1r6/5pk1/2q1p1pp/3p4/r2P4/2P4P/PPQ2PP1/R3R1K1 w - - 0 1

It's White to move.

White is 2 passed pawns up, but Black is very active. I'm sure objectively White is winning, but how? Black will attack and force me to move my a or b pawn, but the moment I move one pawn, Black will sink a rook next to it (a3 or b3) and paralyze my pieces.

  • I'm hesitant to call this objectively winning for white. As you stated, black has much activity for the material deficit and I'd expect white to be forced to give a pawn back at some point to get some good play going.With that being said, white has good winning chances due to the extra material and Stockfish gives the position a +1.4 score at depth 26. But that is not a guarantee of an objective win, and if there is one it's certainly going to be tricky to achieve against an optimal defense.
    – Scounged
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 23:18
  • White is certainly winning here with correct play, and it should be easy to convert. It's not just the fact that he's up 2 clean pawns but blacks king is exposed while white's isn't. Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 16:48

3 Answers 3

1r6/5pk1/2q1p1pp/3p4/r2P4/2P4P/PPQ2PP1/R3R1K1 w - - 0 1

1. b3 Ra7 2. a4 Rab7 3. Reb1 Rc7 4. b4 Qxc3
5. Qxc3 Rxc3 6. b5 Rcc8 7. b6 Rb7 8. a5 Ra8
9. a6 Rbb8 10. b7 Ra7 11. Rb6 Kf6 12. Rab1 Ke7
13. Rc6 Kd7 14. Rbb6 Rxa6 15. Rxa6 Rxb7 16. Rcb6 Rc7
17. Ra8 Ke7 18. Rab8 Kf6 19. R6b7 Rxb7 20. Rxb7

You should move your pawns forward first since the a-pawn and b-pawn are passed. Do not allow black to blockade them. If pawns get blockaded, switch your attack to the kingside, and try to mate black king. You should move your queenside pawns forward quickly, and support them...if not, you might lose your chance.

Some very unpolished examples.

1r6/5pk1/2q1p1pp/3p4/r2P4/2P4P/PPQ2PP1/R3R1K1 w - - 0 1

1. b3 Ra3 2. c4 Rba8 3. c5 Rb8 4. Rec1 Qb7
5. c6 Qc7 6. Qc5 Ra5 7. Qc3 Ra3 8. Qg3 Qb6
9. Qe5+ Kh7 10. c7 Rc8 11. Rc5 Ra5 12. Rxa5 Qxa5
13. Rc1 Qxa2 14. Qf6 Qxb3 15. Qxf7+ Kh8 16. Qf6+ Kh7
17. Qe7+ Kh8 18. Qd8+ Rxd8 19. cxd8=Q+ Kg7 20. Rc7#

If rooks want to blockade, you may have to sacrifice pawns to promote and queen one pawn.

Do not forget your king safety. This variation is forcing, and promotes the pawns.

If you do not gain space on queenside, black can kill your pawns because of better mobility, so you must keep your edge and not fall from it.

  • 3
    In both cases you start with b3, but I think this is a weak move. At least because in the next move black rook may safely attack pawn at d4.
    – Victor
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 5:11
  • @Victor I don't think b3 is a bad move neccessarily. It is a very concrete try to make progress, and white will most likely need to give up some material at some point to get anything anyway. But I think that black was way too cooperative in the lines given in this answer.
    – Scounged
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 7:41
  • @Scounged The problem is that Chameleon's strategy is based only on the fact that the black rook will move only vertically, while in fact he loses the pawn, and his plan will no longer work. However, I agree with you that this is not critical, and even without that pawn white remain still well protected.
    – Victor
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 8:15
  • @Victor There are a loft of variation depending on defense strategy but I think all lead to lost game - each white lost pawn is equal to exchange at least. It will be very hard to lost two pawns without compensation. Black king defense formation is not good so it is some advantage. I just show some simple and effective variations. Promotion speed is killing in such position - black has very big problem with accurate defense.
    – Chameleon
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 15:36
  • @Chameleon How many hours have you spent analyzing this position? I'm writing this because I have a feeling this position is a lot more complicated than you seem to think. For once, you state that white has a 2 pawn advantage. While technically true, it's difficult for white to keep both extra pawns and at the same time make any progress; for instance, in your line above where black lets white push a passer to c5 for no reason, black could instead just trade it off leaving white with several weak pawns in need of protection.
    – Scounged
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 18:34

Strange as it may seem, you want to start a Kingside attack. This puts black in a quandary. He can stop the attack by exchanging pieces, but then he will be without counterplay in the ending. A lot of technique in a winning positions has to do with the "principle of two weaknesses". If you Google this phrase you will find a lot of very useful stuff.

This is essentially what @Phismaster does in his analysis, but you might feel very passive with your pieces bunched up on the Q-side, and you would probably like a line where you can feel confident and in charge. It is worth spending a lot of time figuring out your plan before doing anything committal. An ideal setup would be to put pawns on a5,b4,c3 so you only have to worry about one of them, and double your rooks on the third rank. Really, now, nothing can happen to your pawns, and your Rooks are well placed for an attack against a second weakness. You have all the time in the world to plan your attack. You know you are winning. You know you are safe.


Starting out, it is worth mentioning that Stockfish 11 gives an eval of +3.02 at a depth of 32. I think that this is objectively a win, but in practice, for a human, it could present some practical problems, but they should be something that a strong player should be able to overcome without much difficulty.

The obvious basic plan is to advance the pawns, but that cannot be forced if black attempts to use the pieces to blockade them. That said, then you get a very typical, and instructive, plan of switching the attack to the other side of the board, and combine threats against the weak king with the fact that the black pieces are tied to the blockade.

It is very clear what happens should black allow the advance of the white queenside pawns, so I will focus more on the plans involving the attempted blockades, and some sample lines showing how they typically would play out. There are billions of possibilities here, so these are just examples based on human understanding, and playing the computer's idea of what is the best defense. Once you have an understanding of what the plan should be, playing it in practice is just a matter of being careful, and patient. There is no need to hurry as black cannot do much here.

 [FEN "1r6/5pk1/2q1p1pp/3p4/r2P4/2P4P/PPQ2PP1/R3R1K1 w - - 0 0"]

 1. b3 $1 {To get the a-pawn moving.} Ra3 {Going for the blockade plan.} (1... Rxd4 2. Rec1 Rf4 3. a4 $18 {And it is already clear that the a+b-pawns are going to roll. +3.05.} Ra8 4. a5 Qb5 5. Rd1 $1 (5. Qb2 Kh7 6. Qa2 Ra6 7. Rd1 e5 8. Re1 d4 9. c4 Qb4 10. Rxe5 $18 {Or this.}) 5... Rxa5 6. c4 $1 Qb4 7. Rxa5 Qxa5 8. c5 Re4 9. c6 $18 Re1+ 10. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 11. Kh2 Qe5+ 12. g3 d4 13. b4 h5 14. b5 {Winning.}) 2. c4 Qb6 (2... dxc4 3. d5 $1 Qd6 4. dxe6 cxb3 5. axb3 Rxa1 6. Qc3+ Kh7 7. Qxa1 Rb7 (7... fxe6 8. Qa7+ Kg8 9. Rxe6 $18) 8. exf7 Rxf7 9. Re8 {Up two pawn with attack.} Qf6 10. Qe1 h5 11. b4 Qb2 12. Re2 Qf6 13. b5 Ra7 14. Re5 Kg8 15. Qe3 $18) 3. c5 Qb4 4. Qb2 Rba8 (4... h5 {Passing time, but also potentially threatening the white king later, even if it should not work. It also removes the Ph6 from any potential attack.} 5. c6 Ra7 6. Rec1 Rc7 7. Rc5 Kf8 8. Rac1 Ke7 9. g4 hxg4 10. hxg4 g5 (10... Ra7 11. Rd1 Rba8 12. Qc1 Rxa2 13. Qg5+ Ke8 14. c7 Rc8 15. Kg2 Ra7 16. Qf6 Raxc7 17. Rh1 $18) (10... Kd6 11. Kg2 Rb6 12. a3 $1 Qxb3 13. Qd2 Ke7 14. Qf4 Rc8 15. Ra5 $18) 11. Kg2 Rb6 12. f4 $1 $18 gxf4 13. Qf2 Ra6 14. R1c2 f3+ 15. Kxf3 Rc8 16. Qh4+ Kd6 17. g5 Kc7 18. Qf4+ Kb6 19. Qxf7 Ra7 20. Qxe6 Rf8+ 21. Kg2 Rc7 (21... Qxd4 22. c7+ Kb7 23. Rb5+ Ka8 24. c8=Q+ Rxc8 25. Qxc8#) 22. Qe5 $18) 5. Rec1 Kf8 (5... Kh7 6. c6 Kg7 7. Rc5 Kf6 8. c7 Rc8 9. Rac1 Raa8 (9... Ke7 10. R1c3 g5 {If the computer thinks this is best, it is not a good sign for black.} 11. g3 Ra7 12. Qd2 Kd7 13. a4 Ra5 14. Rc6 Ra7 15. Kg2 Rb7 16. R6c5 Qb6 17. Qd3 Rbxc7 18. Qh7 Kd6 19. a5 Qb4 20. Rxc7 Rxc7 21. Rxc7 Kxc7 22. Qxf7+ Kb8 23. Qxe6 $18) 10. R1c3 Ke7 11. Qd2 Kd7 12. Qf4 $18) 6. c6 Ke7 7. Rc2 Rc8 (7... Kd8 8. Qc1 Qxd4 9. c7+ Kc8 10. Qe1 $1 R3a7 11. Rd1 Qf4 12. g3 Qf3 13. Rc3 Qf6 14. Qe3 Rxa2 15. Qc5 Qh8 16. b4 $18) 8. Rc5 h5 (8... Ra4 9. Rb1 Ra6 10. Rbc1 Ra3 11. Rb5 Qd6 (11... Qxb5 12. Qxa3+ Ke8 13. Qd6 $18) 12. b4 Rd3 13. Rb7+ Ke8 14. b5 $18) 9. Qc1 Kf8 (9...Qxd4 10. Qxa3 Qxa1+ 11. Rc1+ $18) 10. Qf4 Ra7 11. c7 Ke8 12. Rac1 Rxa2 13. R1c3 Ra7 14. Rf3 $18 f5 15. Qd6 {Crushing.}

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