Sunday, February 17, 2013

All Rook Endgames Drawn.

When I was a kid my coach emphasized that we practice endgames, rook endgames in particular. Although I haven't actually had a lot of them in tournaments, this advice pays off handsomely on the internet, where my strategy for blitz games used to be "Get into a bad rook endgame and then win." Today, I wasn't able to win, but I managed to survive a terribly played game by reaching this endgame down three pawns! 

The general way to survive any of these material down positions is to have as much activity as possible. Which is why I pitched my useless h-pawn to let my king reach g4. Then I was fortunate that my opponent played the normal-looking but mistaken move, g6. This got us to the position below.

Can you figure out how black saves the game? Please leave your solution in the comments.


  1. 1. ... Ra2+
    2. Kg1 Kf3
    3. h5 Ra1+
    4. Kh2 Ra2+
    5. Kh3 Ra1 (threatening Rh1++)
    6. Kh4 Kxf4
    Black maintains a position where every move white is either in check or needs to move his king to avoid mate.

    1. Well done. I think I had seen this motif as a puzzle before, but never in a real game until yesterday.