Basic Checkmate, 2. King & Rook v King:
Part of the Chess Endgame Guide

Chess Endgame Guide
Basic Checkmates
[2. King & Rook v King]

Basic Checkmate
2. King & Rook v King
- Overview -

Basic Checkmates - King and Rook v KingThis image shows an example of the sort of position a King & Rook need to take up, to Checkmate a lone King.

All of Black's potential escape-squares (red squares) are guarded by either White's Rh8 or Kb6.

Note how there's an INVISIBLE WALL created at squares a7-b7-c7, due to the rule that prevents Kings sitting on adjacent squares. This virtual BARRICADE enables White's Rook to make the Checkmate move (Rh7-h8#).

The other squares that White's pieces guard have also been highlighted (yellow squares).

Basic Checkmate
2. King & Rook v King
- ChessFlash Viewer -

Basic Checkmate
2. King & Rook v King
- Video Example -

PGN File(s) [+]Show
Video Commentary
  • Move 1,
    [Timeline, 0:14],
    White's King goes to c2 ... Black responds by retreating his King, back up to e5.

  • Move 2,
    [Timeline, 0:21],
    White continues the march of his King, which goes to d3 ... Black side-steps his King to d5.

  • Move 3,
    [Timeline, 0:30],
    White sends his Rook to a5, which "Checks" (+) Black's King and also cuts off escape to Rank 5 and below ... Black's response is to move his King up to c6.

    Black's King is gradually being shepherded back towards the top row - the 8th Rank.

  • Move 4,
    [Timeline, 0:38],
    White leaves his Rook, unworried by the slow-progress of Black's King, and instead moves his own King to d4 ... Black's King advances to b6, within one square of White's Rook.

  • Move 5,
    [Timeline, 0:47],
    White now gets his Rook to safety, all the way across the other side of the board, to g5. This horizontal move continues to trap Black's King on the 6th Rank, at best ... Black's King now back-tracks to c6 and heads, slowly once more, toward White's Rook, in the other direction.

  • Move 6,
    [Timeline, 0:54],
    White side-steps his Rook one square, to h5 ... Black's King goes to d6.

  • Move 7,
    [Timeline, 1:02],
    White's Rook nips up to h6, which "Checks" (+) Black's King ... that move forces Black's King to escape to e7.

    Review Moves 5 to 7, by White, and pay attention, as they're gradually repeated, on both sides of the board and, together with the King, they slowly corral Black's King towards the 8th Rank.

  • Move 8,
    [Timeline, 1:12],
    White's King advances to d5 ... Black's King goes to f7.

  • Move 9,
    [Timeline, 1:22],
    White's King side-steps to e5 ... Black's King advances to g7, again, one square away from being able to capture White's Rook.

  • Move 10,
    [Timeline, 1:33],
    White does a reverse of Move 5, and sends his Rook across to the safety of the other side of the board, at b6 ... Once more, Black's King has to turn about and go in the opposite direction, starting at f7 and probably accompanied by an inaudible expletive.

  • Move 11,
    [Timeline, 1:41],
    White's Rook takes one more step to the left, to a6 ... Black's King advances to e7.

  • Move 12,
    [Timeline, 1:50],
    White's Rook steps up to a7, which "Checks" Black's King ... that move forces Black's King to retreat up onto the 8th Rank, choosing d8.

  • Move 13,
    [Timeline, 2:00],
    White's King now starts to progress, by going to e6 ... Black's King goes to c8 - still focussed on White's Rook, it's only possible target.

  • Move 14,
    [Timeline, 2:08],
    White's King steps one square left, to d6 ... Black's King steps one square left, to b8, once more, within striking distance of White's Rook.

  • Move 15,
    [Timeline, 2:16],
    White's Rook, once more, evades capture by going to the other side of the board, to g7 ... Black starts back again, returning to c8.

  • Move 16,
    [Timeline, 2:25],
    White nudges his Rook on to h7, ready for the final assault ... It's maybe at this point, that Black recognizes the pattern and begins a futile retreat, back to b8.

  • Move 17,
    [Timeline, 2:34],
    White advances his King to c6 ... Black retreats his King to a8.

  • Move 18,
    [Timeline, 2:43],
    White moves his King to b6, sealing off a channel of 3 squares, which Black cannot penetrate (this is part of the 'Mating trap) ... Black's final move is to advance the King to b8 - could've resigned, but nobly doesn't.

  • Move 19,
    [Timeline, 2:52],
    White's Rook goes up to h8, "Checkmate" #.

    White Wins (1-0).

  1. Kc2 ... Ke5
  2. Kd3 ... Kd5
  3. Ra5+ ... Kc6
  4. Kd4 ... Kb6
  5. Rg5 ... Kc6
  6. Rh5 ... Kd6
  7. Rh6+ ... Ke7
  8. Kd5 ... Kf7
  9. Ke5 ... Kg7
  10. Rb6 ... Kf7
  11. Ra6 ... Ke7
  12. Ra7+ ... Kd8
  13. Ke6 ... Kc8
  14. Kd6 ... Kb8
  15. Rg7 ... Kc8
  16. Rh7 ... Kb8
  17. Kc6 ... Ka8
  18. Kb6 ... Kb8
  19. Rh8#
  20. 1-0

Moving On: Basic Checkmate, 3. King and 2x Bishops v. King (Page 4).

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