Rook-pawn ending needs careful study

Chess Checks

Rook and pawn endings in a game of chess are always tricky to handle as the difference between a victory and loss could be just one move!

Even an extra pawn in such endings does not ensure victory while an ending with equal pawns at times, can fetch victory. The rook and pawn endings need to be thoroughly studied by beginners as part of their preparation.

In the game which follows, the rook and pawn ending is  instructive and it is interesting to see how White scores a victory.White: Joel  Lautier (2645) – Black: Vladimir Kramnik (2685)Cannes , 19931.c4 e5 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2 If 5.Qd1 g6 6.Nf3 Bg7 7.Bg55...Nf6 6.b3 Here 6.Nf3 looks better6. ..a5 If 6...Be6 7.e4 Be77.Bb2 a4 8.Rd1 If 8.Nxa4 d5 9.c58...axb3 9.axb3 g6 10.e4 Bg7Black already looks better11.Bd3 Nd4 Here castling seemed a better option 11...0–0 12.Nge2 Nd7 13.Nd5 Ra2 14.Nec312.Bc2 Nxc2+ 13.Qxc2 0–0 14.Nge2 Nh5The position has balanced out15.0–0 f5 16.c5 fxe4 If 16...f4 17.f3 Be6 18.cxd6 cxd6 19.Nd517.Nxe4 If 17.cxd6 e3 18.fxe3 Rxf1+ 19.Kxf1 cxd6 20.Nb517...d5 If 17...Bxb2 18.Qxb2 Qe7 19.cxd6 Qxe4 20.d7 Qe7 21.dxc8Q Raxc818.Bxg7 Nxg7 If 18...Kxg7 19.c6f5.19.c6 A good move19… Bf5 20.N2g3 If 20.cxb7 Rb8 21.N2g3 Bxe4 22.Nxe4 Rxb7 23.Nc5 Rb620...Bxe4 21.Nxe4 Rb8 22.Rd3 bxc6Black can look at 22...Ne623.Qxc6 White can exchange queens and continue 23.Qxd5+ Qxd5  24.Rxd5 Rxb3 23. ..Rb6 24.Qc3 Re6 25.Nc5 Ree8If 25...Re2 26.b4 Ne6 27.Nxe6 Rxe6 28.b5 Qd6 26.b4 c6 27.Nb3 Qd6 28.Nd4 Rf6The position is evenly balanced29.Re3 Ref8 If 29...Rxe3 30.fxe3 Rxf1+ 31.Kxf1 Qxh2 32.Qxc6 Qh1+ 33.Kf2 Qh4+ 34.Ke2 Qg4+ 35.Kd2 Qxg2+ 36.Kc3 Qe430.Re2 Nf5 31.Nb3 Nh6 Better appears 31...Re6 32.Rxe6 Qxe6 33.Re1 Qf632.h3 Nf7 Here 32. …Rf4 appears better33.Nc5 A good move with the threat33.Nd733. ..Ng5 34.Rfe1 Better appears 34.Qd234...R6f7 34...Ne4 35.Rxe4 dxe4 36.Nxe4 And if 34...Rf4 35.Qg3 Ne4 36.Nxe4 dxe4 37.Rxe4 Rxe4 38.Rxe4 Qxg3 39.fxg335.h4 Ne4 36.Nxe4 dxe4 37.Qc4 Qd5 38.Rc1 Rf6 He had a better move in 38...e3 39.Qxd5 exf2+ 40.Rxf2 cxd5 41.Rxf7 Rxf7 42.b5 Rb7 43.Rb1 Rb639.Qxe4 Qxe4 40.Rxe4 Rxf2 41.Rxc6 Rf1+ 42.Kh2 R8f4 If 42...Rb8 43.Rc7 Rb1 44.Ree7 R1xb4 45.Rg7+ Kh8 46.Rxh7+ Kg8 47.Rcg7+ Kf8 48.Rxg643.Rcc4 Rxe4 44.Rxe4 Kf7 Here 44. ..Kg7 looks better 44...Rb1 45.g4 h6 46.g5 hxg5 47.hxg5 Rb345.Kg3 If 45.g4 Kf6! 46.Kg3 Rh145...Rb1 46.Kf4 h5 [46...Kf6 47.g4 Rf1+ 48.Ke3 Rb1 (48...Rh1 49.Kd4 h5 50.Kc5 hxg4 51.Rxg4 Kf5 52.Rc4+–) 49.Kd3 h5 50.Kc4+– 47.Kg5 A good move! If 47.Ke5 Rg1 48.Kd6 Rxg2 49.Rf4+ Kg7 50.b5 Rb2 51.Kc5 g5 52.hxg5 Kg647...Rb2 If 47...Rg1 48.Re2 threatening Rb2. 48...Rb1 49.Rf2+ Kg7 50.Rf6 Rxb4 51.Rxg6+ Kf7 52.Kxh548.g3 Rb3 49.g4 Rd3 Black could have exchanged the pawns 49...hxg4 50.Rxg4 Rd3 51.Rf4+ Kg7 52.Rc4 Rd5+ 53.Kf4 Kf6 54.Ke4 Rh5 55.Kd3 Ke6   56.Rd450.Kh6 hxg4 51.Rf4+51.  Ke7 52.Rxg4 Rd6 53.Kg7


It is interesting to see the journey of the White King till here. If  53.Rxg6 Rd4 54.h5 Rxb4 55.Kg7 Rf453...Rb6 54.Re4+ Kd8 55.Kf7If 55.Kf7 Kc7 56.Rg4 Kd7 57.Rxg6 Rxb4 58.h5 Re4 59.Rf6 Re7+ 60.Kg61–0

White to play and win 1.Bc4 Qxc4  2.Qg4+ Kf7  3.Qd7+ Kg6  4.h5+ Kxh5  5.Qf5+ and White wins. There are many other interesting ways for White to win here.

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