I thought king and passed pawn vs. king and rook endgame was always drawn. Yet, I had two passed pawns and I was unable to draw the game, why is that?

Here is a picture of the position.

Black to move:

enter image description here

  • Dunno. How good are you, how good is your opponent. What was the time situation. What move did you make? It looks like the pawns are not far enough advanced to draw. – yobamamama Jan 2 at 3:53

There is no absolute result for this type of endgame - it all depends on the position of the pieces. In fact, any result is possible.

Objectively, this particular position with black to move is a draw - you must have blundered. Interestingly, if white was to move, white is winning. I suggest you consult endgame tablebases. Example draw scenario:

8/8/8/2k1K3/1pp5/8/5R2/8 b - - 0 1

1... b3 2. Rf8 b2 3. Rc8+ Kb4 4. Rb8+ Kc3 5. Rb7 Kc2 6. Kd4 c3 Rb8 1/2-1/2

In the reached position neither side can do anything - if black promotes, white gives up his rook for the queen and then grabs the second pawn with his king. Black is not able to advance his pawns any further without losing them both in exchange for the rook. Draw.

Some nice online resources about this endgame type:

General ideas and examples

More general ideas, examples and statistics

Real games collection

  • 3
    This is not the position in the original quesiton. You have the board flipped relative to him. In the original position, white has mate in 24 according to this site. You can click "Input FEN" and put 8/1R6/8/5pp1/3K1k2/8/8/8 b – Brian Moths Oct 18 '15 at 13:11
  • @NowIGetToLearnWhatAHeadIs Woah, you are right. Well, then the general points from my answer about the endgame result depending on piece positions, the tablebases and further links stand, disregard the flipped diagram - I guess I looked from white perspective without noticing the row/column labels in the OP image :/ – GloriaVictis Oct 18 '15 at 16:20
  • Black loses with best play. – Tony Ennis Oct 21 '15 at 23:13

What I was taught was that a king and two connected passed pawns was "drawable" if the pawns were both on the SIXTH rank, with the pawnholder to move. Assuming that the two kings and rook were all in a position to support/oppose the pawns.

If the pawn are both on the seventh rank, you might be able to win by "queening" one of them. Unless the opponent can sacrifice the rook for BOTH pawns.

In your case, your pawns were on the fourth rank, not far advanced enough to be "threatening," giving the rook too much time (and space to maneuver).

Pawns gain value the further advanced they are. A protected passed pawn on the sixth rank is worth TWO points (not one) and two connected passed pawns are worth more than four points because of the "synergy," that is, about a rook.

A protected passed pawn on the seventh rank is worth about three points, because the opponent will have to give up at least a minor piece to prevent it from queening.

  • It does depend an awful lot on where everything else is – Philip Roe Apr 26 '17 at 22:17

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