Two rook pawns with an extra pawn on the opposite side

On chessskill’s blog i did find an intresting pawn endgame which i studied not so long ago myself. The position i am talking about is shown in the following diagram.

White to move

The question here is if white can win this or will it be a draw? The answer is all about on which diagnal (is still the fastest way to go from one side from the board to the other side) the black king has to run to try and stop the white a pawn from promoting. Lets show some proof. In our position (see next diagram) the pawn stands on g3 so the black king has to run over the diagnal h2-b8 (green arrow) to trying to prevent the a-pawn to promote to queen after capturing the g-pawn.

So the question is will black make it in time? The answer is no since the diagnal the black king must run on is to close to where the a-pawns are standing. You can see that if white plays his king to b6 (red square in diagram) he is able to block the diagnal for further use of the black king. Now lets see how this looks in moves.

1. Kg2 Kg4 2. Kf2 Kg5 3. Ke3 Kg4 4. Kd4 Kxg3 5. Kc5 Kf4 6. Kb5 Ke5 7. Kxa5 Kd6 8. Kb6 and white wins since the black king has to stop his progress on the diagnal.

Now offcourse one can wonder if this is always true so lets take another example but this time we put the pawn on g4 instead of g3, the black king on f6 and the white king on h3 (see next diagram). Which makes that the white king has to be on c6 or b7 (red squares) on time to block the black king from marching on the diagnal h3-c8 (green arrow).

white to move

So here we go, 1. Kg3 Kg5 2. Kf3 Kg6 3. Ke4 Kg5 4. Kd5 Kxg4 5. Kc5 Kf5 6. Kb5 Ke6 7. Kxa5 Kd7 8. Kb6 Kc8 and it’s a draw!!! Since after 9. Ka7 (to prevent the black king to run to a8) Kc7 9. a5 Kc6 10. a6 (since Ka8 allows black to win the pawn with Kb5) Kc7 11. Ka8 Kc8 12 a7 Kc7 and the position is a stalemate.

So the rule here is that how closer the diagnal is to where the a-pawns are standing the black king has to run over how easier it is for white to stop the black monarch from using this path to the finish.

Now knowing this you probably can solve the next diagram without to much doubt. Will white win or is black able to draw?

white to move

If you want to know more about this type of endgame i recomend the book ‘Endgame manual’ by author Mark Dvoretsky (or buy the DVD).


9 Comments on “Two rook pawns with an extra pawn on the opposite side”

  1. Great diagrams! Glad you could find some use in my play with kings and pawns.

  2. Thanks a lot for the analysis of Fischer’s endgame over on my Chess Skills blog. I spent a little time this morning answering your suggestions in detail to come up with today’s entry.

  3. chesstiger says:

    @ Stripes

    Thanks. The diagrams are created with Fritz, the chessprogram of chessbase.

    Well done with your reply to my comment on your blog. Keeps things very intresting!

  4. Namit Gaur says:

    Thanks Tiger for the analysis on my website. I will keep it in mind in future games.

  5. chesstiger says:

    @ Namit Gaur

    No problem, it was a nice game to ponder about.

  6. Just a note to point out that I’ve given this post a shout out in an unusual place–my history blog: Patriots and Peoples

  7. chesstiger says:

    I feel honoured!

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  9. jena says:

    great post

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