Rook endgames are probably the type of endgames that are most seen in over the board games. They are complicated and require a lot of patience to learn, but we hope that these short articles will help you get a better idea of the defensive and active ideas you need to be aware of in specific positions. In this article, we are going to approach another common endgame, where one of the sides emerges with an extra passed pawn on the queenside, while the kingside structure is balanced.
Here we are going to consider the case of the furthest passed pawn, the a-pawn:
Although it is considered to be a theoretical draw with correct play, this endgame is far from easy and more than one Grandmaster has failed to achieve the desired result.
The strong side has a few ideas to try to win it, while the other side has to defend precisely, which is not always easy if you haven’t studied this endgame before and know the general ideas in this type of position.
Now that you know the general ideas of this endgame, let’s see an example from Grandmasters’ practice.
Pay attention to what happens when black stays passive and how white manages to win this difficult endgame. Also, take note of how he tries in different ways to make progress and doesn’t hurry.
From a psychological point of view, this is the right approach during a game. Force your opponent to find the appropriate defense every time, consume time and why not, confuse him!
We have seen how the strong side can play for a win, so let’s see now what the correct defense is.
In the following example, we see how the ex-World Champion Botvinnik defends this endgame with the white pieces. Notice how he doesn’t waste time to make waiting moves and allow his opponent to make progress, but immediately starts creating counterplay on the kingside.
We hope that playing through these examples have helped you get a better understanding of this interesting endgame and you will know exactly what to do if you are confronted with it in a tournament game.
Thank you for reading!