How do you checkmate with a Rook and King versus King? Is there a good and fast method? Can you explain it in a good way? Thanks!
I know you're a FIDE Master :), so I suppose you're more interested in this question from a teaching perspective.
The simplest way to understand a checkmate with King and Rook vs King is the idea of the rectangle of the opposing king. Consider this position-
Here, the Black King is restricted by the White Rook in this giant rectangular area of the chessboard. For simplicity, I am not considering the area restricted by the White King, which would be like this -
A simple way (I'll deal with optimizations later) to checkmate is to ensure that this rectangle gets smaller and smaller, so that the Black King is pushed to a corner of the board (more visual representation below with diagrams).
Of course, with this method, the one mistake that White must avoid is stalemate -
Optimizations and Tricks.
More experienced players can get to smaller rectangles quicker by looking further ahead.
One trick is to trap the king in a smaller rectangle if it comes too close to the rook. For this, White also has to use the king more actively.
Another trick is to give a rook check when the kings are in opposition.
This trick is not necessarily optimal. In the above example, White can actually mate faster with the move 1. Rd1!
The above optimization is also made possible by the rook-waiting-move trick. If, in the above position, instead of going to c6, the Black king tries to escape via a4, then the following checkmate is possible.
One more idea is to use king-opposition (in combination with the rook) to push the enemy king behind.
Combining these different ideas, here are two of the most optimal mates possible from the starting position -
I would suggest -- Play this out with an opponent.Thats the best way to get the feel of it. else just google and you will see a lots of explanation -- with some nice graphics. www.chess.com and chesstempo.com even have some practice board where you can learn.
One link that covers good theory and explains slowly is http://www.chesscorner.com/tutorial/basic/r_k_mate/r_k_mate.htm
I would teach the slow but safe and easy way first: The rook divides the board in two halves. Then the attacking king tries to get in opposition to the enemy king (sometimes the rook has to swap sides or needs to make a waiting move for this to happen). Then the rook gives a check, hence pushing the king one field closer to the edge of the board. The mate follows exactly the same pattern.
Rule of thumb for checkmate with Rook against lone king:
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