I aways thought that the king and passed pawn vs. king and rook endgame was always drawn. But I had two passed pawns in the below game,with Black to move, I was unable to draw the game. Why is that?

[FEN "8/1R6/8/5pp1/3K1k2/8/8/8 b - - 0 1"]
  • 3
    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
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 3:53
  • Long story short: the rook captures the pawns
    – David
    Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 20:45

3 Answers 3


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 loss-you didn't make a mistake.I suggest you consult endgame tablebase, which announce a loss in 24 moves with best play by Black. Here is an example line.

[FEN "8/1R6/8/5pp1/3K1k2/8/8/8 b - - 0 1"]

1... g4 2. Kd3 Kf3 3. Kd2 g3 4. Ke1 Ke3 5. Rb3+ Kf4 6. Kf1 Kg4 7. Kg2 f4 8. Rb4 Kf5 9. Kf3 Ke5 10. Rxf4 Kd5 11. Kxg3 Ke5 12. Kf3 Kd5 13. Re4 Kc5 14. Re5+ Kd4 15. Rf5 Kc3 16. Rf4 Kd2 17. Rd4+ Kc2 18. Ke2 Kc3 19. Re4 Kb2 20. Kd2 Kb3 21. Rd4 Kb2 22. Rd3 Ka1 23. Rb3 Ka2 24. Kc2 Ka1 25. Ra3#

In the game, the White king is able to get and front of the Black pawns after Black tries to push them for promotion. White is then able to scoop them up as Black attempts to defend them with their king. Once Black is down to their king, it is a simple king and rook endgame for White. Win.

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 Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 13:11
  • 1
    @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 :/ Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 16:20
  • Black loses with best play.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 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.

  • 1
    It does depend an awful lot on where everything else is
    – Philip Roe
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 22:17

Yes, the game is won by white if it's white to move, otherwise black finds safety in a stalemate, but only if the b-file pawn is pushed first.

  • You mean g-file and not b-file. Anyway, the other answer convincingly proves that Black is lost even if he is on move.
    – Evargalo
    Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 8:28

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