Building a fortress

  • GM TigerGenov
  • | Sep 27, 2013

Here is a composition by chekhover  from 1947. It seems the Black Rook will just enter White’s position and start capturing pawns. Yet White has a fortress like resource that Black could actually lose if he gets to clever and outwits himself!


 1.kd1 Rh2 2. Ke1 Rxg2 3. Kf1 Rh2 4. Kg1 Rh3 5. Kg2 Rh5 

6. f3 Rh7 7. Kg1 Rg7 8. Kg2 Rg6 9. Kf2 Re610. Kf1 Kf6 

11. Kf2 Kf5 12. Kf1 Re4 13. fxe4+ Kxe4 14. Kg2 Kxd4 

15. g4 Kxc5 16. g5 Kd6 17. d4 Ke618. Kg3

 Queen vs. Rook and Pawn.


A rare ending and usually the Queen wins. Best drawing defense is for the defender to not have a rook pawn, and for the pawn to be on its original square….


Example, Black has a fortress in a position analyzed by Philidor in 1777 with 

1. Qh8+ Ke7 2. Qc8 Rc6 3. Qb8 Re6 now 5...Kd6 loses to 6. Qd8 , 5...Rc6 

draws. 4. Qg8 Kd6 5. Qd8 The Key move!

 5... Re2 6. Qb6+ Ke7 7. Qf6+ Ke8 8. Qh8+ Ke79. Qh4+ Kd6 10. Qb4+ Kc6 11. Qc4+

As noted, a Rooks pawn loses, the defender doesn’t have enough room to maneuver. Compostion by

Berger, 1921

1.Qd7 Rh6 2. Qd8+ Kb7 3. Qe7+ Ka6 4. Qg7 Re6 5. Qd7Rb6 6. Qc8+ Ka5 7. Qc7 Ka6 8. Qd7 Black 

loses his Rook or is

mated. 8... Rb2 9. Qd3+ Kb7 10. Qf3+ Kc7 11. Qf7+ Kc812. Qg8+ Kc7 13. Qg7+

If the defender’s pawn is advanced beyond the second rank, this gives the Queen more maneuverability

behind the pawn and usually wins.


  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    Fortress is a very important concept to present. In the Philidor example, the diagram seems to be a move after the moves listed and some move numbers are not right. Still, the idea is correct. In the Checkhover study, I always thought that move 5 had to be f3. I had to check the reason. It is because of Black playing 4...Rh3 that 5.Kg2 is needed. If Black plays 4...Rh6 (as I had seen the study), then 5.f3 is correct.

  • 3 years ago


    Nice article!

  • 3 years ago


    True talk, expository and enlightening article. Great job. #welldone

  • 3 years ago


    True, Alan, true indeed

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago

    GM TigerGenov

    It's my pleasure Ryan.

  • 3 years ago


    Thank you for sharing this.

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    I have seen the Checkover study before. It is difficult to imagine that White can achieve a blockade in a such seemingly open position. N.B. the role of the pawn on d2 is to avoid ZugZwang when the Black rook is on the e-file. With the pawn on d3, White loses.

    The diagram shows a much more modest blockade that I achieved as a junior, many years ago.

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