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Still weak on end-games - any help appreciated

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #1


    Here's a game recently completed where my opponent resigned, being down two pawns in a 2R v 2R end-game.

    - Before anyone pokes fun at me for the rating difference, the opponent was unrated before the game started - From his or her play I would guess around 1500's CC for chess.com. Some dubious moves in the opening, I thought, but around my rating in the mid-game.

    - I was disapponent on the resign, hoping to play the end-game - I need the practise!

    I would have tried to push the Q-side pawns and force a rook exchange - maybe winning a rook if Black misplayed.

    I have read getting the King active in the end-game is important, but hesitate to do so facing two rooks. Good idea or bad?

    So basically, how to proceed?

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #2


    I would try to trade off one or both of the rooks, so probably c5. It is easier to bring the king out once one of the two rooks are gone:)

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #3


    Thanks trysts.

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #4


    Unless black plays Re8 I would try Re1 with the idea Re6 and doubling on 6th rank to sweep black pawns - this is easier to do with 2 rooks.

    On Re8 I would probably play Kf2 and then Re1 to exchange rooks. If black doubles (Rce7) then Rc2 followed by b4 and c5 - creating a passer and making use of the fact that no black rook is in front of it so it can be pushed further up to c6, threatening Rd7

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #5


    Thanks dzikus - that was helpful.

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #6


  • 13 months ago · Quote · #7


    The boring endgame phase cannot be learned by experience. Study it. Chess Endgame Training by Rosen is a very good book and my recommendation.

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #8


    Dear I-am-second, it is just the opposite of your concluizion.

    Mark is ahead 2 pawns, so he must trade Rooks, centralize the King and easily win the end game.

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #9


  • 13 months ago · Quote · #10


    @ChastityMoon - Thanks that was real helpful.

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #11


    Just a quick appraisal of the situation.

    White is 2 pawns up, holds one central file, has a safer king and active rooks. f3 and c4 are currently immune to rooks. All in all, white is completely won, it's now a matter of converting.

    First thought is to force a trade of rooks, preferably both pairs. Rcd1 and Rd7+ comes to mind, responding to 28...Re8 with 29. Kf2 keeping the rook out of the white position, then Rcd1. Even trading one pair of rooks is very good for white, since black's idea of doubling on the seventh (second) is then nonexistent.

    Next thought is to deny black any sort of play. This would entail another candidate Re1 if black allows (playing something other than 28...Re7 or 28...Re8), controlling both central files, then infiltrating, possibly on the sixth. Centralising the king with Kf2 and securing the queenside pawns with a4 would also be high priority to deny black any counterplay. This is probably trickier to play with 2 pairs of rooks on.

    Looking on the flip side now, what hope could black have? Black wants to keep both rooks on the board if possible, and eventually get them deep into white's position, cutting the king off, stealing pawns and threatening perpetual/mate if allowed. Also of concern are the potential black pawn breaks, ...g4 and ...b5/...a4. These breaks would open up more files for the rooks, and increase the chances of getting counterplay, aside from obviously trading pawns. White does well to avoid these, either by overprotecting the break squares with rooks, or by pushing past the levering pawn.

    So overall, I think white's first priority is to trade off a pair of rooks while preventing an immediate black rook incursion. Best play may be 28...Re8 29. Rcd1 intending Rd7 (29...Re2? 30. Rd7+ Rxd7 31. Rxd7+ and 32. Rxa7), as 28...Re8 29. Kf2 allows 29...Rce7! where it is harder to prevent black getting activity.

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #12


    @Remellion - Thanks a lot. And thanks to others that were helpful.

    I don't understand why moving from mid-game thinking to end-game is a challenge for me, but it is. I continue to look for tactics and position when it's past that and I can wrap things up ("converting" as Remellion says).

    I saw Rcd1, Rd7+ as a way to trade rooks, and Kf2 as a way to keep Black out of my backyard, but it was unclear to me the best way to proceed. My OP says I would have tried pushing the Q-side pawns, or I might have played Re1, which seems now more like mid-game thinking.

    Remellion- I understood all you posted except "securing the queenside pawns with a4" - I can play with that and see what you mean 

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #13


    Re1 is not  mid-game thinking, it is to restrict black rooks from both open files and then attack the pawns on 6th rank.

    Rook activity is very important and if you can restrict opponent's pieces you should do that. It is always more difficult to defend in a passive position with no counterplay.

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #14


    All of this thinking is good, one thing you might have done differently is when your opponent attacked your c- paw, just push it, because that would leave your rook on an open file which is what you want.

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #15


    A few comments about the game itself :

    You adequatly punished Black's game up to move 11 or so.

    12.0-0, while perfectly sensical, deprives you of the possibility of h4-h5 with strong attack on the king, with the idea to castle queenside etc. The same kind of ideas still exists in the form of f4-f5 afterwards.

    17.Bc4 (?) is not very good because of the game's response (...d5). Rfe1 instead makes more sense.

    26.Rc1 ? : you can protect the pawn in a much better way with Re2 ! : it keeps the e file under control, and more generally is more active.


    For the rest : what Remellion said.

    I will emphasize the importance of killing counterplay : in that kind of rook endgames, preventing rook penetration saves you a lot of possible trouble. Here, you control the d file by the Rd5, and the e file relevant squares can be protected by Kf2, so even without seeing the tacticalities that occur after 28...Re8 29.Rcd1, you can keep things simple with (28...Re8) 29.Kf2 (29...Rce7 30.Rc2 and then Rcd2, etc.).

    Initiative (in the meaning of temporarily better-placed pieces) is almost worthless in all endgames but rook endgames, in which my estimate is that it can go up to two pawns worth. For instance, take the pawn structure of the 28th move and place two rooks, a white one on a1 and a Black one on b2, and it is probably a draw despite the 2-pawn material advantage.

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #16


    Neslanovac wrote:

    Dear I-am-second, it is just the opposite of your concluizion.

    Mark is ahead 2 pawns, so he must trade Rooks, centralize the King and easily win the end game.

    Thank You for the correction.  I transposed my notes on two different end game posts.

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #17


    I'm terrible at endgame. I would not feel too confident exposing my King with 2 Rooks in this particular situation if it came to that, though if you have a sort of pawn structure which gives ample cover for your King, no matter how the Rooks check you, it may be good.

    By the way, player was definitely not ~1500. I'm <1300 and I would never play like that.

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #19


    Real life has turned me into a mostly weekend forums poster.

    Belated thanks to Irontiger for his insights into the game. The h4-h5 push did not occur to me and would have been fun. And the comments on the value of initiative in the end game (except for rooks).

    Ditto to pfren for the generic plan. I see the Shereshevky book is in print and available. Perhaps after I give it a good read or three I'll post more interesting questions.

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