Some Resources in Rook Endgames

I’ve been reviewing the A-section of my one and only endgame book, Silman’s Complete Endgame Course, in particular rook versus rook and pawn on the 4th/5th rank. A couple of months ago, I made some gifs showing the abstract rules of such endgames. This time, I’ve added some more concrete ideas. Here you go:

Pawn on the 5th in the abstract: if the Black king is in the red zone, it’s a draw.

Pawn on the 4th in the abstract: if the Black king is in the red zone, it’s a draw.

So let’s get more concrete! Use your king to defend intrusion squares:

If you are defending, you want your king on the short side of the board and your rook on the long side of the board because of the checking distance:

If defending on the short side, return to attack the pawn to force the king to defend:

Once again: defend intrusion squares with your king.

White’s goal is to escape those checks and advance the pawn; seeking refuge from checks behind his rook is one last resource to achieve that:

Unfortunately in this case, it’s a draw: Black can exchange rooks and gain the opposition. Whenever you offer a rook exchange, you should ask yourself: What happens in terms of opposition? (The other big question is: does the exchange lead to a stalemate?)

Cutting off the enemy king along a rank rather than a file is sometimes the key to victory!

… which is why, once again, Black’s king has to defend the intrusion squares:

To sum up some of the key ideas in rook versus rook and pawn endgames:

  • opposition
  • cutting off the king
  • intrusion squares
  • refuge from checks
  • long side of the board / short side of the board
  • checking distance


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