Recently I've played a game (with blacks) which ended with this position (White to move) :

[fen "3rk3/p1R2ppp/2p5/8/P1K5/8/1P3PPP/8 w - - 0 1"]

It's clear that White player can't protect his pawns in the second row, but the problem here is with the a file, should black protect his pawns in the a file, which will quite restrict his possibilities ?
Otherwise, Is it possible to just abandon this pawn, and go for white pawns in the 2nd raw ? But the problem here is surely with the white pawn in a4 which is pretty advanced compared to black pawns.

How should black play in order to save his game ( a draw at least ?!)

  • I wanted to post an answer originally, but since I can not save the endgame, I can only offer you a detailed explanation of why White wins. If you are still interested let me know. By the way, why posting a picture of chess board when I showed you in your other question how to create chess diagram? What went wrong? I am willing to help you with that too, just leave a comment. Let me know what you have decided about my suggestions. Best regards. Feb 1, 2014 at 3:02

5 Answers 5


This endgame is lost for black, but the best plan here is for black to enter 2nd rank and try to gain some pawns and throw some checks. White's plan on the other side is just to take a7 pawn and advance his a4 pawn till promotion

Good luck trying to SAVE that one

  • Why blacks game is lost ? they still can try with Re8,Ra8, and then make his king approach to the a file, right ?
    – mounaim
    Jan 31, 2014 at 23:42
  • nope, is hopeless position. white will promote a pawn
    – Panzer
    Jan 31, 2014 at 23:47
  • I just can't see why, I think Rd7 is a good move for black too ;)
    – mounaim
    Feb 1, 2014 at 0:24
  • @mounaim, you said "white to move", so first white will take the pawn at a7. You can't respond with Ra8 and Rd7 will save nothing.
    – Tomas
    Feb 3, 2014 at 0:55
  • For the record, even with Black to move Rd7 doesn't look likely to save things. After 1...Rd7 2. Rxd7 Kxd7 3. Kc5 Black's got basically nothing. White can play a5 and even a6 if necessary at their leisure, and has multiple 'waiting moves' with the b pawn to avoid Zugzwang if needed, whereas the moment Black moves his king away from the defense of the c-pawn it's all over. Black can't possibly win the pawns vs. pawns fight on the kingside. Aug 9, 2016 at 0:24

White to move in that position? It looks pretty lost for black. White should probably choose 1.Rxa7 to grab the pawn and retain the control over the vital seventh rank. I guess that blacks best option is to play 1...Rd2 to try to grab some pawns and get counterplay. White should probably keep the b-pawn and play 2.b4 and black should probably grab a pawn with 2...Rxf2. Then, white should try to promote the a-pawn as soon as possible. Black will then most probably have problems stopping this. When black sacrifices the rook for whites a-pawn, blacks f-pawn will be too far behind to be a problem for white. So my line goes

1.Rxa7 Rd2 2.b4 Rxf2 3.a5 Rxg2 4.a6 Ra2 5.Kc5 Rc2+ 6.Kb6 Rb2 7.Rb7 Rxb4+ 8.Kxc6 Ra4 9.a7 g5 10.Rb8+ Ke7 11.a8=Q Rxa8 12.Rxa8

and my guess is that white is winning since blacks f- and g-pawns are too far behind, while whites King is very active and can catch the pawns with Kc6-d5-e4-etc.


Black can't save the endgame if White plays well.

As Capablanca wrote in "Chess Fundamentals," a rook on the seventh rank is worth a pawn. Given that actual pawns are even, consider White a pawn ahead.

White will first capture the a pawn. Since there is no Black pawn on say, b6, White's a pawn is "passed." Such a pawn is worth two pawns. Now White has the value of three pawns (a whole piece), ahead, even though he has one extra pawn. He will move his b pawn to b4 while Black moves his rook to d2. Afterward, he will move his a pawn toward the queening square. Black has to move (and keep) his rook on the a file. White's king then picks up the c pawn because Black's king is confined to the seventh rank.


Stockfish agrees with the other posters. You can stick a fork in this one, it is done. Of course, it requires the opponent to find the right moves...

[FEN "3rk3/p1R2ppp/2p5/8/P1K5/8/1P3PPP/8 w - - 0 1"]

1.Rxa7 Rd2 2.b4 Rc2+ 3.Kd4 Kd8 4.a5 c5+ 5.bxc5 Rxf2 6.a6 Ra2 7.Kc4 Kc8 8.Rxf7 Rxa6 9.Rxg7 h6 10.Kb5 Rf6 11.h4 Rf1 12.g4 Kb8 13.h5 Rb1+ 14.Kc4 Rc1+ 15.Kd5 Rh1 16.Kc6 Ra1 17.Rg6 Ka7 18.Kc7 Rc1 19.c6 Rf1 20.Rxh6 Rf7+ 

What about

 .....   d8-d2
 c7-c8!  d2-e2!

Now it's possible to draw.

  • 3
    it's white to move first, not black
    – Panzer
    Feb 1, 2014 at 9:45
  • 2
    And even if it was black's turn, do you know the rules of chess Adam? c7-c8 is in fact a check Rc7-c8+ which can't be followed by Rd2-e2!
    – Tomas
    Feb 3, 2014 at 1:09

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