After having been under tremendous pressure due to a mistake in the middle game and with only 30s on the clock, I was very relieved to find a way to liquidate into this endgame, which I knew was a theoretical draw.

 [FEN "8/5pk1/R3p1p1/8/7p/7P/3r1PP1/6K1 w - - 0 34"]

Long story short: I managed to lose this endgame. Not due to my time-trouble, but because I didn't manage anything of the following: active counterplay/defence using my rook, cutting off his king, trading pawns,.... He just slowly advanced his king, shielded by his pawns and due to his active rook and restricting pawns I could never really free myself.

How to hold this endgame? The engine claims that every single legal move from White (except the ones immediately losing material and g3) is -0.2 or -0.3... So apparently, even though Black is more active than in other 3-vs-4-scenarios, White doesn't seem to need precision from the start. What's the defence plan / setup that White should follow to facilitate the draw?

1 Answer 1


The general drawing technique for rook endings with 4 vs 3 pawns on the same wing is:

  1. Avoid Rook Exchange
  2. Exchange pawns
  3. Advance h-pawn to h4

Idea is that with a white pawn on h4 Black will not be able to avoid pawn exchanges when they advance their pawns. In your diagram this is already impossible so the defense will be difficult. In future I suggest trying to avoid defending a position like this.

  1. Strive to prevent the advance of the e-pawn.

Use moves such as Ra4 and f3 to prevent ..e4.

  1. Look to cut his king off from his pawn and/or attack his rear pawns with your rook.

This becomes possible when White moves to force through the advance of the e-pawn.

Many endgame books have a section on this ending. A model game when the h-pawn cannot advance is Korchnoi - Antoshin 1954. Korchnoi's book Practical Rook Endings covers this ending in detail.

  • Could you edit in 0. Do not swap rooks. It's obvious but... Dec 18, 2023 at 8:45
  • @HaukeReddmann done Dec 18, 2023 at 19:29

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