Rook-endgame - Steckner Position

Rook-endgame - Steckner Position

Sep 2, 2016, 8:23 AM |
Normally I would write about Swedish GM Ulf Andersson - about his way of playing our beloved game of chess.

But this blog post is about a Rook endgame I recently saw in the Danish Chessmagazine "Skakbladet"

It is going to be quite complicated. But continue reading - it is highly interesting both chess- and historywise!!

Actually this position can be found in Russian Grandmaster and endgame-expert Yuri Awerbachs book about endgames "Lehrbuch der Schachendspiele" from Schachverlag Berlin 1974.

White to move
This is a very complicated position. It has been studied by a lot of players through the years. And as mentioned Awerbach used the position in his book about rookendgames. Therefore it has been seen as "the final verdict" in this position. And the verdict was that the position was holdable for black. White did not have any chances of winning, if black defends correctly.
The main reason is that the ACTIVITY of the black rook. It keeps an eye on whites pawn at the a-file and at the same time attacks whites pawns at the kingside. This should give enough counterplay to secure the draw.
But suddenly the evaluation of this position changed radically.
Now lets see some moves:
As we can see from the analysis (5,..g5!), the position is not winnable for white. During preparation for this Blog Post I discovered that some players still analyses this position. And maybe one day someone is able to find a white win.
This is amazing. We have e.g. the Lucena position - first seen in 1497 and the Philidor position from the 18th century and other examples from the old days - and now - almost half a millennium later - a new way of playing is found. I really enjoy that. Our Royal game is still full of surprises and amazing discoveries!!
This Blog Post should be seen as an overview of the current position, because it is possible that new ideas and moves have been found.
That´s all for now, please give me your opinion about this Blog-post. Both good and bad. Thanks.