The rook is a powerful piece that can move horizontally or vertically any number of squares on the board, while the king is a relatively weak piece that can only move one square in any direction. To checkmate the opposing king, the rook and king must work together to trap the opposing king in a corner of the board or against the edge of the board, where it cannot escape capture by the rook or the king.
Let’s see a typical starting position:
Unlike an endgame with a queen, the rook cannot force the black king to get to the corner just by itself, and needs the own king’s help from the very start. Besides that, the basic winning strategy is basically the same – to control key squares and cut off the opposing king’s escape routes.
1) Use the “bridge” technique to chase the king away to the corner:
Click through the moves on the diagram above, until you reach this position:
Careful now! The typical mistake beginners usually do here is move the queen one square closer to the black king. But such a move would cut off all escape routes, so the game would finish as a draw – stalemate. See the position after 9. ♜b7??:
2) Bring your king to the opposition:
Good job! See the position after the last move:
Finish the game by moving your rook to the yellow-marked square. 14. ♜a6#
Well done! You have completed another lesson of basic endgame strategies.