[FEN "7r/1pk2p2/2p5/p5pp/3R2P1/1P3P1P/P5K1/8 w - - 0 1"]

Is it possible to win this endgame with either White or Black ?I know the Lucena and Philidor positions which are the first things that popped when I searched rook endgames. But how will that help me win these type of endgames? Is there a procedure?

  • 2
    Yes, it is possible to both win and lose such endgames. Source: I have won and lost such engames. Was it forced? No it was not.
    – B.Swan
    Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 17:39
  • 1
    Some things to note abou such endgames: The side up a pawn wants to keep pawns on both wings, as it makes K vs K endgames much more favorable. Cutting off the king from one side of the board gives you a huge advantage on this side as you can use your king there. Do not overextend your pawns; improve the king first. Once your position is optimized, rook trades will probably be in your favor. Black always has more options than White, try to make him feel it.
    – B.Swan
    Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


Is it possible to win this endgame(either white or black)?

Of course either black or white could win this endgame. All it takes is one blunder by either side.

If what you meant to ask if either side can force a win, then the answer is "No". Black is a pawn up but white has a much more active rook and the black king is cut off on one side of the board by the white rook.

As Tarrasch is supposed to have said "All rook and pawn endgames are drawn". With best play this is also very probably drawn but best play is very rare for humans, particularly in the endgame and particularly when the clock is ticking.

Even if black succeeded in exchanging off pawns until left with king+rook+pawn versus king+rook it would likely still be drawn as long as white managed to keep the rooks on. Even with rooks off as well there are many positions where king+pawn would still be a draw against lone king.


The old joke is "all pawn endings are wins, all rook endings are draws, all queen endings are draws by perpetual check".

Black is better. In the old days, before a possible adjournment, the director would ask both players what they were aiming for. If both players said they were playing for a draw, the director might settle things at once.

In this position, Black would say he's playing to win, White's playing to hold a draw. In practice, anything can happen.

Black's plan is probably: Swap the h-pawns (though the player who is one pawn ahead in an ending is hoping to trade pieces, not pawns), put the rook on the e-file to cut off the white king, and see where the c-pawn takes him.

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