One rook and equal pawns vs one rook and equal pawns


First for all thanks for all the replies happy.png 

Dsmith42 wrote:

Nimzowitsch's My System has great insights on these kinds of endgames, which as you note are extremely common.  Rook activity is the decisive factor in 90%+ of these games.  Your rook should be attacking something on every turn. forcing the opposing rook to defend and remain passive.  A good rule of thumb is that rook activity is worth a whole pawn.  The king is supposed to attack pawns from the front.  Attacking pawns from behind with rooks is best, so you started off good, up until 36. Kf4? which is a bad move.

Correct was 37. Kh4! which allows 38. g4! or else black loses a pawn (37. ..g5+? or Rc4+? 38. Kxh4, or 37. ..Rc2 38. Rxb5 Rxg2 39. Kxg4).  Better still, the black king is stuck on the kingside preventing you from creating a passed pawn over there.

Rook endgames are often book-draws, but you have to play for a win until you can simplify to a procedural draw.  The side with threats on both wings almost always wins.

Hey thanks for that detailed response, but I have a question here, from experience I'm saying after losing so many end games. I feel it is bad to attack pawns from behind in these end games, unless you are sure 

1. You can capture that pawn with no compensation for opposition

2. You can get into a great positon after that

3. It is a passed pawn (opposition or yours)

I think if these conditions are not met I think it is a bad idea to attack pawns from behind, because you can lose rook activity easily if you start attacking pawns from behind and opposing rook comes to centre.  I think it is better to attack from sides. 

Maybe it is my lack of chess knowledge and I'm wrong, hence why I'm losing so many games. Can you or anyone clarify this point? Thanks 


Well, attacking a securely defended pawn from behind is foolish, obviously. But usually if you can attack a pawn from behind and force your opponent to defend that pawn with his rook, you are forcing his rook into a passive role and keeping yours active, which is a good thing. Ten generations of masters have recommended getting your rooks behind your opponent's pawns. Surely they knew something,  


The point is: your opponent often want to push the pawn forward. In doing so the space in front of the pawn decrease, and the space behind the pawn increase. So the Rook behind the pawn gets more squares. Again it is all about rook activity. 


Thanks lasker and toldsted.  Especially the point about getting more space as pawn is forced to be pushed forward is very nice. 

samchessman123 wrote:

Hello everyone,

This is the commonest end game I get into, but I have not seen any lessons about it in youtube or anywhere. Can anyone tell me the strategy in these games. I think with equal play with no  obvious positonal advantage this should be a draw, but I don't know how to achieve a draw because I don't have any technique in these games. I recently lost a game in this positon



White pawns are moving upwards. White to move and I lost. I then played this on computer and it should be a draw as everything is equal.  What is the technique here to draw? Also another question I have is in rook vs rook endings, lets say I want to protect my pawns is is better for me to be in a2 rank or a1 rank in this case. Thanks a lot. Also my pawn end games have improved thanks for the help from some great users in this site. 

Also here is how I messed up  so you can see my wrong technique. I was down in time as well.


Rooks are all about activity and bad defenders. This will work in 99% of cases.

So to answer your question:

* Try to attack pawns and get counterplay, AVOID passive defense

* The rook on a2 will normally be better there as it will be more active than a1

If you're interested, I recently created a lesson about rooks:

In addition to one rook endings, I analyze positions with 2 rooks on each side