Rook vs Two Connected Pawns
(Part Four)

This is the fourth part on rook vs two connected pawns.

If you missed the previous parts, you can find them under
rook vs two connected pawns

rook vs two connected pawns (part two)
rook vs two connected pawns (part three).

In the first part, you've seen that two connected pawns on the third rank are very strong. Especially if the rook's king is out of play.

In the second part the kings started to join the action.

In the third part you've seen some more ideas with far advanced pawns.

In this part we'll see some more positions with an active king supporting the pawn advance.

Example nr.1

rook vs two connected pawns 8

The pawns are supported by the king. This gives you good winning chances.

To win this position, it's necessary to know which drawing mechanism Black wants to use.

Rule: The side with the rook will achieve a draw if the king establishes contact with the most backward pawn, while the rook covers the queening square of the most advanced pawn.

Let's look at this drawing mechanism first. This will give you a clear idea on how to proceed in this type of ending.

1. Kb6!, Kd2; 2. a7?, 

rook vs two connected pawns 8 a

Now Black will escape, because the rook already covers the queening square of the a-pawn.

2...Kc3; 3. Kb7, Kc4;

rook vs two connected pawns 8 b

The king has established contact with the last pawn.

4. b6, Kb5;

rook vs two connected pawns 8 c

And this is a draw.  The rook will capture the front pawn when it advances and the king will then capture the last pawn ( 5. a8Q, Rxa8; 6. Kxa8, Kxb6). 

There are no winning options for White here (5.Kc7 fails because of Ra6).

Now you've seen this drawing mechanism, it's very easy to find the winning idea.


Winning Method

The rook is behind the a-pawn, so the b-pawn will have to queen. This forces the rook to make an extra move and, more important, the black king needs more moves to establish contact with the most backward pawn.

1.Kb6!, Kd2; 2.Ka7!,

rook vs two connected pawns 8 d

White intends to queen the b-pawn.

2... Kc3; 3.b6, 

rook vs two connected pawns 8 e

The black king isn't able to reach the last pawn...

3...Kc4;

4.b7, Rb1;

rook vs two connected pawns 8 f

The king can't stop the pawn, so the rook takes over.

Unfortunately for Black, this doesn't help either.

5. b8Q, Rxb8; 6.Kxb8,

rook vs two connected pawns 8 g

 And now the pawn has free pass to a8.

6....Kb5; 7. a7, and winning.

Example nr.2

rook vs two connected pawns 9

You now know the defending  as well as the winning ideas.

It's clear what Black is aiming at. The rook will cover the queening square and the king attacks the backward pawn.

The only thing Black has to prevent is the trick we've seen in the previous example, where White turned the tables by promoting a different pawn.

How will Black accomplish this?

After 1...Rg3?, White is able to turn the tables (as you've seen before).

2.Kg7!, Kd4; 3. f6, Ke5; 4. f7, Rf3; 5. f8Q and winning.

Black has to try something different. As it turns out, 1....Rf3 is winning!

rook vs two connected pawns 9 a

This way, Black forces the g-pawn to move (2. Ke6 isn't good due to 2...Rg3; and the other try 2.Ke5, fails to 2....Rg3!; 3. f6, Rg5;). 

2.g7, Rg3!;

rook vs two connected pawns 9 b

Now it's clear. The rook has the most advanced pawn in sight and the king is close enough to make contact with the other pawn.

3.Kf7, Kd4; 4.f6, Ke5; 

rook vs two connected pawns 9 c

and as you know by now, this is a draw.

Conclusion

This endgame of rook vs two connected pawns has some clear ideas.

Rule: The side with the rook will achieve a draw if the king establishes contact with the most backward pawn, while the rook covers the queening square of the most advanced pawn.

Trick: The side with the pawn will try to turn his backward pawn into the promoting pawn.

If you're able to use these ideas to your advantage, you don't have to calculate all variations. 

You just have to watch out  for (or use to your advantage) the tricks.


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