# Is a rook vs. 5 pawns a draw, generally speaking?

Title says all. a rook = 5 pawns, so would that be a drawn endgame, or losing/winning for the 5 pawns? Note that this is from a general viewpoint, not with all 5 pawns lined up a square before promotion, nor with 4 of the pawns in the vision of the rook. I've actually never seen this endgame before, so I'm just curious.

WALKINGLOSS wrote:

Title says all. a rook = 5 pawns, so would that be a drawn endgame, or losing/winning for the 5 pawns? Note that this is from a general viewpoint, not with all 5 pawns lined up a square before promotion, nor with 4 of the pawns in the vision of the rook. I've actually never seen this endgame before, so I'm just curious.

Have you tried it?

justbefair wrote:
WALKINGLOSS wrote:

Title says all. a rook = 5 pawns, so would that be a drawn endgame, or losing/winning for the 5 pawns? Note that this is from a general viewpoint, not with all 5 pawns lined up a square before promotion, nor with 4 of the pawns in the vision of the rook. I've actually never seen this endgame before, so I'm just curious.

Have you tried it?

No, I actually never have.

Depends where the pawns and the kings are. Two connected pawns on the sixth are already stronger than a rook, unless one of them is immediately captured.

yeah

I found this exercise: https://chessplus.net/interactive-games/rook-versus-5-pawns

Taking away the king's obviously makes a difference. I beat the pawns.

Interesting. So it likely just depends on the position.

justbefair wrote:
WALKINGLOSS wrote:

Title says all. a rook = 5 pawns, so would that be a drawn endgame, or losing/winning for the 5 pawns? Note that this is from a general viewpoint, not with all 5 pawns lined up a square before promotion, nor with 4 of the pawns in the vision of the rook. I've actually never seen this endgame before, so I'm just curious.

Have you tried it?

With one less pawn, a tablebase lookup gives the game result. In this position, with best play by both sides, White always wins. The longest win is a mate in 45 with the a7 pawn removed and Black to play. The fastest win is a mate in 27 with either the b7 or d7 pawn removed and White to play.

With the link it was really easy, just take a few pawns and then with 2 disconnected pawns place the rook in front of the pawns. Black will have to make a move so just capture a pawn. But with normal chess it’s more complicated. You also have the kings so this will not work.

That seems like quite a hard game. But it pretty much depends on how far the pawns are advanced and the king positions.

It's extremely unlikely to happen in an actual game, but if it does I would prefer the pawns since they would be further up the board and their value would increase as that happens.

nTzT wrote:

That seems like quite a hard game. But it pretty much depends on how far the pawns are advanced and the king positions.

It's extremely unlikely to happen in an actual game, but if it does I would prefer the pawns since they would be further up the board and their value would increase as that happens.

I agree. I think the 5 pawns would win with the king's protection in most cases, but generally speaking, it's unlikely to have 5 healthy pawns conveniently defended in an endgame. Also depends on how far down the board they are, like you said. Thanks for your input; it's much appreciated!

WALKINGLOSS wrote:
nTzT wrote:

That seems like quite a hard game. But it pretty much depends on how far the pawns are advanced and the king positions.

It's extremely unlikely to happen in an actual game, but if it does I would prefer the pawns since they would be further up the board and their value would increase as that happens.

I agree. I think the 5 pawns would win with the king's protection in most cases, but generally speaking, it's unlikely to have 5 healthy pawns conveniently defended in an endgame. Also depends on how far down the board they are, like you said. Thanks for your input; it's much appreciated!

No worries, it's an interesting thought and it's good to think about it.

Generally speaking you cannot ask such questions about pawns in endgames because the answer always depends critically on where the pawns are - not speaking of the kings.. You can ask "what about R against N?" or "Queen against N+B?" but not "N against 3P?" or even "R against N+2P?". Some pawns are tigers and some pawns are mice. The deciding factor is commonly the promotion opportunities of the pawns. When they can all be blocked or captured the prospects of the pawn side are poor.

Arisktotle wrote:

Generally speaking you cannot ask such questions about pawns in endgames because the answer always depends critically on where the pawns are - not speaking of the kings.. You can ask "what about R against N?" or "Queen against N+B?" but not "N against 3P?" or even "R against N+2P?". Some pawns are tigers and some pawns are mice. The deciding factor is commonly the promotion opportunities of the pawns. When they can all be blocked or captured the prospects of the pawn side are poor.

Yeah, that's a good point

Thanks to your question, I remembered the following game:

Learn and enjoy!

Greetings.

peepchuy wrote:

Thanks to your question, I remembered the following game:

Learn and enjoy!

Greetings.

Wow, thanks! I genuinely didn't expect a GM game to have a scenario like this.

imo this can never be a draw, 5 pawns are too strong

yeah, 5 pawns definitely win.  easily

peepchuy wrote:

Thanks to your question, I remembered the following game:

An interesting game. After 49. Kxf6, Black's four drawing moves are Ra4, Ra6, Ra8, and Kd4. All other moves lose.  The longest win comes after Kc4, when White can mate in 42.

matteferlisi wrote:

imo this can never be a draw, 5 pawns are too strong

It's easy to find positions where a black rook can win against five white pawns.