Rooks vs Knight situation might give you headaches during a practical game if you haven’t studied it beforehand. Continuing our series of articles on important endgames that every player should know, we are going to present you today this situation. From a theoretical point of view, this endgame is a draw.
There are, of course, exceptions and you must know what to be looking for. Also, what to try to avoid in order to achieve the desired result. If in the case of rook versus bishop things looked rather easy, in this case, the weak side must be more careful, as many times the drawing moves are unique.
Endgame Lessons and learning them are always an extremely difficult tasks. In my personal career, I have always lacked the motivation and guidance to do so. Most of what I know today I have learned through self-experience after many tournament games and analysis with colleagues. This is far from the ideal way of learning endgames.
Irregular Exchanges: When the game transposes into the ending and queens are off the board, people often tend to lose concentration, due to a lack of checkmating attacks. However, it’s especially in the endgame when extreme precision is required. If you make a mistake in the middlegame, you still have time to fix it. In the endgame every decision you make is crucial, and a single bad decision can ruin your chances for a win. Simplifying the position is often an effective way to convert the material or positional advantage. An outcome of the game greatly depends on the player’s understanding of whether he should exchange off or keep the tension.
With the advance of the technology and the improvement of the chess engines, more and more chess players have started to focus a lot on the opening and slightly disregard the other phases of the game, especially the endgame. While knowing your theory well is very important, you should find the right balance in your preparation as to include everything, from strategy to tactics to learning how to manage the theoretical endgames. One particular endgame that has been seen a lot in practice and has proved to be quite tricky even for the top players is the rook and bishop versus rook.
Endgame Mastery is where the major part of improvement hides. Grandmasters know that. Titled players know that. They also have a few tricks up their sleeve that allows them to play endgames near-perfectly with minimum memorization.
When club players think of improvement they always talk about tactics, openings, and possibly game analysis. Those are no doubt important factors, however, one very important part of chess is often being neglected. I think you know what I’m talking about…
This is how it’s done.
Endings are perhaps most underrated part of the game. Club players focus most of their attention on openings and tactics and completely forget about the ending stage. That leads to problems in understanding how pieces and pawns work together in the long run. At the same time, it makes a transition from middlegame to an ending a difficult journey. Many players simply don’t know whether they should exchange off pieces and go for an ending (even if they have absolutely dead-won endings on the board).
Ulf Andersson is no doubt one of the reference names for those who want to improve their positional style and technique. The Swedish Grandmaster was one of the top players of his time. He reached number four on the rating list in 1997. Andersson won a great number of prestigious tournaments. These are some of them: Dortmund, Wijk aan Zee, and Reggio Emilia. He doesn’t play much over the board anymore. Despite that, he is a strong correspondence player, also having the title of Grandmaster.
There are certain things in chess that we only learn through experience at the chessboard, or as they say, “the hard way”. This is the case for typical endgames in which we fall by accident and have to work our own way out to survive. If you are already a skilled player then you should succeed in finding the right moves at the board, although not without difficulty. If you’re a club player then it is almost certain that you will lose these kinds of endgames for not knowing what to do, or more importantly: not knowing exactly what you should NOT do!
Rook endgames are drawn, all of them, they say… but are they really? They might be, but how many times has it happened that you drew a winning one or lost a drawish one? Probably every chess player has such examples, as well as happier situations when the game has changed in your favor. They are definitely some of the most difficult endgames and studying them could save the day more than once.
Endgame Plays are very special phases of the game. It is not only special because each pawn, tempi, and wrong move can lead to a disaster, but also because the endgame is decisive. Memorization and tactics won’t be as useful here. Success mostly depends on the fundamental understanding of simple positions and technical skills. If you want to progress as a chess player working on endgames is a must. It is literally impossible to become a strong player without a deep understanding of simple endings.
Today we will look at some of the finest examples of endgame play.