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