Rook versus pawn endings

Rook vs. pawn endings sounds to be pretty easy. But it is not true in all situations… Also, this type of ending is quite important as it appears in many games. Would you know how to play it? Then check this article.

Usually the stronger site wins, because it is able to capture the pawn even in cases when its king is too far from the pawn.

What is important to say is:
– it is neccessary to try to get the king of stronger site to the pawn. There are rules apllicable also in this kind of ending (rule of the square, rule of the enhanced square…)
– it is improtant to try to cut the opponent’s king from the fifth row.

Rook versus pawn ending - diagram 1

Diagram 1: White to move



Diagram 1: White king is going to the square of the black pawn and white wins the game.
1.Kb4 d3 2.Kc3 d2 3.Kc2 +-
But! If black would be on the move, then he will be able to draw the game by passing the pawn.

Rook versus pawn ending - diagram 2

Diagram 2: White to move



Diagram 2: In this position we need to apply the rule of enhanced square, because it ie neccessary to count on pawn moves and also on king moves. For example, the square here is going to be enhanced by two squares (from b1-e1-e4-b4 to a1-e1-e6-a6) because the black king needs just two tempi to cover his pawn on his way to promotion.
1.Kc6 e3 2.Kd5 Kf3 3.Kd4 e2 4.Kd3 Kf2 5.Ra2 +- (or 5.Kd2 +-)

Rook versus pawn ending - diagram 3

Diagram 3: White to move



Diagram 3: In this position black king prevets white king to go to the pawn. So we need to apply the rule about cutting the king of weaker side by rook on the fifth row.
1.Rh5! c5 2.Kf7 Kc6 (or 2…. c4 3.Kf6 c3 4.Rh3 c2 5.Rc2 winning the pawn) 3.Ke6 Kb6 4.Kd6 c4 5.Rc5 +-

Rook versus pawn ending - diagram 4

Diagram 4: White to move



Diagram 4: 1.Kb5 Kf2! 2.Kc4 Ke3! 3.Kc3 f3 4.Re1+ Kf2 5.Kd2 Kg2 6.Ke3 f2 7.Re2 +-

Rook versus pawn ending - diagram 5

Diagram 5: White to move / Black to move



Diagram 5: If white is to move then we have a won game for white.
1.Kb7! (but going directly to the pawn leads to draw only 1.Kd6 Kc4! 2.Ke5 b3 3.Ke4 Kc3 4.Ke3 b2 =) Kc4 2.Kb6 b3 3.Ka5 Kc3 4.Ka4 b2 5.Ka3 +-

If black is to move then we have a draw on the board.
1…. Kc5! (white is in the zugzwang now) 2.Kb7 (2.Rb2 Kc4 3.Kb6 Kc3 gives black tempi because of attacking the rook ) Kb5 3.Ka7 Ka5! =

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