I remember a rook endgame between Tarrasch and Rubinstein played in 1911. Rubinstein’s decision to activate his rook by giving up two pawns in a row… Well, they lauded him for his aggressive power play.
Countless chess books have marked 32…Rd8 with an exclamation mark.
Guess what, it was a BLUNDER! His opponent made the wrong move 36.Rb5 instead of 36.a4 and could not convert his winning advantage. Good for Rubinstein, bad for Tarrasch!
The idea behind this story is—rook endgames are a lot more complicated than they seem to be. Even the masters are prone to mistakes if they are not careful, and thus, lose the game.
That’s why we bring to you Modern Chess’ latest offering for endgame lovers, Practical Rook Endgames. 6 hours of intense video training on rook endgames, covered in 5 chapters.
The good news is, it includes the recorded QnA session of the live workshop as well.
From typical positional ideas to rook endgames with an extra pawn to better piece activity, this course is meant for both beginners and advanced players alike.
Here’s what you would learn:
- Positional genius falters. Where to press and where not to… which key squares to control with your ACTIVE king… and how to render your opponent’s position as passive as you can. Learn how from this game of Capablanca where he blundered (seriously!).
- Lose a tempo, shall we? Often, endgames rely on who makes the last powerful move… and if the opponent has got a reply to it. Hint: Push the ball into your opponent’s court, and he will err sooner or later. Like Gujrathi did against his opponent in the 2017 Continental match.
- Weak pawn assault. GM Grigorov goes through an amazing game by Carlsen against Nakamura…where Carlsen maneuvers his king into a SUPER-active square and squeezes the life of his opponent. The enemy rook kept at bay and the opponent king confused and helpless.
- The Umbrella technique. Often, rook endgames are filled with rampant checks. What better way than to put your king behind an enemy pawn instead, right? That’s what Botvinnik did against Najdorf in the 1956 Moscow match. (The passed pawn was rendered unstoppable then.)
- Pushing a pawn forward. Let’s say, it’s easier said than done. Especially when it is on the opposite side of the board. Take the king and the rook away, and the enemy king can sneak in and grab all your remaining pawns. Ouch! See how Karpov did it against Knaak in a 1992 match.
Studying and training endgames is vital and decisive for winning games.
Endgames, unlike Openings, do not change with fashion and once they are mastered, even average players can have the confidence that they know how to finish a game.
And rook endgames are an important part of it.