In a game I recently played, I was playing White and I blundered quite a bit to reach this position.

[FEN "8/R1N4p/2k5/1pn1K3/8/3r4/P4r2/8 w - - 0 1"]

Is it possible for White to win at all? I had four minutes at hand, and I sat down thinking about all the possible moves I could make by giving the Black king constant checks to win. However, I could not think of anything here.

  • 1
    With correct play, Black should win this position with ease. White can win if he gets "collaboration".
    – David
    Nov 6, 2021 at 20:26
  • 5
    Why do you not just check with StockFish (say via the Lichess analysis page)??
    – user21820
    Nov 7, 2021 at 8:25
  • 1
    You may want to disambiguate the question -- I think you mean "can White ensure a win?" It is of course literally "possible for White to win" if Black makes blunders.
    – nanoman
    Nov 7, 2021 at 14:05
  • 1
    @user21820 I am quite new to chess, in fact, my rating is just in the 700s right now... I was not aware of the sources you have mentioned, but I will keep in mind to checkout these sources. Nov 8, 2021 at 9:03
  • 1
    @noobanomaly: Okay thanks for clarifying! At this stage, to quickly improve your rating you can play on Lichess and learn from the automatic analysis of your game. I suggest playing against the AI and increase its level until you find it challenging to win.
    – user21820
    Nov 8, 2021 at 9:39

3 Answers 3


No matter what, White is doomed. Black has much more material and there is no immediate threat to the Black king that White can cook up. The only checks available are futile ones. Additionally, the White king is in the hole, deep into a mating net and constricted by two Black rooks. Checkmate is inevitable in this position.

In fact, according to Stockfish analysis, Black has a mate in 7 here with White's best play.

[FEN "8/R1N4p/2k5/1pn1K3/8/3r4/P4r2/8 w - - 0 1"]

1. Ra3 Rxa3 2. Nd5 Re2+ 3. Kf6 Re6+ 4. Kf7 Kxd5 5. Kg7 Ra7+ 6. Kf8 Rb6 7. Ke8 Rb8#
  • 5
    Might be a good idea to mention that black is threatening mate in one with Re3# -- otherwise, Ra3 seems a bit strange. Nov 7, 2021 at 8:43
  • 6
    Re3 would still permit Kd4.
    – Magma
    Nov 7, 2021 at 10:16
  • Is Ra3 there because whatever move white plays they are mated in the same number of moves?
    – graffe
    Nov 7, 2021 at 18:08

Pretty hopeless unless your opponent blunders. Your only strategy is to avoid rook trades and use your knight to set up a fork. Unfortunately, you have no immediate move that proceeds with this strategy. If your rook moves, you well lose your knight. Your king has no legal moves. And if you move your night then Rd5 is mate. Your only hope is to play Na6, in the hope that your opponent misses mate in 1!


Black mates in 3 moves. White king is already in check and king has only one legal move that is Ke5 So 1.Ke5 Re3+ again king has only one legal move i.e. Kd4. 2.Kd4 Re4+ again king has only one legal move i.e. Kc3 3.Kc3 b4#.

  • 1
    Black does not have a mate in three moves. See my answer. Nov 9, 2021 at 19:00

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