Unless the rook or king can immediately capture the queen, a queen typically emerges victorious in an endgame against a lone rook. The game may end in a stalemate or perpetual check, however, which would result in a draw. Have a look at our article about the tactic called Desperado, as it describes how a defending player can sometimes enforce a draw if the circumstances are right.
Anyway, this article is about winning the endgame. A queen is definitely stronger than a rook, but a rook isn’t completely helpless, and its high mobility can make this goal pretty complex, especially for inexperienced players. Keep in mind that if there have been no captured pieces or pawn movements in the last 50 moves, the game will result in a draw.
Let’s analyze several positions.
We already know one position with rooks and pawns, named by Phillidor. This one is different, as there are no pawns left. White wins by forcing the black rook to move away from the king’s protection with the technique called the Triangulation:
Third rank defense
A third-rank defense occurs when the rook is positioned three ranks or files away from the edge of the chessboard, with the king located closer to the board’s edge, and the opposing king positioned on the opposite side. It is not easy to break through the defense, but if the attacking player knows the strategy, they have a fair chance to reach the Phillidor position, ergo win a more straightforward endgame.
In most cases, the path to victory involves initially using a fork to capture the opponent’s rook with your queen, followed by a checkmate using your king and queen. However, there are some scenarios or against inadequate defense where a checkmate can still be achieved even with the rook still on the board. Assuming flawless play, even in the most challenging winning scenario, it is still possible for the queen to either capture the rook or secure a checkmate within a maximum of 31 moves.