Endings to Know: Rook vs Rook and Pawns

Apr 5, 2016, 11:55 PM |

Today I'll be covering some endgames of Rook and two pawns vs Rook. Obviously the majority of the time the the rook and two pawns will win, but there are some positions where the defender can set up a theoretical draw.

Lets start with two rook pawns, (note before going through this it's important you understand the Vancura position. .If you aren't familiar with that, go look it up) Generally speaking, blacks ability to defend such positions depends on if he can blockade one of the rook pawns. the following position is from the game Smyslov-Bondarevsky 1940.

The next ending is a little more complex, Rook against Rook and Bishop Pawn and Rook Pawn (on the same side). Lets start with some examples of how to win:


Now for how to draw these positions. Black can only draw this ending when his king is well placed (not stuck on the back rank.)

There are three guidelines to defend this ending

1. do not allow your king to be forced onto the back rank

2. Do not allow the white king into F7

3. do not allow a white to give up the H pawn for a winning ending with the F pawn

When the pawns are further back if black can set up a good defense it should be a draw (this isn't always the case!). Analyzing all the possibilities in such an ending is a bit too exhaustive for me, but I will leave you with some practical examples from games to see how it might play out:

That's it for now, hopefully next time you're on either side of these positions you'll have a better idea of how to handle it! Next time i'll do some Rook endings where both sides have pawns.