Rook Ending Lessons: Traffic Jams

Rook Ending Lessons: Traffic Jams

Mar 12, 2016, 5:47 PM |

Consider the following position with Black to Move.

Black's Rook is restraining the White pawn from advancing. Ideally it would like to stay on the e-file, since if the pawn reaches e4 there isn't the 3 rank checking distance to prevent Queening.

Intuitive is attempting to play 1. ... Re4, attempting to blockade the advance. Let's see what happens in this instance.

Playing 1. ... Re4 for the blockade

Observe in the final position how Black's Rook can't switch to the a-file, as White's King is in the way.

A traffic jam!

This leads to trying the idea of 1. ... Re5

Playing 1. ... Re5 to allow a switch to the a-file later

I found this highly instructive, to consider the future movements of the Rook rather than superficially blocking.

This taught me more about the coordination of the Rook with the King. 

Avoid a traffic jam.

The original position was taken from an offshoot to Position 173 from Chess Informant's ECE II on Rook Endings.