Let’s begin this kind of endgame study with defense: How do you draw when you have only a rook and king and your opponent has only a queen and king?
Be aware that this blog is for beginners in chess, so these puzzles are too simplistic for most tournament competitors.
Position One – black to move and get a draw
In the first position, white has just moved Qc4, attacking the rook. Have you already seen black’s best move, the one that gets a quick draw?
In the queen-versus-rook end game, the defender is almost always looking for a way to get a draw, for winning chances (for the side with a rook) are usually very slim, unless your opponent is a raw beginner. The defender has a number of ways to get a draw, with the most likely being one of the following:
- Fifty-move rule: Both sides make fifty moves without any capture or any pawn move
- Draw agreement: Both sides agree to end the game as a draw
- Exchange: The queen is captured at the expense of the rook (kings-only is a draw)
- Stalemate when the defender has the move, is not in check, and has no legal move
Solution for Position One
Black moves Rf4+ (rook moves down three squares, to the f4 square), forcing the white king to move out of check. The rook then captures the white queen.
How to Win the Rook
Now for winning when you have the queen.
Position Two – white to move and win
The phrase “to move and win” does not always mean an immediate victory by checkmate. A quick mate, in 2-5 moves, is not possible for white to force in the above position. Do you see the winning move for white?
We actually have two winning moves available for the attacker, in Position-Two, both of them queen moves: Qc5+ or Qb4+. After the black king moves out of check, the queen captures the rook.
Winning with a queen-versus-long-king is easy for most chess players, although raw beginners may blunder into allowing the defender to get a draw through stalemate.
Many positions in queen-versus-rook are very difficult for the attacker to win, especially if the defender has the skill to defend well. On the surface, this kind of end game can appear simple, but in reality many of the positions can be very challenging for both attacker and defender. Good luck if you ever find yourself in this kind of chess end game.
Derek Grimmell calls this the trapezoid, a key position in the queen-versus-rook endgame. Although it may look innocent enough, black has no move that does not quickly lose.
The greatest relative mental-exercise benefit from chess is in the early stages of learning and playing the game. Beat That Kid in Chess is for the early-beginner . . .
An unusual type of Q-vs-R end game position, taught by Derek Grimmell