You may not see the sort of rook endgame covered in the article very frequently in your own games (I don't think I've ever been on either side of it, even in blitz chess), but it is a position that could easily arise and is worth spending a few minutes on. What I really like about the article, however, is its pedagogical approach. It demonstrates a great way to learn any such endgame, and so on that basis I highly recommend it to you. If you have the patience, I'd recommend trying the exercises therein, and only after you've finished should you check out the solutions.
Entries in rook endings (12)
I didn't cover the Mind Sports event in Beijing much for the blog, but I did follow it to some degree on my own. One game really caught my eye, and I will share it with you in a moment. The game was an unlikely candidate as an attention-getting: a rapid game that reached a drawn rook and pawn vs. rook endagme after 64 moves and that ended, appropriately enough, in a draw 68 moves later. The defender was never lost, and the drawing methods used have long been known to endgame theory.
What caught my eye was something "mathematical" or "philosophical": it seemed to me at one point that Teimour Radjabov, who had the extra pawn, had managed with a brilliant idea to eliminate the independent significance of one drawing method by showing that he could force the defender (Wang Yue) to switch to a different drawing method, one which is a bit more complicated in practice. Specifically, it seemed for a while that Radjabov had shown that the strong side could force the defender to go from the Karstedt Maneuver to the Last Rank Defense. That doesn't change the objective evaluation of the ending, but such a reduction would be of real theoretical significance.
Upon closer examination, it turns out not to be the case. No doubt tired and short of time, Wang Yue may have gotten befuddled and tricked into a Last Rank Defense, while I, well-rested and in the leisure of my study, was temporarily tricked as well. After patient examination, I realized that this was not the case, and Wang Yue could have returned to the Karstedt after all. Still, Radjabov's concept was truly ingenious, and a very nice practical idea we should all incorporate into our endgame repertoires.
Curious? Have a look here. There are four fragments there. The first three demonstrate basic defensive ideas in rook and pawn vs. rook endings, going from easiest (Philidor's Method) to slightly less easy (the Karstedt Maneuver) to more difficult (the Last Rank Defense). After laying the basic theoretical groundwork we turn to the Radjabov-Wang Yue game, with an emphasis on the point where the former's great practical idea forces Black out of the cookbook Karstedt and makes him find his bearings.
When offering some thoughts on the Tal Memorial blitz I expressed my admiration for both sides' play in the rook ending of the Carlsen - Kramnik game and a desire to present it for your perusal. Here it is. (I know, I don't want to use that software, but there hasn't been time to learn something new just yet.)
As I mentioned yesterday, one of the game that impressed me in round 4 of the ongoing 2011 European Club Cup was Dmitrij Jakovenko's victory over Boris Gelfand. Jakovenko came up with a novelty on move 37(!) that quickly resulted in a complicated rook ending. Objectively, Black should have held it, but theory is one thing and practice another. One highly unobvious mistake was enough to lose the game, thanks to a well-calculated sequence by Jakovenko.
The finish was exciting, and the ending was highly instructive as well. Standard endgame themes like the priority of mobilizing passed pawns and of activating the king were on display, and the need for calculation and to take king safety into account played a large role as well. So whether you watch the show as a training exercise, for instruction or even for the game's entertainment value alone, you're likely to be satisfied with what you'll see. (I hope so, anyway!)
The show is here, and it's free as always (free registration required for newbies) and will be available for on-demand viewing for the next month or so.
Only two games, but they're nice: one features a sound two-knight sacrifice, while in the second a simulee achieved a winning position against Nigel Short (before tragedy struck). In the questions department, pride of place goes to a fascinating rook ending. One side was two pawns up, but had a very difficult time dealing with the opponent's outside passer. The ending is instructive and entertaining, and the viewer's intro to that ending is priceless.
You can watch the show here, free (free registration required), available on-demand for the next month or so. Enjoy!
Every so often I take a look at games presented by ChessVideos viewers, and this week's show examines the latest batch. Sometimes there are a lot of attacking games full of tactics, but this time around the emphasis is on the endgame - rook endings in particular feature prominently. Whole games are covered, so you'll find middlegames and openings (the Berlin is revisited with some depth) as well - it's not just rook endings in the show.
But see for yourself. The show is free (free registration required) and available on-demand for the next month or so.
The game David Navara vs. Radowslaw Wojtaszek may be from the B Group of Wijk aan Zee, but this is a very high-class game with both players over 2700. Players of this level obviously prepare deeply and calculate extremely well, but there's more to their ability than that. Watch these videos of Navara presenting the game, especially the endgame phase, and I think you'll also be impressed by their ability to think schematically as well. Navara may be a bit clumsy with the pieces, but the elegance of his thinking is remarkable.
Topics include the anti-Benko/Benoni with 3.e3, material imbalances, the psychology of blunders, the isolated d-pawn and rook endings. There's something for everyone, at least if "everyone" is limited to the sort of crowd likely to watch chess videos. And since this chess video is free (free registration required) and will be available on-demand for the next month or so, "everyone" should be happy.
Rook endings, it is often said, are the most important in chess. If that's so, then the better we understand them conceptually, the better off we'll be as practical players. So in this week's ChessVideos show, I take a look at the "umbrella" idea in rook endings. The basic idea is this: the defender can often bother an aggressive king by checking it from behind. (This is how the Philidor drawing defense works.) Imagine, for instance, that White has a pawn on e6, a rook on h7 and a king on f6; Black has a king on e8. Black can draw in such a position by playing ...Rf1+ and harrassing the White king until it leaves its pawn.
But what if Black had a pawn on f5? Then Black would simply be lost, because his "extra" pawn (compared to the first case) would get in his own way. It's an "umbrella" for White, protecting his king from the enemy rook's raining down checks upon his head.
That's the basic concept, and the presentation, which you can watch here, elaborates it with two classical examples and one that's very recent. The show is free (free registration is required), and the show will be available on-demand for the next month or so.
Another week, another ChessVideos show. This time around I look at three viewer games and address a viewer question. Two of the games feature attacks (one is really spectacular) and two of the games (yes, I know there are three total games!) and the question involve endgames, so it's a well-balanced meal for the viewer.
The show is free (free registration required) and available on-demand for the next month, here.