Game Spotlight: Looking for Endgame Patterns

Improving at chess means improving your endgame skills.  The good news is that quite a bit of this improvement involves learning some simple patterns that show up frequently, and applying them.  The game we’ll be looking at this week uses two patterns involving Rooks.  The first is a skewer to watch for when the Rook is in front of the pawn you want to promote:

This wouldn’t work if the Black King were on g7 or h7.  But if it’s on the 7th rank and caught towards the middle of the board, the White Rook can slip behind it with a winning tactic.  The second tactic involves cutting off the opposing King from its pawn, and the way you can track it down if it tries to promote:

Since the White King is cut off, the Black King is free to wander over and scoop up the White pawn.  If White decides to run the pawn, use the pattern in which the Rook “scares” the pawn farther forward, then slips behind it to capture.  Notice that this pattern works only if the pawn isn’t farther advanced than the 5th rank.  Also, make sure that the Black King doesn’t block the Rook’s barrier along the 4th rank, and doesn’t block the route the Rook needs to take to follow the pattern.  Now let’s see these ideas in practice:

The 2019 Nairobi Chess Club Open Championship has been announced for August 23-25.  For the first time, we’re trying some crowdfunding to help pay for the venue, tables, prize fund, and so forth.  If you can help out, please do so here.

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