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This fascinating position arose after 10 moves in the game of Edward Lasker against George Alan Thomas played in London, Monday to come one hundred years ago. I could not resist to offer you whole game which is very refreshing.


22/07/2012 15/07/2012 06/07/2012 29/06/2012 23/06/2012 16/06/2012 10/06/2012 04/06/2012 26/05/2012 19/05/2012 12/05/2012 05/05/2012 30/04/2012 27/11/2011



The Rook Endings with a Distant Passed Pawn

In rook endings an extra pawn is not such a great advantage. And we have already see what difficulties I could have faced in my game against James Byrne if the defence had been correct.
The point is that the rook is a powerful, dynamic piece, and its degree of activity strongly influences the assessment of a position. As a rule, an extra pawn can be realized in a rook ending only if the pieces, and in particular the rook, are actively placed. If the rook is passively placed, this may lead to the material advantage being devalued.  
In his time Tarrasch put forward a rule, that a rook should always be deployed behind a passed pawn. If it is your own pawn, the rook as though urges it on, while if it is an enemy pawn, the rook restrains it and at the same time retains the possibility of mounting attacks from the side.  
As we see below, Tarrasch's rule is applicable in many cases, but is by no means universal. Usually this rule is correct only when it is the rooks that are involve in the battle with a pawn. But if a passed pawn is being opposed by the enemy king, the rook is better placed at the side, when it not only defends the pawn, but also takes part in the play on the opposite wing. 
As a typical example can serve a "chess classic", game Alekhine Capablanca, 1927, which happened to be first game in their match in Buenos Aires.

Thus we have seen the standard plan for realizing an extra pawn, which is applicable not only in the rook endings:  
  1. The stronger side creates a passed pawn, and with the support of the rook tries to advance it. 
  2. If the pawn is stopped by the opponent's rook the king heads towards the pawn, to drive the rook away. 
  3. If the pawn is stopped by the opponent's king, the stronger side should defend the pawn with his rook from the side, and try to penetrate with his king or rook into the opponent's pawns on the opposite wing.  
In the above mentioned game the king was easily able to penetrate into the opponent's position.

RĂ©ti R., 1928 

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