# rook and pawn defences

• 3 years ago · Quote · #1

I was reviewing the 2 video series on here, both by Danny and by Melik, about rook endings.

For how to draw simple positions they talk a lot about the drawing method in which you have to check from the side, the "rook on long side, king on short side" and "wait on the 8th". However this defence fails if there's less than 3 files space in the "long side".

While it is useful to learn these concepts, especially because you might be facing them from the attacking side, I then realized that there is NEVER any need to defend from the side.

Simple Philidor's defence:

(continues....)

• 3 years ago · Quote · #2

But if the the king is more advanced you can't defend on the 6th rank.

You could still defend checking from the side if you have at least 3 files difference between your rook and the pawn, but it's tricky and requires accurate moves; such as which side to put your king etc.

You can simply use the Lasker's defence, that works in every situation.

Only one thing to be careful with: your rook needs to control the pawn at all times:

• 3 years ago · Quote · #3

Nice examples, plutonia!

• 3 years ago · Quote · #4

What about 4.Re8 in your 2nd diagram ?

• 3 years ago · Quote · #5

Good question, hic! It's still a draw, but it's close.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #6

nice, some basic rook endgames that everyone should know

• 3 years ago · Quote · #7
hicetnunc wrote:

What about 4.Re8 in your 2nd diagram ?

Good question. Only moves that draws is Rh1, preparing to check from the side. It looks hopeless because there isn't enough space, but the weird position of white's rook will help us:

Honestly I had a bit of trouble posting this explanation because, after Rh1, there is a lot of moves that draw. So I tried to look for the most "human" one, the one easier to play. That is to go up and checking and if the white king attacks our rook we attack the white rook - this idea is on Melik's video.

Note that for this to work we needed to have a bit of space to do the checking from the side. If that was a pawn on the f or g file the Rh1 manouver would not work; if we had one of these pawns we can still do the Lasker's defence just like I explained in the second post, but when we need to run with the king we need to go to the SHORT side of the board (to leave enough room for our rook to attack from the other side).

• 3 years ago · Quote · #8

Plutonia! Thank you for this bright and pretty analysis. As a guy who's still having difficulty with this ending, I appreciate it and feel that I now know this subject better.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #9

Hey solskytz! Good to see that even players much better than myself find this useful. Ah, congratulation for breaking the 2000 rating!

I'll post some more positions everybody needs to know, It's a good chance to review them myself.

Frontal attack:

It's when the defending king is cut off by one file. If it's cut off 2 files it's almost always a loss (unless it's a bishop pawn and you can combine mating threats against the side of the board with the advancement of the pawn).

Also, if the pawn is advanced more than the fourth rank it's obviously a loss: the defending rook doesn't have enough space to check from the front; checking from behind will soon result in a Lucena.

But if the pawn is on the fourth rank and both your rook and king are in a good position it's a draw. First what NOT to do:

Now the drawing method:

• 3 years ago · Quote · #10

Hi Plutonia, there are a number of computer workouts for these, check them out if you haven't.

Think I have them down, haven't got to the videos by Melik yet, guess they are quite advanced.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #11
plutonia wrote:
hicetnunc wrote:

What about 4.Re8 in your 2nd diagram ?    or a8?

Good question. Only moves that draws is Rh1, preparing to check from the side. It looks hopeless because there isn't enough space, but the weird position of white's rook will help us:

Honestly I had a bit of trouble posting this explanation because, after Rh1, there is a lot of moves that draw. So I tried to look for the most "human" one, the one easier to play. That is to go up and checking and if the white king attacks our rook we attack the white rook - this idea is on Melik's video.

Note that for this to work we needed to have a bit of space to do the checking from the side. If that was a pawn on the f or g file the Rh1 manouver would not work; if we had one of these pawns we can still do the Lasker's defence just like I explained in the second post, but when we need to run with the king we need to go to the SHORT side of the board (to leave enough room for our rook to attack from the other side).

• 3 years ago · Quote · #12
Scottrf wrote:

Hi Plutonia, there are a number of computer workouts for these, check them out if you haven't.

Think I have them down, haven't got to the videos by Melik yet, guess they are quite advanced.

Yes they are useful to practice but don't rely on computers too much: these type of scenarios are easier to play against an engine because it will always do the best move or simply give up (at least my engine does!). So you'll end up well prepared against the best defence, but not against tricks that a skilled opponent can throw at you, or you won't know how to win a theoretical draw when your opponent screws up. I'll try to make some post on how to try to win against bad defence.

For example, this should be easy enough right?

Of course almost everybody reading this will say "come on, I'd never fall for that"... imagine that after hours of struggle you know you have a theorical win, but you're tired and you're under time pressure.

Only way to be sure not to blunder at the critical moment is knowing these positions perfectly.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #13

Yeah good point, if they take the longest route, which they often do, then it's easy theoretical positions, and 'worse' moves are normally always more testing.

Chesstempo endings trainer is actually good in that it tests you to win a lot of these from non lucena positions, so you know for example when you can just control a particular file which would allow you to promote, if the king can't simply block you from stepping out, or in other cases support your pawn with the rook if they attack your rook with the king instead of heading for lucena, giving you the ability to step the king out on whichever file the black king doesn't control.

E.g. Here I'd just play 6. Re4 probably.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #15

Even easier.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #16

^ yes guys, it's obvious that white wins in several ways there. It was just an example of possible blunders.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #17

Now for more complicated stuff. This position is a win for white because black does not have enough space to check from the side. Note that if there was more than 3 files differences between the pawn and the file controlled by the black rook, black could just check from the side and draw.

Still, it's hard to win against a good defence.

First, here's what happens if black gives away the 8th rank:

Here blacks puts up the best resistance. This diagram shows how black can draw if white does not find (know) the winning move.

And here how white wins:

• 3 years ago · Quote · #18

Regarding post #12, as Pfren has already said, Rd5 is the point of White's play. Sure, white can make a mistake. But when the whole point of the play is to complete the bridge-building, a move like Rf6+? is just noise.

I really enjoyed the earlier examples, but this kinda ruined the atmosphere. I thought the idea was to discuss theoretically important positions in R+P endgames.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #19

Post #17 shows a nice trick that is surprisingly useful. I saw that first in Levenfish and Smyslov's classic, Rook and Pawn Endgames. Some serious improvements have been found over some of the analysis, but it still remains one of the great books for learning endgame technique. Korchnoi's book on Rook and pawn endgames is aimed at an audience that has already studied that book!

• 3 years ago · Quote · #20

Plutonia

This was really a barrier indeed, and I'm still not fully recovered from having broken it, as you can see (haven't been exactly playing a lot lately...)

And of course I benefit! An analysis written soberly and entertainingly, with diagrams, with analysis and explanations, by someone who's sincerely interested in improving their game - I'm sure that with this attitude you'll soon rise in the ratings and become and even more dangerous opponent for me and my likes!!!

On a freer moment I'll actually read through your newly posted analysis. Cheers!