# Rook and Pawn endings - a spot of theory

## All Rook Endings are Drawn... (except for those that aren't!)

Here's what got me started on this session. After an entertaining earlier struggle, Black is trying to win a Rook ending in a quickplay finish. I say "trying": the first move made the spectators wince...#### Position 1: Bartlett, S - Regis, D, Devon vs. Cornwall, 08.11.1997

**50...Rb2+?**

[50...h3+! would have helped! 51.Kf2 Rh1 52.Ra7 Rxh2+ 53.Ke3 g6u 54.Rxf7 Rg2 55.Rg7 Rxg3+ 56.Kf2 Kxf4 57.Rf7+ Kg4]

**51.Kg1 g6 52.Rc3 hxg3 53.hxg3 Kh3 54.Kf1 Rg2
55.g4+ Rg3 56.Rc4**

[56.Rc7 Rf3+ 57.Ke2 Rxf4; or

56.Rxg3+ Kxg3 57.f5 g5]

**56...Kxg4 57.Ke2 f5?**

[57...Rf3! 58.f5+ Rf4 PCL] **58.Rb4 Rf3?!**
[58...Rg2+!?] **59.Rb6 Kxf4 60.Rxg6 Rb3** [60...Rg3
61.Ra6 Kg4 62.Kf2 holds - PCL]

**61.Re6** [61.Ra6= PCL] **61...Rb2+
62.Kf1 Kf3 [**DIAGRAM**]**

**63.Re1**

"Draw claimed; draw agreed" says my score sheet. Thereby hangs a tale: I was the last board to finish, with two minutes to his one, and White decided I was trying to win a drawn position just on time, and claimed a draw.

I was indeed trying to win, and the clock may have helped, but White has lots of ways to lose: his last move was actually the last chance to draw!

Quite exactly why we'll see in a bit, but on the day a
bit of discussion broke out amongst the audience (*yertis
notisnt yertis notisnt*...) and we decided we'd had enough.

It's certainly true that some very similar positions are drawn, and are maybe even claimable under the "two minute" rule, but not this one! The interesting thing is, nobody there knew it well enough to carry the day, and I've had positions like this lots of times. If my opponent knew how to draw it he would never have played Re1; Capablanca won two positions similar to this where his opponent did not know the drawing technique in one year, 1931 (one against Turover). Moral: know your onions!

Another thing that decided me on having another crack at a session on Rook endings is, well, a bit of a tease:

*"...the number of positions that must be known
exactly is relatively small. It is only in Rook endgames that it is
essential to memorise thirty or forty concrete positions; in other
types of endgame there are even fewer."*

Mark Dvoretsky in Dvoretsky & Yusupov,
*Technique for the Tournament Player*

Forty sounds quite a few to me, but, OK Mark, which forty? He doesn't say! I still don't know, really, but here is my suggestion for some of them.

One way to work your way into this is to get a chessboard and a few pieces and see if you can work out some of the basic rules for yourself. You should quickly discover that, in common with many other endings, two passed Pawns pretty well always win, and so situations with a single Pawn are most critical. Also, if both Kings are distant, one Rook can't force through a Pawn against another Rook (not like Queens, for instance).

So, we quickly get to our first two critical positions out of Dvoretsky's forty, where the Kings are in range: Lucena's position and Philidor's position. Oh, and you need to know about Rook's Pawns, and checking distance.

#### Position 2: Lucena 1496

White has control of the sixth/seventh with the King and
the Black King is cut off: **Lucena's position** is
won for White is two ways...

First, White can get the Pawn to the seventh:

**1...Kc7 2.Rc2+ Kb6 3.e6 Rd1 4.Ke8 Rg1 5.e7
Rf1**

Now what?

**6.Rc4** the critical manoeuvre: 'BUILDING A
BRIDGE'

*[6.Rh2 although the 'bridge' manoeuvre is always
emphasised in the books, there is also a win by getting the king
out on the short side, e.g. 6...Kc7 7.Rh7 Rf2 8.Rf7 Rh2 9.Rf8 Rh7
(9...Re2 10.Kf7) 10.Rf1 Rh8+ 11.Kf7 Rh7+ 12.Kf8 Rh8+ 13.Kg7 Re8
14.Kf7 This is important because the bridge-building manoeuvre may
not be available]*

**6...Rf2 7.Kd7 Rd2+ 8.Ke6 Re2+ 9.Kd6 Re3 10.Rb4+
Ka7** *[10...Ka5 11.Rb8]* **11.Rb5 Rd3+ 12.Ke6
Re3+ 13.Re5 1-0**

#### Position 3: Philidor's position

Black's King holds the Queening square, and the Black
Rook holds the sixth rank. This is **Philidor's
position**, which is drawn without too much trouble by
Black.

Once the White Pawn goes to the sixth, Black runs back to the first rank:

**1.Kf5 Rb1 2.e6** now there is no shelter
on the board from the checks

*[2.Ke6 Rb6+ 3.Kd5 Rb1]*

**2...Rf1+ 3.Ke5 Re1+ 4.Kd6 Rd1+ 5.Kc6 Re1
1/2-1/2**

#### Position 4: Rook's Pawns

**Rook's Pawns**are a strong drawing factor.

So, here, even with the Black King distant, White can force nothing.

Oddly, Black must not try to approach with the King because of Ra8-h8; instead the Black King sticks to g7/h7, and the Rook checks the White King when it approaches.

**1.Kf3 Ra4 2.Ke3 Kh7 3.Kd3 Kg7 4.Kc3 Kh7 5.Kb3 Ra1
6.Kb4 Kg7 7.Kc5 Rc1+ 8.Kb6 Rb1+ 9.Kc6 Ra1 10.Kb7 Rb1+ 11.Kc7 Ra1
1/2-1/2**

#### Position 5: Rook's Pawns

With the Pawn further back White can create trouble with the King because it can hide on e.g. a6 from check on the files (Tarrasch), but Black can then check along the ranks. Euwe and Alekhin struggled with one of these in their 1935 match. Although we can't easily summarise the analysis of this type of position there is a summary of results possible.

*If the White King is closer than the marked area, White wins:
in the marked area, Black should draw.*

Even further back, and we're into a lot of ifs and buts...

#### Position 6: checking distance

You can draw without getting Philidor's position, by checking along the ranks. With a central Pawn this is just possible as long as you take the furthest possible file: here the a-file.

**1...Ra8+ 2.Kd7 Ra7+ 3.Kd6 Ra6+ 4.Kd5 Ra5+ 5.Kc6
Ra6+ 6.Kb7 Re6 1/2-1/2**

Checking distance is *three empty files*.

#### Position 7: checking dist. (2)

The b-file (two empty files) fails by a whisker:

**1...Rb8+ 2.Kd7 Rb7+ 3.Kd6 Rb8 4.Kc7 Ra8 5.Ra1!
1-0**

It is popularly supposed that Q vs. R is difficult: it surely is difficult against an opponent who plays perfectly, like a computer (as GM Browne once discovered), but in actual play it may be easier. Black can be herded to the edge, when a Rook on the third (sixth) rank must keep out the White King. You can achieve positions like the following:

#### Position 8: Aside: Queen vs. Rook

**1.Kg5**

The Black Rook is shut out from the third rank, and is vulnerable to forks:

*[1...Rh1 2.Qc8+ Kf7 3.Qb7+;*

*1...Ra6 2.Qc8+;*

*1...Rh2 2.Qd6+]*

And if **1...Rh8 2.Kg6 Rg8+ 3.Kf6 1-0**

#### Position 9: Study (Lasker)

Here is an instructive study: Black to move.

A tense position: on whose side will it resolve? 5-piece Rook endings (KRP/KR) all hinge around access of the sixth and seventh ranks in front of the P by the attacking King - if it can be kept out, the defence holds, but if not...

**1...Re1**

[1...Rh6+ 2.e6 +-;

1...Rd1+ 2.Ke6 Kf8 *(2...Kd8 3.Ra8+ Kc7 4.Ke7 Rh1
5.e6)* 3.Ra8+ Kg7 4.Ke7 Rd2 5.e6 +-;

1...Rh2 2.Ra8+ Kf7 3.e6+ Kf6 4.Rf8+ Kg7 5.e7 +-]

**2.Ke6 Kf8**

Critical - on the other side the Black King gets in the
way of checks from the Black Rook, and the White King can make a
little shelter for itself behind the Pawn. When the defending king
*'takes the short side'* there is no refuge for the White
King.

**3.Ra8+ Kg7 4.Re8** [4.Kd6 Kf7 =]
**4...Ra1 5.Rd8**

[5.Kd7 Ra7+ 6.Kc6 Ra6+ 7.Kb7 Ra1 =]

**5...Re1 6.Re8 Ra1** = the White K is in,
but has no escape from the checks! **1/2-1/2 Remember this
type of draw, we'll be meeting it later.**

#### Position 10: Meanwhile...

Now, back in Liskeard, how do we compare? We can see that compared to the last few drawing ideas White is badly placed: the defending Rook is passive (no harassing checks) and the King threatened with mate. White must run for the short side with the King, and send the Rook away to draw:

[63.Kg1! f4 64.Re8 *(64.Ra6)* 64...Rb1+ 65.Kh2 Kf2
66.Ra8 f3 67.Ra2+ Ke1 68.Kg3;

Instead **63.Re1? f4!** wins for Black:

**A)** 64.Kg1 Kg3 65.Rc1 (*65.Kf1 Rh2
66.Re8 Rh1+ 67.Ke2 f3+ 68.Kd3 Rd1+ 69.Kc2 f2*) 65...f3 66.Ra1
Rh2 67. Kg1 f2+;

**B)** 64.Ra1 64...Kg3 **B1)**
65.Kg1 f3 66.Rc1 *(66.Kf1 Rh2)* 66...Rg2+ 67.Kf1 Rh2;
**B2)** 65.Ra8 65...Rb1+ 66.Ke2 f3+ 67.Ke3 Re1+ 68.Kd2
f2;

*[63.Ke1? on the long side is an obvious no-no:
63...f4 64.Re8 Rb1+ 65.Kd2 Kf2 66.Rf8 f3 67.Kd3 Kf1 68.Ke3 Rb3+
69.Kd2 f2 70.Rg8 Rb5]*

For other positions it really depends who can get their King in first, or at all; if the side with the Pawn can keep out the defending King they can win. John Nunn has written a whole book about positions with just one Pawn on the board, so you will forgive me, I hope, if I say they are sometimes tricky. We have seen a hint of this when we looked at Rook's Pawns above. There is, however, a guiding principle:

#### Position 11: The rule of five

*If the sum of the number of the rank on which the Pawn stands and the number of files that separate the Black King from the Pawn is five or less, then it's a draw; greater than five, it's a win. (Dvoretsky)*

Here the Black King is cut off by three files = 3

The Pawn is on the third rank = 3

The sum is = 6

6 > 5, so it should be a win. But how? White keeps out the Black King and advances the Pawn; Black defends with harassing checks, this time from the front. The White Rook would be even better placed on f7, cutting the Black King off from the last rank and ready to intervene on the other side.

OK, how are we doing? Could you bear another Pawn on the board? Positions with a Pawn on each side may readily simplify to some fairly obvious simpler state, but not always...

#### Position 12: Lasker, 1890

draw?

**1... Rb2+ 2.Ka7 Rc2 3.Rh5+ Ka4 4.Kb6 Rb2+ 5.Ka6
Rc2 6.Rh4+** got the idea? we've gained another rank
**6...Ka3 7.Kb6 Rb2+ 8.Ka5 Rc2 9.Rh3+ Ka2**

**10.Rxh2 ! 10...Rxh2 11.c8Q 1-0**

What about another Pawn on the same side? I claimed above that two passed Pawns on the board pretty well always win, and so they do. The exceptions, as we might expect, involve Rooks Pawns.

#### Position 13: drawn RP+NP (same side)

This is an important blockade: White, oddly, can do nothing.

Consider the drawn position with just an a-Pawn above, and now add a Pawn:

#### Position 14: drawn RP+NP

**1...Ra5** the a-pawn is nearly there, but
with a distant White King everything can (just) be held

[1...Kxg6?? 2.Rg8+]

**1/2-1/2**

With the Pawns further back we have another realm of headaches: White is generally better placed to manoeuvre and Black less well.

#### Position 15: won RP+BP

This is quite different - with the other White Pawn
further away from the short side there is a skewer opportunity.
once you know you can steer for this one you can win from more
complex positions **1.f6+ Kf7 2.Rh8 Rxa7 3.Rh7+
1-0**

#### Position 16: win with a - pawn + 2 f-pawns

**1.Kd1 DIAGRAM**

(1) break the blockade

(2) win the f-pawn

(3) win as we know how

**1...Kh7 2.Kc1 Kg7 3.Kb1 Ra3 4.Kb2 Ra4 5.Kb3 Ra1
6.Kb4 Ra2 7.Kb5 Ra1 8.Kc6 Ra5 9.Kd6 Kh7 10.Ke7 Ra6 11.Kf7 Ra4
12.Ke6**

this is the critical bit: zugzwang!

**12...Ra5 13.Kf6 Ra1 14.Kxf5**

nearly there now

**14...Ra5+ 15.Ke4 Ra4+ 16.Kd3 Ra3+ 17.Kc2 Ra2+
18.Kb3 Ra1 19.f5 1-0**

### Smyslov, V - Botvinnik, M [C17] 1954

**1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Ba5 6.b4 cxd4 7.Nb5 Bc7 8.f4 Ne7 9.Nf3 Nbc6 10.Bd3 Bb8 11.Nbxd4 a6 12.Be3 Ba7 13.0-0 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 15.Nxd4 Qb6 16.Kh1 Bd7 17.c3 Rc8 18.Qe1 h6 19.a4 a5 20.Nb3 Qc7 21.Nc5 Bc6 22.Qf2 0-0 23.Nb3 Bd7 24.Qc5 Qxc5 25.Nxc5 Rc7 26.Nxd7 Rxd7 27.bxa5 Ra8 28.a6 bxa6 29.c4 dxc4 30.Bxc4 Rd4 31.Be2 Nd5 32.g3 Nc3 33.Bf3 Rb8 34.Ra3 Nb1 35.Ra2 Nd2 36.Rf2 Nc4 37.h4 g5 38.hxg5 hxg5 39.fxg5 Nxe5 40.Be2 Rb1+ 41.Kg2 a5 42.Rc2 Rb3 43.Rf4 Rd5 44.Re4 Kg7 45.Bh5 Ng6 46.Rg4 Re3 47.Bxg6 Kxg6 48.Rf2 Rf5 49.Rxf5 exf5 50.Rc4 Re4 51.Rc7 Rxa4 52.Ra7 Ra3**

A relevant position has arisen. In the event Black won quickly:

**53.Kh3? f4 54.Kh4 fxg3 55.Ra6+ Kf5 56.Rf6+ Ke4
57.Kh3 Rf3 58.Ra6 Rf5 0-1**

But White did not pick the best defence! Let's try another:

#### Position 17: analysis of Smyslov-Botvinnik (RP+BPs)

**53.Kf2 (**Euwe's suggestion)

**53...a4 54.Kg2 Ra1 55.Kf3 a3 56.Kg2**

*(56.Kf4 a2 57.Kf3 Rf1+)*

**56...a2 57.Kh2 Kxg5 58.Kg2 Kf6 !**

*(58...f4? only draws)*

**59.Ra5 Ke6 60.Kh2 f4 61.gxf4 f5**

which we should know how to win.

*(58...f4? 59.gxf4+ Kg4 60.f5 f6 61.Ra5*

*no zugzwang is now possible with the White Pawn on the
5th)*

My faithful analyst Fritz successfully embarked on:

**62.Kg2 Kd6 63.Kh2 Kc6 64.Kg2 Kb6 65.Ra8 Kc5
66.Ra4 Kb5 67.Ra8 Kc4 68.Kh2 Kd4 69.Ra4+ Kd3 70.Kg2 Ke3 71.Kh2 Kf3
72.Ra8 Kxf4**

As you might expect, adding a *Rook's Pawn* to a
Rook's Pawn doesn't make it much more promising.

### Karpov An - Yusupov A [A18] Linares 51/18, 1991

**1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.e4 d5 4.e5 d4 5.exf6 dxc3 6.bxc3 Qxf6 7.d4 e5 8.Nf3 exd4 9.Bg5 Qe6+ 10.Be2 Be7 11.cxd4 Bxg5 12.Nxg5 Qe7 13.Qd2 0-0 14.0-0 h6 15.Nf3 Bg4 16.Rfe1 Nc6 17.h3 Bxf3 18.Bxf3 Qf6 19.Re4 Rad8 20.Rd1 b6 21.Qe3 Na5 22.Rc1 Rd7 23.h4 Qd8 24.h5 Nc6 25.d5 Ne7 26.Rg4 f5 27.Rf4 Nc8 28.c5 bxc5 29.Qxc5 Nb6 30.Rd4 Rf6 31.a4 Rfd6 32.Rcd1 Re7 33.a5 Nd7 34.Qxa7 Ne5 35.Qc5 Nxf3+ 36.gxf3 Qe8 37.Rh4 Red7 38.Qc4 Qa8 39.Qc3 Rxd5 40.Rxd5 Qxd5**

**41.a6 Qa2 42.Qc4+ Qxc4 43.Rxc4 Rd1+ 44.Kg2 Ra1
45.Rc6 Kf8 46.f4 Ra3! 47.Kf1 Ra2 48.Ke1 Ke8 49.Kd1 Kd8! 50.Rg6 c5
51.Kc1**

"There comes a point when you have to stop making your moves by common sense, and instead, after analysing a concrete path to a draw, you must force events." - AY

**51...Kc7! 52.Rxg7+ Kb6 53.Rg6+ Ka7
54.Rc6**

[54.Rxh6 Rxf2]

**54...Rxf2 55.Rxc5 Rxf4**

[55...Kxa6 may be better, except that Black would have to keep thinking carefully how to draw with time running out.]

**56.Rc6 Rg4 57.Kd2 Rg5 58.Rxh6 f4 59.Ke2 **

#### Position 18: Karpov-Yusupov 1991 (RP+RP)

**59...f3+**

"Black has absolutely no need for this Pawn, then try not to be distracted by non-essential details (like, a 'non-essential' Pawn)" - AY

Artur has confidence because he has studied this position. GM Gurevich actually managed to lose one of these in the US Championship in 1989 (and I don't think he was the first). Miles wrote it up in NIC, commenting: "This ending is of course drawn, but the defence is not easy". Dvoretsky interjects: "No, it is very easy" - if you know what to do!

**60.Kxf3 Rc5 61.Rh8**

(adjourned: the game could be given up here but Karpov saw no reason not to test Yusupov's technique.)

White will attack the side away from the defending King with his own King. Black cannot touch the Pawn with the King here, but will keep the Rook away from the opposing King for checking distance: here the c-file is best so it can check from the seventh rank.

The White Rook is passively placed which is the downfall of his winning hopes. Black draws just as he would without the a-Pawn on the board.

*(N.B. With the White Rook active and the Black Rook
passive White can and should win by getting the King in.)*

**61...Rg5 62.Ke4 Rc5 63.Kf4 Rc4+ 64.Ke5 Rc5+
65.Ke6 Rg5 66.Kf7 Rc5!**

[66...Rd5? lacks checking distance and loses 67.h6 Rd6 68.h7 Rd7+ 69.Ke6]

**67.Rh7**

[67.h6 Rc7+! *(67...Rh5? 68.Kg7)* 68.Kf6 Rc6+]

**67...Kxa6 68.h6 Rc7+ 1/2-1/2**

Now, adding a *Bishop's Pawn* on the same side as
Rook's Pawn is a real borderline case: theoretically drawn, but
quite possible to lose it if you're muddle-headed.

### Marshall, F - Rubinstein, A [D32] San Sebastian (4), 1911

**1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bxe7 Ngxe7 8.e3 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Be6 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.Qg4 Nf5 12.e4 d4 13.0-0-0 Qh4 14.Qxh4 Nxh4 15.Nb5 0-0-0 16.e5 Rhf8 17.Nd6+ Kb8 18.f4 g5 19.Bb5 gxf4 20.g3 Nf3 21.Bxc6 bxc6 22.Rhf1 fxg3 23.hxg3 Kc7 24.Ne4 Kb6 25.b4 Rf5 26.Nd6 Rff8 27.Ne4 Kb5 28.Nc5 Nxe5 29.Rxf8 Rxf8 30.Nxe6 Rf2 31.Rxd4 Rxa2 32.Nc7+ Kb6 33.Ne6 Rg2 34.Ng5 Rxg3 35.Nxh7 Kb5 36.Kc2 Nc4 37.Rd7 Ra3 38.Rb7+ Nb6 39.Nf6 Kxb4 40.Nd7 Kb5 41.Kb2 Ra4 42.Kb3 c5 43.Ne5 Rb4+ 44.Kc3 a5 45.Rb8 Ka4 46.Kc2 Nd5 47.Rc8 Kb5 48.Nd7 Rc4+ 49.Kb2 Nb6 50.Nxb6 Kxb6**

#### Position 19: Marshall-Rubinstein 1911 (RP+BP)

This is the game that made this type of ending notorious; not the first time that it had occurred, but Rubinstein, such a master of endings and particularly Rook endings, may have fancied his chances here...

**51.Kb3 Rb4+ 52.Kc3 Kb5 53.Rb8+ Ka4 54.Rc8 Rb3+
55.Kc2 Rb5 56.Rh8 Kb4 57.Rh1 a4 58.Kb2 a3+ 59.Ka2 Ka4 60.Rc1 Ra5
61.Rb1 c4 62.Rb8 Rc5 63.Ra8+ Kb4 64.Rxa3 c3 65.Rb3+ Kc4
66.Rb8**

**1/2-1/2**

### Keres Paul GM (EST) - Sokolsky A [C71/14] Moskva Chigorin-mem (28.11.4, 1947

**1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.c4 Bg4 6.d3 Nge7 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Ng6 9.Nc3 Be7 10.Be3 Bg5 11.0-0 0-0 12.Qg4 h6 13.Ne2 Bxe3 14.fxe3 Qg5 15.Qg3 Qxg3 16.Nxg3 Nge7 17.Kf2 g6 18.Ke2 Kg7 19.Kd2 h5 20.a3 h4 21.Ne2 f5 22.Nc3 fxe4 23.Nxe4 Rf5 24.Rg1 Raf8 25.Bd1 Rf1 26.Bf3 Rxa1 27.Rxa1 Nd8 28.b4 Ne6 29.Rb1 b6 30.a4 Rb8 31.Nc3 Ng5 32.Nd5 Nxf3+ 33.gxf3 Nxd5 34.cxd5 Ra8 35.Rc1 Ra7 36.e4 Kf6 37.Ke3 g5 38.d4 exd4+ 39.Kxd4 Ke7 40.e5 dxe5+ 41.Kxe5 Kd7 42.Rg1 Ra8 43.Rxg5 Re8+ 44.Kd4 Re1 45.Rg7+ Kd6 46.Rg6+ Kd7 47.Rg4 Kd6 48.Rg6+ Kd7 49.a5 Rb1 50.Kc4 Rc1+ 51.Kd3 Rd1+ 52.Ke3 Rxd5 53.axb6 cxb6 54.Rxb6 a5 55.Ke4 Rh5 56.Kf4 axb4 57.Rxb4 Ke6 58.Kg4 Rh8 59.Kg5 Rg8+ 60.Kxh4**

#### Position 20: Keres-Sokolsky 1939 (RP+BP)

You can win these positions, by working your pieces right in and trying to achieve "Lucena" without allowing the "short side draw". This cannot be forced. Black should resist the advance, get the King to the King's-side and only once the Pawns are advanced send the Rook away to a1.

**60...Kf5 61.Rg4 Rh8+ 62.Kg3 Ra8 63.h4
Ra1**

Right square, wrong moment. White gets the Rook active behind the h-Pawn and threatens to run it with the King cut off.

**64.h5 Ra6 65.Rh4 Rh6 66.Rf4+ Kg5 67.Rg4+ Kf5
68.Kh4 Rh8 69.Rg5+ Kf6 70.Kg4 Kf7 71.Rf5+ Kg7 72.Kg5 Rg8 73.Rf6
Kh7+**

Well, the King has made it to h7 but the Black Rook now need to be on the far rank (a1-h1). White whips the King in to win.

**74.Rg6 Ra8 75.f4 Ra1 76.Re6 Rg1+ 77.Kf6 Rf1 78.f5
Rf2 79.Re5 Rh2 80.Re7+ Kh6 81.Re8 Kh7 82.Ke6 Re2+ 83.Kf7 Ra2 84.f6
Ra6 85.Ke7 Ra7+ 86.Kf8 Ra6 87.f7 Ra7 88.Rc8 Ra1 89.Ke7
1-0**

### Bondarevsky I - Keres Paul GM (EST) [D95/04] Leningrad-Moskva (25.01.39), 1939

**1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.e3 Bg7 5.Qb3 c6 6.Nf3 0-0 7.Bd2 e6 8.Bd3 b6 9.0-0 Bb7 10.e4 c5 11.exd5 cxd4 12.Na4 e5 13.Nxe5 Nxd5 14.Nc5 Ne7 15.Nxb7 Qc7 16.Ng4 h5 17.Nd6 Qxd6 18.c5 bxc5 19.Nh6+ Bxh6 20.Bxh6 Rd8 21.Bc4 Kh7 22.Bd2 Nbc6 23.Bxf7 Rab8 24.Qh3 Ne5 25.Bf4 Rf8 26.Rae1 N7c6 27.Bxg6+ Qxg6 28.Bxe5 Rbe8 29.Bd6 Rxe1 30.Rxe1 Qxd6 31.Re6 Qd5 32.Qd3+ Qf5 33.Qxf5+ Rxf5 34.Rxc6 Re5 35.Kf1 d3 36.Rd6 c4 37.b3 Rb5 38.Ke1 cxb3 39.axb3 Rxb3 40.Kd2 Rb2+ 41.Ke3 Re2+ 42.Kf3 Rd2 43.Ra6 Rd1 44.Kg3 Kg7 45.Rxa7+ Kf6 46.Rd7 Kf5 47.Kf3 h4 48.h3 d2 49.Rd8 Kf6 50.Rd3 Kf5 51.Rd6 Ke5 52.Rd8 Kf6 53.Rd4 Kf5 54.Rd7 Ke6 55.Ke2 Rg1 56.Rxd2 Rxg2 57.Rd4 Kf5 58.Rxh4**

**58...Rg1 59.Kf3 Ra1 60.Rg4 Ra3+ 61.Kg2 Rb3 62.f3 Rb2+
63.Kg3 Rb1 64.h4 Rg1+ 65.Kh3 Rb1 66.Kg2 Rb2+ 67.Kg3 Rb1 68.h5 Rb6
69.Rh4 Rh6 70.Ra4 Rb6 71.Ra5+ Kf6 72.Kg4 Rb1 73.Ra6+ Kg7 74.f4 Rg1+
75.Kf5 Rh1 76.h6+ Kh7 77.Re6 Rb1 78.Ke5 Rb5+ 79.Ke4 Rb1 80.f5 Rb2
81.Kf4 Rg2 82.Ke5 Ra2 83.Rb6 Ra1 84.Kf4 Rg1 **

#### Position 21: Bondarevsky-Keres 1939 (RP+BP)

Black is in a good defensive position.

**85.Ra6 Rg2 86.Rc6 Rg1 87.Rd6 Rg2 88.Ra6 Rg1
89.Re6 Rg2 90.Ke5 Ra2 91.Kd6 Ra5 92.f6 Kg6 93.Re8**

And now a cute finish to draw.

**93...Ra6+ 94.Ke7 Rxf6 95.Rg8+ Kh7 96.Rg7+ Kh8
97.Kxf6 stalemate**

**1/2-1/2**

# Example games: more complex Rook Endings

### Alekhin, A - Capablanca, J [D51] Wch13-Buenos Aires (34), 1927: active Rook in attack

**1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.e3 c6 6.a3 Be7 7.Nf3 0-0 8.Bd3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 Nd5 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Ne4 N5f6 12.Ng3 c5 13.0-0 Nb6 14.Ba2 cxd4 15.Nxd4 g6 16.Rc1 Bd7 17.Qe2 Rac8 18.e4 e5 19.Nf3 Kg7 20.h3 h6 21.Qd2 Be6 22.Bxe6 Qxe6 23.Qa5 Nc4 24.Qxa7 Nxb2 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.Qxb7 Nc4 27.Qb4 Ra8 28.Ra1 Qc6 29.a4 Nxe4 30.Nxe5 Qd6 31.Qxc4 Qxe5 32.Re1 Nd6 33.Qc1 Qf6 34.Ne4 Nxe4 35.Rxe4 Rb8 36.Re2 Ra8 37.Ra2 Ra5 38.Qc7 Qa6 39.Qc3+ Kh7 40.Rd2 Qb6 41.Rd7 Qb1+ 42.Kh2 Qb8+ 43.g3 Rf5 44.Qd4 Qf8 45.Rd5 Rf3 46.h4 Qh8 47.Qb6 Qa1 48.Kg2 Rf6**

It's all in the details. White swaps Queens when he can keep his
Rook active. **49.Qd4 Qxd4 50.Rxd4 Kg7 51.a5 Ra6
52.Rd5**

**52...Rf6 53.Rd4 Ra6 54.Ra4!**

That's the one. Now White wants his King in. **54...Kf6
55.Kf3 Ke5 56.Ke3 h5 57.Kd3 Kd5 58.Kc3 Kc5 59.Ra2!** (pass:
Black decides to put the King on guard duty)
**59...Kb5**

[59...Ra7 60.a6 Kb6 61.Kb4]

**60.Kb3 Kc5**

[60...Rxa5 61.Rxa5+ Kxa5 62.Kc4]

**61.Kc3 Kb5 62.Kd4! Rd6+ 63.Ke5 Re6+ 64.Kf4 Ka6
65.Kg5! Re5+ 66.Kh6 Rf5 67.f4**

[67.Kg7 Rf3 White triangulates. 68.Kg8 Rf6 69.Kf8 Rf3 70.Kg7 Rf5 71.f4!]

**67...Rc5! 68.Ra3 Rc7 69.Kg7 Rd7 70.f5! gxf5
71.Kh6 f4!** Black's doing his considerable best.
**72.gxf4 Rd5 73.Kg7 Rf5 74.Ra4 Kb5 75.Re4! Ka6 76.Kh6 Rxa5
77.Re5 Ra1 78.Kxh5 Rg1 79.Rg5 Rh1 80.Rf5 Kb6 81.Rxf7 Kc6 82.Re7!
1-0**

### Bakulin - Dvoretsky,M, Moscow, 1974 (active Rook in defence)

**18...Re6**

I tried to think of something after

[18...Nc6 I became suspicioous of the endgame after 19.c4 d4 20.Nc5 b6 21.Nd3 Vaganian, a specialist in the French Defence, assessed this position as highly unfavourable to Black.]

**19.Nc5 Rxe1+ 20.Rxe1** Another intriguing
idea immediately occurred to me: **20...Rc8!**

[20...Ng6 21.Nxb7 Rb8 22.Nc5 Rxb2 23.Re8+ Nf8 looks very dubious 24.g3 f6 25.Nd7 Kf7 26.Rxf8+ Ke7 27.Rb8]

**21.Rxe7 Kf8** An eye for combinations is
sometime essential even in 'boring' endgames!
**22.Rxb7**

[22.Re2 Rxc5=]

**22...Rxc5 23.c3 d4 24.Kf1**

[24.Rb3?? d3 25.Kf1 Re5]

**24...dxc3 25.bxc3 Rxc3 26.Rxa7 Rc2**

I knew for certain that this was a draw, and a fairly simple one at
that, and so went for my combination without hesitation.
**27.g3 g6 28.Kg2 Kg7 29.Kf3 h5 30.h4 Kf6 31.Ke3 Rc3+ 32.Ke4
Rc2 33.f3 Re2+ 34.Kf4 Rb2 35.Ra6+ Kg7 36.Ra3 Kf6 37.Ra6+ Kg7 38.Ra4
Kf6**

[38...Rf2!?]

**39.g4 hxg4 40.fxg4 Rf2+ 41.Kg3 Rc2
42.Rf4+**

[42.g5+ Ke5]

**42...Ke6 43.a4**

[43.Rf2 Rc3+ 44.Kf4 f6]

**43...f5 44.gxf5+ gxf5 45.Rf2 Rc4 46.Ra2 Rc3+
47.Kf4 Rc4+ 48.Kg3**

[48.Kg5 Rg4+ 49.Kh5 Kf6 50.a5?? Rg8]

**48...Rc3+ 49.Kg2 Rc4 50.h5 Rh4 1/2-1/2**

### Duras, O - Capablanca, J [D37] rook ending: 4P/3P on same side (11), 1913

**1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e3 a6 6.Bxc4 b5 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.a4 b4 9.Nb1 c5 10.0-0 Nc6 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.Qe2 Qd5 13.Rd1 Qh5 14.Nbd2 Na5 15.Nf1 0-0 16.Ng3 Qg4 17.e4 Nb3 18.Rb1 Rfd8 19.Be3 Nxe4 20.Bc2 Bxe3 21.Qxe3**

[21.Bxb3 Bxf2+ 22.Kh1 Bxg3]

**21...Nbc5 22.h3 Qg6 23.Nxe4 Rxd1+ 24.Rxd1 Bxe4
25.Bxe4 Nxe4 26.Qd4 h6 27.Qxb4 Nf6 28.Qb7 Qe4 29.Qxe4 Nxe4 30.b4
Nc3 31.Rd3**

[31.Ra1 Rb8 32.Ra3 Nd5]

**31...Nxa4 32.Ra3 Nb6 33.Ne5 Kf8 34.Nd3 Nd5 35.Ra4
Rb8 36.Rxa6 Nxb4 37.Nxb4 Rxb4**

Capa's play in this ending was so strong and convincing it took
people a while to realise that this type of ending is probably a
draw in theory

**38.Ra7 h5 39.g3 h4 40.gxh4** ?

[40.g4]

**40...Rxh4 41.Kg2 e5 42.Kg3 Rd4
43.Ra5**

[43.h4]

**43...f6 44.Ra7 Kg8 45.Rb7 Kh7 46.Ra7 Kg6 47.Re7
Rd3+**

[47...Rd3+ idea 48.Kh4 Rf3]

**48.Kg2**

[48.f3 Kf5 49.Rxg7 e4 50.h4 Rxf3+;

48.Kg4 f5+ 49.Kh4 Kf6 50.Ra7 g5+ 51.Kh5 Rxh3#]

**48...Rd5 49.Kg3 f5 50.Ra7 Rd3+ 51.Kg2 e4 52.Ra4
Kg5 53.Ra5 g6 54.Rb5 Kf4 55.Ra5 Rd2 56.Ra4 Kg5**

[56...g5 the game from Chernev gives this move as the game continuation, and then... 57.Rb4 Ke5 58.Rb5+ Rd5 59.Rb8 f4 60.Rg8]

**57.Kg1 Kf4 58.Kg2 g5 59.Rb4 Ke5 60.Rb5+ Rd5
61.Rb8 f4 62.Rg8**

this is the same position as in Chernev 's book
**62...Kd4**

[62...Rd2 this also looks good: 63.Rxg5+ Kf6 64.Rg4 Kf5 65.Kf1 f3 66.Ke1 Re2+ 67.Kf1 Ra2 68.Ke1 Ra1+ 69.Kd2 Rf1 70.Ke3 Re1+ 71.Kd4 Re2 72.Rg8 Rd2+ 73.Ke3 Rd3#]

**63.Kf1 Kd3 64.Ra8 e3 65.Ra3+ Ke4 66.fxe3
f3**

[66...fxe3 this looks good, but fails: 67.Ra8 Rf5+ 68.Ke2 Rf2+ 69.Ke1 Kf3 70.Rf8+ Kg3 71.Re8 Rf3 72.Ke2]

**67.Kg1**

[67.Kf2 Rd2+ 68.Kg3 Rg2#]

**67...Rd3**

[67...Rd3 IDEA 68.Rxd3 Kxd3 69.Kf2 Ke4 70.Kf1 Kxe3 71.Kg1 Ke2]

**68.Ra8**

[68.Ra5 Kxe3 69.Re5+ Kf4 70.Ra5 g4 71.Ra4+ Ke3 72.Ra1 g3]

**68...Kxe3 69.Re8+ Kf4 70.Rg8 Rd1+ 71.Kf2 Rd2+
72.Kf1**

[72.Kg1 g4 73.Rxg4+ Ke3 74.Rg8 having been lured to g4 there is no check for the rook on the e-file 74...Rd1+ 75.Kh2 f2 76.Re8+ Kd2 77.Rd8+ Kc2 78.Rxd1 else the Black K will run up the Q-side at the checking White rook 78...Kxd1 79.Kg2 Ke2]

**72...Rh2 73.Kg1 Rxh3 74.Rg7 g4 75.Rg8
Kg3** ...and White resigned. So impressive was Capa's play
that for years books suggested that this ending R+4P v. R+3P was a
win, even with all the pawns on the same side of the board. Now,
improvements for Duras are known.

[75...Kg3 76.Rf8 f2+ 77.Rxf2 Rh1+ 78.Kxh1 Kxf2 79.Kh2 g3+]

### Capablanca, J - Kreymbourg, A [D02] 1910: a double Rook ending

**1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 e6 4.e3 c5 5.c3 Nc6 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.Bxd6 Qxd6 8.Nbd2 e5 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.Nxe5 Qxe5 11.Bb5+ Bd7 12.Qa4 Qc7 13.0-0-0 0-0 14.Bxd7 Nxd7 15.Nf3 Qc6 16.Qxc6 bxc6 17.Nd2 Ne5 18.Kc2 c4 19.Rhf1 f5 20.Nf3 Nxf3 21.gxf3 Rae8**

Black appears to have better Rooks, but the Q-side pawns are
advanced and vulnerable. This vulnerability costs Black the a-file,
and that costs him the activity of his Rooks. **22.Rd4 Rf6
23.b3 cxb3+ 24.axb3 Kf7 25.Kd3 Re7 26.Ra1 Ke6 27.Ra6 Rc7 28.Rda4 g5
29.h4 g4 30.Ke2 gxf3+ 31.Kxf3 Rff7 32.Ke2 Kd6 33.b4 Rb7
34.h5**

White is well placed to attack several Black pawns. **34...h6
35.f4 Rg7 36.Kd3 Rge7 37.Ra1 Rg7 38.Kd4 Rg2 39.R6a2 Rbg7 40.Kd3
Rxa2 41.Rxa2**

We are now in a single-Rook ending. Black now gives up the open
file. **41...Re7 42.Rg2 Re6 43.Rg7 Re7 44.Rg8 c5 45.Rg6+ Re6
46.bxc5+ Kd7 47.Rg7+ Kc6 48.Rxa7 Kxc5 49.Rf7 1-0**

### Capablanca, J - Tartakower, S [A80] NY, 1924

**1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nc3 0-0 6.e3 b6 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.0-0 Qe8 9.Qe2 Ne4 10.Bxe7 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Qxe7 12.a4 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Nc6 14.Rfb1 Rae8 15.Qh3 Rf6 16.f4 Na5 17.Qf3 d6 18.Re1 Qd7 19.e4 fxe4 20.Qxe4 g6 21.g3 Kf8 22.Kg2 Rf7**

[22...Qc6 23.Qxc6 Nxc6 24.c5 Re7]

**23.h4 d5 24.cxd5 exd5 25.Qxe8+ Qxe8 26.Rxe8+ Kxe8
27.h5 Rf6**

[27...gxh5 28.Rh1 Kf8 29.Rxh5 Kg8 30.Rxd5]

**28.hxg6 hxg6 29.Rh1 Kf8**

[29...Ke7 30.Rh7+ Rf7 else 31.Rg7 31.Bxg6]

**30.Rh7**

rook on the seventh **30...Rc6 31.g4**

[31.Rd7 ? 31...Nc4 32.Rxd5 Ne3+]

**31...Nc4 32.g5 Ne3+ 33.Kf3**

**33...Nf5**

[33...Nd1 this counterattack fails, because of White's strong King and K-side pawns 34.Rh6 Kg7 35.f5 Nxc3 36.Kf4 Ne4 37.Bxe4 dxe4 38.f6+ Rxf6+ 39.gxf6+ Kxh6 40.Kxe4 Kh7 41.Kd5 Kg8 42.Kc6 g5 43.Kxc7 g4 44.d5 g3 45.d6 g2 46.d7 g1Q 47.d8Q+ Kh7 48.Qe7+ Kh6 49.Qg7+ Qxg7+ 50.fxg7 Kxg7 51.Kb7 Kf7 52.Kxa7 Ke7 53.Kxb6 Kd7 54.Kb7]

**34.Bxf5 gxf5 35.Kg3 Rxc3+ 36.Kh4 Rf3 37.g6 Rxf4+
38.Kg5 Re4**

**39.Kf6** using the f-pawn as cover **39...Kg8
40.Rg7+ Kh8 41.Rxc7 Re8 42.Kxf5 Re4 43.Kf6 Rf4+ 44.Ke5 Rg4
45.g7+**

**45...Kg8**

[45...Rxg7 46.Rxg7 Kxg7 47.Kxd5 Kf7 48.Kd6 ! 48...Ke8 49.Kc7 Ke7 50.d5]

**46.Rxa7 Rg1 47.Kxd5 Rc1 48.Kd6 Rc2 49.d5 Rc1
50.Rc7 Ra1 51.Kc6 Rxa4 52.d6**

[52.d6 ! by declining the Kxb6 capture White's K gets shelter
52...Rd4 53.d7 Rc4+ 54.Kb7 Rd4 55.Kc8]

### Capablanca, J - Kupchik, A [C49] rook ending: various themes, 1913

**1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bb4 5.0-0 0-0 6.Bxc6 bxc6 7.Nxe5 Qe8 8.Nd3 Bxc3 9.dxc3 Qxe4 10.Re1 Qh4 11.Qf3 Ba6 12.Bf4 Rac8 13.Be5 Bxd3 14.cxd3 Qg4 15.Bxf6 Qxf3 16.gxf3 gxf6**

An early Rook ending: White is better not just because of the
neater pawns but because he can immediately activate the Rook.
**17.Re4 Rfe8 18.Rae1 Re6 19.R1e3 Rce8 20.Kf1 Kf8 21.Ke2 Ke7
22.Ra4 Ra8 23.Ra5 d5 24.c4 Kd6 25.c5+ Kd7 26.d4 f5 27.Rxe6 fxe6
28.f4** Clearing the third rank for the Rook.
**28...Kc8 29.Kd2 Kb7 30.Ra3 Rg8 31.Rh3 Rg7 32.Ke2 Ka6 33.Rh6
Re7 34.Kd3 Kb7 35.h4 Kc8 36.Rh5 Kd7 37.Rg5 Rf7 38.Kc3 Kc8 39.Kb4
Rf6 40.Ka5 Kb7 41.a4 a6 42.h5 Rh6 43.b4 Rf6**

White is poised on both fronts. **44.b5** The only
break, which also allows Black to become active. **44...axb5
45.axb5**

Defend or counterattack? **45...Rf8**

[45...Rf7 46.h6 Re7 47.Rg7 is hopeless: so Black must counterattack.]

**46.Rg7 Ra8+ 47.Kb4 cxb5 48.Kxb5 Ra2 49.c6+ Kb8
50.Rxh7** White has an h-pawn. Can the lone Black Rook do
enough to compensate? **50...Rb2+ 51.Ka5 Ra2+ 52.Kb4 Rxf2
53.Re7 Rxf4 54.h6 Rxd4+ 55.Kb5 Rd1 56.h7 Rb1+ 57.Kc5 Rc1+ 58.Kd4
Rd1+ 59.Ke5 Re1+ 60.Kf6 Rh1 61.Re8+ Ka7 62.h8Q Rxh8 63.Rxh8 Kb6
64.Kxe6 Kxc6 65.Kxf5 Kc5 66.Ke5 c6 67.Rh6 Kb5 68.Kd4
1-0**