3 ll e l ! Wxh6
4 lle6+ or 4 f6 wins, or here 3 . . .

ila7+ 4 Wf8 wins as given above ;

or 3 . . . llb6 4 f6 llb8 (or 4 . . . Wxh 6
5 llh l + and 6 Wg7) 5 ile8 ll b6 (or
5 . . . llb7+ 6 <be6 wins as we have
seen) 6 We 7 ll b7+ 7 We6 and wins
as in our previous note.
3 Wf8 wxh6
I . Maizelis 1 9 39 Or 3 . . . ila6 4 ile7+ etc.
4 ile6+ Wg5
Both White's king and rook are 5 f6 Wf5
actively placed and allow him to 6 llb6
win as follows: Or 6 lld6 Wg6 7 f7+ Wh 7 8 WcK
1 ila8 WinS.
If Black checks, White has an 6 Wg6
interesting win by I ... lla7+ 7 f7+ <bh7
2 Wf8 ila8+ 3 ile8 lla6 (to 8 llb8 winning easily.
prevent 4 f6) 4 ile7+ Wh8 5 ile6 In this type of ending, the black
ila8+ (again 6 f6 was threatened) king must avoid being cut off on
6 l:le8 l:la6 7 f6! llxf6+ 8 We7+ . the back ran k , as such positions
Nor can Black wait, as I . . . lla2 are usually lost. Here is an
fails to 2 f6 ila8 (or 2 ... Wxh6 example of this:
Rook Endings 143

the back rank.

2 ll:g1 +
White threatened 3 ll:b8+ or
3 ll:g7+ when one of the pawns
3 <2i>f5 ll:fl+
4 <2i>e6 ll:el+
5 <2;>d6
Care is still required, as 5 <2i>d7?
<2i>f7 ! 6 h7 ll:h l draws for Black.
5 ll:d 1 +
O r 5 . . . ll:fl 6 ll:b8+ <2i>h7 7 <2i>e7
Capablanca-Kostic 1 9 1 9 wins . Or 5 . . . ll:h 1 6 ll:b8+ <2i>f7
7 h 7 ! wins. Black does best to
White has a t least three winning check.
l ll'llti nuations, but we select the 6 <2i>e7 ll:e1+
l 1 1 ngest of these in order to point 7 <2i>d8 ll:fl
1 1 1 1 1 various incidental possibilities. The best chance. If 7 . . . c2i>f8
1 h6 8 ll:g7 and 9 h 7 wins. Or 7 . . . ll:d 1 +
I n the game Capablanca played 8 <2i>e8 ll: e 1 + 9 ll:e7 wins.
I 16 ll:c l 2 ll:g7+ and after 2 . . . <2i>f8 8 h7+ <2i>h8
I h (l Black resigned , for he can do 9 <2i>e7
1 1 o 1 h i ng to prevent 4 h7 and Not, however, 9 f7 ll:xf7 !
' llg8+. Black could hold out a drawing, whereas now 9 . . . ll:xf6
l i l l i e longer by 2 . . . <2i>h8 when will lose to the zwischenzug

1 '.t>g6 (or 3 ll:e7 <2i>g8 4 h6 10 ll:b8+.
w 1 u n ing) 3 . . . ll:g l + 4 <2i>f7 ll:a 1 5 9 ll:e1+
U � X + <2i>h7 6 ll:e8 ll:a6 7 <2;>e7 10 <2i>f7
U n 7 + 8 <2i>f8 wins comfortably. Again White could go wrong
Kopayev has pointed out another with 1 0 <2;>f8? ll:e8+ 1 1 <2i>f7 ll:f8+!
W i ll by 1 lJ:b8+ <2fh7 ( l . . . <2ff7 2 h6 drawing, whereas after the text
u u d 3 h7, or 1 . . .. <2;>g7 2 f6+ ll:xf6 move White answers 10 . . . ll:e8
I h6+ wins) 2 f6 ll:c5+ 3 <2i>g4 with 1 1 <2;>g6 or l l ll:b l .
Ur4+ 4 <2;>£5 ll:c5+ 5 <2i>e6 ll:c6+ 10 ll: a 1
It oJJ c 7 ll:c7+ 7 <2i>f8 winning. 11 ll:b8+ <2i>xh 7
1 ll:cl 1 2 <2i>f8 wins.
2 f6 H ere is another position with
Not the only way to win but the black king on the back rank.
pnhaps the most instructive one, White wins, whoever has the
•howing that White always wins move, so let us give Black the
w11 h both pawns on the sixth rank move and consider two main
w henever Black's king is cut off on variations:
144 Rook Endings

diagram I 75 (note to Black's firs t

1 77 move).
6 '\t>e8 lif2
7 lieS '\t>h7
If Black's rook leaves the fil e ,
then 8 f6 wins. O r 7 . . . lifl 8 rtle7
8 '\t>f7!
Not 8 '\t>e7? '>t>xh6 9 f6 '\t>g6
10 lie6 lifl drawing.
8 '>t>xh6
Or 8 . . . lia2 9 lie6 and we have
A diagram 1 32.
I lia2 9 lie6+ !
Waiting. We shall analyse the Again White only draws after
more active I . . . li h I in variation 9 f6 lia2 I O 'M8 '\t>g6! I I f7 'M6 etc.
B. After I . . . lia6+ 2 '\t>g5 followed 9 '>t>h7
by 3 f6, we arrive at a winning IO f6 lia2
positio n from diagram 1 76 . To draw Black would have to be
2 '\t>e5 ! in a position to play I O . . . liaH
After 2 h 7+ '\t>h8 3 '\t>f7 '>t>xh 7? here.
4 '\t>f8+ '>t>h6 5 lie6+! '\t>h7 (or 5 . . . I I '\t>fS lia8+
'\t>g5 6 f6 etc) 6 f6 li a8+ 7 lie8 12 lie8 and
wins, but Black has better with the 13 f7 wins.
problem like 3 . . . lia5! 4 f6 '\t>xh 7 B
5 '>t>f8+ '\t>g6 6 f7 '>t>f6 ! drawing. I lihi
2 lie2+ The same position could arise
3 '>t>d6 lid2+ with White's rook occupying
If 3 . . . lif2 or 3 .. . lih2 White other squares on the 7th rank,
still plays 4 '>t>e6 ! ( 4 . . . li xh6+ e.g. b7. He would then o nly draw
5 f6 etc). after 2 lib8+ '\t>h7 3 '\t>f7 li a i 4 f6
4 '\t>e6 lie2+ li a7+ 5 '\t>e8 '\t>g6 6 f7 li xf7! 7
5 '\t>d7 lid2+ lib6+ li f6 , but 2 li g7+ is the
After 5 . . . lif2 White plays winning move , as the following
6 lie8+ '\t>h7 7 '\t>e6 lia2 (or 7 . . . main line demonstrates.
lie2+ 8 '\t> f7 lia2 9 li e 6 arriving at 2 lig7+
diagram I 75 ) 8 f6 lia6+ 9 '>t>f5 Or 2 li e8+ '\t>h7 3 '>t>f7 li a l
(9 '\t>f7 li a7+ I O '>t>f8? allows an 4 li e 6 winning, a s from diagram
interesting draw 10 . . . '\t>g6 ! I I I 75.
'\t>g8 '>t>xf6 I 2 h7 lig7+ I 3 '\t>h8 If 2 '\t>e6 lie l + (2 . . . lixh6+
li a7 ! ) 9 . . . lia5+ 1 0 lie5 winning, 3 f6) 3 '\t>d7 winning, as m
as we saw in our analysis to variation A above.
Rook Endings 145

2 �f8 positions in which the black king

O r 2 . . . �h8 3 Ile7 �g8 (or 3 . .
. is cut off on the back rank or the
l h h 6+ 4 �f7 Ila6 5 f6 �h7 6 white king has advanced to f7. In
·J/ IK+ �g6 7 f7 �f6 8 �g8 ! wins) these cases White usually wins,
·I lle8+ (or �e6) winning as although there are technical diffi­
,, hove. culties. Let us now turn to the
3 �g6 ! average type of position in which
I t was once thought that White the black king is correctly placed.
, o u l d win here by 3 Ilg6 Ilh2 Against best defence White cannot
.. '.!/e6 Ilh1 5 �d7 if 5 Ilf6+ �e8 ! win.
t . '.!/d6 Ild l + 7 �c7 Il a 1 8 Ild6
·J/ 17 draws 5 ... Ila1 o r 5 . . . Ilh5
(, Ue6! rtlf7 7 h7 �g7 8 f6+ wins
fl IId6 �ti 7 h7 Ilh1 or 7 . . . �g7
K I H �xh7 9 �e8 etc 8 �d8 �g7
1J IId7+ �h8 10 f6 Ilfl 11 �e7! etc.
l lowever, Kopayev has shown
l h a t Black can i mprove by 5 ...
·Ji r7! with the contin uation 6 Ile6
1 1 1 6 Ild6 Ilh4! draws 6 ... Il a 1 !
7 h7 i f 7 Ile7+ �f6 8 h7 Ila8!
• h a ws. Or 7 Ild6 Ila7+ 8 �d8 Bondarevsky-Keres 1 939
U a H+ 9 �c7 Ila7+ 1 0 �c6 Ila 1
I I h7 �g7 1 2 Ild7+ �h8 drawing In this position Black must
7 . �g7 8 f6+ or 8 Ilh6 Ila7+ 9
. . guard against three situations.
·JicH Ila8+ 1 0 �b7 �xh6 etc 8 ... Firstly, he must not allow his king
oJ.>xh7 9 �e7 Ila8 with a theoretical to be driven to the back rank,
dra w . secondly he must avoid diagram
3 Ilgl+ 1 75 (with White's king on f7), and
4 �h7 Ilfl thirdly, once he has captured the
Otherwise White wins by 5 f6 h-pawn, he must not allow White
l o l lowed by �g6 and h7. to obtain a winning rook and
5 Ila7! Ilg1 bishop's pawn ending.
If 5 ... Ilxf5 6 �g6 followed by 1 Ilg2
I Ila8+ and 8 h7 wins. Black wishes to stop White's
6 f6 Ilg2 king reaching f6 via g5, but this
7 Ilg7 Ilf2 move was not absolutely vital. He
8 �g6 wins easily. could also draw by 1 ... Ilf2+
Very interesting and instructive 2 �g5 Ilg2+ 3 �f6 Ilf2! the only
va ri ations which show the reader defence; after 3 . Ila2 4 �f7
. .

l h c problems faced by both sides. White obtains diagram 1 75 , and

So far we have considered afte r 3 . . . �g8 4 Ile7 diagram 1 77.
146 Rook Endings

If 3 . . . <t>xh6 White does not play I I ct>g7 lia7+ drawing.

4 'it>f7+? 'it>h7 5 f6 li g7+ 6 ct>f8 7 ligS+ ct>h7
li g8+ 7 ct>e7 lia8 drawing, but s lig7+ <t>hS
wins by 4 ct>e7+! ct>h7 5 f6 lif2 6 9 <t>xf6 stalemate.
ct>f8 etc 4 lieS after 4 lid6 the So we see that Black can set up a
simplest is 4 ... lia2 5 'it>e7 lia7+ satisfactory defence if his pieces
6 lid7 lia8, or here 6 <t>e8 lia8+ are effectively posted as in diagram
7 lid8 lia6 drawing, as we saw in I 78 .
our analysis to diagram 1 7 5 . If Otherwise matters are not clear,
4 lieS, o r 4 lie7+, then 4 . . . 'it>xh6 as our following example shows .
is possible 4 ... lia2! and White
can make no progress . King
move s allow 5 . . . <t>xh6 as do rook
move s on the 5th , 6th and 7th
ranks. After other rooks moves
Black plays a waiting move with
his rook on the a-file.
2 <t>eS lia2
Simpler than 2 ... li e2+ 3 ct>f6
(or 3 ct>d6 ) when Black has to find
the drawing move 3 . . . lif2!
3 ct>d6 Keres-Sokolsky 1 94 7
The only way to cross the sixth
rank, as 3 ct>f6 allows 3 . . . <t>xh6 We see here a plan by White
4 'it>f7+ 'it>h 7 5 f6 lia8! drawing. which forces Black to defend with
3 liaS the ut most care and precisio n . The
More forcing than 3 ... lif2 black king is cut off from the g-file,
which also draws after 4 f6 (or and his rook will be tied down by
4 lif6 lia2) 4 ... 'it>xh6 5 ct>e7 <t>g6 6 the advance of the h-pawn.
lie2 lia2! 7 lig2+ ct>h7. White's f-pawn protects his king
4 f6 <t>g6 from horizontal checks and gives
We select as our main line the the roo k a strong post on g4, so
somewhat s urprising game con­ that rook checks from behind are
tinuation. Simpler was 4 . . . <t>xh6 not to be feared. Black m ust watch
5 ct>e7 lia8! etc drawing. that White cannot advance his
5 lieS h-pawn under favourable circum­
Or 5 h7 <t>xh 7 6 ct>e7 lia8 and so stances .
on. 1 liaS
5 lia6+ As the rook will have no
6 'it>e7 lixf6 effective checks, it sho uld stay
Or 6 . . . lia7+ 7 ct>f8 <t>xf6 8 <t>g8 where it is. With I . . . ct>f6 2 h4
<t>g6 9 li e6+ ct>f5 I 0 lid6 lia8+ lih5 ! Black could have put a
Rook Endings 147

satisfactory defence by using his 21 'it>f7 lla7+ 22 �g6 llg7+ 23

rook along the fo u rth ran k . M6 llg2 and Black draws after
2 h4 lla1? both 24 'it>f7 ll g7+ 25 'it>e8 I!a7!
It is interesting to note that after 26 f6 'it>g8 ! and 24 'it>e7 llg7+
l h i s inexact move Black is lost. 25 'it>d6 ll f7 ! etc. Long and
Botvinnik recommended 2 .. . complex variations which are
llh8! 3 I!gS+ 'it>f6 and only after explained in more detail in
4 'it>g4 would Black play 4 ... I!a8 specialized boo ks on endings. 8 ...
W h ite would then be unable to llb1 9 llcS or 9 h6 ll a l ! 1 0 llh5
ca rry out the h4-h5-h6 manoeuvre 'it>g8 l l h7+ 'it>h8 , o r here l l f5
u nd Black would gain more space 'it>h7, both drawing 9 .. . 'it>f6
l o r his rook to work in. If we 10 llc6+ 'it>g7! 1 1 'it>gS llgl+
rontinue this line by 5 hS lla1 12 'it>fS lla1 1 3 I!c7+ 'it>h6 14 I!e7
tt llg6+ 'it>f7 7 f4 I! aS we arrive at llb1 and we have reached a
u game position Gligoric-Smyslov, position similar t o diagram 1 78 .
1 94 7, with the minor difference After a further 25 moves t h e game
1 h a t the rook was on b5. ended in a draw.
3 hS lla6
/ .W)
Admitting his m istake. After
3 . . . llh 1 4 llh4 ll g l + 5 'it>f2 llg7
6 h6 llh7 7 'it>g3 wins easily.
4 ll h4 llh6
5 llf4+
White m u st stop the king
blockading the h-pawn, so 5 Ia:a4
llb6 6 I! aS+? 'it>f6 would not be so
effective .
5 'it>gS
Gligoric-Smyslov 1947 6 llg4+ 'it>fS
After 6 . . . 'it>xh 5 7 llh4+ or 6 . . .
The game contin ued from 'it>f6 7 llg6+, both pawn endings
d i a gram 1 80: 8 llgS if 8 f5 llb 1 are lost for Black.
d ra ws , and Kopayev has shown 7 'it>h4 llh 8
I h a t 8 'it>h4 llb 1 ! also draws for The black roo k m u st remain
Black. His main variations run: passive, as 7 . . . lla6 fails to 8 llg5+
11 �g5 llg l + 10 'it>f5 llh l l l 'it>g5 M4 9 ll g6 and lO llf6+.
llg l + 12 'it>h6 llfl 1 3 llg4 llh l . 8 llgS+ 'it>f6
< lr 9 I!a6 ll g 1 1 0 h6 ll h I + 1 1 'it>g5 Or 8 . . . 'it>f4 9 llg7 wins.
llg l + 1 2 'it>f5 ll h 1 1 3 lla7+ 'it>g8 9 'it>g4 'it>f7
1 4 'it>g6 llg l + 1 5 'it>f6 llh 1 1 6 1 0 ll fS+
llg7+ 'it>h8 1 7 f5 ll xh6+ 1 8 llg6 White must not throw away his
llh7! 19 llg 1 lla7 20 I!e 1 I!a6+ advantage by playing 10 lla5
148 Rook Endings

lig8+ I I 'i&f5 'i&g7 ! when the Or 18 . . . 'i&h6 1 9 'i&f7 'i&xh5

black king reaches the h-file. 20 f6+ 'i&h6 2 1 li e 1 wins .
10 c;&g7 1 9 lie7+ 'i&h6
1 1 'i&gS ligS 20 lieS 'i&h7
12 lif6 'i&h 7+ 21 'i&e6 lie2+
So the king finally manages to 22 'i&f7 lia2
blockade the h-pawn, but mean­ 23 f6 lia6
while W hite's pieces are placed so 24 'i&e7 lia7+
actively that Black cannot save the 25 'i&f8 lia6
game. White's h-pawn prevents the
13 lig6 liaS saving move 25 . . . 'i&g6.
14 f4 lia1 26 f7 lia7
15 lie6 ligl+ 27 lieS lia1
1 6 'i&f6 (181) 2S 'i&e7
This example completes our
discussion of rook and bishop's
pawn against rook. We have
devoted a fair amo unt of space,
perhaps relatively too m uch
space, to this ending b ut it is of
great practical importance and
still badly understood by many
chessplayers . It is basic rook
endings such as this which arc
mishandled over the board.
Keres-Sokolsky 1 947 If White has two connected
pawns, he alinost always wins.
It is very important to have left Consider, for example, how to win
the h-pawn on h5 where it cannot with the g- and h-pawns .
be capt ured so easily. With this
� �
pawn on h6 the game would be
drawn, as the reader can verify for
1:; . . . .'"'" :
• • ••
• • • -• ­
After 16 ... lih 1 White wins by
1 7 f5 li xh5 18 lie7+ 'i&h6 19 lieS
. . �
'i&h7 20 'i&e6 and 21 f6. � • .
r-� -�
• •
17 fS lif2
Or 17 ... 'i&h6 1 8 'i&f7+ 'i&xh 5
m m mw•
1 9 f6 'i&h6 20 'i&f8 wins. � � � � r.

1S lieS lih2 (Zukertort-Steinitz 1 883)

Rook Endings 149

t\ guiding rule in this type of 8 llf3 llb4 etc. The pawns must
position is to post the king as never be advanced in such a way
11tlvantageously as possible before that the black king can attack the
11tlvancing the pawns. If the king is backward pawn and be sheltered by
l oo far from the pawns, the the other pawn.
e k fcnder can often draw by 5 'it.'h6
n l l acking the pawns and driving 6 nrs n a3
l l u· m to unfavourable squares. In 7 no na 1
o o u r analysis we shall follow the Black could s e t a trap by 7 . . .
111 l ual game with its instructive ll a 5 when 8 'it.'g3? 'it.'g5 ! draws.
t " l l ors, rather than give the However, White wins by 8 llf6+
- I • o ngest contin uation . 'it>g5 (or 8 . .. 'it.'g7 9 llg6+ and
1 llb8 10 'it.'g3) 9 llg6+ 'it.'f4 I O h6 etc .
l 'h e most logical plan would be Note that in this position the
l:l h 5-f5-f3 followed by 'it>g3 and pawns can advance without the
o u l y then begin to advance the help of the king, e.g. 10 . . . llta8 I I
pu wns. White makes his task g5 'it>f5 I 2 llg7 ll h 8 I 3 h7
1 1 1 1 1 r h more difficult by ignoring followed by I 4 g6 and I 5 llg8 .
1 1 1 1 � g e n eral principle. 8 'it>g3
1 'it>g6 White creates difficulties for
2 llb5 ll c3 himself. There was an easy win by
3 nes 8 llf6+ 'it>g5 9 llg6+ 'it>f4 I O h6
l i e should still play 3 llf5 and lla2+ I I 'it.'fl (not I I 'i!th i ? lt>g3
·I ll iJ but not of cou rse 3 h4 when and Black even wins ! ) I I . . . . 'it>f3
1 1 1 � k i ng would have no protection I 2 'it.'e i 'it>e3 1 3 'it.'d i 'it>d3 I 3 lld6+
l 1 n m horizontal checks after 3 . . . and I 5 g5 etc. Or here 8 . . . 'it>g7
Il l } I . 9 llg6+ and 1 0 'i!tg3 winning.
3 ll a3 8 llg1 +
4 h4 9 'it.'h4 llh1 +
A d v ancing his pawns before 1 0 llh3 llg1 (183)
h 1 1 1 1�i ng up his king. Admittedly
l l w posi tion is still won but more
l o� 1 r a l was 4 llf5 llb3 5 llf3 llb l
,, ·.11 � .1 llg l + 7 'it.'h4 ll a i 8 llb3
Ll ••'• I) llb4 followed by 1 0 g5,
I I -J/g4 and the advance of the
h pu w n to h5.
4 llb3
5 hS+
I I was important to avoid 5 g5?
�· h u h would only draw after 5 . . .
J.M ! 6 lle4 ll a 3 7 llf4 llb3 (Zu kertort-Steinitz I 88 3)
150 Rook Endings

11 llh2! 24 �g4 I!a3

Placing Black in zugzwang and 25 lle7+ '\t>g8
so forcing g5, but White ought not 26 g6
to have to resort to such methods ! Clinching matters, although
11 I!a1 there are now several ways of
12 g5+ '\t>g7 winning the game.
13 llf2 26 I!a4+
White dare not move any of the 21 wr5 lla8
pawns and he must k eep his rook 28 I!e5
fairly near in case of horizontal Also possible is 28 lld7 followed
checks. by advancing the king to e7 and
13 llhl+ the exchange of rooks on d8, o r
Or 13 lla4+ 14 '\t>g3 llb4 after 2 9 '>t>f6 '\t> h 8 White has thr
1 5 ll f4 ll b 1 1 6 '\t>g4 etc, as in the neat finish 30 llf7 lla6+ 31 �g�
ga me. lla8 32 llf8+ llxf8 3 3 g7+ �gK
14 '\t>g4 llgl+ 34 �g6! winning.
15 '\t>f5 llh1 28 '\t>h8
16 h6+ �h7 29 �g5
In the actual game Zukertort and Black has no defence against
now contin ued 17 '>t>f6 and after 30 h7 and 3 1 '\t>h6. Certainly a ve ry
1 7 .. . llg I ! had to change h is plan long-winded method of play, but
again . After the game (which was giving us the chance of acquaintinll
played with colours reversed) he the reader with various instructivr
gave our text line as an improve­ possibilities in this ending.
ment. However, the quickest way Our next example, diagram l K4,
to win lies in 17 g6+ ! '\t>xh6 1 8 '>t>f6 illustrates the difficulties Whitt'
and the pawn cannot be stopped. faces when he allows the enemy
To prevent this line, Black sho uld king to occupy a favourablr
. have played 1 5 . . . lla l instead of blockading square.
15 . . . llh l .
1 7 llf4 llg1 1 84
18 lle4 llfl +
1 9 '\t>g4 I!gl +
20 '\t>h5 llh1+
21 llh4 llg1
22 llh2! llg3
Forced, or else White plays
23 g6. However, Black's rook is
now too near his king and White
can decisively i mprove the placing
of his pieces.
23 lle2 llh3+ A. Cheron 1 926
Rook Endings 151

A l though White's pawns are far

, u l v a nced and the white rook is
1 1 1 1 1 v c l y place � there is no way to
w 1 1 1 , mainly because of the excellent
l " '' i t i o n of Black's king.
1 ..t>c8 ll g7
2 lld7 llg8+
3 lld8 ll g7
4 ..t>b8
l 11 d irectly protecting his pawn,
11 � 4 . . . ..t>xb5 fails to 5 a7. If
·I Ud6+ ..t>xb5 5 ..t>b8 then 5 . . . Kling and Horwitz I 8 5 I
U � H + draws.
4 llh7 moves would b e answered by
5 lld6+ check along the rank followed by
< )r 5 lle8 llg7 6 lle6+ ..t>xb 5 . . . lih8. If the same position
I a 7 llg8+ 8 ..t>b7 llg7+ draws. occurred further down the board ,
5 ..t>c5 the text move wo uld not be
A nd not 5 . . . ..t>xb5 6 a7 llh8+ available , so Black would draw
I wr-7 llh7+ 8 lld7 winning. 3 ... lih5+ 4 ..t>b4 lih4+ 5 ..t>c5
6 b6 llh5+ 6 ..t>d4 llh4+ 7 ..t>e5 lih5+ 8
I f 6 lle6 then 6 . . . ..t>xb5 can be ..t>f4 lih4+ 9 ..t>g5 ll h8 1 0 lic6!
p l u y c d . Or 6 a7 ..t>xd6 7 b6 ..t>c 5 ..t>b8 forced, as White threatened
•· 1 1. Or 6 lld8 ..t>b6! draws. I I li c8 11 ..t>g6 llf8 12 ..t>g7 lidS
6 ..t>xd6 13 lif6 and 14 li f8 winning.
11 1 1 1 1 t h e game is drawn after both Surprisingly enough , if the
I h 7 lih8+ followed by 8 . . . ..t>c7 white king is far eno ugh away
'"'" 7 a7 ..t>c5 8 b7 ..t>b6 ! etc. from the connected pawns, there
W h ite's winning chances are far are many drawing positions.
ht· l t c r if the pawns are nearer the Consider our next example :
' '' I l l rc and there is l'ittle point in
1 1 1 1 1 1 1ysing such positions. However,
l w l orc leaving the connected
k l l l !( h t ' s pawn and rook's pawn,
wt· must mention the following
1 1 1 1 r rcsting study by Kling and
l l or w i tz.
White has great difficulties to
1 1 v c rc;ome before he achieves the
w 1 1 1 : l ..t>a5 lih5+ 2 lib5 lih8
I ll b6 ! t h e only move to win; after
I llr-5? llh6 ! draws and other king G. Kasparian
1 52 Rook Endings

At first sight there seems no king moves away from the kingsidc ,
problem, for White's king has the black rook oscillates between
only to reach h6 and Black can h3 and g3 .
resign. However, upon closer 2 lic7 lih3
examination of Black's hidden Now that White's king is not on
resources, we see that White has the g-file, 2 . . . liaS loses to 3 h6 etc .
considerable difficulties. His plan 3 lieS �g7
is to drive the black rook away 4 �g2
from the attack on the h-pawn so White now wins fairly easily, a s
as to activate his own rook. To do the black rook is forced to give
this , his king has to go to g2 way. Even if White's king were
whereupon Black plays . . . lia3, further away, he would still win ,
and if now lib7 then ... liaS ! but with much more difficulty .
follows. The white rook must now For instance, with his king on a 2 ,
go back to h7, beca use the w e have diagram 1 87 .
position of White's king means
that h6 allows . . . lig5+ and . . .
If White plays an immediate h6,
Black answers . . . lih5-g5 forcing
lig7+ when Black's king nestles
into the corner stalemate position
by . . . �h8! and White must lose a
pawn or allow perpetual check by
Black's rook. So White must free
his rook from defence of the
h-pawn without placing his king
on the g-file. This is indeed White would proceed a s follows:
possible with Black to mo ve , but 1 ligS or I �b2 �h6 2 lig5! 1 . . .
White to move is equally in lih4 the rook dare not leave the
zugzwang and cannot transfer the file because of 2 h6+ 2 �b3 lihl
move to his opponent. In other 3 �c4 no quicker is 3 �c2 lih4
words, Black to move loses, White 4 �d3 lih I 5 �e2 lih4 6 � .
to move can only draw. because Black plays 6 . . . li h2+ !
1 lia3 7 �g3 lih l 8 �g2 lih5 and White
Black cannot allow White's cannot gain a tempo 3 ... licl+ 4
king to cross the third ran k. If �dS lidl+ or 4 . . . lic2 5 li eS �h6
instead I ... �f8 2 lif7+ �g8 3 lif5 6 �e6 etc S �e6 liel + 6 �d6
follows. On the other hand, White lidl+ 7 lidS lia1 or 7 . . . lie I !!
to move can make no progress, for �d7 �h6 9 �8 threatening
if I �fl lif3+ (or I . . . li h2) 2 �g2 10 lid7 8 �e 7 lia6 or 8 . . . lie I+ 9
lia3 3 �f2 li h3 etc, whereas if the �d8 ! �h6 1 0 lid7! �xh5 I I g7
Rook Endings 153

Ug l 1 2 �e8 etc 9 l:id7 l:ic6 if 9 . . . White . It is scarcely credible that

U h6 W hite plays 1 0 �d8+ �g8 I I the owner of two connected pawns
·J.Jc 7 ll:a6 1 2 Iid6 with h6 to follow can have such problems!
10 <Jld8+ �g8 11 'fJ.e7 �f8 or 1 1 . . . However, even less credible is
Ud6+ 1 2 �c7 li a 6 1 3 �d7 the fact that it is sometimes
l h rcatening 1 4 'fJ. e 6 12 �d7 'fJ.a6 impossible to win even with two
1 .\ ll:e6 'fJ.a7+ 14 �d6 Ii a6 + pawns standing next to each other
I Ci We5 wins. and neither of the m a rook's
4 Ii h 4 pawn . Diagram 1 89 show us that
5 �g3 'fJ. h 1 such positions are possible .
Or 5 . . . 'fJ. h4 6 lie?+ �g8
I h 6 etc.
6 Ii c7+ �g8
7 �g4
1 1 1 1d White wins easily by advancing
h i s king to h6.
In this context it is worth
q u oting the following study by
1\ asparian:

H.Kasparian 1 946

White appears to have all

elements in his favo ur and Black
seems on the verge of resignation.
However, Black can skilfully
exploit the fact that the white rook
is momentarily placed in an
awkward position.
H . Kasparian 1 946 1 Iif2+
Of course , White to move
White to move has only one wo uld win comfortably by 1 l:id6.
wa y to win, by playing 1 �a2! Horizontal checks are pointless
when Black is in zugzwang. He here , as the white king can s helter
ca n only oscillate with his rook on h 5 .
bet ween h 3 and g3, and afte r 1 . . . 2 �e3
lih3 2 �b2 ll:g3 3 �c2 Iih3 4 �d2 White would shorten the solution
lig3 5 �e2 'fJ. h3 6 �f2! we arrive by playing 2 �e5 , but we wish to
at di agram 1 86 , with Black to show that other attempts lead
m ove, which is of course won for nowhere . If 2 �g3 'fJ.fl 3 �g2 Iif4
154 Rook Endings

4 \t>h3 Iifl draws. 1 9 Iie6 Iif2 20 Iie 1 Ii a2! 21 Iigl+

2 l:l:g2 \t>h7 drawing.
Whereas now it is the g-pawn 17 Iifl
which is attacked. 1 8 l:l:g6+ \t>h7
3 Iig6+ \t>f7 and the game is clearly d rawn .
4 \t>f3 l:l:g1 There are many other interesting
5 \t>f2 l:l:g4 positions in which Blac k manages
The black rook cannot be to draw with two pawns down.
driven away, so White's king must However, as these are usually
now head for d7. distinguished by a badly placed
6 \t>f3 l:l:g1 white piece, they can be classed as
7 \t>e4 Iiel+ exceptional. As s uch they are of
8 \t>d5 l:l:g1 little practical value and beyond
9 l:l:f6+ the scope of this book.
Or 9 \t>d6 Iig2 I 0 \t>d7 l:l:g2
Rook and Pawn(s) on both sides
9 \t>g7 Let us now consider positions in
10 \t>e6 l:l:e1 + ! which both sides have one or more
After 1 0 . . . l:l:xg5 1 1 Ii f7 + wins , pawns. This type of ending
e.g. 1 1 . . . \t>h6 (or 1 1 . . . \t>g8 naturally occurs the most often in
1 2 l:l: a7 l:l:g 1 1 3 l:l: a8+ \t>h7 practice and almost all rook
14 f6 etc) 12 l:l:f8 Iig 1 13 f6 Ii a 1 endings can be placed in this
(or 1 3 . . . Iie l + 1 4 \t> f7 \t>h7 1 5 l:l:e8 category . It is clear that a volume
wins) 1 4 Iih8+ \t>g6 15 l:l:g8+ and such as this can scarcely classify
16 f7 wins. this vast amount of material or
1 1 \t>d6 eval uate the many possibilities.
Black draws at once after For this reason, we intend to select
1 1 \t>d7 Iie5 12 \t>d6 Ii a5 etc. only basic examples which will
11 l:l:g1 show the reader how to tackle the
12 Iig6+ most important situations that
Or 12 \t>e7 l:l:xg5 1 3 l:l:f8 \t>h7 ! can arise.
1 4 f6 Ii e5+ 1 5 W Iia5 drawing.
12 \t>f7
1 3 \t>d7 Iig2
14 l:l:f6+ \t>g7 Equally balanced material usually
White makes his final attempt means a drawn result , so we are
by sacrificing his g-pawn in order here mainly interested in special
to advance the f-pawn. cases where one side has sufficient
15 Iid6 l:l:xg5 positional advantage to win. The
16 \t>e6 Iig1 most well-known example of such
17 \t>e7 ending is the following study
Or 1 7 f6+ \t>g6 1 8 \t>e7 Iifl composed by a former World
Rook Endings 155

( 'hampion, Lasker:

P. Keres 1 944
Dr Em. Lasker 1 890
Lasker's idea has since been
If White's king steps out into repeated in various forms by
t he open, he is checked away from to urnament players who have
the pawn which is then attacked introduced further subtleties. Con­
a gain by . . . ll:c2, forcing the king sider diagra m 1 9 1 in which the
hack to its defence . However, winning idea is used with a central
White can still win by an instructive pawn, although admittedly the
manoeuvre wh ich occ urs with black rook is passively placed in
surprising frequency in practical front of his own pawn .
play. White first uses the black king's
1 \t>b7 ll:b2+ position in order to advance his
2 \t>a7 ll:c2 pawn to the 7th rank.
All forced, as is clear. 1 liteS+ \t>g6
3 llh5+ \t>a4 As we shall see later, White wins
After 3 . . . \t>b4 4 \t>b7 wins a t fairly easily if his rook can reach
once. White n o w repeats his the second rank without Black's
previous manoeuvre . king being too near the a-pawn.
4 \t>b7 ll:b2+ For this reason I . . . \t>g8 would
5 \t>a6 llc2 lose more quickly.
6 ll:h4+ \t>a3 2 e7 \t>h5
7 \t>b6 llb2+ In order to a nswer 3 ll:a3 with
White was threatening 8 llxh2. 3 . . . \t>h4 p reventing 4 llh3+ and
8 \t>a5 ! ll:c2 5 ll h2. If Black plays passsively
9 ll:h3+ \t>a2 here is what happens:
10 ll:xh2 wins. I) 2 ... \t>g7 3 lla3 llb1 or
This is the point, as Black's variation 2 4 llxa2 ll:b8+ 5 \t>d7
rook is now pinned and cannot ll:b7+ 6 \t>d8 llb8+ 7 \t>c7 wins.
ta ke the pawn. 2) 2 ... lith6 3 lla3 \t>g5 or 3 ... \t>h5
156 Rook Endings

4 Ilh3+ 'it>g4 5 llh2 'it>g3 6 :!Id2 6 'it>g6 lle1

'it>f3 7 'it>d7 'it>e3 8 llxa2 wins 7 lla4+ 'it> h3!
4 ll g3 + 'it>f4 5 llg2 'it>f3 or 5 . . . Again the best. White wins
'it>e3 6 llb2 wii:}s, a s the black king easily after 7 . . . 'it>g3 8 'it>f6 etc.
cannot go to the d- or f-files, and 8 'it>f6 llfl +
6 . . . 'it>e4 7 'it>d7 transposes 6 Il b2 9 'it>g5 :!I gl +
but not 6 ll d2 'it>e3 7 'it>d7 'it>xd 2 1 0 'it>h5 :!Ie1
8 e8'ik :!I d 1 ! etc 6 ... 'it>e3 7 'it>d7 Unfortunately for Black, although
:!Id1 + 8 'it>c 7 llc1 + 9 'it> b7 he has driven the white king far
winning, for the pawn queens with enough away from the pawn, his
check. own king has advanced one rank
In other words, Black dare not too m uch.
allow White's rook to reach the 11 :!Ia3+ 'it>g2
2nd rank . The question now is 12 llxa2+
whether White can make any In Las ke r's study, the capt ure
progress. He succeeds in an of this pawn finished the game
interesting way by bringing about immediately , whereas here it is
a zugzwang position. only the end of the beginning. By
3 lla3 'it>h4! using the fact that White's king is
The best defence. After 3 . . . 'it>g4 two files away from the pawn,
4 'it>f7 gains a tempo on the main Black can set up a stubborn
line, whe reas now 4 'it>f7 llfl+ 5 defence.
'it>g6 llg l + 6 'it>h6 lle 1 7 :!Ia4+ 12 'it>f3
'it>g3 d raws. Because the black 13 :!I a7 ll e6
king has an extra file at his An important move , cutting off
disposal, Lasker's manoeuvre does the white king from the sixth rank
not appear to work . However, and threatening to play his own
Wh ite wins by a cunning move . king over to d6. To win this
4 :!laS ! position, White has to create
Placing Black in zugzwang, a s another endgame study.
h i s king cannot retreat, n o r c a n i t 1 4 'it>g5 'it>e4
g o to t h e 6th rank when White can 15 :!Ib7!
employ the Lasker stratagem. It is But not the obvio us 1 5 Ild7?
incred ible what subtleties can be 'it>e5 ! when it is White who is in
hidden in the si mplest looking zugzwang and the position is
positions ! drawn. H owever, 15 llc7 is also
4 'it>g4 possible.
5 'it>f7! Black is now in zugzwang, as he
The point is that Black no cannot allow White's king to
longe r has a check on the g-file , so reach f5 and 15 . . . lle5+ fails to
Lasker's idea is now successfu l ! 1 6 'it>f6 with an easy win .
5 llfl+ 15 'it>e5
Rook Endings 157

16 :!Id7 has too many files at his disposal

Only now is this move played, on the queenside? As will be seen,
l l'ading to a forced win. White must utilize some hidden
16 �e4 reso urces to back up the main
1 7 :!Id 1 ! �f3 plan .
18 :!Ifl + �e2 3 �c5!
19 :!If7 and The best sq uare for the king.
20 �f5 winning easily. 3 . . . �d 5 allows 4 �d7, and 3 . . .
Who would have thought that �b5 fails t o 4 �d7 :!Id3+ 5 :!Id6!
t he solution would be so long? and White's pawn queens with
Here is another example in check! However, this means that
w h ich the Lasker idea only occurs Black's king can now be driven
a ft e r some complex preliminary further back.
ma noeuvres. 4 �d7 :!Id3+
5 �c7
I V} White achieves nothing with
5 �e8 when Black plays 5 . . :!Ie3

or 5 ... :!Ia3.
5 :!Ie3
6 :!Ih5+ �b4!
The king must now leave the
c-file, as 6 . . . �c4 loses at once to
7 �d7 :!Ie3 8 :!I h4+, 9 :!Ih4+ and
10 :!Ixh3.
7 �d7 :!Id3+
8 �c6 :!I e3
The black pawn is still on the Once again 8 :!Ic3+ allows
lllh rank, which gives White 9 �b6 :!Ie3 1 0 :!I h4+ and I I :!Ixh3
va rious advantages. Firstly, to winning. It now seems that White
ca rry out the Lasker plan, he can make" no p rogress, but there is
needs to drive the black king back one final resource in the position .
one rank. Secondly, he can· now in 9 :!Ih4+ ! �aS
certain circumstances use his rook Forced, as other moves lose to
to protect his king from checks , as 10 :!Ixh3.
his pawn queens one move earlier. 1 0 �d6!
These factors lead to an instructive If 10 �d 7 ll d3+ I I �e 8
win. threatening 1 2 :!Ih8 Black saves
1 �d8 :!Id3+ himself by I I . . . :!Ib3! etc, when
2 �c8 :!I e3 White must come back with his
3 :!Ih6+ king.
Beginning our well-known man­ 10 :!Id3+
oe uvre, but surely Black's king Black can set a trap with 10 . . .
158 Rook Endings

Wb6 1 1 Ihh3? l:l:xh3 1 2 e8!f squares away from queening.

lld3+ followed by 13 ... lle3+ Black m ust soon give up his rook,
drawing, but 1 1 l:l:h8! wins easily. so the only chance lies in his own
1 1 Wc5! Iie3 pawn. The game contin ued:
Or 1 1 . . . l:l:c3+ 12 Wd4 l:l:c8 1 Wg4
13 Iixh3 and 14 Iie3. Forgetting the important rule
12 Ii xh3 ! wins. which we gave earlier. When time
After 12 . . . l:l:xe7 13 Iia3 is is of the essence, both kings must
mate ! A surprising twist. position themselves so as to
There are other interesting and restrict as far as possible the
instructive positions on the same approach of the enemy king.
theme, but these wo uld take us too In our example it is clear that
far afield. The keen reader can Black must soon give up his rook
find many examples of such on the b8 square , when the white
endings both in ga mes and in king will have to cross over the
studies. Here is one final illustration d-file as quickly as he can , if he
of rook and pawn against rook wishes to stop Black's pawn. This
and pawn , underlines once again points to Black' s correct defence.
the need to understand elementary He sho uld play his king to the
endings . This example shows us e-file by 1 ... We4! bloc king the
that even in World Championship white king's approach, when he
matches errors can occur in draws after 2 b7 or 2 l:l:e l + «t>f4
endgame play. 3 Ii f l + «t>e5 4 b7 f5 5 Wc7 Iif8
6 b8!t' Iixb8 7 Wxb8 f4 8 Wc7 We4
1 93 �
W%¢. ��
-� 9 «t>d6 f3 draws 2 ...f5 3 b8!t' or
B • • • 3 Iia 1 l:l: b8 etc 3 ... l:l:xb8 4 l:l: xb8 f4
�Q ®� - � • 5 Iib4+ or 5 l:l:e8+ Wd4 6 Iif8 We3
,, z,.�� �
and 7 . . . f3 draws 5 We3 6 Wd5 f3
• • •••

7 Iib3+ «t>e2 but not 7 . . . Wf4? 8

• • • • «t>d4 f2 9 Ii b l «t>f3 1 0 «t>d3
• • • • winning 8 W e4 f2 9 l:l:b2+ We t
10 We3 fl it:\ + ! with a book draw.
• • • • 2 b7 r5
- :§: � � � Or 2 . . . l:l:b8 3 Wc7 l:l:xb7+ 4
Alekhine-Bogolj ubow 1 929 «t>xb7 f5 5 Wc6 wins .
3 b8 !t' Iixb8
This is taken from the 1 9th 4 l:l:xb8 f4
game of the Alekhine-Bogolj ubow 5 «t>d5 f3
match, 1 929 . White clearly stands 6 «t>e4 f2
better, for his passed pawn, 7 l:i£8 «t>g3
supported by king and rook, 8 «t>e3
cannot be stopped and is only two 1 -0
Rook Endings 159

Even the simplest endings must limiting Black's choice of moves .

he played with precision ! l Itc7
Tem pting is 1 . . . g6+ in order to
obtain a drawn position after 2 fg+
'it>g7. However, this is refuted by
This is another type of situation 2 'it>h6! gf 3 g6+ 'it>f6 4 Itb6+ (if
in which it is difficult to state 4 g7 Ita l ! draws) 4 . . . 'it>e5 5 g7
general rules , as so much depends Ita8 6 lig6 Itg8 7 'it>h7 Ita8 8 g8'@
u pon the placing of the pieces. Itxg8 9 lixg8 f4 10 'it>g6 f3 1 1 'it>g5
Once again we shall therefore winning.
rest rict ourselves to examples of Equally hopeless is I . . It a 1 2

most practical value to the average Itb7+ 'it>f8 3 'it>g6 Ita6+ 4 f6 gf 5 gf

c.:hessplayer. Ita8 6 Ith7 with an easy win. If
Let us begin with White having Black plays 1 ... Ita6 2 Itb7+ we
l wo connected pawns, as against are back in the main line .
Black's single paw n. 2 lib8 lic6
Giving White the most diffi­
/W culties. The actual game continued
w 2 .. . Ita7 3 g6+ 'it>£6 4 lif8+ 'it>e5
5 f6! (if 5 lif7 Ita I White dare not
play 6 Itxg7 when 6 . . . 'it>f4! eve n
wins for Black ! ) 5 . . . gf 6 'it>h6 Ita I
7 g7 Ith 1 + 8 'it>g6 lig 1 + 9 'it>f7 1 -0.
The finish might have been 9 . . . f5
1 0 g8'ti' Itxg8 1 1 Itxg8 f4 1 2 'it;>g6
f3 1 3 'it>g5 'it>e4 14 'it>g4 with an
easy win.
3 g6 +
Chekhover-Kasakevich 1 949 If Black had played 1 . . . Ita6
2 Itb7+ '<t>f8 3 Itb8+, he would
Usually whe n none of the now have 3 . . . 'it>e7 at his disposal .
pawns is passed , the defender has White would then win by 4 f6+! gf
�eood drawing prospects. White 5 g6 Ita l 6 g7 Ith l + 7 'it>g6 Itg l + 8
h a s chances only if his pawns are 'it>h7 Ith l + 9 'it>g8 f5 1 0 lib7+ 'it>e6
rea sonably far advanced or if his (or 10 . . . 'it>f6 1 1 'it>f8 li g 1 1 2
k i ng can occupy vital squares in Itf7+! 'it>e5 1 3 g8'@ lixg8+ 1 4 'it>xg8
fro nt of the pawns . The play from f4 1 5 'it>g7) 1 1 'it>f8 lig 1 1 2 g8'@+
I he diagram shows us an interesting lixg8+ 13 'it>xg8 f4 1 4 lif7 and the
w i n based on the favourable black pawn is again stopped.
position of White's pieces: 3 'it>e7
l 'it>hS 4 It g8 'it>f6
A strong square for the king, 5 Itf8+ 'it>eS
160 Rook Endings

6 f6! 1 �g5 lieS!

Given by Chekhover and sur­ The only defence to p reven t
prisingly strong. White makes no White setting u p a winnin)l
progress with 6 lif7 li c l (7 lixg7? position similar to diagram 1 94 hy
�f4 ! ) or with 6 �g5 li c l 7 lieS+ playing 2 f5 . This means tha t
�d6 etc . Black loses after 1 . . . licl 2 lib7 I
6 li xf6 �f8 or 2 . . . �e6 3 f5+ �xe5 4
7 lif7 �e6 lie?+ �d6 5 li xf7 winning 3 f�
Or 7 . . . li f5+ S �g4 lic6 9 �g5 lih1 or 3 . . . lic6 4 libS+ winN
lla6 10 li xg7 wins. easily, e.g. 4 . . . �e7 5 f6+ 'i!?ell
S li x g 7 lifl 6 lieS+ �d5 7 �h6 win ning. Or
9 lia7 and wins easily. 4 . . . �g7 5 f6+ �h7 6 lieS when
As can be seen from this both 6 . . . li c l 7 e6 and 6 . . . lic5
example, Black has great difficulties 7 li e? �gS S �h6 lieS 9 e6! fc
if White has managed to advance 1 0 �g6 win for White 4 li a7! but
his pawns far enough . Of course, not at once 4 libS+ �e7 5 f6+
White has even better chances if �d7 6 li f8 lig l + and Black
the pawns are on the central files, checks until he frees f5 for his
as his king then has more room to king. The text move uses zugzwang
manoeuvre. Diagram 195 gives us to drive Black's rook one rank
some idea of the dangers facing further up the board 4 ... lih2
Black in s uch a situation. 5 li aS+ �e7 or 5 . . . �g7 6 f6+
�h7 7 e6! etc 6 f6+ �d7 7 lif8 lih7
now 7 . . . lig2+ fails to S �f4 �e6
9 lieS+ �d5 10 lld8+ �c6
1 1 lifS 8 �f5 lih5+ 9 �4 lih 7
10 �g5 �e6 or 1 0 . . . �c6 1 1 lie8
wins 11 lieS+ �d5 12 e6 fe 13 �g6
and 14 f7 winning.
2 �h6
If 2 lib?+ then Black does not
play 2 . . . �e6? 3 f5+ �xe 5 4 lie?+
and 5 llxf7 winning, but 2 . . . �fS !
3 f5 lixe5 4 �f6 lie l 5 lixt7+ �gS
From a game played in 1 9 5 6 6 lig7+ �hS 7 lia7 lifl ! with a
book draw. The text move threatens
This position arose i n a game 2 �g7, so Black's reply is forced.
played in M oscow, 1 956. It had to 2 licl
be adj udicated and was given a 3 lib7+ �f8
win for White. However, Levenfish 4 f5
later poin ted out the following White has now apparently
draw: reached his goal and is threatening
Rook Endings 161

t. . wttt hy 5 ll:b8+ and 6 f6+.

l t . .w•· vn, in order to obtain this
l ' " � t t • • • n , White's king has to leave
t l u p a w ns . Black can use this
' I t • 1 1 1 1 1 � 1 a nce to set up a succe ssful
•l•h I l l l' .

4 ll:gl !
the only defence, cutting
!\ fla t n
" " W h i t e's king.
5 ll:b8+ �e7
6 f6+
I hne is no other way to make
jll l l fl l l' S� . ( Keres-S myslov 1 949)
6 �e6
7 lle8+ �rs down the right. The game continued:
8 �h7 1 llc7+ �f6
I I K e6 <t>xf6 draws. Or 8 ll:e7 Black's king must not go to the
U �o� .' I ) llxf7 �xe 5 1 0 ll:g7 llf2 back rank, as 1 . . . �g8 loses to
I I I I \!.te 6 12 �g6 ll:f6+ draws. 2 �h5 llb6 3 lle7 and ll:e6.
8 llg2 2 ll:c6+
9 ll:e7 ll:gS! Or 2 llh7 llh l + 3 �g3 llg l +
l l l a r k must be careful, as after 4 �f3 llh 1 draws.
'J U g l 10 ll:xf7 �xe5 1 1 ll:g7 ! 2 �g7
U h l l 1 2 �g6 llg l + 1 3 �f7 wins. 3 llg6+ �h7
l l u· t e x t move zugzwangs White, 4 ll:e6 �g7
' " ' 11 n o w 10 �h8 llg l ! 1 1 ll:xf7 5 �g3 llfl
J.. -·· '1 1 2 llg7 llh l + draws. The simplest, giving White's
I0 llxf7 �xeS king no chance of reaching the
I I l1g7 <t>xf6 centre .
Y2 - Y2 6 ll:e7+ �f6
W t· shall n o w consider a 7 llh7 ll:hl
1 ' " � 1 1 i o n in which one of White's 8 �g2 llh4
' l l l l l l t'cted pawns is also passed . In 9 �f3 ll:hl
t l 1 1 � r a se his winning chances are White has made no progress.
1 1 1 1 b e t t e r and only rarely can After the further moves 10 llh8
l l l u r k draw. Diagram 1 96 shows �g7 1 1 ll:d8 ll:fl+ 12 �g2 ll:f4
11� u frequently occurring situation. 1 3 lld7+ <t>f6 1 4 lld6+ �g7
l h i s position (wit h colo urs 1 5 �g3 a draw was agreed.
l l' V l' rsed) arose in the game Keres­ It is worth no ting that White
'l m y � l ov, 1 949, and cannot be could not have won even if his
w o n , mai nly beca use White's king king had managed to advance
t - � h o r t of an extra file to penetrate down the centre .
162 Rook Endings

4 l:i:d6 wins 2 'Oti>g5 l:i:gl + 3 'Oti>h6 the

197 vital square ! 3 ... llg4 4 llb6+ 'Oti>e7
5 l:i:f6 'Oti>d7 6 'Oti>h7 ! White must
gain the oppo sition, as we shall see
6 ... 'Oti>e8 7 'Oti>g8! 'Oti>e7 o r 7 . . . l:i: g l
8 'Oti>g7 llg4 9 ll f7 wins 8 'Oti>g7 'Oti>e8
9 l:i:f7 'Oti>d8 or 9 . . . l:i:g l l 0 'Oti>f6 l:i: g4
l l f5 ! gf l 2 lla7 wins l O 'Oti>f8 l:i:h4
the threat was l l e 6 l l e6 llh8+ 1 2
'Oti>g7 llh4 1 3 'Oti>xg6 wins. Black to
mo've can of co urse stop White's
king advancing and draw by l . . .
White can do little. The pawn l:i: g l + 2 'Oti>f3 'Oti>e7 etc.
ending after l lld7+ 1hd7 2 'Oti>xd7 Next we shall examine positions
'Oti>f6, followed by 3 ... h5, is drawn, in which both of White's connected
and l f6+ 'Ot;>g6 does not improve pawns are passed. White usually
matters, whereas l llb6 fails to wins here, b ut there are a number
l . . . llc7 2 l:i:b8 l:i:c6+ 3 <ot?e7 llc7+ of exceptions, especially if one of
4 'Oti>e8 llf7 threatening 5 . . . h5 etc. the pawns is a rook's pawn. Let us
As already mentioned , White begin our discussion with an
can do little in such positions interesting example , shown in
because his king has insufficient diagram 199.
manoe uvring room to the right of
the pawns. This means that if we 199

move diagram 196 one file to the

left (diagram 1 98), White has
good winning chances assuming
he can advance his king in time.

1 98

White has no rook's pawn, so

should win, as we have stated .
However, what is instructive here
is that Black has the choice of
keeping his rook in front of his
pawn or guarding it fro m the side.
Neither method can save the
Play might go l l:i:b7+ 'Oti>e6 or game , as the following analysis
l ... 'Oti>f8 2 'Oti>g5 lla6 3 l:i: d7 and shows :
Rook Endings 163

1 nat wins.
White has even further problems 9 ll a7 'i!i>f8
if Black guards the pawn from the 10 g6 wins.
side, e.g. I . . . llb2 2 lla4 a2 3 ll a6 White threatens I I f6 followed
(but not 3 'i!i>f4? ll b4+ !) 3 . . . 'i!i>fl by mate, and 1 0 . . . ll b i loses to
4 g5 c;!;>g7 5 c;!;>g4 'i!i>fl (Black can I I llxa2 llb5 I2 llf2 etc.
only wait) 6 f4 c;!;>g7 7 f5 llg2+ 8 This example teaches us that
'i!;>f4 llf2+ 9 c;!;>e4 ll e2+ 1 0 'it>f3 Black can cause most problems
llb2 I I lla7+ 'it>f8 I 2 g6 'it>g8 I 3 f6 with his roo k in front of his pawn
wins, for to begin with Black's rather that at its side. White on the
pawn is lost. other hand should try to keep one
2 lla4 a2 of his pawns on its original square ,
3 'it> g2 ! when the win is easy.
The only way to win ! The Now let us turn to the more
plausible 3 'i!i>f4 only leads to a difficult situation when one of
draw after 3 . . . 'i!i>f6 4 lla6+ c;!;>g7 White's pawns is a rook's pawn.
5 g5 (or 5 'i!;>g5 nn 6 lla7+ 'i1Jg8 In this case, Black's defensive
7 llxa2 llxf3 draws) 5 . . . 'it>fl chances are far greater, as White's
when White cannot play 6 'i!i>f5 king has insufficient shelter against
because of 6 . . . llfl etc. However, horizontal checks. A classic example
if White's f-pa wn were on f2, of this is seen in diagram 200.
3 'i!i>f4 would be the simplest way
to win . White would advance his
king and g-pawn, until Black
would be forced to give up his
paw!l to avoid mate. On a
White's pawn would be ideally
placed, as the white rook guards it
when the black pawn is captured .
3 'i!i>f6
4 f4 'i!i>e6
S llaS
White must be careful in Tarrasch-Chigorin I 893
advancing his pawns, for if 5 lla6+
c;!;>d5 6 g5 'i!i>e4 7 g6 ll b i ! draws. This position occurred in the
s 'i!i>f6 Tarrasch-Chigorin match , I 89 3 .
6 ll a6 + c;!;>g7 Here also Black h a d t h e choice o f
7 fS 'i!i>fl placing h i s rook in front of o r
Or 7 . . . llb i 8 llxa2 'it>f6 alongside h i s pawn. In contrast
9 lla6+ wins. with diagram I 99 , however, the
8 gS 'i!i>g8 rook is best placed guarding the
Or 8 . . . llb i 9 llxa2 llb5 1 0 ll f2 pawn on the rank, so as to be
164 Rook Endings

ready to check White's king from king must now retreat as 7 \t>h6?
the side. He can then draw, allows 7 . . . lib6+!
whereas he would lose with his 7 \t>h4 lib2
rook in front of the pawn. 8 g4 lic2
In the game Chigorin selected And not 8 .. . \t>g7? 9 h6+ and
the wrong plan and lost after I . . . 10 \t>h5 winning. In this defence, it
lia2? 2 \t>g4 li a I 3 lia6+ \t>fl 4 is vital for Black to have his king
\t>g5 a2 5 g4 (White's pawns are on f7, with White's rook on a6, in
now too far advanced) 5 . . . \t>e7 6 order to prevent 9 \t>g5 lic5+
lia7+ \t>e8 7 h5 \t>f8 8 h6 lib 1 (or 1 0 \t>h6? because of 1 0 . . . lic6+!
8 . . . Wg8 9 \t>g6 etc) 9 li xa2 with White can now make no progress.
an easy win. The loser pointed out 9 h6
later the correct defence in an Or 9 lia7+ \t>f6 1 0 g5+ \t>f5
instructive piece of analysis: 1 1 h6 ( 1 1 lia5+ \t>f4 etc) 1 1 . . .
1 a2! lih2+ 1 2 \t>g3 li h 1 1 3 lixa2 \t>xg5
This ties White's rook to the draws. Or 9 g5 lic4+ 1 0 \t>g3
a-file, which would not be the case lic3+ 1 1 \t>f4 lic4+ 1 2 \t>e3 lih4
after I . . . lic3. 1 3 h6 ( 1 3 g6+ \t>g7 1 4 lia7+ \t>g8
2 h5+ \t>f6 etc) 1 3 . . . lig4 draws.
An alternative is 2 . . . \t>h6 9 lic6!
3 \t>h4 lih2+ 4 \t>g4 lib2 5 lia6+ and draws.
\t>g7 6 \t>g5 lib5+ 7 \t>h4 lib2 8 g4 As Black's main defence here
\t>fl ! transposing to the main line . consisted of checks along the
3 \t>h4 rank, it is worthwhile asking
The only try. If 3 g4 lic5! 4 lixa2 ourselves if White can do better by
Wg5 ! Black has a theoretical advancing his g-pawn first . This
draw. would then serve as a protection
3 lih2+ for his king while he advances
Black could also play a waiting both pawns. In most cases, this
move with his rook, as he cannot is indeed the correct winning
in the long run prevent the procedure , failing only when the
advance of White's g-pawn. pawns are too far back. Diagram
4 \t>g4 lib2 20 I is an excellent exa mple of this
5 lia6+ \t>f7 type of position.
Or 5 . . . \t>g7 6 \t>g5 lib5+ 7 \t>h4 One can scarcely credit that the
lib2 8 g4 \t>fl ! draws. result of this position depends
6 \t>g5 lib5+ upon who has the move! Apparently
An important move , as Black Black can do little against White's
dare not allow his king to be plan of g4, \t>g3, h3, \t>h4, lia6+,
driven to the back rank, e.g. 6 . . . g5 , Wg4 etc. This is indeed the case
lic2? 7 lia7+ \t>g8 8 g 4 followed with White to move, when he wins
by h6 and 10 \t>h 5 wins . White's as follows:
Rook Endings 1 65

4 �b6
5 ll a8 �b5
The threat was 6 g5 followed by
7 �h5.
6 �h5 �b4
7 g5
Again White must be careful,
for Black threatened to play 7 . . .
llc5+ and 8 . . . lla5.
7 �b3
8 h4 !
Exact to the end ! 8 g6? would
1 g4 � e6 only draw after 8 . . . :Sc8 ! 9 lla7
Black's only chance is to play llh8+ lO �g4 llh6! etc.
his king over to the queenside. If 8 llc1
I . . . llb2 2 �g3 :Sc2 3 h3 llb2 Or 8 . . . :Sc8 9 ll xa2 �xa2 10 g6
4 �h4 llh2 (White threatened �b3 1 1 g7 �c4 12 �g6 �d5 1 3 h5
5 lla6+ and 6 �h5) 5 lla6+ �e5 �e6 1 4 h6 wins. The black king is
(or 5 . . . �fl 6 g5, and 7 �g4 wins) too far away .
6 �g5 llxh3 (or 6 . . . �d4 7 h4 �c3 9 g6 a1'fi'
8 h5 �b2 9 �h6 followed by the 10 llxa1 llxa1
advance of the g-pawn winning) 11 g7 ll g1
7 llxa2 ll h I 8 :S e2+ and 9 �f6 1 2 �h6 �c3
wms . 13 h5
2 �g3 �d6 Avoiding the last trap 1 3 �h7?
3 h3 llh I ! drawing.
Surprisingly enough, White 13 �d4
cannot play 3 h4, when Black 14 � h7 � e5
checks from the side until White's 15 g8 'fi' wins .
king leaves his pawns, then plays The black king is j ust one tempo
. . . :Sc4! drawing. Or 3 g5 llc5 etc too late.
draws . The reader will now realize that
3 �c6 if Black has the move in diagram
4 �h4 20 l , he can begin his queen side
Again White must not bare his counterplay at once. Note that
king, as after 4 g5 �b6 5 :Sa8 Black would draw easily if White's
�b5 , Black threatens horizontal rook were placed less favourably ,
checks and the white king dare not for instance on a4 instead of a5 .
play to the 4th rank because of He would play l . . . �f5 2 :Sa5+
. . . :Sc4+ and . . . :Sa4. The g-pawn �e4 3 g4 �f4 4 ll a4+ (or g5 a l 'l!t' )
cannot be advanced until White's 4 . . . �g5 drawing. Let u s return to
king is in safety. diagram 20 1 , with Black to move:
1 66 Rook Endings

1 �e6 ! interesting rook and pawn endings,

2 g4 � d6 we feel that the reader now has
3 �g3 sufficient basic theory to e nable
Premature is 3 g5 �e6 ! threaten­ him to tackle these e ndings with
ing 4 . . . lic5 etc. confidence. Let us finally look at a
3 �c6 few examples from practice to see
4 h3 how our basic knowledge can be
As we saw before, White cannot applied to them.
advance his pawns more quickly,
because after 4 g5 �b6 5 li aS �b5 Practical examples
gives White no defence against We shall begin with an interesting
horizontal checks. position taken fro m a game
4 �b6 Alatortsev-Chekhover, 1 93 7 .
5 liaS �b5
6 �h4 202
The same plan as before, using w
the g-pawn as a shield in order to
advance his king.
6 �b4
7 g5 � b3
8 g6
Or 8 �h5 lie I transposing.
8 lic1
Simpler than 8 . . . lic4+ 9 �h5
lia4 10 li xa4 �xa4 I I g7 a I �
1 2 g8 � which is also drawn . Alatortsev-Chekhover 1 937
9 �h5
But not 9 g7 li g l etc. At first sight , Black's position
9 a1� seems hopeless. White's a-pawn is
10 lixa1 lixa1 very strong and will sooner or
11 g7 later cost Black his rook , whereas
It is clear that I I h4 �c4 makes an attack on White's f-pawn
no appreciable difference. appears to have little chance of
11 lig1 success, with the white rook
1 2 �h6 �c4 guarding it. What can Black do?
1 3 �h7 �d5 However, rook endings are
14 g8� lixg8 notoriously tricky and contain
15 �xg8 �e5 u nexpected resources which a
and the draw is clear with the superficial analysis seldom reveals.
inevitable capture of the last Upon closer examination, we find
pawn. tht Black has a chance of winning
Although there are many more the f-pawn once he has been
Rook Endings 167

forced to sacrifice his rook for the

a-pawn . Secondly, Black can
effectively use his rook for checking
along the ranks if the white king
tries to win without using his
rook. Thirdly, if White attempts
to defend against checks by
playing his rook to c2, Black in
some cases can play . . . lie2.
When we proceed to a more
detailed analysis , we shall discover
that Black's counterchances are
very nearly sufficient to save the Alatortsev-Chekhover 1 937
game for him. It is only
by extremely precise play that Again confronting White with
White s ucceeds m winning, as problems, as 6 a S � lixaS 7 lixaS
follows: ..t>xf2 is drawn, as we know, and
1 a7 lieS 6 ..t>b7 allows 6 . . . lie7+ 7 ..t>b6
2 li a2 liaS lieS etc. However, White has a
These and the next few moves subtle pla n at his disposal. If his
require little in the way of rook is on c2, he can play ..t>b7-bS
explanatio n. to escape the checks, when . . .
3 ..t>c4 ..t>g2 lixa7 i s n o good, a s White's rook
4 ..t>cS ! guards his f-pawn, and ... lieS+
It is now time to work out how fails to lieS. Still, if White now
far away fro m the f-pawn White's plays 6 lic2 Black can defend by
king dare go without having to 6 . . . lie6+ 7 ..t>b7 (or 7 ..t>c7 lie8 ! )
fear . . . lixa7. The text move just 7 . . . lie2! the point being that after
works after 4 . . . lixa 7 5 lixa 7 S lixe2 fe 9 a S � is no longer check
..t>xf2 6 ..t>d4 etc, but 4 ..t>b5 allows and S aS� lixc2 followed by 9 . . .
Black to draw by 4 . . . lixa7! 5 lixf2 is clear dra w.
lixa7 ..t>xf2 6 ..t>c4 ..t>e2 ! etc. In A further idea is needed before
other words, White's king cannot White can win . . .
go beyo nd the c-file or the 5th 6 ..t>c 6 !
rank, whenever Black can play This beau tiful move places
... lixa7. Black in zugzwang! If now 6 . . .
4 lieS+ lieS+ 7 ..t>b7 o r 6 . . . lie6+ 7 ..t>d7
Or 4 . . . ..t>fl 5 ..t>b6 lieS both win. N or can Black's king
transposi ng . As White threa tens move away from White's f-pawn
..t>b6-b7, Black must play his rook because of 7 a S � . Finally, if the
away. rook leaves the e-file (say, 6 . . .
5 ..t>b6 lieS (203) li hS), White plays 7 ..t>b7 lih7+ S
1 68 Rook Endings

'i.t>b6 lih8 (or 8 . . . lih6+ 9 'i.t>c5 ! balance of material . Notice that

lih8 1 0 a8 1W wins) 9 lic2 lie8 without Black's g-pawn and
IO 'i.t>c7 ! transposing to the main White's h-pawn, we would have
line. the well-known Philidor position
6 wn (g1 ) (diagram 1 30) which is drawn .
7 'i.t>b7 lie7+
S 'i.t>b6 lieS
Again 8 . . . lie6+ fails to 9 'i.t>c5 !
lie8 1 0 a8 1W , when White's king is
near enough to stop the pawn.
9 lic2!
Exploiting the position of Black's
king with the threat of 1 0 'i.t>b7
lie2 I I lic l + (the point ! ) , or here
I O . . . lie7+ I I 'i.t>b8 lie8+ I 2 lic8
wins. So Black's king must go
back to g2.
9 'i.t>g2 Keres-Mikenas I 937
10 'i.t>c7!
Again placing Black in zugzwang. As it is, White has various
Against king moves by Black, or if important advantages. Firstly, he
the rook leaves the e-file , White is a healthy passed pawn up.
wins by I I 'i.t>b7, e.g. 10 . . . 'i.t>h2 Secondly, his pieces are actively
1 1 'i.t>b7 lie2 I2 lic6 winning posted. Thirdly, Black's king is
easily, as the black king wiii not be cut off on the back rank . His only
in a position to capture the f-pawn weakness is the h-pawn and
after I 2 . . . lie8 1 3 a81W lixa8 strangely enough this gives Black
I4 'i.t>xa8. excellent counterchances.
10 lie7+ What can White do? We
11 'i.t>bS lieS+ already know from the Philidor
White now queens with check position that he m ust not advance
after I I . . . lie2 I 2 lixe2 fe 13 a81W + his d-pawn which only helps the
'i.t>xf2 and 1 4 1Wa2+ gives him a defender. Nor can he exchange the
win, as we have already demon­ kingside pawns, when the position
strated (diagram 5 7). is clearly drawn . So he must try to
12 lieS li xcS+ strengthen his position by means
13 'i.t>xcS 'i.t>xfl of threats .
14 aS 'ff 1 'i.t>e6 lie3+
and Black resigned a few moves 2 'i.t>f6
later. A most instructive and well­ Before playing his king to d6,
played ending. White sets a little trap, for if now
Our next e xample has the same 2 . .. lif3+ 3 'i.t>xg5 lid3 , then
Rook Endings 169

4 rt>f6! Iixd 5 5 rt>e6 wins. But Making his task more difficult.
Black is not falling for this. He could tranpose to the variation
2 Iid3 ! in the previous note by playing
3 rt>e6 Ii e3 + 6 . . . Iia3 7 rt>e6 Iie3+ 8 rt>d6 Iid3.
4 rt>d6 Iia3 ! 7 rt>f5
The most active place for the After 7 d6 g4 8 Iih8+ rt>d7
rook. I t would be a mistake to 9 Iih7+ rt>e8 (not 9 . . . rt>d8?
play, for example, 4 . . . Iif3 5 h4! 10 rt>d5 and I I rt><;6 winning)
gh (or 5 . . . g4 6 Iig7 g3 7 h 5 ! 10 d7+ rt>d8 I I rt>f5 Black saves
winning, e . g . i f 7 . . . Iif6+ 8 rt>c5 himself by the neat I I . . . g3! etc.
:S:h6 9 d6 Ii xh5+ 10 rt>c6 wins, or The alternative 7 Iih8+ rt>d7
7 . . . rt>f8 8 Ii g4 Iif6+ 9 rt>c5 Iih6 8 Iih7+ rt>e8 ! 9 rt>f5 Iid6 etc
1 0 Iixg3 Iixh5 I I Iie3 wins) transposes to the main line.
6 Iih8+ rt>f7 (or 6 . . . Iif8 7 Ii xh4 7 Iid6
rt>d8 8 rt>c6 winni ng) 7 Ii xh4 Iia3 8 Iih7 � 8!
8 Iie4! with a book win. The only defence. 8 . .. Ii xd5+
An alternative defence is 4 . . . fails to 9 rt>e6, and if 8 . . . rt>f8
Iid3, albeit demanding extreme 9 rt>e5 followed by 10 d6 wins. We
precision on Black's part. We have already met the variation 8 . . .
shall be coming back later to this Iia6 9 rt>xg5 Ii d 6 1 0 rt>f5 Ii xd5+
interesting position, when we I I rt>e6 winning.
analyse diagram 207. 9 rt>e5 Ii a6!
5 Iih5 Again the only move. After 9 . . .
After 5 Ii h8+ rt>f7 6 h4 gh Iig6 1 0 d 6 g 4 I I rt>d5 ! wins.
7 Iixh4 White obtains a won 10 Iih5 Iia3
position , but Black does not need ll rt>e6 :S: e3 +
to exchange pawns. By 6 . . . Iih3 7 Forced, as White threatened
h5 rt>g7 8 Iic8 Iixh 5 9 rt>c6 Iih l ! 1 2 Iih8+ and 1 3 d6+, and if I I . . .
his g-pawn guarantees him sufficient Iid3 1 2 Ii xg5 can be played.
counterplay. Or he can even try l2 rt>d6 rt>e8 (205)
6 . . . g4 7 Iih5 Iia6+ 8 rt>c7 g3 9 d6 And not 1 2 . . . rt>c8 1 3 Iih8+
(or 9 Iig5 Iig6 ! ) 9 . . . Iia7+ 10 rt>b6 rt>b7 1 4 rt>d7 followed by the
Iia l etc. advance of the pawn . Because of
5 Iia6+ his inexact 6th move, Black has
Also possible is 5 . . . Iid3 when reached a position similar to the
6 Iixg5 Iixh3 7 Iig8+ rt>f7 8 Iid8 one after White's 5th move, with
Iia3 ! 9 Iib8 Iid 3 ! gives us the the difference that his rook on e3
well-known Kling and Horwitz is not well placed. Nevertheless,
draw (diagram 1 62), or 6 rt>e6 even here Black has sufficient
Iie3+ 7 rt>f6 Iid3 8 Iih7 Ii g3 and defensive possibilities.
White can make no progress. l3 Iih8+
6 rt>e5 Ii g6 White could probabl y giVe
1 70 Rook Endings

be cut off along the 5th rank . This

would apply if Black now played
1 8 . . . g4? as after 1 9 d7 White
would capture the rook for the
pawn, then calmly bring his king
back whilst Black can do nothing.
19 d7 (206)

Keres-Mikenas 1 937

Black more trouble with 1 3 h4

when both 1 3 . . . gh 14 llh8+ �f7
1 5 llxh4, and 1 3 . . . g4 14 llg5 g3
1 5 h5 win for White. However,
Black can play 1 3 . . . llh3 ! 14 ll xg5
llxh4 1 5 llg8+ �f7 1 6 llb8 lld4 ! Keres-Mikenas 1 937
drawing, or here 1 4 llh8+ � f7 1 5
h 5 �g7 1 6 lle8 llxh5 1 7 �c7 19 �g4!
llh I ! and Black should be able to The nat ural 19 . . . �h4? loses to
hold the position, e.g. 18 d6 :Sc i + 20 llc8 llh7+ 21 �e6 ll xd7 22
1 9 �d8 lld l 20 d 7 �f6 2 1 �c7 �xd 7 g4 23 �e6 g3 24 �f5 g2
g4 etc. 25 �f4. Black's king must be used
13 �f7 to block the approach of White's
1 4 �d7 � g7 king.
Winning the h-pawn and thus 20 �f6
giving himself enough counterplay Or 20 llc8 llh7+ 2 1 �e6 llxd7
with his g-pawn. 22 �xd7 �f4! and now Black
15 llc8 llxh3 draws, e.g. 23 �e6 g4 24 :Sc4+
16 d6 �g6! �f3 25 �f5 g3 26 llc3+ �f2 27
The most exact, although 1 6 . . . �f4 g2 28 :Sc2+ �fl 29 �f3
lld3 1 7 �c7 �f6 1 8 d7 g4 i s also g i lD + ! with a book draw.
possible . N ot, however, 1 6 . . . g4? 20 llf8+
1 7 :Sc4 g3 1 8 �c7 winning. Even now Black could spoil
17 llcS llh8 everything with 20 . . . llh6+?
1 8 �e7 �h S ! 2 1 �e5 llh8 22 :Sc8 ! winning.
In endings with rook against 21 �e6 lld8
pawn , we know that the rook White was still th reatening to
always wins, if the enemy king can win by 22 :Sc8.
Rook Endings 1 71

22 li dS \t>f4 White in both cases. H owever,

23 li f5+ \t>g4 with 3 . . . lig3 ! 4 d6 \t>f7 Black can
24 li f7 \t>h3 draw, e.g. 5 li f5+ \t>g6 6 \t>e6
25 \t>f5 lie3+ 7 lieS li xe5+ 8 \t>xe5 \t>f7,
White has no more winning or 5 lic5 \t>f6 6 \t>c7 lid3 7 d7 \t>e7
chances and after the further 8 li eS+ \t>f6 9 lie3 lid ! 10 d8 !¥
moves 25 . . . g4 26 \t>f4 g3 27 \t>f3 li xd8 I I \t>xd8 g4 etc.
Wh4! a draw was agreed. 2 lig7 \t>c8 !
Let us now return to the Forced, as 2 . . . \t>e8 3 lig8+ \t>f7
position after White's 4th move 4 li xg5 li xh3 5 lieS or 5 \t>d7 wins
and consider the alternative black easily. White has now at least
defence by 4 . . . lid3, giving u s driven Black's king away from the
diagram 207 . ki ngside.
3 lig8+
207 White could also try to place
w Black in zugzwang with 3 lih7,
when both 3 ... lid I 4 lic7+ \t>b8
(or 4 . . . \t>d8 5 llg7) 5 lic3, and
3 . . . lig3 4 li h8+ \t>b7 5 \t>d7 g4
6 hg lixg4 7 d6 win for White.
H owever, Black has 3 . . . \t>b8 ! ,
e.g. 4 \t>c6 lic3+ 5 \t>d7? lic7+ or
4 \t>e6 \t>c8 5 d6 li e3+ 6 \t>f5 lid3
7 d7+ li xd7 etc. If White
exchanges pawns on the kingside,
Keres-Mikenas 1 937 (variation) then Black's king is correctly
placed, on the sho rter side of the
The idea of Black's last m ove is pawn.
to bring about the Kling and 3 \t>b7
Horwitz position (diagram 1 62) 4 lih8 \t>b6
after I h4 gh 2 lih8+ \t>f7 3 li xh4 Black is again in zugzwang. If
\t>e8 ! with his rook in the correct 4 . . . li d ! (or 4 . . . lig3 5 \t>d7 etc)
place. H owever, White can try 5 lih7+! \t>b6 (or 5 . . . \t>c8 6 lic7+
other ideas. \t>b8 7 lic3 etc. Or 5 . . . \t>b8 6 li h5
1 lie7+ \t>d8 lid3 7 \t>c6 and White advances
It seems that Black can even try his d-pawn) 6 \t>e6 lid3 7 d6 \t>c6 8
1 . . . \t>f8 2 lieS li xh3 3 \t>d7 lic7+ \t>b6 9 lic8 lie3+ 1 0 \t>f6
(3 li xg5 \t>e8 ! draws) when he lid3 I I \t>e7 lie3+ 1 2 \t>d8 li xh3
m ust play neither 3 . . . g4 4 lif5+ 13 d7 wins.
Wg7 5 lig5+ and 6 li xg5, nor 3 . . . 5 lib8+
lih7+ 4 \t>d8 g 4 5 d 6 g3 6 d7 g2 Black is contin uously on the
7 lig5 lig7 8 \t>c8 ! winning for brink of defeat, but always
1 72 Rook Endings

appears to be able to hold the :!:t h 1 ! in order t o answer 1 0 ll xg4

dra w . An alternative winning with 1 0 . . . Wb6 .
attempt is 5 llh7, placing Black in 10 ll xg4
zugzwang, but 5 . . . 'it>b5 ! (after 5 . . . An interesting try is 10 ll b2 g3?
lld l 6 We6 we have the variation 1 1 Wc6 llh2 1 2 d7 ! winning, but
from the previous note, and 5 . . . 1 0 ... Wa6 ! 1 1 Wd8 lle3! 12 d 7 g3
Ii:g3 6 Wd7 equally wins for draws.
White) 6 We6 'it>c5 7 Ii:c7+ Wb6 10 'it>b6
8 d6 llxh3 gives Black the dra w . 11 ll b4+
The text move gives Black even The thematic winning attempt.
greater difficu lties. We have already seen that White
5 Wa6 can achieve nothing with 1 1 ll e4
Weaker is 5 . . . Wa7 (or 5 . . . Wa5 Ii:h7+ 1 2 Ii:e7 Ii:h8.
6 Wc5 llc3+ 7 Wd4 Ii:xh3 8 d6 11 WcS
Ii:h l 9 d 7 ! li d ! + 10 Wc5 wins) 12 Ii:e4 'it>dS!
6 llb4 llxh3 7 Wc7 Ii:c3+ 8 Wd7 Ensuring the draw after 13 ll e l
llg3 9 d6 g4 10 Ii:e4 ! - wb7 1 1 'it>e7 llh7+ 1 4 lle7 llh6 etc . An
winning. unusually fascinating endgame .
6 Wc6 O u r next example reveals once
Or 6 ll b4 Wa5 7 Ii:g4 Ii:xh3 again the fighting chances to be
8 Wc6 (8 Ii xg5 Wb6 etc) 8 . . . ll c3 + found in rook and pawn endings.
9 Wd7 'it>b6 1 0 ll xg5 ( o r 1 0 d6)
1 0 . . . :!:t h 3 ! draws.
6 Ii:c3+
7 'it>d7 ll xh3
8 d6 g4
9 ll b4
Or 9 ll b l ll d 3 ! (but not 9 . . . g3?
10 Wc6 and 1 1 d7 winning) 10 ll e l
'it>b6 ! (again 1 0 . . . g3? loses after
1 1 'it>e7 g2 1 2 d 7 Ii:e3+ 1 3 ll xe3
g l � 14 lle6+ and 1 5 d8�) 1 1 We7
Wc6 12 Ii: c l + Wb7 13 d7 Ii: e3 +
1 4 W d 8 g 3 1 5 llb l + Wa7 and Bernstein-Cu kiermann 19 29
White can make no progress.
9 WaS! Black's position seems hopeless,
At first sight pointless, but in as White's pawns are far advanced
reality the only sure way to dra w . and Black's king is in danger of
9 . . . g3? loses t o 1 0 \t>c6 Wa5 being mated once he is driven
1 1 llg4 , and after 9 . . . Ii:g3 1 0 to the back ran k. Black's only
ll e4! 'it>b7 1 1 We7 wins. However, counterchance lies in forcing
Black can also draw with 9 . . . White's king to retreat, which
Rook Enaings 1 73

e x plains his first few moves: which arose in the famous game
I llal Capablanca-Ta rtakower, 1 924.
2 ll a7+ 'o!.>g8
3 g6?
A casual move . White wrongly
asssumes that the win is easy, a
�:o mmon error in such situations.
K opayev has pointed out the
fo l lowing instructive way to win:
.\ h6! a2 White threatened 4 'o!.>g2
Ila2+ 5 'o!.>f3 and 6 g6 4 'o!.>h2 if
4 'o!.> g2 ll b l ! 5 ll xa2 ll b5 draws!
4 ••. libl 5 li xa2 llb5 6 ll g2
hut not 6 ll a8 + 'o!.>h7 7 lla7+
lt>h8 8 ll g7 with pe rpetual check , Capablanca-Tartakower 1 924
hcca use the black king is in a
stalemate position 6 . . . 'o!.>h7 A very interesting situation,
t h reatening 7 . . . 'o!.>g6 and 8 . . . llb6 difficult to assess at first sight.
d rawing 7 g6+ 'o!.>g8 8 llg3 ll h5 + White has two main advantages:
9 ll h 3 ll g5 1 0 h7+ 'o!.>h8 1 1 llg3 Black's king is cut off on the back
llh5+ 12 'o!.>g2 'o!.>g7 13 llh3 ll g5 + rank and the g-pawn is a strong
1 4 'o!.> f3 ll f5+ or 1 4 . . . 'o!.> h 8 1 5 llg3 protected passed paw n . Black on
1lf5+ 16 'o!.>e4 and 17 g7+ 1 5 'o!.>g4 the other hand is abou t to pick up
lU8 16 'it>g5 winning. some of White's weak queenside
3 a2 pawns. It is a question of whose
4 'o!.>g2 llbl advantages are the most important.
White was threatening 5 h6. A basic rule in rook endings,
5 ll xa2 llb5 although to a slightly lesser extent
6 ll a8+ than in queen endings , is to create
The only way to guard the a passed pawn as soon as possible.
h-pa wn , as 6 h6 fails to 6 . . . llg5+. There are hundreds of examples of
6 'o!.>g7 endi ngs in which one side sacrifices
7 ll a7+ 'o!.>g8 a great deal of material in order to
8 ll h7 llg5+? create a strong passed pawn and
A nd now it is Black's turn to go saves or even wins the game with
w rong. He could draw by 8 . . . it. Diagram 209 is an excellent
ll b 3 ! a nd if 9 'o!.> f2 ll h3 ! obtaining example of such an ending.
diagram 1 86 which we have However, whereas in queen
al ready analysed as drawn . en dings a passed pawn ca n be
9 'o!.>h3 wins. pushed through with the help of
Let us turn to a position the queen alone, in rook endings
�:o ntaining many more pa wns, the king is usually required to give
1 74 R ook Endings

additional help. I n fact, a passed 3 g6!

pawn supported by the king and Note how White heads straight
by a rook on the seventh rank for his goal, withou t wasting
restricting the enemy king to the unnecessary time by playing 3
back rank, is an extremely powerful ll xc7 .
weapon, often enough to win the 3 ll xf4+
game in itself. 4 �g5 l:i e4
In our e xample White's rook is Another important idea in such
already on the seventh rank, but endings would be seen if Black
the support of the king is required. played here 4 . . . ll g4+. White
Only by following the above would not capture the pawn
logic will the reader understand (5 �xf5? l:i xd4) but would use it to
Capablanca 's brilliant winning protect his own king from the
plan: rear, winning at once by 5 �f6!
l � g3! The alternative 4 ... ll xd4 loses to
The only way to win, combining 5 �f6 �e8 6 ll xc7 when White
attack and defence. On no account picks up more pawns before
must he allow his king to be cut off winning Black's rook for the
by Black' rook. For example the g-pawn.
plausible continuation l �e2 5 �f6
ll xc3 2 ll h6, winning Black's White has now reached the
f-pawn, fails to 2 ... llc4 3 l:i f6+ ideal position he originally en­
�g7 4 ll xf5 (or 4 �e3 c5 ) 4 . . . visaged. Black's king is in a
ll xd4 which gives Black excellent mating net, and to avoid the worst
counterchances . he must eventually hand back
l llxc3+ more material than he has gained.
2 �h4 llf3 A cla ssic piece of endgame
White's main threat was 3 g6 strategy !
and 4 �g5 , which he still plays 5 �g8
despite the loss of another pawn. 6 ll g7+ �h8
If 2 ... c5 3 g6 cd 3 �g5 d 3 5 l:id7 7 ll xc7 lieS
ll:c5 6 �h6 wins. 8 �xf5
Or 2 ... llc l 3 �h 5 and Black Only now is this pawn captured;
ca n not exchange roo ks, so must Black is positionally lost, the
play 3 . . . l:i f l 4 �g6 l:i xf4 5 �f6 remainder being purely a matter
which is no improvement on the of technique.
game continuation. 8 l:ie4
Even a mi xture of the two plans Or 8 . . . a6 9 ll: b7 b5 10 ab ab I I
by 2 . . . l:i c l 3 �h5 c5 , relying on l:ixb5 ll d8 1 2 �e6 wins. Or Wh ite
the fact that White cannot play ca n play here 9 l:ia7 b5 l 0 a5
4 g6 at once, does n o t help Black wmmng.
much after 4 l:id7. 9 � f6 l:if4+
Rook Endings 1 75

1 0 'it>eS 1I g4 that Black should have no trouble

11 g7+ ! 'it>g8 drawing this position. For White
Black obviously dare not e x- to have winning chances, Black's
change rooks. king must be at least three files
12 lha7 l:lg1 away from the pawn .
The d-pawn cannot be held, as The usual plan for Black in such
1 2 . . . 1Ig5+ 1 3 'it>f6, with the th reat positions is to drive White's king
of 14 l:la8+ and 1 5 l:lh8 mate , back by checking with the rook. If
wins instantly. For the two pawns the king advances , then the rook
sacrificed, White now wins back stays in front of the pawn to
four! prevent its advance. As the pawn
13 'it>xdS licl is only on the third ran k , the draw
1 4 'it>d6 is al ways clear after 1 ... 1Ig8+
The game is of course won , and 2 'it>fS 1If8+ 3 'it>g6 l:lg8+ 4 'it>f7
Tartakower resigned after 14 . . . l:lg4 or here 2 'it>f6 'it>d4! 3 1Ia3
I:!:c2 1 5 d 5 I:!:c l 1 6 1Ic7 l:la I 'it>e4 4 l:lb3 l:l g4! etc.
1 7 'it>c6 1I xa4 1 8 d6. This would have been the
Finally, we must quote the logical contin uation but Black is
famous example given in diagram so well-placed here that he can
2 1 0, which occurred in the even allow the pawn to reach the
game Taimanov-Larsen , Pal ma fo urth rank, without risking a
de Mal lorca I nterzonal, 1 970. loss.
This underlines the fact that even However, let us see how play
leading grand masters are not went:
always acquai nted with basic 1 'it>d4
endings. Not a mistake, but the most
e xact move was I .. . 1Ig8+, as we
have already seen . The text move
al lows White to advance his
pawns one square.
2 l:la3 'it>e4
Now 2 . . . 1Ig8+ would be
pointless because after 3 'it>f7 l:lg5
4 'it>f6 I:!:g8 White can play 5 g4 !
(5 . . . 1I xg4? 6 l:la4+). Or 2 . . . 'it>e5 3
1Ia5+ 'i&e6 (e4) 4 'it>g7 wins, as
Wh ite's pawn reaches g5.
3 g4
Taimanov-Larsen 1970 The alternative 3 'it>g7 would
only waste time after 3 . . . 1Ih3 4
If we cast our minds back to 'it>f6 1Ih6+ 5 'it>f5 1Ih8 because
diagrams 1 67 and 1 70, we kno\V 6 l:la5 is effectively answered by
1 76 Rook Endings

6 . . . litf3 . also possible is 8 . . . lite6 9 g5 lite7

3 ng8+ 10 litg4 nf8 ! 9 1If4 lite6 10 lith4
Forced, because Black is lost if liteS ! 1 1 nrs+ lite6 12 lithS IIh8+,
the pawn reaches the fifth rank. or here 9 nf5+ lite6, with well­
4 lithS 1Ih8+ kno wn drawing positions.
s litgS 1Ig8+ Apart from this thematic defence,
6 lith4 (2 1 1) Black could also play 6 ... litf4!
7 1Ia4+ litf3! which would have at
least justified Larsen 's original
plan . White can make no progress
as 8 g5?? allows mate in one,
whereas after 8 lithS nh8+ 9 litg6
ng8+ 10 �t>rs IIf8+ 1 1 lite6 ng8!
the draw is clear.
7 1Ia6!
Perh aps Larsen failed to ap­
preciate the strength of this move
which cuts off his king and allows
the white king to advance. The
Taimanov-Larsen 1970 game is now lost.
7 litf4
6 liteS?? Or 7 . . . nh8+ 8 litg5 1Ig8+ 9
It is clear that White had to lith5 nh8+ 1 0 1Ih6 and l l g5
retreat his king in order to avoid winning.
the checks and Black's logical 8 1If6+ liteS
continuation is to drive the king 9 gS
back as far as possible before l -0
using the rook to prevent the After 9 . . . 1Ih8+ 10 litg4
advance of the pawn . After 6 . . . followed by l l 1If2 and the
1Ih8+ 7 litg3 ng8 , however, advance of White's pawn and
8 na5 ! wins, so Black would draw king. A defeat which should be a
by 7 . . . liteS! threatening 8 . . . litf6. warning to us all.
Continuing our analysis, play This example brings to an end
might go 8 na6 (8 g5 litf5 ! ) our treatment of rook and pawn
cutting off Black's king, but endings . We have devoted a great
White can make no progress deal of space to this part of the
because his own king cannot endgame but have still had to omit
advance. Black simply waits by much useful and interesting material.
8 . . . nh1 (not 8 . . . ng8? 9 lith4 We make no apologies for stressing
winning) with an easy draw. the importance of such endings
The other possibility is 8 l:[f3 which occur most frequently in
when Black's simplest is 8 ... 1I g8 practice. The keen reader would
Rook Endings 1 77

do well to spend even more time After I . . . i.f5 2 l:id8+ i.c8 3 l:ie8
on them, by consulting more it is mate next move. The moral is
specialized endgame volumes. clear: the possessor of the bishop
should aim to place his king in the
Rook against minor pieces corner not controlled by the
The ending of roo k against bishop , assu ming, of course, that
bishop or knight is usually drawn, he is compelled to go to the edge of
but there are some positions in the b oard.
which the unfavourable placing of It is not always easy to bring
the pieces allows the h older of the about positions such as diagram
major piece to win. This is mainly 2 1 2 if the bishop has freedom.
when the defending king is on the Diagram 2 1 3 is a typical set-up
edge of the board . which White must try to obtain.
As we have said, the rook can
only hope for success if the enemy
king has been driven to the edge of
the board . Diagram 2 1 2 offers us
two basic examples:


Kling and H orwitz 1 85 1

White wins this type o f position,

wherever the bishop may be, but
he must not allow Black's king to
cross the f-file and head towards
the 'safe' corner.
White cannot win fro m the 1 i. gl
right-hand position , even though The only move to prevent a
his pieces have reached maximum double attack by Wh ite's rook,
efficiency. The point is that l . . . threatening mate and the bishop,
i.g8 2 l:l e8 gives stalemate, and i f e.g. l . . . i.b2 2 l:lb7 i.e5 3 l:le7
instead 2 l:lb5 i.e6 3 l:ib8+ i.g8, wms.
White can similarly make no 2 l:lfl
progress. Driving the bishop out into the
However, in the left-hand ope n . But not 2 l:ld7 or 2 l:ic7
position White wms quickly. when the black king escapes by
1 78 Rook Endings

2 . . . �f8 !
2 .i.h2
3 l:lf2 .i. g3
Or 3 . . . .i.g l 4 1Ig2 etc with
similar play.
4 l:lg2!
This wins the bishop. If now 4 . . .
.i.f4 (or 4 . . . .i.h4) then 5 �f5+
(5 �h5+) wins. Or 4 . . . .i.c7 (or
4 . . . .i.b8) 5 1Ic2 wins, or 4 . . . .i.e5
5 l:le2 wins.
4 .i.d6
5 l:ld2 .i.e7 A . Philidor 1 77 7
Or 5 . . . .i.c7 6 1Id7 .i.b6 (or 6 . . .
.i.a5) 7 1Ib7 ( l:la7) wins. 1 1Ia1
6 l:la2 win s . It is not so much individual
There a r e other positions in moves which matter, but the
which the rook wins even when general winning plan . White can
the enemy king is not in a mating win only if his king succeeds in
net . However, these are unusual occu pyi ng c5 or e5, so that he can
situations which we do not intend drive Black's king to the back
to discuss here. Nor shall we spend ra nk. To achieve this, he has to
time on positions of rook against chase the bishop away from
bishop and pawn, in which the important squares, by no means
rook manages to do more than an easy task.
draw. 1 .i. g3
However, it is worth paying He has not much choice. 1 . . .
some attention to positions in .i.h2? loses t o 2 l:la7+ �d6 3 l:lg7 ,
which roo k and pawn face a si ngle a n d 1 . . . .i.d6? t o 2 1I a 7 + .i.c7
bishop. Of course, these positions 3 �f5 followed by 4 1I xc7+ and
are usually won for White, but 5 �e6. If 1 . . . .i.b6 2 l:[fl .i.c7 .l
there are a nu mber of exceptions 1If7+ �d6 4 l:lf6+ �d7 5 �d4
when the bishop manages to draw. .i.h2 ! 6 1Ig6 .i.f4 7 1Ig4, or hen:
Let us first co nsider a general case. 2 . . . .i.a5 3 l:lf7+ �d6 4 1If6+ �d7
The correct normal winning 5 �d4 .i.d2 6 1If2, both giving the
method for White is to advance same positions which later occur
his king as far as possible before in the main variation . Sim ilarly,
moving the pawn , but here White 1 ... .i.b8 2 l:lg 1 gives Black
has pushed his pawn on too early. nothi ng better than to tran spose
This means that he has great to our mai n line by 2 . . . i.. c 7.
technical difficulties to overcome 2 1I g1
before he can force the wi n . This position has an interesting
Rook Endings 1 79

history . Philidor originally con­

sidered it drawn, then Guretzky­
Cornitz demonstrated a win by
2 l:la7+. Finally, Berger pointed
out the text move which is the
4 u ickest method.
2 i.c7
The only move . If 2 . . . i.h4 3
<Ji>eS wins. Or 2 . . . i.f2 3 llg7+
<Ji>d6 4 l:lg6+ litd7 S lite S wins. Or
2 . . i.h2 3 l:lg7+ litd6 4 l:lg2 etc.

And of course 2 . .. i.d6 fails to

.1 llg7+. There is an interesti ng 7 llg7+ litd6 8 llg2! zugzwangs
way to win after 2 . . . i.b8 White Black, as the following lines show:
plays 3 l:lg7+ litd6 4 llg6+ (but a) 8 . . . i.f4 (or 8 . . . litd7 9 liteS)
not 4 litd4 i.a7+! when S l:lxa 7 is 9 lite4 i.c l 10 lla2! i.gS (or 1 0 . . .
stalemate) 4 . . . litd7 S litfS ! placing litd7 1 1 liteS) I I l:la6+ litd7 I 2
Black in zugzwang. The threat is liteS wins.
6 llg7+ litd6 7 llb7 i.c7 8 llxc7, b) 8 . . . i.a3 9 l:lg6+ litd7 10 llb6
and after S . . . i.h2 6 llg7+ litd6 i.f8 (the threat is I I liteS , and if
7 c;1te4! produces another zugzwang. 10 . . . litc7 I I l:la6 wins) I I llb7+
3 llg7+ litd6 litd6 I 2 lite4 (again not I 2 lla 7
4 l:lg6+ litd7 beca use of I 2 . . . i.g7 + ! ) I 2 . . . i.e7
5 litd4 I3 ll b6+ litc7 (or I 3 . . . litd7
The best square for the king I4 liteS wins) I4 lla6 wins .
from where he is eyeing both cS 7 l:lg2
and eS. If instead S litfS then S . . . On the surface White appears to
i.aS etc. win by 7 llg7+ litd6 8 l:lg6+ litd7
5 i.f4 9 d6 threatening 1 0 litdS . In reality,
Again the only move. The however, this thro ws away the win
t h reat was 6 liteS which would be after 9 . . . litc6! IO liteS i.b4! when
t he reply to S . . . i.a S , S . . . i.h2 or White's rook cannot leave the
� . i.d8 . If s . . . i.b8 6 l:lg7+ litd6
. . sixth rank nor can his king cross it.
7 'it>c4 i.c7 8 llg6+ litd7 9 liteS An instructive drawing position!
wins. 7 i.f4
6 l:lg4! (21 5) The only alternative is 7 . . . i.b4,
Driving the bishop from the as 7 . . . i.aS (e i ) 8 liteS , or 7 . . .
bH-h2 diagonal, as 6 . . . i.h2 (or i.h6 (c l ) 8 liteS both lose. After
(, . . . i.c7) allows 7 liteS , and if 6 . . . 7 . . . i.b4 8 llb2! we have a
i.b8 7 l:lg7+ etc. position sym metrical to the main
6 i.d2 variatio n, e.g. 8 . . . i.a3 (or 8 .. .
Or 6 . . . i.c l (6 . . . i.h6 7 liteS ) i.aS or 8 . . . i.e I 9 liteS , or 8 . . .
180 Rook Endings

�e7 9 'ot>e5 . We have already

examined 8 . . . �f8 9 l:lb7+ in our 216
variation to Black sixth move)
9 li b7+ 'ot>d6 10 l:lb6+ 'ot>c7 (or
10 . . . 'ot>d7 1 1 'ot>e5) 1 1 lia6
winning after both 1 1 . . . �b2+
12 'ot>c5 , and I I . . . �d6 12 l:la7+
'ot>b6 13 l:ld7 followed by 'ot>e4-
f5-e6 etc.
8 l:lf2
The symmetrical variation. Black
is now j ust as short of bishop
moves as in the line 7 . . . �b4 Guretzky-Cornitz 1 860
8 lib2.
8 � b8 various ways of winning, none of
Or 8 . . . �c l 9 'ot>e5 . Or 8 . . . �h6 them is simple. We shall select the
9 l:lf7+. Or 8 . . . �c7 9 l:lf7+ 'ot>d6 line which gives Black the least
10 l:l f6+ 'ot>e7 (if 10 . . . 'ot>d7 1 1 'ot>c5 amo unt of choice:
wins) I I lig6 �d6 12 l:lg7+ etc . 1 l:lg1
Or 8 . . . �g3 9 l:lf7+ 'ot>d6 1 0 lif6+ The most interesting of all the
'ot>e7 ( 10 . . . 'ot>d7 1 1 'ot>c5) 1 1 l:lg6 winning methods is undoubtedly
�d6 12 l:lg7+ 'ot>f6 13 lid7 wins. I l:la7 �h5 2 l:lb7! �f3 3 lih7!
9 lif7+ 'ot>d6 placing Black in zugzwang. The
1 0 'ot>c4 keen reader can analyse the
Not the recurring possibility further play for himself.
10 lih7 �a7+! 1 �a4!
10 �c7 To understand the follo wing
11 lif6+ 'ot>d7 analysis, it is important to see why
1 2 'ot>c5 �e5 the bishop can never go to e2.
13 lih6 with a n ea sy win. After 1 .. . �e2 2 l:lg8+ 'ot>d7
As can be seen, the whole 3 l:lg7+ 'ot>d8 4 d7 'ot>c7 5 d81!t'+!
winning method is necessarily 'ot>xd 8 6 'ot>d6 'ot>c8 (if 6 ... 'ot>e8
long-winded and demands careful 7 lie7+) 7 lic7+ 'ot>d8 (or 7 . . . 'ot>b8
planning. 8 'ot>c6 and 9 'ot>b6 with the diagram
Before dealing with exceptional 2 1 3 winning position) 8 lic2 �d l
positions, let us consider one more (or 8 . . . �d3) 9 lid2 Black loses his
interesting example of a winning bishop in a few moves.
positio n. If 1 . . . �c2 ( 1 . . . �f3 or I . . . �h5
Surprisingly, despite his advanced lose to 2 'ot>e6) 2 l:lg8+ 'ot>d7 3
pawn, White has great technical lig7+ 'ot>d8 4 l:lb7! wins. The
diffic ulties to overcome before he threat is 5 'ot>e6 and after 4 . . .
can win. Although there are �d3 (d 1 ) 5 d 7 ! 'ot>e7 6 lib4! and
Rook Endings 181

I lld4 wins . Black would also The bishop has no other moves,
l ose after I . . . �b3 2 lib I �c4 (if and after 5 . . . \t>d7 6 \t>c5 �a4 (if
.' . . . �c2 or 2 . . . �a4, then 3 !ib8+ 6 . . . �fl or 6 . . . �a6 7 lig7+ and
·JJd 7 4 ll b7+ \t>d 8 5 \t>e6 wins) 8 \t>c6 wins) 7 lig7+ \t>d8 8 llg4!
I llb8+ \t>d7 4 li b7+ \t>d 8 5 d7 �d i 9 lid4 and I O d7 wins.
·JJc 7 6 lib4 and 7 li d4 wins (or 6 lia3
h r re 6 . . . �e6 7 d8�+ ). Also possible is 6 lig4 (if 6 \t>c5
2 llg 4 ! �b5 �c2) 6 . .. �d I 7 lid4, or here
Again forced. If 2 . . . �d I 3 lid4 6 . . . �b5 7 lt>c5 etc.
and 4 d7 wins. If 2 . . . �c6 3 lig8+ 6 �b5
<J/d 7 4 lig7+ \t>d8 5 \t>e6 wins. If Or 6 . . . �d i 7 \t>c6 . Or 6 . . . �c2
,l . . . �e8 3 lig8 \t>d7 4 li xe8 \t>xe8 7 \t>e6 .
� �e6 wins. If 2 . . . �b3 3 li b4 7 �ticS �fl
.ik.a2 (or 3 . . . �d i 4 d7) 4 lib8+ 8 lig3! wins.
Wd 7 5 lib7+ \t>d8 6 d7 \t>e7 7 lib2 Black has no defence to the
a nd 8 lid2 wins. th reat of 9 \t>c6, and after 8 . . . \t>d7
3 \t>d5 9 lig7+ \t>d8 10 \t>c6 wins for
The bishop must be driven from White. A complex winning method.
I he e8-a4 diagonal so that White Our last two examples have
r a n set up mating threats with shown that the win is made much
<J/c6. Black cannot prevent this, as more difficult if White advances
a l l the important squares are his pawn too far without bringing
).(!larded by the rook. his king up first. If the pawn is not
3 \t>d7 so advanced, it is easier for White,
After 3 . . . �a6 or 3 . . . �d3 or for the rook can check vertically
I . . . �fl White pl ays 4 \t>c6, and as well as horizontally.
w e know that Black's bishop We shall now leave this type of
ra n not go to e2 because of the position and turn to the exceptions.
va riation we gave in our note to
B l ack's fi rst move. If 3 . . . \t>c8
W h ite can play as in the main line
o r win by 4 \t>c5 �d7 5 lig8+ lt>b7

h li:d8 �e6 7 \t>d4 and 8 \t>e5 .

4 lig7+
Simpler than the line given by
( i uretzky-Cornitz, 4 \t>c5 �d3
'i llg7+ \t>d8 6 d7 \t>c7 7 lie7! �f5
K d8�+ \t>xd8 9 \t>d6 \t>c8
1 0 lic7+ winning. There is no
need to allow the bishop to d3. del Rio I 83 I
4 \t>d8
5 lig 3 ! �a4 Against correct defence, White
182 Rook Endings

can make no progress, as Black's

bishop has plenty of manoeuvring
room on the g8-a2 diagonal and
can always check White's king
away from g6. The pawn sacrifice
offers no ch ances either, because
Black's king is in the 'safe' corner
(see diagram 2 1 2, right ). Play
might go:
I lic7
Or I f7 �g7! Or I lih7 .i.b3
2 f7 �e7 ! 3 �g6 .i.c4. In both lines
White can make no progress. I �a6
I .i.a2 If the pawn were o n the sixth
Or I . . . .i.d5 . B ut not I . . . .i.b3 ra nk, eve n this move would not be
or I . .i.e6 when 2 �g6 wins .
.. possible, whereas th ere are now
Black also loses if he moves his some chances of the defence going
bishop a way from the g8-a2 wrong.
diagonal, e.g I . . . .i.b5? 2 f7 ! �g7 I �b8
3 �f5 .i.a4 (or 3 . . . .i.d3+ 4 �e6 2 lib7+ �c8 !
.i.g6 5 f8 'i!¥+ �xf8 6 �f6 wins) Black m ust avoid 2 . . . �aH'/
4 lib7 .i.d l (or 4 . . . .i.c6 5 �e6! which loses : 3 lid7 ! .i.e5 (or 3 . . .
.i.xb7 6 �e7 wins) 5 �e6 .i.h5 .i.f6 4 lif7 etc) 4 lid8+ .i.b8 5 �b�
6 lia7 .i.g6 7 f8'i!¥+ �xf8 8 �f6 �b7 6 lid7+ �a8 7 �b6 ! .i.gJ
wins. (7 . . . .i.f4 or 7 . . . .i.h2 8 lia7+ �bH
2 lic2 .i.d5 9 lie7 or 9 lig7 winn i ng) 8 lia7-t
3 lic8+ �fl �b8 9 lif7 ! (stopping any checks
4 lic7+ �f8 on the bishop's a7-g l diagonal ! )
5 �f5 .ta2 9 . . . �a8 (or 9 . . �c8 1 0 a6 etc )

The bishop cannot be driven 1 0 a6 .i.e5 I I a 7 .i.d4+ 1 2 �a(l

away or prevented from checking wins .
White's king away fro m g6. A 3 lib4 .i.e3
draw is unavoidable. Of course, if The bishop now rem ains on the
the f-pa wn has not reached the diagonal whilst the black king
si xth rank , then White wins, sticks to th e c8 , c7 and b8 squares.
although not always easily. Let us 4 lib6 .i.f2
turn to our next exception . Not of co urse 4 . . . .i. xb6 5 ah
The left-hand position cannot winning.
be won because Black has the 5 �a7 lt>c7! draws .
'correct' bishop and White's pawn, Wh ite was threatening to win
altho ugh on the fifth rank, is too by 6 \t>a8 , whereas now after
far advanced. 6 lt>a6 \t>c8 we are back where we
Rook Endings 1 83

started and White can make no White also wins, even against the
progress . 'correct' bishop, if his rook's
However, if Black has the pawn is on the fourth rank or
' wrong' bishop (i.e. controlling lower, as in our next example:
t he pawn's queening square)
White wins without any trouble,
a s we see in the play from the

right-hand position of diagram

2 1 8:
1 � g4
2 �rs
Or first 2 l:lc3 and 3 l:lc6
followed by 4 �f5 .
2 i. d2
3 :!Ib3 i.c1
4 li b6+ �h7
Or 4 . . . �xh5 5 l:l b I winning the Guretzky-Cornitz 1 863
5 h6! i.d2 First of all White plays a few
If 5 . . . i.xh6 6 li.b7+ i.g7 7 �g5 preliminary moves before beginning
W i nS. his main plan.
6 l:lg6! 1 �h6 �g8
This is simpler than 6 l:l f6 We have already seen that
.te l 7 �g4 i.xh6 8 �h5 to be Black loses after I . . . i.d5 2 :!Id7
followed by 9 l:lf7+ and 1 0 �g6 i.e6 3 l:ld8+ i.g8 4 �g5 �g7
wi nning. 5 :!Id7+, as given in our analysis of
6 i.c1 diagram 2 I 8 , left, note to Black
If 6 . . . i.xh6 7 �f6 and 8 �f7 2nd move.
wins. Or 6 . . . i.c3 7 �g5 and 2 :!I g7 + �f8
H �h5 wins. So Black plays a Or 2 . . . �h8 3 l:le7 i.d5 4 l:le8+
wa iting move. etc, as in the previous note.
7 :!I g7 + �xh6 3 :!Ig5 !
Or 7 . . . �h8 8 �g6 i.xh6 Beginning the main plan. To
I) l:lh7+. win , White's king must reach f6,
8 :!I g6 + �h7 b ut the bishop stops him going via
After 8 . . . �h5 9 l:l g l the bishop . g6, and l:lgi followed by �g5
is lost . would allow . . . �g7 . So White
9 �f6 and m ust play with more s ubtlety. The
1 0 �f7 wins. text move already thre atens 4 �h5
Once again we have a variation 5 �g4 (now we see why White's
o f the winning set-up in diagram pawn must not be on the fifth
2 1 3. rank ! ) If Black then plays 4 . . .
184 Rook Endings

.tf3+ then 5 �g6 wins, for if 5 . . . 6 �g5 �g7 7 Ii:c3! the bishop
�g8 6 �h6+ Black's king m ust go cannot ret urn in time to t he g8-b I
into the corner, as 6 . . . �f8 7 Ii:f5+ diagonal, e.g. 7 . . . .te2 8 h 5
wins the bishop. .tb5 ( f l ) 9 h 6 + �h7 10 lic7+ �h X
3 �f7 1 1 h 7 and 1 2 �h6 wins.
If 3 . . . .td3 (c2) 4 �h5 .te2 (d 1 )+ If 5 . . . .tb 1 ( h 7) 6 lig5. Or 5 . . .
5 �g6 �g8 6 lid5 (c5) wins, for .te4 6 �g5 . O r 5 . . . .ta4 6 �g5
his king reaches g7. Now 4 �h5 �g7 7 Ii: c3 ! when there is no
fails to 4 . . . .tf3+. defence to the advance of thl·
4 lig3! pawn.
Threatening 5 �g5 �g7 6 �f4+. 6 lig5 .tdl +
4 .tc2 (220) Or 6 . . . .tf5 7 'i.t>h6 .td3 8 lig.l
Or 4 . . . .tb 1 5 lig7+ �f8 (if 5 . . . i.e4 9 ilg4 and 10 ilf4+ wins.
�f6 6 Ii:g 1 .td3 7 lid 1 follo wed 7 �h6 �f7
by 8 Ii: f l + or 8 �h7 wins) 6 lig5 ! W h ite was threatening to bring
a n d Black cannot prevent 7 �h5. his rook to the f-fi le with gai n o f
time, e.g. 7 ... i.f3 8 lig1 .tc2
220 9 lig2, or 7 . . . .tb3 8 li b5 etc.
8 Ii:g7+ �f6
Or 8 . . . �f8 9 �g6 and 1 0 �f(l
9 lig l .te2
10 lig 2 .td3
11 E:f2+ wins.
This example ends our discussion
of rook and pawn v bishop. Apart
from the few exceptions given, this
type of ending is won for White,
5 �h5 but can sometimes require ex­
The line suggested by Guretzky­ tremely precise h andling. Endings
Cornitz. Simpler is the method with roo k agai nst bishop and
given by Kling: 5 lif3+ �g8 pawn or bishop and two pawn arc
6 Ii: c3! when 6 . . . .te4 7 lig3 + �f7 usually drawn , although in certain
8 �g5 ! wins. Or 6 . . . .tb 1 7 Ii:g3 + positions either side can wi n,
�f7 8 lig7+ �f8 9 lig5 ! and depending on the piece con­
10 �h5 wins. Or fi nally 6 . . . .ta4 figurat ion. F rom among the many
7 Ii:c8+ �f7 8 �h 7 .tb5 (if 8 . . . possibilities, we select a position
.tb3 9 Ii:c l , o r 8 . . . .td 1 9 lic4 etc) in which bot h sides h ave two
9 lid8 ! .tc6 (a4) 10 Ii:d4 (d2) wins. pawns and which has grea t
5 �f6 practical val ue.
The point of this variation l ies All the pawns are on the same
in the fact that after 5 . . . .td 1 + wing, with none being passed, and
Rook Endings 1 85

and can play 3 . . . i.g2 4 llf2 i.h l

i n order to answer 5 b4 with 5 . . . ab
6 llb2 <i;b7 7 ll xb4 <tla6 8 Ii:b5
i.f3 9 <tlc7 i.d l l 0 II xb6+
®a5 etc. White would have no real
winning chances.
1 i.f3
If l . . . a5 2 ba ba 3 ®c 5 a4 4 <i;b6
<tlc8 5 Ii:c7+ and 6 Ii:c4 wins
Black's pawn.
2 a4 i.e4
3 aS!
Black has the 'correct' bishop. He An interesting position arises
has set up the correct defensive afte r 3 b5 i.f3 . If White then
fo rmation of pawns on the black makes a non-committal move
squares combining with his bishop such as 4 llg l , Black can cleverly
to prevent the entry of White's . reply with 4 . . . a5! If then 5 ba
king. The question is whether Black plays 5 . . . <tla7 and 6 . . .
White can achieve anything by <i;xa6, and i f White does not
advanci ng his pawns or whether capture the pawn, Black maintains
Black can defend his hedgehog his bishop on the long diagonal
position. and White's king can never attack
1 b4! the b-pawn. This idea was seen in
Only by immediately preventing a game Stein-R . Byrne , Moscow
I . . . a5! can White win the ga me, 197 1 (with colours reversed).
as it is difficult to see how he could However, even without this possi­
proceed after this , if Black had the bility, Black can probably hold
move. The bishop would remain the position after 3 b5. To make
on the long diagonal; it could not any progress, White would have
be driven away, and if White's to play a5 and after . . . ba
king tried to penetrate via b5 recapture with his king. Black
Black would place his bishop on must then place his bishop on the
c6 and move his king between the c8-h 3 diagonal in order to play
fi rst and second ranks. . . . i.c8+ as soon as White's king
White's only try would be 2 a4 goes to a6. On the other hand , if
i.f3 3 Ii:f7 in orde r to answer 3 . . . the king returns to c5, Black's
i.e4 with 4 b4 a b 5 lU4. The bishop goes back to the long
situation would then be critical for diagonal. It is difficult to see how
Black , although 5 . . . i.d3 ! 6 Ii: xb4 White can make any progress.
<tla 7 7 <tlc6 <tla6 8 l hb6+ <tla5 3 ba
9 llb3 i.g6! would draw. However, 4 ba a6
Black need not even allow this, Black must play this move
186 Rook Endings

sooner or l ater. If 4 . . . .id3 5 lig3 .ifl 1 8 lib l , the rook equally

followed by either 6 a6 or 6 'it>c6. reaches the d-file.
After the text move, a fresh 1S li bS
situation has arisen, posing tricky Quicker than 18 lib2 .id3 1 9
problems for White. He must lib3 etc, as 1 8 . . . .ib5 n o w fails to
drive B lack's king far enough 19 lixb5.
away from the pawn for the 1S .id3
sacrifice lixa6 to win. The following 19 li eS+ 'it>f6
analysis by Enevoldsen shows that Or 1 9 . . . 'it>f5 20 'it>d4 winning
this is in fact possible: more quickly.
S 'it>cS .id3 20 'it>d6
6 'it>b6 'it>cS Translator's note: 20 'it>b6
7 li c7+ 'it>dS followed by 2 1 lia8 and 22 li xa6
White has made the first step, as wo uld sho rten the solution by 8
7 . . . 'it>b8? loses to 8 lid7 , but moves.
Black's king must be d rive n even 20 'it>f5
further away. Or 20 . . . 'it>f7 21 lie7+ 'it>f8 (if
S li eS .ie2 21 . . . 'it>f6 22 lie3) 22 'it>e6 and
Not of course 8 . . . .ib5 9 lixb5 23 'it>f6 win s .
etc. If 8 ... 'it>e7 9 lid5 and 1 0 'it>c7 21 li eS+ 'it>f4
gains time o n the main line. 22 'it>dS .ibS
9 'it>b7 'i&d7 23 'i&d4 .ia4
10 li dS+ 'it>e6 Or 23 . . . .ifl 24 lie8 etc.
11 lid2 .ic4 24 li e6 .ibS
It makes no appreciable difference 2S li f6+ c;&gs
which square the bishop chooses, 26 lit'S
as White p ursues his strategic plan Black's k i ng is now far enough
unhindered. away, otherwise White could have
1 2 'it>c7 .ibS continued the process with 26 'it>c5
13 li d4! etc.
Placing Black in zugzwang, so 26 'it>g6
driving hs king further afield. If 27 'it>cS 'it>g7
now 13 . . . 'it>e5 14 lid6 transposes 2S liaS rM7
to our main line. 29 'i&b6 'it>e7
13 .tn 30 lixa6 wins.
14 li d6+ 'it>eS A lengthy solution but easy to
Or 14 . . . 'it>e7 1 5 lid 1 and follow once we have seen the basic
16 lie l + wins. idea of driving away Black's kin g .
1 S 'it>c6 .ie2
16 'it>cS .ibS
17 lib6 .ie2 This ending also is usually
If 1 7 . . . .id3 1 8 lib3 or 1 7 . . . drawn. A win is only possible in
Rook Endings 187

exceptional circumstances . Let us The black knight must stay

examine a few possibilities from close to the king. In a game
diagram 222. Steinitz-Neuma n n , 1 8 70 (with
colours reve rsed), Black wrongly
continued 2 . . . lLlg4 and lost after
3 li h4 lLle3 4 lie4 ! lLld l (or 4 . . .
lLlg2 5 <t>f5 , o r 4 . . . lLlc2 5 <t>d5)
5 li f4+ <t>g7 6 lif3 lt'g6 (or 6 . . .
lLlb2 7 <t>d5 \t'g6 8 lt'd4 lt'g5 9 ll f l
lLla4 1 0 lib 1 etc) 7 \t'e 5 \t'g5 8
<t>d4 <t>g4 9 li f l lLlb2 10 lib I lLla4
I I li b4 winning the knight.
3 llf7+ \t'e8
4 lig 7 <t>f8 !
Again this is the only move ,
Here are two examples in which as 4 . . . lLlh6 5 li g6 wins the
White has driven the enemy king k night.
to the edge of the board. 5 lih7 lt'e8
Nevertheless, there is no win to be 6 lif7 lLlh6
had. In the bottom position , play 7 lifl
might go: Or 7 llg7 lt'f8 8 <t>f6 lLlg8+
1 lib2+ lt'a 1 9 _\t'g6 lLle7+ etc.
2 li b8 7 lLlg8

Or 2 llh2 lt'b I 3 lid2 \t'a I 4 and White can do nothing further.

lt'b4 \t'b 1 5 <t>c3 lLla2+ etc. It is clear that if this last
2 lLle2 ! position were moved one square
The o nly move . Black loses to the right, with Black's knight
after both 2 . . . lLld3 3 \t'b3 lLlc l + on h8, Black would be completely
4 \t'c2 lLla2 5 lib I mate , and 2 . . . lost. White also has winning
lLla2 3 \t'b3 lt'b l 4 lib7 lLlc l + chances if the knight is separated
5 <t>c3+ and 6 lt'c2. fro m the king, or is placed
3 \t'b3 \t'bl ! unfavo urably near the corner on
Threatening to escape via c l . the second ran k. However, the
4 lieS lLlcl+ reader can look up this material in
5 lt'c3 lLla2+ more specialized endgame books.
White must now allow perpetual When we have rook and pawn
check or else let the black king against knight, it is only rarely
out. The position is drawn . that Black can save himself. This
The top position in diagram 222 can o nly occur when the pawn is
is also a typical drawing position. blockaded and sepa rated from its
1 li b7 lLlh6 own king, as the couple of
2 lih7 lLlg8 ! positions given in diagram 223.
188 Rook Endings

However, as Cheron pointed

223 out, White wins here by 8 lib4!
lbxb6+ (or else White's reaches
c5) 9 \t>d6 \t>a7 10 'it>c6 etc. The
text move was analysed by Frink.
2 lt>e4
If 2 lt>e5 then 2 . . . lt>c5 ! 3 b7
lbc6+ and 4 lt>xb4 draws at
2 lbb7
3 \t>e5 lbc5
So that if 4 'it>f6 lbd7+ follows.
In the left-hand position, Black 4 \t>f5 lDd7!
is blockading the pawn, and it is After 4 . . . 'it>b7 5 \t>f6 lbd7+
difficult to see how White can 6 lt>e7 lb xb6 7 \t>d6 we have
proceed. His only chance lies in Cheron's winning position.
approaching with his king along 5 b7 \t>c 7
the top of the board , and Black and Black has reached the position
must defend very carefully to hold we mentioned earlier, in which
the position. (Note that if the White's king has no manoeuvring
pieces are moved one rank further space, e.g. 6 lib5 lbb8 7 \t>e4 \t>c6
up, even this white plan would be 8 Ilb I \t>c7 9 \t>d5 lbd7 10 \t>c4
impossible). lbb8 I I lib5 lbd7 1 2 \t>b4 \t>b8 1 3
1 li b4 lba5! \t>a5 \t>a7 drawing.
Berger suggested the following If this position is moved towards
drawing line: I . . . lbd6 2 lt>e5 lbb7 the centre , it is still drawn. Black
3 \t>e6 lbc5+ 4 lt>e7 lbb7 (if 4 . . . defends , as we have shown, by
\t>b7 5 \t>d6 lba6 6 lib ! lb b 8 7 placing his king on whichever side
lt>c5 lbd7+ 8 lt>b5 wins) 5 lib 1 the white king threatens to
lba5 6 \t>d8 lt>b7 7 \t>d7 lbc4 penetrate. He does not even have
winning the pawn. to fear Cheron's winning line
which of course does not work
224 with bishop's pawn, king's pawn
or queen's pawn.
When we come to the roo k 's
pawn, Black's chances are fa r
worse for the simple reason
that W hite can sometimes even
advantageously give up the pawn.
The right-hand position in diagram
223 is an interesting case in poi n t .
Black will lose i f he allows White's
Rook Endings 189

king to reach g6. His only chance h i m . However, there is a surprise

lies in the fact that W hite's rook in store.
has little space to manoeuvre 8 'it>g6!
behind the pawn, which makes the This decides matters, as the
pawn h ard to defend. White wins rook sacrifice must be accepted.
in the following instructive way: 8 lt:lxhi
I IIh2 9 h5 lt:lg3
Not of course 'it>e3 lt:lg3 IO h6 wins.
drawing at once . The pawn cannot be stopped .
I lt:lf4
After I . . . lt:lf6 Berger gives a
win as follows: 2 'it>e3 'it>g3 3 II h I
�g2 (or 3 . . . lt:lg4+ 4 'it>e4 lt::J f2+ 5
\!.>f5 lt:lxh I 6 h5 and the pawn
cannot be stopped, or 3 . . . lt:l h 5
4 \t>e4 gives a line we shall see
l ater) 4 IId I lt>g3 5 IId4 wins, as
� . . . lt:lg4+ is answered by 'it>e4.
2 'it>e3 lt:lh5
But not 2 . . . 'it>g3 3 h 5 ! lt:ld5+ 4
�c4 lt:lc3+ 5 'it>e5 and the pawn
runs through . There is another type of drawing
3 lt>e4 lt:lg3+ position, when the pawn is guarded
Weaker is 3 . . . ..t>g3 4 I! h l ..t>g2 from the side by the rook. For
'i lld l lt>g3 (h3) 6 'it>f5 ! and the example, in diagram 225, White
pawn cannot be captu red . cannot win against correct defence.
4 'it>e5 lt:lh5 Black must play h is king to b3 if
Or 4 . . . lt:lfl 5 I!f2 lt:le3 6 'it>e4 etc. the white king stays beh ind the
5 'it>e6 'it>g3 pawn, but must transfer to b5 if
Black can not stop W hite's king White takes h is king up the board.
1 1·ach ing g6. For e xample, if 5 . . . Play might go: I 'it>f3 'it>b3 2 'it>g4
t) \ 1 4 + 6 'it>f6 'it>h 5 7 'it>f5 lt:lg6 \t>a4 3 'it>fS lt:la3 5 'it>eS ot>b5 and
H Uh I and again th e pawn cannot Black is threatening to win the
hl" taken. pawn after 5 . . . lt:lc2.
6 IIhi 'it>g4 Common sense tells us that
Or 6 . . . 'it>g2 7 IId I lt>g3 White would win with a rook's
H �f5 ! etc. pawn in the same situation, for
7 'it>f7 lt:lg3 Black has two disadvantages: he
Black seems to h ave defended now has no file to the left (a4! ) to
•ou n:cssfully, as 8 IIh2 lt:lfl 9 I! f2 manoe uvre round the pawn, nor
ti )j.(.l , o r here 9 h 5 lt:lxh2 1 0 h 6 can his king attack the rook which
( 1 0 \!7g6 lt:lf3) 1 0 . . . lt:lf3 ! draw for is no longer behind the pawn. The
190 Rook Endings

reader can try out this position for which a w i n can be forced.
himself to see how White wins. However, as we shall soon see, the
Rook against knight and pawn defence is not always easy to
or knight and two pawns is usually conduct.
drawn, but of course there are
exceptions which we shall not
discuss here. With equal material,
the rook usually wins, unless Surprisingly enough, this ending
Black can set up a hedgehog occurs relatively often in tourna­
positio n . Consider the following ment practice, and is just as often
example : needlessly lost by the defe nce. It
will therefore be worthwhile if we
226 explain here some of the basic
principles of defence .
First of all, let us consider a
famous position from which
Philidor demonstrated a win more
than two centuries ago.

White can make no progress, as

one of his pieces is always tied to
the defence of the pawn. The most
White can do is win the pawn after
1 'it>d3 'it>f7 2 lhe6 'it>xe6 3 'it>c4,
but the pawn ending is a book
draw. However, the same position
one rank further up would result A . Philidor 1 749
in a winning pawn ending!
White wins as follows :
Rook and Minor Piece against Rook 1 lif8+
The e nding of rook and bishop I n order to prevent the defensive
or rook and k night against rook is move . . . ll d7+ which is possible
usually a draw, the rook and even after 1 .ic6.
knight combination winning only 1 lie8
rarely . White's prospects are 2 IIf7 lie2!
somewhat better with rook and White was threatening 3 lia7. If
bishop, although even here there 2 .. . 'it>c8 3 II a 7 lid8+ 4 'it>c6 'it>b8
are not many positions fro m 5 lia 1 and Black is in zugzwang.
Rook Endings 191

2 . . . I!e 1 o r 2 . . . I!e3 slightly Or 7 ... <t>c8 8 I!a7 winning.

shorten the main variation. 8 lld7+! <t>c8
3 llh7 White mates after 8 . . . <t>e8
A tempo move to force Black's 9 llg7 (Black's rook cannot go to
rook to a less favourable square f3 ! ).
on the e-file. 9 llf7 lt'b8
3 lle1 10 llb7+ <t>c8
A more stubborn defence than 11 llb4! <t>d8
3 . . . lle3 after which 4 lld7+ <t>e8 Or 1 1 . . . lld3 1 2 lla4 e tc.
(or 4 . . . <t>c8 5 lla7 when Black 12 ..ic4! wins.
cannot play 5 . . . I!b3) 5 lla7 <t>f8 6 Black can no longer prevent
I!f7+ <t>e8 7 ll f4! <t>d8 ( White mate.
threatened 8 ..ic6+ and 7 . lld3 . . As can be seen, this winning
allows 8 llg4 when 8 . . . llf3 method is complex and needs to
cannot be played) 8 ..ie4! wins be well pla n ned. There are many
(8 ... <t>e 8 9 ..ic6+). similar positions, some of which
4 llb7 llcl are won for White, some drawn .
Or 4 . . . <t>c8 5 lla7 llb l 6 llg7 We cannot dea i with these fully
\t'b8 7 llg8+ <t>a7 8 I!a8+ a nd but will just point out that
9 llb8+ wi nning the rook. positions similar to diagram 227
5 ..ib3 are won if the kings are o n the
We now see why the black rook rook's o r bishop's files, but only
was driven to bottom rank (no drawn with the ki ngs on the
ch eck on d 1 ! ) . Grigoriev gives the knight's file. The reader can
alternatives 5 llf7 lle l (or 5 . . . fi nd more e xtensive analysis i n
\t'e8 6 llf6 lld 1 7 llf2! lld4 specialized endgame books. What
8 lle2+ and 9 llg2 etc) 6 ..if3 as i n terests us here is the practical
winning, e.g. 6 . . . lle3 (or 6 . . . <t>e8 problem of how to defend such
7 llf4 <t>d8 8 ..ih5 <t>c8 9 llb4 ! ) positions.
7 ..ic6 continuing a s in the main
5 I!c3
Or 5 . . . <t>c8 6 llb4 <t>d8 7 llf4
llel (if 7 . . . <t>c8 8 ..id5 <t>b8
9 lla4 etc) 8 ..ia4 <t>c8 9 ..ic6
lld l + 1 0 ..id5 lt'b8 l l lla4 wins.
The black rook has now been
driven to the unfavou rable sixth
rank and White can carry out his
winning plan.
6 ..ie6 lld3+
7 .idS llc3 J. Szen
1 92 Rook Endings

Let us assume that Black's king

has been driven to the edge of the
board and has reached a position
similar to diagram 228.
This is a drawing position given
by Sze n . It has the following
characteristics: the black king is a
knight's move away from White's
king and on a square of the same
colour as the bishop controls , and
Black's rook is preventing the
threatened mate. White is unable
to strengthen his position any White finds it difficult to set up
further, as the following analysis threats if B lack keeps his rook on
shows: the d-file. As an example, we
1 l:lb8+ lieS quote the contin uation of a game
2 �f6+ <tlc7 Flohr-Reshevsky, 1 93 7 , which
3 �e5+ <tld8 arose after 1 l:lh7. Blac k played
4 l:lb1 l:lc2 1 ••• l:ld2 2 <tle5 <tlc8 3 �c5 l:ld7
5 l:lg1 <tlc8 4 �e7 <tlb7 5 <tle6 <tlc6 6 l:lh1 l:ld2
6 l:lb1 7 IIcl + <tlb5 8 �d6 l:le2+ and so
Otherwise the king escapes. on.
Here is another characteristic of If both these drawing positions
Szen' s position ; on the side are known , we have little to fear in
defended by the rook Black's king this type of ending. To learn the
has sufficient room in which to whole story , one would have to
manoe uvre . If the whole position wade th rough reams of analysis in
were moved one file to the left bulky endgame tomes, but this
(White's rook on f l ) . White wo uld k no wledge would prove of little
now win by 6 l:lf8+, when Black practical value.
would lose his rook in two moves. If in such positions the defending
In other words , Black's king must side also has a pawn , this factor
be o n the 'longer' side. can often work against him by
6 <tld8 cutting o ut stalemate chances and
and we are back in our original sometimes interfering with the
position . The game is drawn . action of his rook. Rarely can one
There i s an even simpler drawing or two pawns provide effective
position , first given by Cochrane, counterplay.
with the black rook pinning
White's bishop to the king.
Consider the position in diagram
229. The defence here is far easier,
Rook Endings 193

because Black's king cannot be 2 Iie1 Iif4

driven to edge of the board. I f, This is the position White was
however, he is already there , aiming for.
several winning positions are 3 Ii a 1 ! Iif2
possible, especially if Black's king There is nothing else.
ncar a corner. However, as these 4 lt:le4 Iig2+
a re exceptional positions, we do s Wf6 Wh8
not intend to spend much time on Forced, as White was threatening
t he m . Here is one interesting 6 Iia8+ and 7 lt:lg5+. In order to
e xample of how White can win make progress, White must now
such positions: drive Black's rook once again to
the fifth rank.
.'.10 6 Iib1 Iig4
Not 6 . .. Iig7 because of 7 lt:lg5
7 lt:lgS Iif4+
8 Wg6 Wg8
We now have the same position
as after White's 3rd move, but
with White to move.
9 lt:le6! Iig4!
10 Wf6 Wh8
11 Iib8+
L .Centurini 1 888 Quicker than the composer's
1 1 Wf7 Iih4 12 Wg6 Iig4+ 1 3 lt:lg5
White achieves nothing with the which equally wins.
i mmediate I Iie8+ Iif8 2 Iie7 Iic l 11 Iig8
a nd yet dare not leave the e-file, 1 2 lt:lf8
a l lowing . . . Wf8 . Once again, the and mates quickly.
1.ugzwang weapon is the answe r, White was able to win here only
forcing Black's rook to an because Black's pieces were most
u nfavourable square on the file . unfavourably placed. Taking dia­
1 Iie3 Iif2 gra m 230, we only have to place
Not of course I . . . Wf8 2 lt:lh7+ Black's rook on g 1 and Black to
winning. If I . . . Iif4 2 Iia3 Iifl move draws by 1 . . . Wf8 . The
1 lia8+ Iif8 4 Iia l ! transposes to pinned knight cannot join in the
our main variation. The dis­ action, so W hite can make no
advantage of Black's rook on f4 is progress.
t h at after 2 Iia3 the move 2 . . . Wf8 Even if Black's king can be kept
fa ils to 3 lt:le6+. Finally, if I Iif8
. . . on g8 (diagram 23 1 ), the pin ofthe
2 lt:lh7 Iia8 3 Iie7 and 4 lt:lf6 wins knight still saves him, e.g. 1 Wf6
easily. Iig2 not 1 . . . Wf8? 2 lt:le6+ and
194 Rook Endings

3 Iid l winning 2 lbe6 Ii g3 3 Iifl

23 /
Iig l the rook must not go to g4
because 4 Iia2 threatening 5 Iia8+
and 6 tbg5+ 4 lbf4 Iial 5 Iib2
Iia6+ 6 lbe6 \t>h7 and the knight is
again pinned, restricting White's
possibilities. In other words,
Black's best defence in positions
of this kind is to pin the
5 Bishop Endings

Along with rook endings, end­ this is normally the case also
games with a bishop on each side against two pawns. However,
constiti ute the most difficult part against three pawns the bishop
of endgame theory. However, in can only defend successfully if
both types of ending certain they are not too far advanced.
ge neral principles have been These are, of course general rules
elaborated which help the player to which there are many exceptions.
t o find his way amid the complexities. Let us examine a few positions to
Rook endings are much more see how these points apply.
difficult to analyse, the main
difficulty residing in the formulation
of a general strategic plan which
must then be pursued to its logical
wnclusion. The following examples
will convince the reader of the
t ruth of this statement.
Bishop endings can be divided
1 11to two main sections, depending
o n whether the bishops control
sq uares of the sa me or opposite
rolour. Both types of position
req uire drastically different treat­ H . Otten 1 892
ment, as we shall see . However,
before proceeding with bishop The material immediately leads
e ndings proper, let us first see how us to think of a draw, but Black's
t he bishop fares against pawns pieces are so badly placed here
u lone. that White can in fact queen his
a-pawn as follows:
Uishop against Pawns 1 aS i;f8
Because of its long-ranging Aiming for c5, the only square
movement, the bishop is usually from which the bishop can stop
successful in its fight against the pawn. White now prevents this
pawns. It is clear that a bishop defence.
draws against a single pawn, and 2 �dS .ih6
1 96 Bishop Endings

3 g5+! i.xe7 2 a7, or by 1 a 7 i.xa7 2 e7.

This surprising sacrifice is the The pawns are too far advanced .
key move. 3 'Ct>d4 only draws 3 . . . Even against two connected
i.f4 4 a 6 i.b8 . N ote that i t is pawns, the bishop can put up a
Black's king position which is his successful defence if they are not
undoing. For example, with his too far advanced. As a general
king on g8 he would draw. rule , the pawns should be no
3 i.xg5 further that the fifth rank, if both
Or 3 . . . 'Ct>xg5 4 a6 wins at once . kings are not involved. Diagram
4 'Ct>e4 i.h4 234 ill ustrates this point.
5 'Ct>f3! wins.
The pawn cannot be stopped. 234
An attractive exception to the
Normally against two isolated
pawns, the bishop and king each
hold one of the pawns. If,
h owever, both kings are away
from the main action, the bishop
has the task of holding up both
pawns. This can only be done
along a diagonal or by controlling
at the same time the square in The relatively favourable position
front of each pawn. Take , for of Black's bishop allows him to
example, this position : draw with ease after:
1 b6 i.d4
233 White must advance his pawns
on squares of the same colour as
the bishop controls, or else they
can easily be blockaded, e.g. l c6
i.d8 etc.
2 b7 i.e5
The pawns are held, ensuring
the draw.
Now let us examine a few other
situations when the bishop is not
so well placed. If Black's bishop
Neither pawn can advance and were on g7 , White would win by
the game is drawn. Now move the l c6 i.e5 2 b6, as the bishop
pawn s and bishop one square up cannot reach d8 in time. Or
the board, and a sacrifice is in the against t he bishop on a7, White
air. White wins easily by 1 e7 plays l b6 i.b8 2 c6 winning.
Bishop Endings 197

l l owever, if the bishop is on a5,

a fter I b6 Black leaves his bishop
where it is and draws by coming
hack with his king I . . . 'it>e4.
If Black has a white-squared
bis hop in diagra m 234, he draws if
his bishop can reach the long
white diagonal in time. For
example, with the bishop on b7
Black draws after 1 c6 i.a8! (not
I. . . i.c8? 2 b6 wins) . With his
bishop on e2, Black would lose
a fter 1 b6 i.a6? 2 c6, but he can Y. Averbakh I 954
utilize the unfavourable position
of White's king and draw by 1 ... course of our analysis we shall of
-Jle3 and 2 ... i.f3+. course indicate the correct defensive
The whole picture can change if measures. For instance, the most
1 me of the kings is nea r the pawns. e xact plari here is to place the
With White's king near the bishop on the h5-d I diagonal by
pawns, the win is usually guaranteed, playing I . . . i.b3 and 2 . . . i.d I at
a ssuming the black king is further once. However, the delay is not
a way. If Black's king is near the yet fatal.
pawns, he usually dra ws, wherever 2 rs i.f7
White's king may be. Of course, 3 hS
t here is always the exception. White would get nowhere by
When Black has a bishop placing his pa wns on the black
a gainst three pa wns , his drawing squares h4, g5 and f6, as after
prospects are good, provided that 3 'it>f4 'it>f6 4 g5+ 'it>g7 5 'it>e5 i.h5
t he pawns are not too far 6 'it>e6 i.f7+ 7 'it>e7 i.h5 8 f6+ 'it>g8
advanced. As a rule, the black he has allowed them to be
k i ng will normally have to join in blockaded.
t he fight agai nst the pawns, as our 3 i.e8?
next example shows . An instructive mista ke, after
In such positions, Black ca n which the game is lost for Black.
d raw if the pawns have not This was the last chance to play
reached the fifth ran k. However, the bishop to the more active
t he defence requires the utmost diagonal h5-d l . After 3 . . . i.b3!
precision, as the following shows: Black can still draw, e.g. 4 'it>f4
1 i.e8 i.d I ! or 4 f6+ 'it>f7 5 'it>h6 'it>xf6 6
For instructional purposes, we g5+ 'it>f7 7 ..t>h7 i.c2+ 8 g6+ 'it>f6 ,
give as or main line the faulty in both cases drawing comfortably.
passive defence by Black. In the 4 'it> f4!
198 Bishop Endings

The only way to win, pointed �g8 1 1 f7+ etc.

out by Karstedt in 1 906. H orwitz, 9 f6 �g6
who had analysed the position in 1 0 �e7 i.c4
1 8 80, gave 4 f6+ as winning, when 11 f7 .txf7
play might go: 12 h7 �xh 7
l.) 4 . . . <M"T? 5 h6 �g8 6 �f5 ! 13 �xn �h8
i.d7+ 7 �f4 i.e8 (or 7 . . . i.a4 1 4 �g6! wins.
8 �e5 win s; Black cannot play In his fight against the three
both his king to f7 and his bishop con nected pawns, Black must try
to the h7-b 1 diagonal in time) to force them to the same diagona l
8 �e5 i.g6 9 �e6 �f8 10 g5 i.c2 so that he ca n blockade them with
1 1 f7 i.b3+ 1 2 �f6 i.xf7 l3 h7 his bishop. Or if they form a
wins . triangle, he can use his bishop to
2) 4 . . . �g8! 5 �f4 if 5 �h6 �f7 blockade two pawns and his king
6 g5 i.b5 White gets nowhere, to stop the other. Consider this
e.g. 7 g6+ �xf6 8 g7 i.c4 9 �h7 position :
�g5 , or 7 �h7 i.d3+ 8 �h8 i.e4
etc. 5 ... i.a4 6 g5 6 �e 5 i.d 1 ! 6 ...
i.d1 7 h6 o r 7 g6 i.xh5 8 �g5
i.d 1 , or here 8 �f5 �f8! 7 . . . i.c2
8 'it>e5 �n and Black has reached
a drawing position.
4 .tn
It is now too late for 4 . . . i.a4
5 g5 i.d 1 as after 6 h6+ Black
must transpose to the main line by
6 . . . �h7, or lose at once by 6 . . .
� f7 7 g6+ �f6 8 h 7 . If 4 . . . �h6
White wins afte r 5 f6 �h7 6 �e5 Black can d raw if he continues
�g8 7 h6 etc, or afte r 5 �e5 �g5 to prevent the approach of
6 �e6 i.a4 7 f6 etc. White's king. Play might go:
5 �e5 i.c4 1 �d4 �e6 2 �e4 i.e8 3 �f4 .td7
Or 5 . . . i.e8 6 �e6 i.f7+ 7 �e7 4 �g5 i.e8 5 �h6 �! (not 5 . . .
i.c4 8 f6+ �g8 9 h6 winning. i.d7? 6 �g7 i.e8 7 f7 .txf7 8 d7
6 g5 i.e2 winning) and White can mlike n o
7 h6+ �h7 progress.
8 �d6! If White's three pawns arc
The simplest. W hite's king isolated, it is difficult to give
reaches e7 without being troubled general rules. Black's defence will
by the bishop (8 'it>e6 i.g4 9 �f6 ! ) . be trickie r, because the bishop b u s
8 i.d3 problems stopping the pawns 11 1
Or 8 . . . i.g4 9 f6 i.h5 10 �e7 some di stance from each othe r.
Bishop Endings 199

We shall restrict ourselves to one which would othe rwise force

example. White to give up control of d4 or
f6. The text move is Black's only
4 h7 .tel
5 �d6 .txb2
6 �c7!
Another fi nesse. After 6 �c6?
.te5! White would be in zugzwang,
and Black would draw. Now 7 b 7
i s t h e threat.
6 .teS+
7 �c6 .td4
Whe reas now Black is in
M. Lewitt 1 93 3 zugzwang and 7 . . . �a5 fails to
8 b7.
As two of White's pawns are 8 b7 �a7
doubled, Black has an apparently 9 �c7 .teS+
easy task, for the bishop will only 1 0 �c8 wins .
have one pawn to deal with . One of the pawns m ust queen.
l l owever, as we saw also in A fine study, showing the problems
diagram 232, the bishop just that the bishop has to face against
cannot do this, and White wins as distant passed pawns .
follows: There are many positions in
I �e4 .td8 which the side with the bishop also
2 b6 ! has pawns, but most of them are
Again the pawn sacrifice is the examples from practical play and
u nswe r, creating a self-block after difficult to classify. Let us j ust
2 . . . �xb6 3 �f5 when the pawn examine a few exceptional positions
ca nnot be stopped. Or if 2 . . . .txb6 which every player m ust know,
' h 7 wins. However, Black has a beginning with diagram 238.
cu nning defensive idea.
2 �a6! 238
I ntending to answer 3 h7 with
J . .tf6, and 3 �f5 with 3 . . .
. .

.ixb6. I n a surprising way,

however, White's b-pawn now
becomes an important factor
which White uses cleverly as
3 �eS! .tgS
Black cannot play 3 . . . .t c7 +
200 Bishop Endings

White's material advantage would useless in the right-hand position.

normally win, but both these Black's pawn again cannot be
positions are drawn. On the left, capt ured, and if 1 i.e4 \t>g8 2 \t>e7
Black's king cannot be driven out \t>h8 3 i.d5 or 3 \t>f7 gives
of the corner and is usually stale mate. The position is even
stale mated. To win, White's bishop drawn when Black's king cannot
must be able to control the reach the corner. For instance , if
queening square of the pawn. On we switch the white king and
the right we have an exception bishop in diagram 239 (right),
known for almost two ce nturies, Black still draws , e.g. 1 \t>e5 \t>e7
in which the bishop cann·ot win, 2 i.d5 \t>f8 3 \t>d6 \t>e8 4 i.e6 \t>f8
eve n with a knight's pawn. As can 5 \t>d7 stalemate. There is no way
easily be seen, Black's king cannot of driving the black king away
be driven from the g7, h8 squares from the pawn.
without being stalemated, and Surprisingly enough, this pawn
sacrificing the bishop on g8 only setting ensures Black a draw, even
gives White a drawn pawn ending. if White has a black-squared
We see similar examples in bishop and can attack the g-pawn.
diagram 239. For example, changing White's
bishop from f5 to e5, we have
1 \t>d7 \t>g8 2 \t>e7 \t>h8 when 3 \t>f7
again gives stalemate. Nor is 3 i.f6
any good, as Black does not play
3 . . . gf? 4 � winning, but 3 ...

\t>g8! 4 \t>e6 gf 5 \t>xf6 \t>f8

As we have already said, we
cannot devote much space to
endings of bishop and pawn
versus pawn, but here is one final
example of great practical val ue,
Black saves himself on the left which has been thoroughly analysed
by the fact that his a-pawn cannot during the last century.
be captured, nor can his king be This interesting position was
driven from the corner. White can originally analysed by Kling and
try 1 \t>c6 when I . . . \t>a8? allows Horwitz ( 1 85 1 ) and poses fascinating
2 \t> c7 mate , but after the correct problems. We know that Black
1 ... \t>c8 ! 2 i.e6+ \t>b8 3 i.f5 \t>a8 draws if his king reaches a8, even
White h as nothing better than 4 if he loses his pawn. Can White
\t>c7 stalemate, as the reader can capture the pawn without allowing
verify for hi mself. Black's king to reach a8? The
White's bishop also proves answer to this question decides
Bishop Endings 20 I

before Black's king can occupy

240 d7.
1 \t>g2!
Black must keep his options
ope n . Other moves lose quickly,
e.g. 1 . . . 'i.t>f2 2 'i.t>e4 'i.t>g2 3 'i.t>d4
'i.t>f3 4 i.h2 and Black is a move
too late .
2 \t>g4!
If White heads straight for the
pawn, Black draws after 2 'i.t>e4
\t>h3 3 'i.t>d4 'i.t>g4 4 i.h2? 'i.t>f5
Kling and H orwitz 1 8 5 1 5 \t>c4 'i.t>e6 6 'i.t>b5 'i.t>d7 obtaining
the co rrect defensive position .
whether White wins or not. White first drives the king further
The composers thought that away.
White could win only if he had the 2 'i.t>f2
move, an opinion also held by 3 'i.t>e2
other experts, until Rauser proved As subsequent play reveals,
in 1 928 that White wins, whoever White has nothing to fear when
has the move . Let us follow the Black's king moves over to the
play, first with White to move: queenside. However, 3 . . . 'i.t>g2
1 i.f4! also loses to 4 i.e3 , driving the
As already mentioned, White king to the edge of the board. We
aims to capture the pawn without shall be coming back to this
allowing Black's king to reach a8. position.
From Black's point of view, this 4 'i.t>f4 'i.t>f2
means that, if White's bishop is, The black king trie s to return to
for exa mple, on h2 guarding the his c8-h3 diagonal, in order to
long diagonal, Black's king must reach d7. W hite 's task is easier if
be in a position to answer a the king continues towards the
subsequent 'i.t>xa4 by . . . 'i.t>c6. So queenside , e . g . :
as soon as White threatens to take 1 ) 4 . . . 'i.t>d3 5 i.e3 'i.t>c4 6 'i.t>e5!
the pawn, Black must be able to \t>b3 if 6 . . . 'i.t>b5 7 'i.t>d5 7 i.c5 \t>c4
play . . . 'i.t>d7 . If his king can only 8 \t>d6 \t>b5 or 8 . . . 'i.t>d3 9 \t>d5 'i.t>c3
reach e6, he loses after 1 'i.t>xa4 10 i.d6 \t>d3 1 1 'i.t>c5 'i.t>e4 1 2 'i.t>b5
�d7 2 \t>b5 'i.t>c8 3 \t>c6 etc. 'i.t>d5 1 3 .ih2 wins 9 'i.t>d5 'i.t>a5 1 0
All this means that White must \t>c6 'i.t>a6 1 1 i.e3 'i.t>a5 1 2 'i.t>b7
ma noeuvre his king and bishop so 'i.t>b5 13 i.b6! Black's king has to
as to drive Black's king as far go back! 1 3 ... 'i.t>c4 1 4 'i.t>c6 \t>b3
down the board as possible. or 1 4 . . . 'i.t>d3 1 5 \t>b5 and 1 6 'i.t>xa4
White can then capture the pawn 15 i.c5 'i.t>c4 16 i.d6 'i.t>d4 17 \t>b5
202 Bishop Endings

'i.t>d5 18 i.h 2 \t>e6 19 'i.t>xa4 'i.t>d7 \t>g2 5 i.d4 winning, as we have

20 'i.t>b5 'i.t>c8 21 'i.t>c6 wins. already se en.
2) 4 ... 'i.t>d 1 5 i.e3 'i.t>c2 if 5 . . . \t>e2 6 3 .te5
\t>e4 wins 6 \t>e5! but not 6 \t>e4? Black's king must not be
\t>b3 7 i.c5 \t>c4 drawing 6 . . . \t>b3 allowed to retreat via the d4 or h4
or 6 . . . \t>d3 7 i.c5 7 i.c5 'i.t>c4 squares. This move cuts off the
8 'i.t>d6 as in the previous variation. latter possibility.
5 i.e3+ \t>g2 3 \t>e3
After 5 . . . \t>e2 6 'i.t>e4 the black 4 i.b2!
king is driven back to the back The only way to win , discovered
rank. With the text move, Black's by Rauser in 1 928. The bishop
king still hopes to reach d 7. now covers the vital d4 square
6 \t>g4 ! 'i.t>h2 whils t preparing to occupy t he
If 6 . . . 'i.t>h I 7 i.f4 transposes. important c l -h6 diagonal to prevent
If 6 . . . 'i.t>fl 7 'i.t>f3 We I 8 i.f4 wins penetration on the kingside . Earlier
easily. analysts only considered 4 i.b8?
7 i.f4+ \t>g2 'i.t>d4 5 'i.t>e6 'i.t>c5 6 'i.t>d7 'i.t>b6 7 'i.t>c8
8 i.g3 ! \t>c5 drawing.
This recurrent move drives 4 'i.t>d3
Black's king to the bottom ran k . Or 4 . . . 'i.t>f3 5 .te l 'i.t>g3 6 i.g5
8 \t>g1 'i.t>f2 (if 6 . . . \t>f3 7 i.f4 etc, as given
9 \t>f3 'i.t>h1 above) 7 'i.t>f4 \t>e2 8 'i.t>e4 'i.t>f2
10 i.b8 9 i.f4 wins, as in our analysis to
Other moves on the long diagram 240 with White to move.
diagonal also win . As can be seen , 5 'i.t>e5 \t>e3
Black's king cannot reach d7 in We have alread examined 5 . . .
time. 'i.t>c2 6 i.d4 'i.t>b3 7 i.c5 \t>c4 8 \t>d6
10 'i.t>g1 etc (variation I in our note to
11 \t>e4 \t>g2 Black's 4th move of the analysis to
1 2 'i.t>d5 'i.t>f3 diagram 240 with White to move),
1 3 \t>c 4 \t>e4 and after 5 . . . \t>c4 6 'i.t>d6 \t>b3 the
1 4 'i.t>b5 'i.t>d5 simplest is 7 'i.t>c5 ! 'i.t>xb2 8 'i.t>b4
15 i.h2 wins. winning.
Now let us give Black the move 6 .tel+ \t>f3
i n diagram 240, when it is not so 7 \t>f5 ! \t>g3
easy to drive his king down the 8 i.g5 \t>f3
board . This is why it was t hought If 8 . . . 'i.t>h3 9 'i.t>f4 and 1 0 i.h4
for a long time that White could drives the king back. We have now
not win . reached diagram 240 with White
1 \t>g3! to move !
2 i.f6 'i.t>f3 9 i.f4! wins.
Or 2 . . . 'i.t>h3 3 'i.t>f4 'i.t>h2 4 'i.t>g4 As we have seen, the black king
Bishop Endings 203

must not be allowed into the top for the pawn. With bishops of
half of the board , if White wishes opposite colour there would clearly
to win. Once there, he cannot be be no way of stopping this.
forced back again. In diagram 240
we have indicated the critical
zone. If Black's king is above the
line, White cannot win. We shall
not dwell any longer on this, but
instead turn at once to the struggle
of bishop against bishop.
Bishop and Pawn against Bishop
A general rule in endings is that
a pawn gains in strength as the
material on the board is reduced. White can always succeed in
In other words an extra pawn is playing his pawn to e7. The
worth more if there are weaker following manoeuvre is typical of
pieces on the board ; in queen such positions:
endings .it can have relatively little 1 i.f6+ c;!;>c8
i mportance, whereas in pawn Or 1 . . . c;!;>c7 2 i.e? i.f2 3 i.d6+!
endings it is usually enough to win etc.
the game . 2 i.e7 i.fl
Following this argument, in 3 i.d6 i. h4
bishop endings an extra pawn is of Having been driven from the f8-
great value, especially when the a3 diagonal, the bishop tries the
bishops control squares of the d8-h4 diagonal, but to no avail.
same colour, and gives good 4 i.e5 wins.
winning chances. We shall first Black has no defence to threat
consider cases in which a single of 5 i.f6 and 6 e 5 .
pawn is left on the board. As w e have seen, White can
Naturally, Black has fairly good make progress if Black's bishop is
drawing chances and our task is to driven away from control of e7.
find out under which conditions However, White also needs to
the pawn leads to a win. challenge the bishop by playing a
Let us begin with diagram 24 1 , later i.f6. Is this always possible?
where White's pawn is already on To find out, let us place B lack's
the sixth rank. To win, White king on f5 , giving us diagram 242.
must of course queen his pawn, The black king is now ideally
and this is only possible if Black's posted, not only attacking the
king is not immediately in front of pawn but preventing a subsequent
the pawn and if his bishop can be i.f6. White cannot win, as the
prevented from sacrificing itself following shows:
204 Bishop Endings

easily, as we have seen, after 1 .ie7

.id2 2 .ia3 .ig5 3 .ib2! when
4 .if6 cannot be prevented.
However, Black to move can hold
the position, albeit with precise
defence, as follows:
1 �e4!
The only move. Black's king
must be ready to go to f5 as soon
as White threatens .if6 . Only
knowledge of diagram 242 could
1 j.f6 .ib4 help Black to find this move.
2 .ie7 .ie1 Note that I . . . �e5? loses to 2 .ie7
3 .icS .ih4 .ie l 3 .if6+ etc.
The bishop cannot be driven 2 .ie7 .ie1
fro m the new diagonal. 3 .ia3 .ih4
4 .id4 .ig5 4 .ib2 �f5!
As 5 .if6 is now i mpossible, The draw is now ensured, as we
White can make no progress. already know.
Black plays his bishop up and These examples have shown us
down the d8-h4 diagonal until that Black must be in a positio n to
White plays .ie7, when he switches combat o n two diagonals the
back to his o riginal diagonal . The advance of the pawn (f8-a3 and
game is drawn. d8-h4 in the ones we have quoted).
This means that in positions If the pawn is near the edge of the
similar to diagram 242 the result board , one of these diagonals will
depends on whether Black's king obviously prove too short, and
can reach in time the critical this gives White a win when a
square. Consider diagram 243 : central pawn would only draw.
Consider our next example:
� m �
• • l1 .

- •••
- - r�-

. �
- . . -. . . . -
- .
. . . �
• • • •
• • • •
The result depends on who has • • • •
the move . White to move wins The critical diagonals for Black's
Bishop Endings 205

bishop are here f8-a3 and f8-h6, squares on the bishop's shortest
but the latter is only three squares diagonal. For example, consider
long, which is insufficient for a the position in diagram 245 .
successful defence, as our following
analysis shows: 245
1 'i!tg8 !
White's king has a choice of
sides, and the result depends upon
this decision. 1 <ot>e8? only draws
after 1 . . . .id6 2 .if8 .if4 3 .ib4
.ih6 4 .ic3 <ot>d6! etc. Black
cannot be manoeuvred into a
zugzwang position , as White's
bishop cannot prevent at one and
the same time the moves . . . <ot7d6,
. . . <ot>f6 and . . . .ig7 . The finish Black can draw, as the bishop's
might be: 5 .id2 .ig7 6 .ie3 'i!te6 e8-h5 diagonal is long enough.
7 .if4 'i!tf6 drawing. As a general After 1 ... .ie8 2 .ic2 <ot>g5! Black
rule, we can state that in such prevents .ig6 and draws easily.
positions White's king should Grandmaster Averbakh has
always aim for the side where systematized the above points in
Black's bishop has the shortest the form of the zone in diagram
defensive diagonal. He can then 246.
control squares on it and make it
even shorter. 246
1 'i!tf5
The threat was 2 .if8 .ie3 3
.ia3 .ih6 4 .ib2 and 5 .ig7
winning at once .
2 .if8 .i e3
3 .ib4 .ih6
4 .id2 ! wins.
White's king co ntrols g7 and
Black's bishop is short of squares
on the diagonal. Even if Black's
king were now on . . . g6, he would For White to be able to win , the
still lose. For instance, White pawn must be above the indicated
could play 4 .ic3 'i!tg6 5 .id2 .ig7 line. With black-squared bishops,
6 .ie3 and Black is in zugzwang the zone is symmetrically opposite,
(6 . . . <ot>f6 7 .id4+) . being drawn above all the white
So, in order t o defend successfully, squares in the diagonals a4-d7-h3.
Black must have at least four According to A verbakh, this
206 Bishop Endings

rule has two exceptions, the first square a7, which was impossible
being seen in diagram 244 after in the previous diagram.
White has wrongly played 1 'it>e8?, 3 ..td4
and the seco nd shown in diagram 4 ..ta7 ..teS
246. White cannot win here, s ..tb6 ..tb8
despite the fact that his pawn is in 6 ..td8 wins.
the winning zone, because his Black is in zugzwang.
bishop can never occupy a8. Play If we again move the position
might go: one rank lower, White still wins,
1 ..tb7 as the 'short' diagonal of Black's
After 1 a7 ..td5 Black's bishop bishop, c8- a6, is only three
can never be driven from the long squares long. After 1 . . . ..tb3 2 aS
diagonal, as there is no b9 ..tc4 3 ..tb7 ..td3 other bishop
available for White's bishop ! moves lead to the same finish
1 ..te4 ! 4 ..ta6 ..trs or 4 . . . ..te4 5 ..tb5 ..tb7
This is the point. As White 6 ..td7 wins S ..tbS ..tc8 6 ..tc6 ! and
cannot capture the bishop, it again Black is in zugzwang, e.g.
remains on the long diagonal , and 6 ... 'it>c4 7 ..tb7 and 8 a6 wins.
White can do no more than draw. One peculiarity of the rook's
We can see the logic of all this, if pawn ca n be seen, however, if we
we move the position one rank hare place the black king on d6
down the board, giving us diagram instead of b4:
247 .

Black draws by 1 . . . ..tb3! 2 aS

As White's bishop now has b8 ..tc4, as White cannot advance the
at its disposal, White wins, pawn or play his bishop to b5 or
whoever has the move, as follows: a6, when bishops are exchanged
1 ..tb4 with a drawn pawn ending.
2 a6 ..tcs Finally, in diagram 249 we have
3 ..tb8 ! another interesting position in
The bishop reaches the critical which White's b-pawn has reached
Bishop Endings 207

the seventh rank. According to zugzwang, as Black's bishop can

Averbakh's zone, the position is oscillate between d6 and h2, and
won for White, but the winning after 1 i.e7 'Otlb5 is good enough.
method is particularly instructive Well then, how about first
and by no means easy. playing the bishop to the g 1 -a7
diagonal, forcing Black's king to
249 a6, so that an eventual i.c5 is
playable? Let us try it: -1 i. h4 'i!>bS
2 i.fl 'i!>a6 and now a waiting
move 3 .ie3. After, for example,
3 . . . i.g3 4 i.g5 'Otlb5 (White
threatened 5 i.d8 and 6 i.c7)
5 i.d8 'i!>c6 6 i.h4 ! and 7 .if2,
White wins. However, Black can
improve with 3 . . . .id6! 4 .igS
'i!>bS 5 i.d8 'i!>c6 6 .ie7 .ih2! when
we are back where we started.
L. Centurini 1 847 From the above analysis, we see
that Black's bishop has two
As Black controls the c7 square, critical squares d6 and h2, and so
White's bishop must play to b8 to long as it occupies one of these,
drive the bishop off the long White can achieve nothing. One of
diagonal. After 1 i.b8 i.g1 2 i. g3 these squares must therefore be
i.a 7 3 i.fl Black is lost, but how taken from the bishop, after which
can White's bishop reach b8? If zugzwang will force Black to give
1 .ih4 intending 2 i.f2 and 3 i.a7 way. As i.g 1 fails, because Black
Black plays 1 ... 'i!>b6 ! 2 i.fl+ 'i!>a6 can play his bishop anywhere
preventing this plan, and if now (fro m g 1 White's bishop cannot
3 i.h4 'Otlb6! 4 i. d8 + 'i!>c6, Black's play to the h4-d8 diagonal), d6 is
king is again preventing i.c7. the all-important one . Now to the
More subtlety is required. winning method:
A moment's thought will con­ 1 i.h4
vince us that the zugzwang Also possible are 1 i.g5 and
weapon is required. B lack to move 1 i.f6 , but not 1 i.e7 'i!>b5 etc.
cannot play 1 . . . i.eS (f4, g3) 1 �bS
because of 2 i.f6! (g5, h4), gaining 2 i.fl �a6
a vital tempo which allows the 3 i.cS !
bishop to reach a7 before Black's The key move ! Black's bishop is
king can stop it. However, 1 . . . forced out of the corner to a
i.d6! 2 i. e 7 i. h 2 is possible, as square which will later allow the
White cannot play 3 i.c5 . So in above-mentioned gain of a tempo.
the original position there is no If now 3 . . . 'i!>b5 4 i.a7 wins.
208 Bishop Endings

3 .ig3
The same win follows after 3 . . . Bishops of the same colour
.ie5 or 3 . .if4.
. . It is a well-known and easily
4 .ie7 'it>bS understood fact that a small
5 .id8 'it>c6 material advantage offers more
Reaching the original position chances of a win when the bishops
but with one vital difference: are of the same colour. We have
Black's bishop is on longer on h2. already seen a number of examples
6 .ih4! in which a single pawn was
The deci sive gai n of a tempo. If sufficient to win. White's winning
Black's bishop had gone to e5 or chances are, of course, increased if
f4 then 6 .if6! or 6 .ig5 ! would his material advantage is greater
have won. than this, and endings with bishop
6 �h2 and two pawns against bishop arc
7 .if2 .if4 al most always won. There are in
8 .ia7 .ih2 fact so few exceptions, and the
9 .ib8 .igl winning method is so clear, tha t
10 .ig3 .ia7 we do not intend to dwell on t h i �
11 .if2 ! wins. type of ending.
This beautiful example concludes Even endings with pawns on
our treatment of bishop and pawn both sides, along with material or
against bishop. There are other positional advantage, offer good
i nteresting positions in which the prospects. As these are difficult t o
pawn is further back, but we must classify, w e intend t o rest rict
unfortunately close the subject ourselves to a few examples w h i c h
here. will give the reader some idea o l
Let us now turn our attention to how to handle such endings .
positions i n which White has at If there is a pawn on either s i d t· ,
least two pawns. Up till now we a draw i s the usual result. W h i t r
have assumed that both sides have can hope for a win only if l w
bishops of the same colour, for the has a positional advantage s u r h
simple reason that there was no a s a far advanced pawn, b a d l y
point i n discussing positions posted enemy pieces etc. Diagr a r u
containing bishops of opposite 250 is an interesting case 1 1 1
colour, with only one pawn on the poi nt.
board . However, in positions with In this study by Troi t s k v .
several pawns, it becomes very W hite's advantage lies i n 1 1
i mportant to know whether the powerful a-pawn which can n o t l u·
bishops are of the same or stopped. Black must seek cha ncn
opposite colour. This is why our by advancing his own pa w u .
next two sections are separated whereupon the following e x c i t i i i iJ
i nto the two types of ending. solution unfolds:
Bishop Endings 209

and I I �g6+ etc) I 0 .if3+ 'it>g5 I I

�g3+ <i;f5 I 2 �g6+ winning the
queen or mating.
9 �f3+ <i;gS
Or 9 . . . 'it>e5 l O �f6 mate.
10 �g3+ 'it>f5
1 1 �g6+ <i;f4
1 2 �h6+ wins the queen.
In the ending of two pawns
agaisnt one, the stronger side has
good winning prospects, although
much depends on the piece
A.Troitsky I 925 configuration. Here are t wo in­
structive examples:
1 a6 c4
2 a7 c3
3 .ih1 !
W e can understand the reason
for this move by following the
va riation: 3 . . . .ig6+ 4 <i;e7 c2
'i a8� c i � 6 �g2 mate. However,
B lack has a more cunning defence.
3 .ia4+
4 <i;f7!
We shall see the reason for this
I n ter.
4 .ic6 ! Y. Averbakh I 954
I t would only help White if the
hishop checked again by 4 White's extra pawn is protected
.ih3+ 5 <i;f6. and passed, whilst the black pawn
5 .ixc6 c2 is an obj ect of attack. These
6 a8� c1� advantages lead to a win as
l J nder normal circumstances, follows:
l h i s ending would be drawn, but 1 .igS
l h l· placing of Black's pieces White cannot win the pawn at
•t l l o ws a decisive finish . once, as Black's bishop has
7 �a2+ <i;g3 enough waiting moves along the
8 �g2+ <i;f4 a7-g i diagonal . First of all, White
1 r 8 . . <tlh4 9 �f2+ 'it>g4 1 0
. drives this bishop away.
i d 7 + 'it>h5 l l �f3+ 'it>h6 1 2 1 .id4
trh . H 'it>g5 1 3 �g4+ mates, o r 2 'it>e4 .ic3
l u· rc 9 . <i;h5 ( 9 . . . 'it>g5 l O �g3+
. . Or 2 . .. .if2 3 .ie3 .ih4 4 'it>d5
210 Bishop Endings

i.e7 5 i.f2! i.f8 6 i.h4! and B lack that b8 is now available for the
is in zugzwang, e.g 6 . . . \t>b7 (6 . . . bishop. There is in fact no defence
i.h6 7 .td8+) 7 i.g3 \t>b6 8 i.d6 to 4 i.b8 winning the pawn.
winning the pawn . These exa mples show us that i t
3 i.e3 .tb4 i s n o t so easy to utilize the
4 \t>d5 i.a3 advan tage of an extra pawn when
5 i.g5 i.b4 both white pawns are nea r each
To guard the pawn, Black's other. The fu rther these pawns arc
bishop has had to occupy a very fro m �ach other, the more difficu l t
short diagonal, which is why he i s the defence. Diagra m 252 gives
will soon be zugzwa nged . If 5 . . . us some idea of the p roblems
\t>b7 6 i.e7 \t>b6 7 .id8+ \t>b7 in volved .
8 i.a5 we a re back in the main
6 i.e7 .ia3
7 .id8+ \t>b7
8 i.a5! wins.
Black is in zugzwang and loses
after both 8 . . Wa7 9· \t>c6 and 8 . . .

i.b4 9 i.xb4 c b 1 0 Wd4 etc.

It is obvious that the same
position moved one file to the left
would a lso be a win for White.
Black would be zugzwanged as in
the note to Black's 2nd move.
H owever, the position is drawn if
moved one file to the right. The This position arose in the ga me
reason for this is clea r, if we follow Eliskases-Capablanca, Sem mering
the above solution, as B lack's 1 9 3 7 . White has an extra pa wn
bisho p will now have a longer which is passed and which should
diagonal to work on, e.g. 1 i.h5 norma lly win for hi m. Howeve r,
i.e4 2 Wf4 i.d3 3 i.f3 i.c4 4 We5 there is one factor in B lack's
.tb3 5 i.h5 i.c4 6 .tf7 i.b3 7 favour: White can not win if he is
i.e8+ Wc7 8 .ib5 i.a2! etc. left with a rook's pawn and the
One might be fo rgiven for 'wrong' bishop, that is if B lack's
thi nking that moving diagram 25 1 king reaches h8 in time. I n other
two files to the right would also words, Black draws if he can
lead to a draw. However, this is sacrifice his bishop for White's
not so. Although White ca nnot b-pawn, then play his king to h8.
win by the met hod we have S o White has t ricky problems to
shown, he has 1 i.f8+ Wd7 2 i.c5 solve before he can hope fo r a win .
.ig3 3 i.a7! making use of the fact The follo wing analysis will show
Bishop Endings 21 1

us whether indeed a win is zugzwang is in the air.

possible: 8 We7
1 .ia6+ \t>c6? 8 . . . \t>c5 see m s attractive, but
It is usually best to play 9 .ig4 forces B lack to give way.
actively, but here I . . Wb8 ! would
. After 9 . . . \t>d6 1 0 Wb5 we
have saved the game because of tran spose to the gam e , and if 9 . . .
the tactical point 2 Wb4 .ib7 ! \t>c4 1 0 .ie2+ \t>c5 1 1 .ia6 .if3
3 .ixb7 \t>xb7 4 Wc5 h 5 ! giving a (we now know that the pawn
drawn pawn ending. If instead ending is lost after 1 1 . .. \t>c6
White plays 3 .ie2 .ig2 4 \t>c5, 12 .ixb7+ \t>xb7 1 3 h 5 ! ) 12 .ic8
then Black answers 4 . . . \t>b7! and followed by 1 3 \t>a6 because 12 . . .
his king cannot be driven from .ie2 fails t o 1 3 b7.
this st rong square. Admittedly, it 9 \t>bS \t> d 6
is not easy to see at first sight why 1 0 .ig4 \t>e7
the text move loses, which makes Again Black is in zugzwang and
the following play all the more m ust allow White's king to reach
instructive . c5. Admittedly his bishop then
2 .ic8 .ifl regains some freedom of movement
White's king must not be because \t>a6 will no longer be a
allowed to reach a7, when Black is threat.
lost at once. 11 \ticS .ig2
3 .ig4 .id3 He loses quickly after 1 1 . . . .ia6
The bishop must stay on the 12 Wc6 Wd8 13 .ie6, or after I I . . .
diagonal, and if 3 . . . Wb7 4 .if3+ \t>d8 1 2 \t>d6 etc.
\t>b8 5 \t>b4, it is too late for 5 . . . 12 �c8 \t>d8
.ia6 6 \t>c5 .ib7 7 .ixb7 \t>xb7 More exact was 1 2 . . . .if3 ,
8 h5! when the pawn ending is although the game is still lost.
won . White now achieves his first Play m ight conti nue: 13 .ia6
success by driving Black 's king \t>d7 1 4 .ic4 (but not 14 �b5+
away from the pawn. \t>c8 1 5 .ic6? .ixc6 16 .ixc6 h 5 !
4 .if3+ \t>d6 drawing) 1 4 . . . \t>c8 ( o r 1 4 . . . .ig2
5 �b7 1 5 .id5 .if l 1 6 .ic6+ and 1 7 \t>d6
The next stage is to drive winn ing) 1 5 .id 5 transposing to
Black's bishop fro m an active to a the ga me line.
passive diagonal . 1 3 .ia6
5 .ie2 Sligh tly quicker is 1 3 .ie6! \t>e7
6 .ia6 .if3 14 .id5 ! etc.
7 .ifl .ib7 13 .if3
8 .ih3! For 1 3 . . . Wd7 1 4 .ic4 see the
Depriving Black's bishop of c8, note to Black's 1 2th m ove. No
which m eans that B lack now has matter what Black now does, he
nothing but king moves and cannot stop White taking over the
212 Bishop Endings

long diagonal with his bishop, i mportance of material advantage

then marching his king over to the is greatly reduced. Sometimes an
kingside. advantage of several pawns is not
1 4 \t>d6 ..tg2 enough to win. One reason for this
1 5 ..tc4 is that the bishops cannot attack
If 1 5 \t>e6 at once, Black can each other and thus suppo rt the
later put up some resistance by . . . action of the pawns and king. If a
h5 and ..tf3. breakthrough occurs, this is usually
15 \t>c8 the result of the strength of the
16 ..td5 pawn alone or through the
After 1 6 . . . ..txd5 1 7 \t>xd5 \t>b7 support of the king. It is not
18 \t>e5 Black's king is one move without reason that endings with
too late. bishops of opposite colour are
17 \t>e6 noted for their drawing tendencies.
There is now no defence to this Our task, then, is to ascertain
move. when such endings can be won.
17 ..te2 Bishop and pawn versus bishop is
18 \t>f6 \t>d7 clearly drawn, but two pawns
19 \t>g6 h5 offer winning chances in certain
20 \t>g5 \t>d6 circumstances.
21 ..tf7
It is time to give up the b-pawn.
21 \t>c6
22 ..txh5 ..tc4 It is difficult to give general
Capablanca sealed this move rules here. Usually connected
but later resigned, as White wins pawns win if they are far advanced,
easily after 23 ..te8+ \t>xc6 24 h5 or if Black's bishop cannot be
\t>c7 25 h6 ..tg8 26 '\t>g6 etc. correctly positioned in time. Let
This ends our discussion of us see how this works in practice:
bishops of the same colour. In
most cases, as we have seen, the
extra pawn gives good winning
ch ances, especially if there are
other pawns on the board . Jhere
are of course many other points
which arise in such endings, and
we shall later be e xamining some
of these in our practical examples.
Bishops of opposite colour
As we have already mentioned,
with bishops of opposite colour the M. Henneberger 1 9 1 6
Bishop Endings 213

We take this as our basic Or 7 d6+ <tie6 8 .ib3+ <tieS

position , with White's pawns 9 <tid7 etc wins.
already on the fifth rank. It is clear 7 i.g3
that White must advance his 8 d6+ <tid8
pawns if he is to win and that 9 <tid5 and
I c6+? <tic7 would give an 10 c 6 wins.
immediate draw, as the blockade Is, therefore, diagram 253 always
cannot be broken. The d-pawn is lost for Black? No, this is only
the one we must move, but an because his bishop is wrongly
im mediate I d6? fails to I . . . .ixd6. placed in the b8-h2 diagonal.
So White must prepare this Black must post his bishop , with
advance which requires the support his king on c7, so that it not only
of his'king on e6 or c6. This means prevents d6+ but at the same time
that Black's king must first be attacks the c-pawn. In other
checked away, so that the white words, the bishop must be on e7 or
king can penetrate via b5 or f5. f8, when White cannot win. After
Play might go: l i.b5+ <tic7! Wh ite's king cannot
l i.b5+ ! leave the bishop's pawn, and
A good rule is to place the Black j ust plays his bishop from f8
bishop to control as many squares to e7 and back.
as possible in front of the pawns. This gives us an important
I f White selects the other checking defensive idea in the fight against
square, he can make no progress two connected pawns. It is easy to
after I i.g4+ <tic7 , as 2 <tie4? .if2 see that if the pawn s are on the
3 d6+ <tic6 draws at once. From b5 sixth rank, they must always win ,
the Lishop controls c6, thus because Black's bishop will have
cutting out this defensive possibility. only one square available. Consider
l <tie7 diagram 254.
Better than I . . . <tic7 when
2 <tie4 .ih2 (or 2 . . . i.f2 3 d6+ and 254
4 c6) 3 <tlf5 i.g3 4 <tie6 followed by
5 d6+ wins.
2 i.a4 i.f4
3 <tlc4 i.g3
Black's bishop dare not leave
this diagonal, when d6+ follows,
and if 3 ... i.c7 4 <tlb5 <tid7 5 <tla6+
<tie7 6 <tlb7 wins.
4 <tlb5 <tid7
5 <tib6+ <tie 7
6 <tlc6 i.f4 The bishop has reached the
7 i.b3 co rrect square , but after l <ticS
214 Bishop Endings

Black is in zugzwang and must on the queenside in his efforts to

allow the d-pawn to advance. The reach b6. Black draws as follows :
only exception to this rule is found 1 i.a5+ '<t>d7
in diagram 255. But not I . . . '<t>b7? 2 �d4
After 1 i.xh6 2 'itxh6 gives
... followed by '<t>e5-d6 winninl'
stalemate. easily.
2 i.b6 i.g2
255 3 '<t>b4 i.f3
4 '<t>a5 i.b7!
White's king cannot advance
any further and after 5 i.a7 �c7 1
draws .
White has another winning t r y
which demands precise defencr
from Black:
1 '<t>b4 i.g2
2 '<t>a5
Threatening 3 '<t>a6. If now 2 . . .

In our analysis of diagram 253, i.b7 then 3 i.f4+ and 4 '<t>b6 wins
we saw that, to win, White's king Black has only one move .
had to be in a position to penetrate 2 '<t>b7!
on both sides of the pawns. Let us 3 i.g5 i.f3
see how this fact gives Black a 4 i.d8 i.g2
defen ce, if we move diagram 253 5 i.b6 i.f3
one file to the left. White has now succeeded in
driving Black's king to t hr
256 unfavo urable square b7, but hr
cannot profit from this, as his own
king is too far away from t hr
kingside to penetrate via e5 and
d6. If he had tried 5 '<t>b4 then 5 . . .
'<t>c8 ! 6 i.a5 '<t>d7 ! would havr
6 '<t>b4
If White's bishop were now on
a5, he would win as from diagra m
23 3 , but . . .
M . Henneberger 1 9 1 6 6 i.h5!
Black makes clever use of t hr
There see ms t o be n o difference , fact that White cannot play 7 c6-l ,
but in reality White's king has because the bishop is loose, in
insufficient room to manoeuvre order to bring his bishop to t hr
Bishop Endings 215

correct defensive square e8. White's f-pawn.

7 .tas .te8! 1 .th4
The draw is now clear, as we 2 'it>e6 'it>d8
have already shown . 3 f6 .tg5
We have now seen eno ugh of 4 f7 .th6
this type of ending. Diagrams 253 White's pawns are only tem-
and 256 have illustrated the porarily held up.
proper defensive procedure. If the 5 'it>f6 .tf8
pawns are not so far advanced, 6 'it>g6 'it>e7
Black's task is easier, for he has 7 'it>h7 'it>d8
more time to set up the correct 8 'it>g8 wins.
defence. The bishop is lost.
Let us next turn to positions in We can see from this example
which White has isolated pawns. why it is advantageo us for White
A good rule to reme mber here is to have his pawns as far apart as
that White usually wins if the possible. If the pawns are nearer,
pawns are at least two files away Black can draw.
from each other, as our next
example shows:

25 7

After 1 .te4 .th4 2 'it>e6 .ig5

3 'it>f7 'it>d8! 4 e6 .ih4, the most
C. Salvioli 1 889 White can do is win the bishop for
both pawns, giving a draw.
White wins because his king can Black can also set up a
support one of the pawns and win successful defence if he manages
the bishop for it. Each of Black's to hold up the pawns on a single
pieces can blockade a pawn, but diagonal, stopping them both
this blockade cannot be maintained. advancing (Diagram 259).
1 .tf3 White can make no progress, as
To allow 2 'it>e6, when the Black will not relinquish control
bishop guards the c-pawn. Black of the b4 and e7 squares. He
cannot prevent the advance of defends passively by 1 .te2 .tf8
216 Bishop Endings


When both sides have pawns,

subtle lines are often possible,
some of which seem incredible a t
first sight . Such endings belonJ�
more to the practical side ,
however, so we shall he re discuss n
few easier examples illustratinJ�
the basic principles which gove rn
this type of ending.
2 '<t>c4 i.e7 3 '<t>dS '<t>b6! and We m ust again stress the fa r t
if the white king goes to f7, that bishops of opposite colo1 1 1
Black plays . . '<t>d8 , holding
. are not much good at support i n �t
everything. t h e advance of their o w n pawns,
When the pawns are blockaded, as they cannot challenge t hr
it is sometimes impossible to win opponent's bishop. For t h i �
even with three pawns. Consider reason, t h e bishop usually holdN
this example: up e ne my pawns , leaving to t h 1·
king the task of supporting t hr
260 advnce of his own paw n s
Consider diagram 26 1 wh il' h
resembles a ga me position:

Black cannot lift the blockade .

After 1 ... '<t>b4 2 ..t>c2! White
maintains his bishop on the fl -a6
diagonal, and if Black's king goes
to the other wing, the reverse
process applies after '<t>e2! etc.
Such endings are exceptions but White's winning ch a n n· -
point to the importance of not appear slight, a s Black's k i n J.t , _
allowing our pawns to be near the pawns and h i s own pn w n
blockaded. is threatening to advu nrr
Bishop Endings 21 7

Nevertheless, by precise play

White can achieve a win as 262
1 '<t>cS
He m ust first prevent Black's
king from reaching the queenside .
After I a6? J.f2 and 2 . . . '<t>d6 the
draw is clear.
1 '<t>e7
2 '<t>c6 !
The point. Black cannot play
2 . . . ..txb4 3 a6 followed by 4 a7, so
is practically forced to take the J . Beh ting 1 895
bishop. It is also possible to play
these moves in reverse order, 2 a6 2 '<t>dS c3 3 ..tc2 f4 4 '<t>e4 he has
and 3 '<t>c6, but 2 ..th5? only draws paid too high a price. Black
after 2 . . . '<t>d7 3 a6 '<t>c7 etc. merely captures the b-pawn after
2 '<t>xe8 4 ... '<t>b7 and wins as from
3 a6 J.f2 diagram 257.
4 bS g4 This means that White can stop
Black's only cou n terchance. Black's pawns only by giving up
5 b6 g3 his own , when he loses! Is there
6 a7 g2 another solution? In apparently
7 a8!¥ + wins simple endings there are hidden
The finish might be 7 ... '<t>e7 possibilities often revealed by
8 !t'a3+ or 8 !t'a7+ '<t>f6 9 !t'a l + study composers. This example is
and 1 0 b7, or here 8 . . . '<t>f8 9 a case in point, as the following
'ti'b8+ '<t>g7 1 0 !t'e5+ etc. 8 ...'<t>e8 play shows:
9 b7 etc. 1 '<t>a6!
Even in endings with several As already mentioned, the
pawns, it is importan t to have plausible 1 '<t>c6 does not work ,
isolated passed pawns as far apart and 1 ..t>a7 J.e3 would lose a vital
as possible, so that they cannot be tempo. White now threatens 2 b7
stopped by the enemy bishop. ..tf4 3 ..tc2.
Diagram 262 gives us an 1 '<t>c8
interesting example of this. Black has no choice, as 1 . . . J.b4
Black's pawns are very powerful or 1 . . . ..tc3 loses the c-pawn after
and cannot be stopped by the 2 '<t>b5 , whereas the f-pawn falls
hishop alone, e.g. 1 1 c3 2 J.c2 after 1 . . . ..te 1 2 b 7 J.g3 3 J.c2 etc .
f4 3 J.d 1 f3 ! etc. So White must Black now threatens 2 . . . '<t>bR.
use his king, but after 1 '<t>c6 '<t>c8! 2 '<t>a7! ..te3
the threat was 2 b7 ..tf4 3 J.c2 etc 3 '<t>a8!
218 Bishop Endings

Apparently madness, for White kingside seem to offer any chances.

not only gives up his pawn, but This example is one of many with
also plays his king as far as bishops of opposite colour in
possible from Black's pawns. which a clear material advantage
White's plan will soon become proves insufficient against the best
clear. defence. However, Black m ust not
3 i. x b6 assume that it is too easy, as the
4 i.b3 ! ! following play shows:
Only n o w i s the cunning idea 1 i.g2?
revealed. B lack cannot take the Surprisingly enough, this natural
bishop because of stale mate, and move turns out to be the decisive
if 4 .. . c3 5 i.e6+ and 6 i.xf5 mistake. Black must have thought
draws. that it was im material which move
Such ideas occur far more than he selected, as he can prevent
is generally thought, because of White's queenside play after
the u n usual nature of endings 2 i.f8 g6 3 'li?d4 Wd7 etc, with
with bishops of opposite colour. excellent defensive possibilities.
However, for our final example However, as the game con­
we choose an instructive endgame tinuation reveals , there is also
which shows in methodical fashion danger for Black on the kingside.
how an advantage can be converted Not that he loses material here,
into a win. but his king will be forced to f2
from where he will be forced to
re turn to the quee nside in ti me.
The whole play is like an endgame
study, as the reader will see.
Black could have drawn by 1 ...
W£5! blocking the white king's
path to the kingside . After 2 i.fB
g6 3 Wd4 i.a8 4 l!?c5 'lite6 5 'li?b6
'li?d7, White can make no progress
and the game is drawn . Even in
this position, however, Black
must still be careful. If we
Euwe-Yanofsky I 946 continue 6 b4 'li?c8 7 bS Wd 7 8 .ib4,
Black should play 8 . . . l!?c8!
This position arose in the game guaranteeing the draw . A casual
Euwe-Yanofsky, Groningen I 946. move by the bishop instead would
White has two extra connected lose, e.g. 8 . . . .if3? 9 a8 � .ixaH
passed pawns, but these are 10 l!?a7 .if3 I I 'li?b8 ! i.e4 I2 b6
effectively blockaded at the moment 'li?c6 1 3 'li?a7 etc winning.
by Black's bishop. Nor does the Accuracy in endgames is even
Bishop Endings 219

more important than in the Black's king going to e7, whilst at

middlegame, for there is rarely a the same time holding up Black's
second chance given. eventual passed pawn on the
2 <t>f4! g6 kings ide.
3 g4! 10 i.g2
The h-pawn is part of the plan Or 1 0 . . . i.e4 I I h 5 ! gh 1 2 Wf4
and must not be exchanged. and 1 3 <t>e5 wins .
3 hg 11 h5 gh
Or 3 . . . i.a8 4 gh gh 5 Wg5 i.f3 6 1 2 <t>f5!
h4 Wd7 7 b4 <t>c7 8 a8'i!V i.xa8 1-0
9 Wxh5 wins . Black's king cannot reach the
4 Wxg4 i.h1 queenside ( 1 2 . . . We8 1 3 <t>e6),
Black cannot prevent Wg5, for his h-pawn is stopped and there is
if 4 . . . <t>f6 5 i.d4+. Or 4 . . . <t>d7 no defence to the advance of
5 Wg5 i.e4 6 h4 <t>c7 7 a8'i!V etc White's pawns.
gives us a win similar to the This concludes our discussion
previous note. of endings with bishop against
5 <t>g5 <t>f7 (264) bishop. There are, of course,
many more interesting positions
264 which we have no time to
w consider, but we shall later give a
few examples in our section on
practical endings.
Bishop and Pawn(s) against Knight
For a lo ng time theoreticians
argued as to the respective merits
of bishop and knight in the
endgame. We know, for example,
that Chigorin preferred the knight,
Euwe-Yanofsky 1 946 whereas Steinitz and later Tarrasch
preferred the bishop. There is
This is the position White was probably no absolute truth in the
aiming for. He now prepares his matter, as everything depends on
final plan. the position. Generally, the bishop
6 i.d4 i.g2 is stronger in open positions with
7 h4 i.h1 play on both wings. The knight's
8 b4 i.g2 advantages come to the fore in
9 b5 i.h1 closed positions , especially if the
1 0 i.f6! bishop is restricted by the pawns.
The most important of his Finally, we must mention that the
preparatory moves, preventing bishop can trap a knight on the
220 Bishop Endings

edge of the board (white bishop on White wins by the second method.
d5 , black knight on a5), but the It is clear that the knight has no
k night cannot imitate this. moves, so White must try to drive
Of course, with no pawns on the Black's king away from the pawn,
board, the game is drawn, but when lit>xe8 would be a threat.
even one pawn is usually not Zugzwang can be used, because if
enough to win, whichever side has Black now had the move , both I . . .
it. However, if one side has two \it>b5 and I . . . lit>d5 fail t o 2 J.d4! etc.
pawns more, or one pawn more 1 J.c3
with game is normally won. In White is himself zugzwanged
such cases, the possessor of the after I J.d4+ lit>d5 or I J.e5 lit>b6
bishop can usually defend the 2 J.d4 lit>b5 , so he has to drive the
most effectively. black king from c5 and b6.
In endings with bishop and If Black had the move, the
pawn against knight, there are no solution would be a little longer:
general rules about when a after I . . . lit>b6 White waits by
position is won or drawn. We will 2 J.e5 lit>c5 3 J.c3 ! transposing to
therefore give individual examples our main variation.
which illustrate the way to play 1 \it>b6
such endings, beginning with Forced, as we have shown.
diagram 265. 2 J.a5+
Taking control of one of the
vital squares, as 2 ... \it>xa5 fails to
3 lit>xe8.
2 lit>b5
After 2 . . . lit>c5 3 J.d8 White
wins a little more quickly.
3 J.d8 lit>c5
4 J.h4 \it>b5
If 4 . . . lit>d5 5 J.e7 wins. If 4 . . .
lit>b6 5 J.f2+ lit>b5 6 J.d4 zugzwangs
5 J.g5! lit>c5
Chess Player's Chronicle 1 85 6 6 J.e3+ lit>d5
The same happens after 6 . . .
In positions like this, White can \it>b5 .
hope for a win only in two 7 J.d4! lt:ld6
situations. Either the pawn cannot 8 c7 wins .
be stopped by Black's king and The nearer the pawn is to the
knight, or else the knight can be edge of the board, the more
tied do wn so that a zugzwang difficult it is for the knight to
position is reached. In our example, defend. Diagram 266 is a good
Bishop Endings 221

example of this . Although White's 8 b7 '<t>d4

pawn is only on the fifth rank, it is Or 8 . . . '<t>d5 9 '<t>b5 etc.
a win , because Black's knight has 9 '<t>b5 '<t>d5
insufficient space to the left of the 10 i.c1
pawn. White must now play his bishop
back to the help h2-b8 diagonal,
266 after which Black will soon be
zugzwanged. If now 10 . . . lLlb8
I I i.f4 lLlc6 I2 '<t>b6 wins at once.
10 '<t>d6
1 1 i.f4+ '<t>d5
1 2 i.g3
This allows the king to occupy
12 '<t>e6
1 3 '<t>c6 '<t>e7
1 4 '<t>c7 '<t>e6
White begins by tying down the 1 5 i.d6! wins.
knight. Black has no more moves left.
1 i.d4 '<t>c4 The rook's pawn gives White
After I . . . '<t>b3 (a3) 2 '<t>a5 we the greatest winning chances, for
transpose into the main line. the knight finds it extremely
2 '<t>a5 '<t>b3 difficult to defend in such circum­
3 i.f6 '<t>a3 stances.
Or 3 . . . lbc5 4 b6 '<t>c4 5 i.e7,
again transposing.
4 i.g5 '<t>b3
5 !
Forcing the k night to move,
after which White can advance the
pawn . 5 i.e7 would not do
because of 5 ... lLlb2 ! followed by
6 . . . lLlc4 with a clear draw.
5 lLlc5
6 b6 '<t>c4
The best move, denying White's
king the use o f b 5 . If, for example, P. Bilguer I 843
6 . . . lLlb7+ then 7 '<t>b5 wins
quickly. Diagram 267 shows us a
7 i.a3 lLld7 position form which White can
Or 7 ... lLlb7+ 8 '<t>a6 lLld8 9 i.e7 win , even with the pawn on its
wins. original square.
222 Bishop Endings

1 c;!tgS lbfl Black's knight only has to reach

Black must rely on his knigh t b6 and it is mate, so White's
for defence , for his king cannot bishop must somehow prevent
retreat in time, e.g. I . . . 'itte 4 2 h4 this. Black's knight has five
'ittd 5 3 h5 ! 'itte 6 (or 3 . . . 'itt x d6 squares from which he can reach
4 h6 etc) 4 h6 'itt fl 5 J.e5 'itt g 8 6 b6. These are a4, c4, d5, d7 and c8.
'ittg 6 and the pawn queens . I . . . The bishop has to play so as to
lb c 3 would amount to the same control these white squares at any
thing after 2 h4! etc. moment.
2 h4! lbe4+ If we look a little further, we see
If 2 . . . lbg4 3 h5 Black is in that the knight can threaten only
zugzwang. two of these squares at any one
3 c;!tg6 li:Jxd6 time. Fo r example , from b2 he can
Or 3 .. . li:Jf2 4 h 5 lbg4 5 'itt g 5 play to a4 or c4, from c3 he will
wms. threaten a4 and d5, etc. So when
4 hS lbc4 Black's knight is on b2, the bishop
Here we see clearly how helpless m ust be in a position to go to b3 or
a knight is against a rook's pawn. b5; with the knight on c3, the
Altho ugh the pawn takes three bishop's critical squares are b3 or
moves to queen, Black cannot c6, etc. In other words we have a
prevent this. set of related squares, as in pawn
5 h6 li:JeS+ endings. (To complete the picture:
6 'itt g 7 wins. knight on e 5 , bishop on e6 or b5;
There is, however, an exceptional knight on d6, bishop on e6 or
case in which White is in great a6; knight on f6, bishop on e6 or
danger of losing. In diagram 268 it c6; knight on e7, bishop on e6 or
is the materially stronger side b7; knight on c5, bishop on the
which has to defend very carefully a4-e8 diagonal).
to avoid mate! As can be seen , the majority of
these related squares lie on the
268 a2-g8 diagonal, so this is clearly
the best diagonal for the bishop.
We can now look at the solution:
1 J. a 2 li:Jfl
2 J.g8 li:Jd3
3 J.c4
White must already be care fu l
not to be zugzwanged. If he
carelessly plays to one of the
critical related squares b3 or e6, he
is lost ! e.g. 3 J.b3? lbb2 or 3 J.c6'!
K . Richter 1 9 1 0 li:Je5! In both cases the knigh t
Bishop Endings 223

mates in two moves Black is also A useful rule here is to advance

threatening 3 . . . liJc5 for which the the pawns on squares of opposite
bishop is required on the a4-e8 colour to the bishop, or else there
diagonal. So 3 .ia2? would lose to is a great danger of their being
3 . . lt:lc5 ! White has alternatives in
. blockaded. If, for instance , 1 d4?
3 .if7 or 3 .id5 . 'it>d5 2 'it>d3 lt:ld6 followed by 3 . . .
3 liJc5 lt:le4, White cannot lift the blockade,
4 .ib5 liJe4 for it is impossible for the bishop
5 .ic4 to control all the knight's retreat
The bishop returns to the squares.
i mportant a2-g8 diagonal. 1 e4! 'it>c5
5 liJd6 2 'it>e3 'it>d6
6 .ie6 liJb5 2 . . . ..t>b4 would be pointless, as
7 .ig8 liJc3 White would first play 3 .ig7
If 7 . . . 'it>c8 White has 8 .ie6+ ! before advancing his d-pawn.
8 .ib3! draws. 3 d4 liJc7
If White has bishop and two 4 ..t>d3
pawns against knight, the win is Not of course 4 d5? liJxd5+, but
usually assured. The defence can 4 .ic3 and 5 .ia5 could also be
draw only if one of the pawns is played.
the 'wrong' rook's pawn (with a 4 ..t>c6
queening square not controlled by 5 'it>c4 'it>d6
the bishop) and the knight can 6 d5
sacrifice itself for the knight's Black can do nothing to stop
pawn. Or, of course, if the pawns the pawns.
have been advanced in the wrong 6 liJe8
way and are blockaded by Black's 7 e5+ 'it>e7
pieces. 8 .ia3+ 'it> f7
Let us consider a straightforward 9 'it>c5 wins .
example of a White win which It is important to follow the
offers no technical difficulties: rule of not playing both pawns on
to squares controlled by the
bishop, and with the 'wrong'
rook's pawn, the knight must not
be allowed to sacrifice itself for the
knight's pawn . Here is a position
given by Fine.
According to our rule, White
should begin by 1 h4, but in this
case it makes his task extremely
difficult. After 1 . . . 'it>h6 White
cannot advance his g-pawn until
224 Bishop Endings

concern us here. Let us turn

immediately to diagram 27 1 , a
more normal position with bishop
and two pawns agaist knight and

he has driven the knight away

from its dominating position .
Best is therefore 1 g4! so that
this pawn is defended by the
h-pawn, c utting out the knight
sacrifice. There is no danger in the Eliskases-Euwe 1 947
blockade by I . . ..t?g5 2 ..t?g3 lt:lg6,

for after 3 i.d3 lt:lh4 4 i.e4 Black White is a healthy pawn to the
is in zugzwang and loses at once. good and should win, but how can
So after I g4! White can gradually he best proceed? There are only
advance his pawns, e.g. 1 . . . lt:lc6 two plans worth consideration:
2 ..t?g3 lt:ld4 3 i.d3+ ..t?f6 4 h4 lt:le6 either s upport the b-pawn with the
5 i.c4 lt:lc5 6 ..t?f4 lt:ld7 7 i.d3 ..t?g7 king, or else try to attack Black's
8 g5 lt:lf6 9 i.e4 lt:lh5+ 1 0 ..t?g4 pawn. Let us analyse:
lt:lf6+ 1 1 ..t?f5 lt:lh5 1 2 i.f3 lt:lg3+ 1 ..t?c5!
13 ..t?f4 etc, winning easily . S urely the simplest way, as the
If White's pawns are isolated , b-pawn is a decisive weapon .
the win is easier, unless they are White would obtain nothing
very close together and one of tangible after I ..t?e5 ..t?e7 followed
them is the 'wrong' rook's pawn, by 2 . . . lt:lf7+.
or unless the pawns can be 1 lt:lb7+
effectively blockaded. There is Black is already forced to give
little point in examining these ground , so he drives the king to
exceptions. the edge of the board rather than
It is also clear that bishop and allow 2 i.b5+ a nd 3 ..t?c6.
pawn versus knight and pawn 2 ..t?b5 lt:l d8
m ust end in a draw, unless one If 2 . . . lt:ld6+ 3 ..t?a6 ..t?c6 4 i.c4 !
pawn is running through fast or and as Black cannot take the
the enemy pieces are badly posted. bishop, his king must return to d 7 .
Again, the exceptions do not Or 2 . . . ..t?d6 3 i.e4 lt:l c 5 4 b7 lt:ld7
Bishop Endings 225

5 'i!>a6 'i!>c7 6 'it>a7 wins easily. White threatened 10 'i!>c7 .

3 'it>a6 1 0 �c7 lt:lb4
Even simpler is to cut out 1 1 'it>d6 wins.
Black's counterattack by 3 i.e4 ! Bishop and two connected
'it>d6 4 i.g2, e.g. 4 . . . lt::J t7 (or 4 . . . pawns usually win against knigh t
'it>d7 5 'i!>a6 'it>d6 6 b7 transposes)