I think I mentioned that when Jorge was 11 ½ , he was living in Spain. His FIDE rating was 2250 and was being trained by none other than Tal. This was about a year prior to Tal’s death. I had my first official lesson the other night, and I Jorge showed me another side of Tal. When Jorge was being trained, and eager like me to learn sharp tactical openings etc…. he was brought back to reality by understanding the need to learn endgames. Jorge informs me that his predecessor commented that the ability to play endgames makes the difference between weak and strong players.
If you don’t know how to play an endgame, the weaker player will draw a won endgame and lose to a theoretical drawn one. While the stronger player tends to win drawn endgames and draw lost ones!
This week the main focus was on the rule of 3 squares ( Either side to move...DRAW).
The premise of this RULE is that when the defending king is cutoff, the other king cannot leave the pawn to go “hunting” the rook. Even if he brings the rook to the same rank as the pawn, then it gives the defending side a chance to catch up. As long as he keeps his rook 3 squares distance from the pawn.
Two squares and the position is a win for White ( move the Pawn and King up a square).
The exceptions to the THREE SQUARE rule is if the defending King is cut off on either rook files. On the short side, White can create a mating threat and advance the pawn to the 2-square position. On the long side, the King and rook can work together and advance before the defending King can come back.
The critical position is this one with Black to move… Ke7 or Ke6? One is a loss one is a draw:
If you think you know hte answer, feel free to leave me a comment me on which is the better move and why.
The long side versus the short side rule of rooks in the end game always eluded me due to a feable attempt to memorize the rule. What I learned the other night was that this Long/short rule is due to the King’s ability to hunt the rook. SO … irregardless of the placement of the rook in front or in back or on the side of the pawn … the rule still applies. Light bulb moment ( for me)
Have a good weekend …enjoy.