Rook Endings

Rook Endings

The Planet Greenpawn

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Rook Endings

I’m still reading this.

A Book

So this week’s Blog is…

Rooks in Brick

So where to start when looking at Rook Endings.
At the end of the game and work our way backwards?

Hey, That has just given me a great idea.
In the 70’s we used to play our records backwards listening for hidden messages
from our rock idols. (Nowadays we look into the wrinkles on their faces.)

I was wondering if we played some of the great games from the past backwards
we might discover something. Secret messages from the old masters.
(another time….another blog.)

So let us begin…

How about lone Rook v lone Rook. That is a simple enough draw.
skulleo - Roxanna RHP 2011

We join the game at move 112.
Our champions had been down to the bare wood of Rook v Rook since move 94.
The Rook Rumba would have continued for ever but here with Black to move.

Black can move the Rook to any safe square.
Instead he protected the Rook with 112. Ke5 and the White Rook lost it’s dancing partner
when it played 113.Re8+


We marvelled at the problems Carlsen set Anand in the Rook endings in The World Championship.
We can also marvel at the problems we set ourselves even in the most uncomplicated positions.

neobill - boowax RHP 2012 (Black to play)

1…Rxa6 draw. (though see above, bare Rook v Rook does not always draw on RHP.)

Perhaps you want to take the pawn with the King.
OK we can do that. 1…Ra4+ first then Black can play 2…Kxa6.

Instead Black played 1…Kxa6 and resigned after 2.Ra8+

ricco - nitin81 RHP 2011 White to play. (what would you do.)

1.Kd4 Correct. It is what White played.
The draw is 1. Kd4 b2 2.Rc5+ Kb6 3.Rb5+ and 4.Kc3 and the b-pawn falls. What was played is heart breaking.

1.Kd4 b2 2.Rb5 Rxa4 CHECK!

and White lost his Rook.

Skewers play an important part of Rook endings.
What is a Skewer? This is a Skewer.

Nicksten - MNicolai RHP 2012 (Black to play)

Black should give a check first. 1..Rf1+ as this places the Rook
on the f-file. Instead Black took the h-pawn. 1...Kxh6. 2.Rh8+

And The Black King is forced onto the same file as his Rook. 2...Kg5.
White wins the g1 Rook with Rg8+

The g8 Rook is skewered through the Black King.

There are hundreds, No, thousands of such skewers on RHP.

Was it in the last blog I mentioned ‘Pause before Promoting.’

Hobgoblin - GBubbles .2006

Here is something you don’t see everyday in a Rook Ending.

Jasper Aukes - ziggy15 RHP 2005

A Knight Fork…..and get a box of tissues ready.

So we are learning things.
We have just discovered that a King, Rook and Knight v a King and Rook is a draw.
(it’s only a win if the lone Rook player makes a cock-up.)

dfoote (1591) - rmaki1 (1407) RHP 2012

So White wins this.

(Mistake there greenpawn, surely a Black win……..Russ)

No Russ, this is Red Hot Pawn.

What about King and Rook v a King and Knight.
Usually a draw, in some cases the Knight player loses if his King and Knight
are cut off from each other and the Knight can be corralled.

But first you have to have a Knight.


All will become clear in the tragedy known to us as:

thesag2 - radu dit RHP 2009

In Rooks endings where one side has the lone pawn then that pawn is the sole
focus of attention. However we must not let it hog the whole show.
Remember the object of the game is checkmate.

tkenway - dave1234aust RHP 2012 (Black to move)

Where Black failed to see a standard King and Pawn v King draw and
White failed to see a standard checkmate. (in one)

Black can just play 1…Rxh6 2.Kxh6 Kf7 and that is a draw.
Instead Black played 1…Rf7 and White failed to play 2.Rh8 mate.
(White went to win….eventually.)

Zugzwang is a good weapon in all Endings.

If you are in Zugzwang then it is your move, you are in no danger but it is
your move and any move you make losses.
Snookered, up the creek without a paddle, doomed.

This is Zugzwang in it’s raw form.
If it is White’s move the game is drawn.
If it is Black to play then White wins. Black is in Zugzwang.

And this position.

is Mutual Zugzwang. Who ever has the moves loses.

In the next game we see many instructive points. White two pawns up can
give one back to promote the other pawn and he does this with a mate threat.
All clever stuff and well worth stuffing into the memory cells.
We also see a Zugzwang…...or do we?

JODAFO - rperez RHP 2011 (White to move)

1.Rf5 intending 2.Rf8+ chopping Rooks on f8 and promoting the a-pawn was the move.
If Black plays 1….Rxa7 then 2.Rf8 is mate.

But look at the position with White to play….suppose…just suppose….it is Black to play.
What does Black do? All Rook moves are no good and Kf7 meets Kh7 so it's 1-0.

So White played 1.Ra1. declaring to his hapless opponent Zugzwang!

And Black replied 1…Rx7 declaring to his hapless opponent Stalemate if you play 2.Rxa7.
White in the game played 2.Rxa7 and said goodbye to his full point.
However he could have tried 2.Rb1.
Let’s play this out, the whole thing is worth seeing, it needs squeezing dry of tricks

Next to display their endgame technique is none other than:

akh1983 - gazo2011 RHP 2011.

We join the game here with White to play.

Both under 1300 players have a Rook, both players have a Rook’s pawn. Anything can happen.

Staying with the Rook’s Pawn and this calamity happened.

gd28 - Telboy 2 RHP 2006

The same pattern as above but with a new slant.

mallys7 (1250) - wgt (1504) RHP 2010

I had better show the Saavedra position.
Every mug who writes blogs sooner or later stoops and shows this position.
(I think this is my second time, but look at the dates of the games. The idea is clearly not known)

Saavedra in a nutshell.
Some bod in the year dot published a study that ended thus.

The solution is if White plays 1.c8=Q Black draws with 1…Rc4+ 2.Qxc4 stalemate.
That is how is was published, everyone applauded and got on with their lives.
All except a Monk called Saavedra. He found the win.
It could have been anybody who found it. Smith, Jenkins, Rowbottom, McTaggart…
But it was Fernando Saavedra. (1847-1922). Well done him.

OK the history lesson is over back to the Rook’s pawn.
Again with the same pattern, again a new slant. (and new tactical term.)

NAWSTAN (1610) - matthie (1470) RHP.2011

Phew! Thanks for staying with me. I enjoyed doing that one.

The thread accompanying this blog is Thread 156554
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