Monday, July 11, 2005

I said rook endings are hard!

(Eyesofblue vs. Bobthepict)
(White to Play and Win)

I commented in an earlier posting that rook endings are frustrating. One wrong move can cost the game. Earlier, I benefited from my opponent's momentary lapse of insight. Here, it is my turn to play poorly.

In this game, I managed to contain Bobthepict (unusual name, huh?) rather effectively. The two rooks are dominating on the queenside, and everything is perfectly square on the kingside (three pawns vs. three pawns). The only real worry is the two passed pawns gunning down the b and c files. Can I contain them? Yes. 1. Rb8 is the simple and easiest trick. It puts pressure on the b-pawn while maintaining the attack on the c-pawn (via the c1 rook). Black is now in a bind. The poor black rook (all alone) must guard both pawns. Thus, 1... Rc4 is the only reply, but note how that rook is almost paralyzed on that square (if moved in and direction, any amount of squares, one of the black pawns will fall). From here, both black and white will bring their kings over to the queenside to wrestle for the two black pawns. In the end, white's rook will hold strong and white will win.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and indeed I missed the key winning move. I instead played 1. Ra6+?, which is a horrible mistake. "Never check unless there is a purpose behind it." I seemed to have forgotten this golden rule here. This move accomplishes absolutely nothing except bringing black's king closer to the two black pawns. And now the a6 Rook will need two moves to get back to coveted Rb8 spot. By then, of course, it is way too late. At best, white can only draw -- I, of course, botched it and Bobthepict scored the win.


At 8:51 AM, Blogger The Christopher said...

Rook endings can be tough to learn and to play. Just remember the other maxim: Rooks go behind passed pawns.

At 1:10 PM, Blogger DreadPirateJosh said...

Nice blog, I've added you to my notify list on FICS.
How do you collect your game stats? Do you do it manually or do you have a program that runs with FICS?
(I ask because I've noticed in several different posts that you seem to have detailed statistics of all your games, like openings against, etc)

At 7:25 PM, Blogger DreadPirateJosh said...

I got your comments and I've downloaded that program, thanks for the heads up! I'll make sure to check out as well, I need all the opening play help I can get.


Post a Comment