Typical Rook Endgames: Winning with 4 v. 3

Typical Rook Endgames: Winning with 4 v. 3

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  • Endgames

(Four versus Three on the Same Flank: Part 1-Attack) 

As the rooks are the most clumsy chess pieces and as they tend to get in the game very late, one of the most common endgames that arises on the board is the rook endgame.

Therefore, studying the typical situations that might appear in these endgames makes a lot of sense for the active tournament player.

In many semi-open games, and positions with an isolated queen pawn, the side which plays against the isolani often manages to prove that this pawn is a weakness and capture it after a long and thorough preparation. Then on the board usually appears the position in question.

Four pawns against three rook endgames on the same flank are usually a draw. However, the stronger side can-- and should-- play for a win.

There are various ways to try, but I decided to make things maximally simplified, and to boil the question down to three hints.

Hint 1

The best plan for the stronger side is to try and create a passed e-pawn. However, as this straightforward plan is usually connected with many pawn trades (something that they need to avoid) the attacker tries first to paralyze the king’s flank with their h-pawn.

Here is a classical example:

You have realized that the win is anything but trivial, and demands a certain help from the opponent.

Hint 2

However, if the attacker manages to fix the h-pawn closer to its initial square, then they usually win much easier:

Hint 3

One final tip- when the active side manages to "reach" the opponent's f-pawn, they almost always win. A necessary pre-condition is the maximal activity of the pieces:

[Ed Hint #4- know the defender's key ideas-- stay tuned for next week's article!]

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