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Clutching at Straws


  • 5 years ago · Quote · #1

    Maradonna

    Hello,

    I was playing white in this game and ended up with the following position. I'm curious to know if, with correct play, a draw is possible, or can black always force the win?

    I lost the game but can't help feeling that it might have been possible for a more skilled player to avoid the KO!

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts and input :)

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #2

    MichaelAtMinoru

    I see one of two things happening with perfect play.  Notice that taking the pawn with one rook when undefended, or attacking it with two rooks (doubled up) dooming the pawn will basically give equality.  White just has to move somewhere threatening to take the pawn/double up on it, and after black defends (probably by setting up a clever fork), white just moves somewhere else making this threat until the game draws by repetition or 50 move rule.

    However, few have the precision to play this correctly.  If I were black, I would play h4 to bust whites pawn structure open.  If white didn't play gxh4, I would play h3 which is even worse for white.  I would have checks and forks all over the place.  And if that didn't work I could try bringing the f pawn and king down.  And if that didn't work I would move around and hope he slips up.  Very few people would have the precision to win, but simply moving the king from f1/h1 and g1 should hold.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #3

    MichaelAtMinoru

    Slack - 1... a4 2. Ra1 Qc2 3. Re5! leaves no way for black to prevent both Ra5 and Rxa4.  Blacks best chance is playing 3... h4! 4. gxh4 in the hopes white will blunder, but with accurate play he will hold.  Draw.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #4

    Maradonna

    The 'a' pawn didn't really bother me that much. In the game I put the rook on a1, giving the queen some defensive duities. However, after a few moves black more or less abandoned it, working with the king side pawns instead.

    Also, I was not too bothered about capturing it. I felt that seperating the rooks at all could have been a disaster. With the rooks working together on the 1st rank it took away any 'a' pawn threats, or so I felt.

    But if I had the rooks working together on a file, this might of given me a better chance for a perpetual - and also help to defend against queens checks. But with the rooks working together on a file, the 'a' pawn then becomes a lot more powerful.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #5

    Maradonna

     After Ra1-Qc4, looks stronger to me. Once whites pawns are upset with h4, it's not long until the white king becomes exposed and the black queen becomes more of a threat. That's why I didn't want to seperate my rooks at all.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #6

    antonisf

    i should think white has got at least a draw in the above position. double rooks in the a-file and take the a pawn then double the rooks in the 5/4th rank and let him

    come get it :)

    the doubling of the rooks will be easy as black doesnt have any checks

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #7

    JG27Pyth

    it's a draw IMO. Black is happy to draw. Two rooks stronger than the Q on an open board. White K has cover. If you lost this you need to go over your game and figure out where you went wrong. Black is the one sweating here.

    But if you're looking for White to grab the halfpoint, why are you giving us the position with Black to move? Makes no sense... give us White to move.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #8

    MichaelAtMinoru

    Yeah, come to think about it you don't really need to stack vertically (note - if you stack vertically it must be on the a file or black will kill you with promotion threats).  There are too many ways you could have lost though, we would actually have to see the game to help you further, since the two strategies (double on the a file and take, stay on the first rank and defend).

    I just personally would have risked it and went for the pawn because it gives me more flexability.  If that pawn got far enough down I might be tied down to one mere rank.  But honestly your way is probably the safest.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #9

    Maradonna

    JG27Pyth wrote:

    it's a draw IMO. Black is happy to draw. Two rooks stronger than the Q on an open board. White K has cover. If you lost this you need to go over your game and figure out where you went wrong. Black is the one sweating here.

    But if you're looking for White to grab the halfpoint, why are you giving us the position with Black to move? Makes no sense... give us White to move.


     I was just curious if people saw this position as a draw or not. I didn't think it mattered if it was black or white to play. Rather than actual lines, it is more ideas of how to obtain the draw that I was looking at. If it was possible.

    The problem I had was once black got his pawns rolling down the board I found it hard to stop them. The pawns combined with the queen was difficult to defend against. It was also difficult to get the rooks active.

    When originally playing this game I thought that it would end up a draw, but as it went on it became increasingly harder to see how to get it :)

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #10

    Maradonna

    MichaelAtMinoru wrote:

    Yeah, come to think about it you don't really need to stack vertically (note - if you stack vertically it must be on the a file or black will kill you with promotion threats).  There are too many ways you could have lost though, we would actually have to see the game to help you further, since the two strategies (double on the a file and take, stay on the first rank and defend).

    I just personally would have risked it and went for the pawn because it gives me more flexability.  If that pawn got far enough down I might be tied down to one mere rank.  But honestly your way is probably the safest.


     Thanks for your opintions. Yes, it was these types of decisions (how to work the rooks - how to handle blacks pawn charge) that I was making. I was wondering what plans people would come up with from this position. But, yeah. maybe stacked on the 'a' could have been a more active approach and reaped some rewards. I played it passive and got beat, so your way couldn't be worse :)

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #11

    richie_and_oprah

    Easy to draw as white, especially if White is on move.

    1. Ra1 Qc2 2. Rd4! Qc3 3. Rda4 h4!? 4. gxh4! and the position is dead equal as the a pawn will drop.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #12

    BillyIdle

    Rook endings are sometimes very hard.  I usually try to avoid them, only I can't always.

    Maradonna,

      If you see a drowning person "clutching at straws" do not dive in the water to save him.  The next thing he would be clutching at is you.  Throw him a rope, life perserver, inner tube, child's rubber raft, or the end of a tree branch.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #13

    JG27Pyth

    Maradonna: I was just curious if people saw this position as a draw or not. I didn't think it mattered if it was black or white to play. Rather than actual lines, it is more ideas of how to obtain the draw that I was looking at. If it was possible.

    Well... I went thru this with a strong chessenging and two points. A) My analysis was wrong -- the Queen is strong here, much stronger than I thought. B) You've got to look at moves. It's really in the details. The moves. Maybe some GM knows the secret 'principles' for this ending. I looked at the game you played, one move before the position you gave. Rb1 was already a mistake. Ra8 was stronger. In general in these endings... always look for counter-attacking moves.  The guy giving the checks and making the threats is the guy with the ball.

    Black's position is stronger than I'd realized because, although I originally said, "white's king has cover" that isn't true.  Black has h4 opening up White's position, once the White King is exposed the Black Queen's forking abilities become very very annoying and serve to limit the mobility of all your pieces. Playing engine vs. engine (with some nudges from me) the position drew -- ... but no way did it favor White as I had originally suggested.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #14

    Maradonna

    JG27Pyth wrote:

    Maradonna: I was just curious if people saw this position as a draw or not. I didn't think it mattered if it was black or white to play. Rather than actual lines, it is more ideas of how to obtain the draw that I was looking at. If it was possible.

    Well... I went thru this with a strong chessenging and two points. A) My analysis was wrong -- the Queen is strong here, much stronger than I thought. B) You've got to look at moves. It's really in the details. The moves. Maybe some GM knows the secret 'principles' for this ending. I looked at the game you played, one move before the position you gave. Rb1 was already a mistake. Ra8 was stronger. In general in these endings... always look for counter-attacking moves.  The guy giving the checks and making the threats is the guy with the ball.

    Black's position is stronger than I'd realized because, although I originally said, "white's king has cover" that isn't true.  Black has h4 opening up White's position, once the White King is exposed the Black Queen's forking abilities become very very annoying and serve to limit the mobility of all your pieces. Playing engine vs. engine (with some nudges from me) the position drew -- ... but no way did it favor White as I had originally suggested.


     Thanks for putting it through your machine. So, we were both too optimistic about whites chances. It's better to be an optimistic player than a pessimistic one :)

    Ra8,would have been stronger, as an earlier move (i can see that now with hindsight and you telling me). I was just terrified to separate my rooks. It would seem that I'm an optimistic coward - a strange mix.

    Thanks for your comments.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #15

    Maradonna

    kerplow wrote:

    First move is H pawn.  You have to open up the kings defender. Your queen utilizes diagonals which rooks do not. Try for perpetual check. I confirmed on chessmaster that this is possible.


     Thanks for looking over this position. I was quite sure that this position could have been drawn. However, with peoples help and analysis it's become clear that it was blacks game for the winning and there was noting that white could do.

    Thanks.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #16

    Maradonna

    antonisf wrote:

    i should think white has got at least a draw in the above position. double rooks in the a-file and take the a pawn then double the rooks in the 5/4th rank and let him

    come get it :)

    the doubling of the rooks will be easy as black doesnt have any checks


     Aye, it looks like your more active approach would of had the more chances of catching black out. I just tried to dig my heels into the ground and take anything that came to me. Which I did - I took my beating :)

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #17

    Maradonna

    BillyIdle wrote:

    Rook endings are sometimes very hard.  I usually try to avoid them, only I can't always.

    Maradonna,

      If you see a drowning person "clutching at straws" do not dive in the water to save him.  The next thing he would be clutching at is you.  Throw him a rope, life perserver, inner tube, child's rubber raft, or the end of a tree branch.


    The next game I play I'll go out of my way to avoid a rook ending.

    The drowning person would be me, I can't swim. But I promise not to grab all about my recuer.


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