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).

What am i doing wrong?

How do i improve the efficientcy of my chess study? How do i get more out the hours i am busy with chess? That were the questions i asked myself when deliberating my chess study. What did i come up with?

First of all let me remind you of my study regime. I am studying tactics, covered with a sauce of tactics, and as dessert a big portion of tactics. With other words my study is (so far) only at one subject of chess , no diversity.

Since i wasn’t progressing the way i liked i decided to analyse my regime and came up with the follow points.

1. Study has a negative ring to me.

Study has a negative ring to me. It sounds to much as if i am back in school. Back in the benches to wear_away my pants. So i decided to rename study to training which in my opinion covers the load much better. I am not cramming my head full of knowlegde that i have to recite at any moment when asked. No, i am training my brain to come up with a good plan during a chess game.

2. I seem to be one of those persons that needs structure

I seem to be one of those persons that needs structure before they can start upload new knowlegde in my brain. Which means that i have to schedule my chess training. No more random training when it pleasses me at nine or eleven o’clock at night but at a set hour namely nine o’clock at evening.

3. Concentration

Concentration on what i am doing isn’t always optimum. I am distracted by television, radio, or even other thoughts that wander into my brain. So sometimes i make mistakes when i am solving tactical puzzles since i am not with my head entirly by the task at hand.

So off go television or/and radio. No more sitting in my comfy couch, laptop on my knees, while trying to solve the exersises of the TASC CD. No more sitting in my comfy couch with a chess book trying to grasp what is written. From now on all my training will be done at my desk without any distraction other then chess.

4. Duration

Duration, which is tightly connected with concentration, per day spend at training will be one hour (atleast for monday to thursday since friday to sunday are still reserved for OTB chess). Better to learn something new in small packages and let it ripe into the brain then smashing the brain with a big load of new knowledge, in a four hour session, that it never can process.

5. Setting goals.

Setting goals. These ‘small deathlines’ will also help me concentrate on my training. 

Before i start with a one hour trainingsession i will set me a certain amount i shall (will) learn. At first i will have troubles with how much that amount of new knowlegde or how much exercises must, may, be. But after awhile i will know how fast i can absorp new knowlegde and will become good in setting my goals per day.


On another note i would like to bring your attention to a wonderfull chess website namely chessedelic . It really is a pearl, a gem, of a website for beginning- and intermediate chess players. Check it out and be amazed what a good job Waldemar Moes, a dutch chess trainer, is doing.

Progress report

My chess study goes slowly but in a steady pace. I am using the Tasc chess cd 2. It’s based on the steps method created by Rob Brunia (who sadly died january 5 of the year 2005 at age 57) and Cor Van Wijgerden. It was created to teach childeren the wonderfull game of chess but it turns out also a fantastic tool for adults to learn all about the game we all love so much namely chess. It’s a succesfull method, prove of it are all the young players who now sport a rating over 2000 elo that i know learned chess with it.

Step 1 (click below on ‘the steps’ then on ‘ booklet step 1’ to see a summary what is in step 1) i went thru in a flash. The numerous exercises i solved without mistake. All 100% correct.

Step 2 (click below on ‘the steps’ then on ‘booklet step 2’ to see a summary what is in step 2) i thought i knew already but to my surpirse i made mistakes when solving the exercises. Either by miscalculation, overlooking something very simple or wanting to solve them to fast. Because of it, not having 100% on them all, i had to redo all exercises after i finished step 2 as ordered by my chess coach/trainer. The second try on all exercises i maked sure i didn’t moved to fast and checked my calculation to make sure i didn’t miss my 100% once again.

So now i have started step 3 (click below on ‘the steps’ then on ‘booklet step 3’ to see a summary what is in step 3). I am only at lesson 2, discovered and double check, at the moment. It’s going good, i am learning more about chess in a way i like and enjoy. What more a chess player can wish?

To end i will give you one of the exercises.


play the best move(s)

Highlight solution: []Qxg6+ fxg6 2. Bf8# ]