Friday, March 20, 2015

Rook Endgame practice 5

You know you've spent enough time in camp when you forgot what are "March Holidays". In any case, congratulations on those who survived NSI!

Now back to training. Let's take a look at the 3 rook endgame positions I left y'all with last week:

Position 1: Black to move. Is 1... a7 a good move?

The answer to this is: No! Using either common sense, or by referring to one of our articles discussed some time ago, it is clear that 1... a7?? takes away all legal moves for White's king. Thus, White can force a stalemate by sacrificing his rook. Black should have played 1... Kb4! 2. Rd4+ Kc3, where the mating threats on the back rank will ensure victory.

1... a7??
2. Rd4+ Kb5
3. Rd5+ Kc4
4. Rd4+

"Take my rook!"

4... Kc3

"Take it! I insist!"

5. Rd3+ Kxd3


Position 2: Black to move, can he win?

The position arose from Morozevich vs Gelfand, Amber Rapid 2005. In this situation, Black wants and can create a Lucena Position; his first task will be to cut off the enemy king from the site of battle before advancing his pawn:

1... Rf5+!

Cutting White's king away from the pawn: The first step to attaining a Lucena Position.

2. Ke2 g5
3. Ke3

3. Rg7 Kg2 4. Ke3 Kg3 5. Ke4 Rf4+ 6. Ke3 g4 And Black will slowly advance the pawn to its dream position on g2.

3... Kg2
4. Ke4 Rf4+
5. Ke3 Rf3+
6. Ke2 g4

Notice how Black combines rook checks with the pawn advance. Rook, King and Pawn all work together in this.

7. Re4 g3
8. Rb4 Rf8
9. Rh4 Re8+
10. Kd3 Kf2
11. Rf4+ Kg1
12. Kd2 g2
13. Rf7

Black has achieved his Lucena Position.

13... Rh8
14. Ke2 Kh1

You can look through the whole game over here:


Position 3: White to move. Should he play 1. Ke2 or 1. Ke4?

This is a tricky position, which arose from the game Kochiev vs Smyslov, Lvov 1978. Here, we have a pawn on 4th rank position, where White is cut off by only one file on the long side of the board. Thus this should be a theoretical draw, so long as White is able to prevent Black's rook from reinforcing his pawn.

With that in mind, it should be clear that 1. Ke4! is the correct move here, preventing Black from using Rd5 to protect his pawn and free his king for advancing. Unfortunately, in the actual game White played 1. Ke2?? and went on to lose:

1. Ke2??

The correct move for White was 1. Ke4! Kb5 2. Rb1+ Ka4 3. Rc1 Kb4 4. Rb1+ Ka3 5. Rc1 (D)

Position after 5. Rc1

And now Black can't play 5... Rd5 because White's king is covering that square!. Play may continue 5... Rd4+ 6. Ke3 Kb4 7. Rb1+. So long as White continues eyeing the pawn and raining checks from the first rank, Black can never advance the pawn safely.

Returning to the main line after 1. Ke2:

1... Kb5
2. Rb1+ Ka4
3. Rc1 Kb4
4. Rb1+ Ka3
5. Rc1 Rd5
6. Ke3 Kb2!

Black hits the enemy rook first before White.

7. Rc4 Kb3

After 8. Rc1 c4 Black has a winning "Pawn on 5th rank" position, where White's king is cut off on the long side of the board.


So that's another rook endgame challenge done for the day! Perhaps this should be enough for now... or is it?

Practice 1:
Practice 2:
Practice 3:
Practice 4:

"Silman's Complete Endgame Course" by Jeremy Silman
"Rosen's Chess Endgame Training" by Bernd Rosen

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