03 May 2014

More Rook Ending Tragicomedies

Thanks to the need to effectively teach the Lucena and Philidor rook endgame positions to a strong young chess player, I have been using my database to review my own games. My OTB (over the board games) reveal some degree of skill, but errors in blitz expose weaknesses in my intuitive understanding.

Blitz can reinforce bad habits, but it may also be useful for diagnosing and correcting those habits.

Black to move

I threw away a decisive advantage with 57...gxh3. This game was played in April 2014.

Black to move

53...Kf4 preserves winning chances, but I played 53...g4?? to reach a dead drawn ending.

The Good News

Despite these many failings, my database reveals an abundance of games in which I was able to convert a Lucena or or similar position.

This one from the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS) in February 2014 shows that I missed the best line, but found a wholly adequate solution nonetheless.

White to move

67.Rf6+ (67.Rb8 was best) 67...Kg3 68.b7 Rb6 69.Kc4 Rb1 70.Kc5 Kg4 71.Kc6 Kg5 72.Kc7 Rc1+ 73.Kb8 Rb1 74.Rc7 Kf6 75.Kc8 Re1 76.b8Q Re8+ 77.Kb7 Rxb8 78.Kxb8 and my opponent opted not to test how quickly I could deliver checkmate with a rook and king against his lone monarch.

I also avoided a trap in this finish from March 2013 on Chess.com. Then I saw a trap that was not there.

White to move

47.Kc6 Rf2 48.Kc5 Rc2+ 49.Kb4 Kc7 50.Ka3 Rc3 51.Kxb2 Rxb3+ 52.Kxb3. Game drawn.

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