Chess Puzzle of the Week (217): Solution

On Monday I left you with this position from the game beween Conor Murphy (now playing on top board for Richmond in the London League) and eventual tournament winner Sarunas Sulskis, played at Hastings on New Years Eve.

Conor played 75. Ra4 here. I asked you two questions: was this his best move and how should Black reply?

No, unfortunately it wasn’t his best move. The only drawing move was 75. Kf6!. As he’ll meet Rd8 with Ke7, proposing a repetition, he’ll soon win the d-pawn while getting his king behind the f-pawn.

After 75. Ra4?, Sarunas found the only winning move, 75… Rb6!, cutting off Conor’s king, soon reaching a winning RP v R ending and, eventually, the tournament.

If you play the position out yourself you’ll learn a lot about this vital ending. If you have a teacher, play it out against your teacher. If you have any friends, play it out against your friends. If you don’t have any friends play it out against your computer!

Write down your moves and check your play against the tablebases afterwards.

Consulting Phil (who shows you how to draw with R v RP) and Lucy (who shows you how to win with RP v R) will always help you. See here for an introduction to rook endings, and here for my recommended endgame book (coming in physical form very soon).