It's ENDGAME time!!

In this lesson you'll learn how to get CHECKMATE with just a KING and a ROOK.

It's easy - if you know how.

First of all this is what a KING & ROOK CHECKMATE looks like.

The enemy King is on the edge of the board and your King is exactly two squares away.

If the King is in the corner the CHECKMATE can also look like this.

So, just as with KING & QUEEN against King you have to drive the enemy King to the edge of the board.

We'll start with this position.

Get out your chess set, set up the position and play it through yourself.

Start with these moves: 1. Ra1-a4 Ke5-d5

See how the White Rook cuts off the Black King.

Black is trying to keep his King in the center.

Now White moves his King towards the center: play the moves Ke1-e2 for White and Kd5-e5 for Black.

With any luck you should have reached this position.

Again White moves his King in while Black stays in the middle:

play Ke2-e3 for White and Ke5-d5 for Black.

Now imagine that the King is in prison.

He is going to be executed, but first we must force him into the corner.

What we do is make the prison smaller and smaller until he has nowhere to run.

This is where we've got to.

White now plays a move which confines Black to the North West quarter of the board.

Is it...

Ra4-a5+ Ra4-e4

Ra4-a1 Ra4-a8

Yes, White played Ra4-e4 and Black replied Kd5-c5.

Do you see how the ROOK marks out the prison walls.

Black's prison consists of the 16 squares within the walls - count them!

Now what you do is this.

If you can play a ROOK move to make the prison smaller, you do so.

If you can't, you play a WAITING MOVE with your King.

In this position you can play a ROOK move to make the prison smaller.

Which of these moves would you choose?

Re4-e5+ Re4-a4

Re4-c4+ Re4-d4

White played Re4-d4 (the prison now has 12 squares) and Black played Kc5-c6.

Which of these moves should White play next?

Rd4-d5 Rd4-c4+

Ke3-e4 Ke2-f2

Yes, White's King approached: Ke3-e4 and Black's King went back from c6 to c5.

It's your move again.

Ke4-e5 Ke4-e3

Rd4-c4+ Rd4-d8

White still can't make the prison smaller so his King approaches the enemy: Ke4-e5 and Black's King goes back to c6.

Can you make the prison smaller this time?

Rd4-d7 Rd4-d6+

Rd4-d5 Ke5-e4

Yes: White played Rd4-d5 (the prison is now 9 squares) and Black played Kc6-c7.

Can you make that prison even smaller?

Rd5-d6 Rd5-d7+

Rd5-c5+ Rd5-b5

Again White makes the prison smaller - 6 squares - with Rd5-d6 and Black plays Kc7-b7.

What next?

Ke5-f4 Ke5-d5

Rd6-d7+ Rd6-c6

White's King approaches again: Ke5-d5 - and Black's King returns: Kb7-c7.

Now what?

Rd6-c6+ Rd6-d7+

Kd5-e5 Kd5-c5

Again the White King moves nearer - Kd5-c5 and the Black King returns - Kc7-b7.

Over to you - you should have the idea by now!

Rd6-a6 Rd6-b6

Rd6-c6 Kc5-d5

White's move, Rd6-c6, confines Black to a prison of just FOUR squares. Black replies with Kb7-a7.

What are you going to do next?now!

Rc6-b6 Rc6-a6+

Kc5-d4 Kc5-b4

White's last move, Rc6-b6, confines the Black King to a prison of just TWO squares. Black has no choice but to play Ka7-a8.

It's time to move in for the kill!

Rb6-b7 Rb6-a6+

Kc5-d4 Kc5-c6

White's King comes one square nearer: Kc5-c6 and Black can only play Ka8-a7.

You're nearly there now.

Rb6-b7+ Rb6-a6+

Kc6-c7 Kc6-c5

The White King advances again: Kc6-c7, and the Black King returns to the corner: Ka7-a8.

Over to you for the winning move.

Rb6-b7 Rb6-a6+

Rb6-b8+ Kc7-c8

There you are: it's CHECKMATE.

When you've finished the lessson try it out for yourself against the computer.

You reached this position with BLACK to move. He had to play Ka7-a8, allowing CHECKMATE.

Now suppose it's WHITE's move. Which of these moves is the quickest way to win.

Rb6-b1 Rb6-b7+

Kc7-c6 Rb6-h6

Congratulations if you got that right. In fact moving the Rook to c6, d6, e6, f6 or g6 would work just as well.

Now Black can only play Ka7-a8, when the Rook bounces back to a6 - CHECKMATE!!

The other moves we suggested take longer - try them out for yourself and see.

Now we'll really see how clever you are.

In this position there's only ONE way for White to FORCE checkmate in TWO MOVES.

Can you find it?

If you found the right move you're doing really well!!

The White Rook controls the FOURTH RANK to stop the Black King escaping.

His only move is Kh5-h6, when Rd4-h4 is CHECKMATE!!

And just one final example of the same idea.

Again, White has to FORCE CHECKMATE in TWO MOVES.

Again, here's the position.

Black has no choice - Kb1-c1, when Ra8-a1 is CHECKMATE.

Other moves take longer - try them out for yourself if you don't believe me.


You have now completed the KING & ROOK CHECKMATE assignment.