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The Endgame Tactician: Lucena, not so simple?

likesforests
Sep 24, 2007, 4:19 PM 2

Lucena is the most important position in Rook & Pawn vs Rook endings, so why do most books use only one or two diagrams to explain it?


Let's begin with a quiz. White to move. If you had the White pieces, which of the above positions could you win over the board?

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You should win them all! If you can't, read a Lucena Tutorial before continuing.

You win Rook & Pawn vs Rook if your pawn is on the 7th rank, your king is in front of it, and you have the move. Rook pawns are exceptions.


Let's try another quiz. Black to move. If you had the White pieces, which of the above positions could you win over the board?

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Draw. Black can draw by checking the White king from the side.


Win! The Black king is misplaced on the eighth rank.

 

Win! The Black rook is misplaced on the b-file. The rook requires three squares of checking distance, and here it only has two... a fatal problem. In the first diagram, Black attempts a side-check defense. In the second diagram, black employs a more sophisticated defense which requires White to sacrifice his rook and win a Queen vs Rook ending.




Win! But, you couldn't prove it over the board, so only "Draw" gets the credit. As proof, 13 out of 14 top titled players failed to solve it within an hour. This is a great illustration of how complex Lucena positions can be. The curious can find the solution at The Chess Mind.

Generally, you win Rook & Pawn vs Rook if your pawn is on the 7th rank and your king is in front of it, even without the move. Rook pawns are exceptions.

I hope this helped you learn more about Lucena.  :)


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