I find it hard to defend against rooks placed in 7th rank.
What are the possible defense options?
Please share your knowledge.

[FEN "r4rk1/p1pRR1pp/1p6/8/8/P6P/1P3PP1/6K1 w - - 0 1"]

1.Rxg7+ Kh8
2.Rxh7+ Kg8
  • 20
    In this position, it is already far too late to defend. Black is dead lost. Your job is to prevent this from happening in the first place.
    – dfan
    Mar 7, 2016 at 15:16
  • Realy, no other way then? What about sacrificing one rook or both the rooks? I am happy to look at defending other variants!
    – pbu
    Mar 7, 2016 at 15:19
  • 1
    This isn't immediate checkmate (Rfc8 would do), but white can easily take black pawns and keep black rooks passive, and promote his K-side pawns.
    – jf328
    Mar 7, 2016 at 17:10
  • 1
    Doubled rooks on the 7th don't have the nickname "hungry hogs" for nothing. Once they're there you're doomed!
    – Brian Towers
    Mar 7, 2016 at 19:45
  • @jf328 an even more urgent threat than promoting the K-side pawns is setting up the pattern Rh7, Rg7, Ph6 for Rh8#. Nov 6, 2016 at 15:28

7 Answers 7


In general, prophylaxis can be used to prevent the rooks getting on the 7th. This is the preferred defense; common challenging moves are to contest open columns with your own rooks, or to guard the 7th rank squares with your minor pieces.

In the case that the rooks are already on the 7th, you should secure the most urgent threats (where your king is or where most of your loose material is), and then trade off rooks or go on the offensive.

Hope that helps!

  • Please do you have any examples for trading off the rooks?
    – pbu
    Mar 8, 2016 at 12:00
  • Sure! In the position you posted, it's difficult to see a way out for black. However, if the position was slightly different (say, you were able to defend g7 with a bishop or knight), one way of trading rooks is to contest a column by doing something like Rfe8. Then, if he did not trade, you would get to his 2nd rank. Offense is a great defense!
    – txizzle
    Mar 8, 2016 at 20:54

You should prevent enemy "rook(s) on the seventh" at almost all costs before it happens. Once it does, you're usually doomed.

A single rook on the seventh is worth a pawn. Put another way, it is worthwhile for a player to sacrifice a pawn to get a rook on the seventh. The defender ought to be willing to sacrifice back the pawn to get the rook off the seventh, usually through exchange.

Two rooks on the seventh is even worse. They have almost absolute control of the rank. Here, you are lucky to break it up for "only" a pawn. Here, at least three or four pawns are at White's mercy.

In the diagrammed position, with two white rooks on the seventh and pawns even (for now), Black is dead lost. Black would need almost an (extra) minor piece, say a B on h6, to compensate.


This is a lost position. All black can really do is to move the rook next to his king over and delay the immediate and impending checkmate in two, however in doing this he's going to lose many of the pawns on his 7th rank and as a result the game

Edit I guess it's checkmate in three isn't it


You need to prevent rooks coming into 7th rank by exchanging them with your own rooks. When your opponent's rook is eyeing towards 7th rank you need to restrict its mobility by continuously moving your rook in front of his so that the rooks get exchanged. The old teachers say that rook on the 7th rank acts like a pig which will gobble up the pawns. Here in the picture it is two rooks on 7th Rank which means game over for black.


A king on the 6th rank and pawns that can't be collected too easily are a good countermeasure. With two rooks often it is possible to attack opponent's rook forever to protect you from the situation where there are two deadly rooks on 7th rank. And if you for example need to protect the f7 pawn in a two-rooks endgame, it is better to try to put your rook on f6 than on f8. You can counterattack f2 in such a case. And generally try to avoid scenarios with opponent that active.


The move K-h8 R-f4 could manage a Draw. In time, as the w/b pawn ratio is increased, white’s win is a likelihood.

  • 1
    Can you give some variations to back up your draw claim? The consensus is that this is lost for Black.
    – Herb
    Jul 16, 2018 at 4:23

If you move, you move the King to h8 and next, you move your rook to f6.

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