Monday, August 13, 2007

Rook vs Pawns II

It's White to move unless otherwise noted. If you're new to such positions, check out my tutorial, Rook vs Pawns before reading this article.

1. Vaulin-Gashimov, Swidnica 1999

This is not an easy position. Counting tells you Black is 4 tempos away from promoting (Kh2-g3-g2-g1) while White is 6 tempos away from defending the promotion square (Ke6-Ke5-Ke4-Ke3-Kf2-Rg6). Note how we consider White's and Black's moves separately when we use counting.

The count is close, so look at other factors. It's White to move, and Black is near the edge of the board--that often leads to exceptions.

1.Ke6 Kh2 2.Ke5 g3 3.Kf4! g2 4.Rh6+! Kg1

After a rook check and careful king placement, White has enough time to win.

5.Kg3! Kf1 6.Rf6+! Kg1 7.Rf5 Kh1 8.Rh5+ Kg1 9.Rh2 Kf1 10.Rxg2! 1-0

2. Reti, 1928

I solved this on my first try, but it's so pretty I must share it.

Where to move the rook? The enemy king and pawn are too far advanced for sliding along the fourth rank to make sense. Re1 seems obvious, because Rook Strategy 101 tells you to place rooks as far from the action as possible.

But do just a little calculating before moving... 1.Re1 d4 2.Kd7 Kd5.

White's fracked. He's lost two tempos because Black's king has the opposition, and the only way to force him to give way is a rook waiting move like Re2. But Re2 dislocates the rook from his ideal square, so later he'll have to play Re3.

So White should play 1.Re2!! immediately.

1.Re2!! d4 2.Kd7 Kd5 3.Re1! Ke4 +/-

A trivial win for White.

3. Hamdouchi-Topalov, Cap d'Agde 1994

Black to move. This position is simple but instructive. At first count White is 5 tempos from promoting while Black is 5 tempos from defending the promotion square. However, after the maneuver 1...Rg2+ 2.Kf6 Rh2 3.Kg5...

Black to move. Black is only 4 tempos away but White is now 6 tempos away!

3...Kd4 4.h5 Ke5 5.Kg6 Ke6 -/+

4. Maizelis, 1950

Black to move. The only good move is the shouldering move 1...Kc5! If the White king were not on g8, then 1...Kc5 would fail to 2.Ra8 forcing 2...Kb5. 1...a5 is wrong because then White would win easily with 2.Rh5.

1...Kc5 2.Kf7 a5 3.Rh4 Kb5 4.Rh5+ Kb4 5.Rh4+

Attempting to shoulder here with 5...Kc3?? would fail miserably to 6.Ra4! So shoulder only when you've calculated that it's safe.

After 5...Kb3 6.Rh6 a4 the draw is easy.

I hope you learned something from this review of Rook vs Pawns.   :)

No comments: