Chess Corner: Sitting on the 7th rank – Muskogee Daily Phoenix


Rook and pawn endgames are the most common type of endgames. Last week, we looked at the principle of cutting off the king in a rook endgame. This week the importance of a rook on the 7th rank is illustrated.

In this weeks position, black has a pawn advantage. Even so, black is in trouble. Whites well-located rook is more threatening than blacks pawn. With this hint in mind, please try to find whites winning attack.

The white rook has the black king corralled on the 8th rank. To fully exploit this whites king enters the fray with king to e5. Blacks best reply is to advance its pawn to f4. Whites king next moves to e6 (see next diagram).

White now threatens to win blacks rook and pawn with rook to a8, check. This is because the black king must move to c7 and abandon its rook, allowing white to skewer blacks rook. Meanwhile, the black rook has no safe square along the f file.

As for the 8th rank, if the black rook moves to any other square than e8, whites rook skewers blacks rook. If the black king moves to e8, white mates with rook to a8. This leaves black opting for rook to d8. But now white moves its king to d6 (see next diagram).

White threatens to mate with rook to a8. To avoid mate black must move its king to c8. Nevertheless, whites rook checks black, skewers its rook, and then snatches blacks run away pawn.

The lesson this week is that a rook on the 7th rank is worth at least an extra pawn.

Reach Eric Morrow at or (505) 327-7121.

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Chess Corner: Sitting on the 7th rank - Muskogee Daily Phoenix

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