How good are your rook endgames?
Positions with only rooks and pawns constitute the most common type of endgame in chess. At the same time, these positions are often handled rather poorly in practice, even by strong players. In other words, rook endgames certainly deserve to be studied, and they are quite difficult! The reason why they are so difficult is twofold:
- There are a number of theoretical/technical positions that have to be known in order to play more complex positions well.
- Precise calculation is often needed to grasp subtle but important differences between candidate moves.
I plan to address both of these points in an upcoming course on rook endgames for tournament players that I will be teaching at Chess.com University. Please refer to our president's blog for the official announcement.
For now, here is a little gem by endgame legend GM Yuri Averbakh for those of you who doubt that even seemingly simple rook endgame positions can be very interesting and difficult, or for those who just want to test their endgame skills. Warning: White's second move requires some serious thought!