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    Rook Endgames 101

    Welcome to Rook Endgames 101

    Our Rook Endgames 101 course will be dedicated to understanding simple rook endgames such as Rook and Pawn versus Rook or Rook versus a single advanced pawn. We will also touch on slightly more advanced topics such as rook battling two passed pawns or a rook and two extra weak pawns trying to win against a lone rook.

    An old adage says, "All Rook Endings are Drawn" due to their drawish propensity.  However, we must know the basic drawing techniques.

    One technique we will learn is simplification to a Drawn King and Pawn Ending.  For this, we must know when an exchange of rooks leads to a drawn game. Similarly, when we are ahead two pawns we must know when to give one back to reach a theoretically winning and simpler position.

    Consider carefully if the inferior side (the lone King) can successfully stop the opposing King and Pawn duo.  The answer often depends on opposition.  If the superior side (the King and Pawn) has the opposition, it means that the long King can be forced to give way.  After it gives way, the Pawn can be escorted to queen.

    We will also learn Rook versus lone pawn.

    It's very important to know how a pawn fares against a rook.  Either it can queen or the side with the rook can use the king and rook to stop it.

    The other key theme of this Course is Staying Active.  The inferior side should avoid, with rare exceptions, passive defense.  Active defense is more flexible and yields better results.  We will see examples in our quizzes. Update April 9th, 2012: we have included now a 17th and 18th bonus lesson!

    December 2014:  19th lesson added  from GM Babutrin's excellent online newsletter publication Chess Today.

    • 1Rook vs Pawn 5...
    • 11Rook vs. Pawn 4...
    • 2Rook vs Pawns 1...
    • 12Trading Rooks 1...
    • 3Bonus: R and P vs R review...
    • 13Rook vs. Pawn 3...
    • 4Rook vs. R and P 2...
    • 14Rook vs. Pawn 2...
    • 5Rook vs. Pawn 1...
    • 15Rook vs. Pawn 7...
    • 6Rook vs. R and P 3...
    • 16Trading Rooks 2...
    • 7Rook vs. Pawn 6...
    • 17Rook vs. Pawns 3...
    • 8Rook vs R and P 1...
    • 18Rook vs. R and P 4...
    • 9Rook vs. Pawns 2...
    • 19Bonus: Defend R vs R and h- an...
    • 10Bonus: Defending a Difficult P...
    • 20Bonus: RPP vs RP...
  • Author
    Mark Ginsburg

    Mark Ginsburg received his IM title in 1982.  He has played against many Grandmasters in the USA and in Europe.  His peak USCF rating was 2578 in 1993.