King And Rook vs King

Do you like to play endgames which are clearly winning? I sure do!

So let's go over this basic King and Rook endgame here.

If you never played this endgame before, you'll see it's an easy win.

Starting at this random position, how to proceed?

Well... I like having a plan.

Without a plan you might stumble onto a mate, but that's not very likely, is it?

Be the (wo)man with a plan.

So first, let's find the winning plan.

The Winning Plan

You can use the following four steps:

1. Imprison the opposing King in a box, using the Rook.

2. Get your own King to help.

3. Chase the opposing King to the edge of the board.

4. Mate the King while he's moving around the last row .

How To Execute The Winning Plan

Starting at the above position, let's assume black has to play.

Black, knowing our plan, decides to play 1...Kc7, moving his king away from the edge of the board.

When defending this type of position, it's usually a good idea to keep your king in the centre of the board.

Now it's our move and we start by imprisoning the king in a box. This is done to prevent the king from running away. Once this is done properly, we then start step 2, chasing the king to the edge of the board.

So we play 2. Ra6. Now look at the position below. Do you see the box, detaining the king?

You may find it hard to see "the box" in the diagram to the left.

Therefore I gave you the same diagram at the right, this time showing the squares the king isn't able to use.

Do you see "the box" now?

Now black moves 2...Kb7.

This reveals the biggest problem in this type of endgame. The king is able to attack the rook.

It's something we have to fix immediately, all the while retaining the king.

We play 3. Rh6, placing the rook as far away from the king as possible, while still maintaining the box.

Do you see the box?

Now it's time to start step two, getting our king up the board to help. So play continues 3...Kc7 4. Kg2 , Kd7 5. Kf3 , Ke7 6. Kf4 , Kf7 7. Kf5 , Kg7.

Step two is now completed, but black is attacking our rook.

So we move it to the other side of the board again, still maintaining "the box". 8. Ra6

So what should black do now? He doesn't want to go to the edge of the board (where he will be mated) so he has to play 8...Kf7.

Here we have a typical position in this endgame. The kings are opposing each other and the rook is far away. This is a position you'll want to remember, mainly because of the following maneuver.

We've arrived at step 3 of our plan, chasing the king to the edge of the board. Although it refused to go there by itself, now we're able to force it.

We play 9. Ra7!

Do you see what's happening? In the position with opposing kings we can chase the other king one row up the board. Now the king is limited to using the 8-th rank only. 9...Ke8

Now we bring our king in for the final step.... the mating attack. 10. Ke6

If we were to move now, we'd play Ra8 and the mate would be there. Unfortunately it's black to move. 10...Kd8

Now how do we reach a position with opposing kings and white to move ?

If we just follow the black king it isn't going to come about.

So we play11. Rg7

Now the black king can't oppose ours. We would play Rg8 and mate would be achieved.

Black only has one other option, which isn't going to save him either. He can move to the corner 11...Kc8 12. Kd6, Kb8 13. Kc6, Ka8 14 Kb6

And now there's only one move left. 14...Kb8 opposing and white to move.

We now finish the game by 15. Rg8 mate.

Would Fleeing To The Other Side Help?

No, fleeing to the other side won't help.

The same approach applies. Following the black king doesn't help, so we play a waiting move like 11. Rc7.

Now black has to go over to the other corner.

And again is left with only one move to play, Kg8.

Yes! Opposing and white to move!

By now it should be easy for you too! What to play?

Rc8 mate ofcourse! Well done!


This type of endgame will become an easy win for you.

Stalemate isn't very likely to happen (although it is possible).

If you follow the winning plan, the defending side will be helpless and you will win!

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