In this diagram it's White to move. Black should be winning in this endgame. I want a simple plan on how to move the Black pawns in a way that I will avoid the horizontal and vertical checks from the White rook.

[fen "8/R4ppp/4pk2/1r6/8/5K2/6PP/8 w - - 8 40"]

Sometimes I get stuck in a blitz game because I don't have a plan how to win such kind of positions. I would really appreciate it if somebody can give me a straightforward plan. My plan was to keep the Black rook on the 5th or 4th rank to cutoff the White king and advance the h and g pawns. But then what?!

  • 1
    The h- and g-pawns aren't passed pawns. The e-pawn is though, so it should be the one you want to push forward the most.
    – Scounged
    Jun 18, 2020 at 1:33
  • And then what? How to proceed?
    – Guess601
    Jun 18, 2020 at 2:03
  • Who is to move in the diagrammed position? I was a bit confused by this diagram together with the one in Brian Towers' answer.
    – Scounged
    Jun 18, 2020 at 11:41
  • It's White to move, but it's okay if it's black to move now.
    – Guess601
    Jun 18, 2020 at 13:57

2 Answers 2


My plan was to keep the Black rook on the 5th or 4th rank to cutoff the White king and advance the h and g pawns. But then what?

Your plan is a bad one.

The general rule in rook and pawn endgames is:

  • Your king protects your pawns
  • Your rook attacks your opponent's pawns

You can add another one:

  • Push your passed pawns

As you can see your passed pawns are not your g and h pawns. Therefore you should not be pushing those pawns as a first priority. You may want to push them to help the e and f pawns to advance.

Regarding "Cutting-off the opponent's king", in rook and pawn endgames it is usually much more important to cut off the opponent's king vertically not horizontally. You want to cut off the king from where the pawn or pawns are going to be. The White king on the 3rd rank is not cut off. If you are going to make a queen then sooner or later one of your pawns is going to have to try and reach the 3rd rank when the White king would be ideally placed. The white king on the a or b file would be cut off.

Your king is already protecting your pawns but your rook is not attacking your opponent's pawns. In the changed position with White's king now protecting the g pawn the best way to attack the pawns is not the immediate Rb2 because there is a more efficient way to do that.

First Rb3+ either forces the king to the fourth rank or to the second rank. In either case the move Rb2 then comes with tempo. The White king has to move.

Then you want to try and push f6 or f5 to get your e and f pawns rolling. Your king will need to be out of the way on g6 and you will want to move the h and g pawns up so they aren't vulnerable to attack by the rook. So g5 creates space on g6 for your king. You can follow up with h5 and then get ready to push the f and e pawns. Your opponent can try and stop this by g4 or just sit and wait passively.

One line might be:

[fen "8/R4ppp/4pk2/1r6/8/5K2/6PP/8 b - - 4 38"]

1... Rb3+ 2. Kg4 Rb2 3. Kf3 g5 4. h3 h5 5. g4 (5. Rc7 g4 6. hxg4 hxg4 7. Kxg4 Rxg2) Rb3+ 6. Kg2 h4 7. Ra6 Rg3+ 8. Kh2 Kg6 9. Rb6 Re3 10. Ra6 f6 11. Rb6 e5 12. Ra6 Rf3 13. Kg2 Rd3 14. Rb6 Kf7 15. Ra6 Ke7 16. Rb6 Rd6 17. Rb2 Ke6 18. Rf2 (18. Re2 Rd4 19. Rf2 e4 20. Rf5 Rd2 21. Kg1 Rd3 22. Kg2 Rg3+ 23. Kh2 e3 24. Rf1 e2 25. Re1 Re3)  e4 19. Re2 Ke5
  • 1
    Sorry I fixed the position, I added the wrong position in the beginning. Btw it was White to move in the old diagram, so it was still okay because the king can come back again in time.
    – Guess601
    Jun 17, 2020 at 23:44
  • How can you continue after 10...f6. White can keep the rook on the 6th rank to prevent you from pushing, and he also can got to the 8th rank and annoy White by checking from behind vertically. How can you proceed? I reached a position that's almost similar to this one and didn't know how to continue.
    – Guess601
    Jun 18, 2020 at 13:59
  • 1
    I've added some moves showing what can happen if White puts the rook on the 6th rank. Putting the rook on the 8th rank is just silly in this position. It's not threatening anything, the White king can't leave the defence of h3 and the ed pawn is going to queen fairly easily.
    – Brian Towers
    Jun 18, 2020 at 15:16
  • Thanks that was very helpful.
    – Guess601
    Jun 18, 2020 at 17:07
  • "you should not be pushing those pawns as a first priority" then proceeds to execute a plan where the g and h pawns are the first to advance
    – David
    Jun 18, 2020 at 19:32

With such an overwhelming pawn advantage it should be easy enough to win.

What you said is definitely a good plan. You can push h5 and g5 to push the king back.

[fen "8/R4ppp/4pk2/1r6/8/5K2/6PP/8 b - - 4 38"]

1... h5 2. Ra4 g5 3. h3 Ke5 4. Ra2 f5

We can see here that black has an easy win. g4 is coming and once the pawns are traded, Black's two extra pawns win the game

  • after 5.g4 hxg4 6. hxg4 what do you do? Do you play 6...f4 or 6...fxg4 or 6...Rb3+? and then what?
    – Guess601
    Jun 18, 2020 at 14:02
  • Rb3+ followed by hxg4. Then you can push f4 G3 and move the king for e4
    – A.Shetye
    Jun 18, 2020 at 15:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.