Rook Endings Move by Move

Rook Endings Move by Move

Sep 14, 2015, 6:50 AM |

Do you ever get the feeling you're stale for new ideas in Chess? How many pins have you studied, forks have you seen, weak squares, outposts, opening books. I can assure you that the study of endgames will reinvigorate you.


I'm converted.


Take this Rook ending I came across in Chess Informant's Encycopaedia of Endings II (Rook Endgings) Diagram 25. Hidden in this are so many ideas that one is surprised there are only 5 pieces.


As a side note, I started "losing" it around diagram 60 of the book. I didn't know what was going on. My foundations were weak. I made a point to go back to the start and annotate every move of every diagram to solidify my understanding.

Black to Move: N.Kopaev 1935 (White wins)



Black has two realistic choices: either A) Move his King to the Kingside or B) Move his King to the Queenside.

Playing 1. ... Rc1 to block the check at c8 allows White to exchange into a winning pawn endgame after 1. ... Rc8 2. Ra8+ Rc8 3. Rxc8+ Kxc8 Ke7 +-


Black's King goes to the Kingside (the long side)


White drives the King firstly away from d7 and then uses the technique of building a bridge.

Black's King goes to the Queenside (the short side)



Is it safe to use the same idea of Ra8+ to drive the King away (like we did when he went to the long side)?


White tries Ra8+ after Black's King goes to the short side


The key difference here is the Black's King gains a tempo on the Rook at a8. This gives the Black Rook time to get behind the d-pawn securing a draw


Why does Rc7+ win?



Black's King must either go to b8 or d8. Let's see how White continues in both cases.


Black's King goes to d8 after Rc7+



White's idea is to give the check from h8 where his Rook can't be attacked by the Black King, as well as taking away the h-file from the Black Rook.


Black's King goes to b8 after Rc7+. Is it safe for White to play Rh7?


The mistake with Rh7 is that White's King can't go to d7 due to the skewer after Rc7.
With this knowledge, White places his Rook on a square where it will be protected by the King.

Why Re7 wins


Re7 wins because the Rook isn't skewered after ... Rc7 when White's King moves to d7. White must be careful not to play Ke6 as the Black King can draw close.

Complete variations and annotations