The Chess Project: Installment #4: Mating with the Rook(s)

Suppose you’re fortunate enough to find yourself playing White in the following position:

Mating’s a breeze with two rooks against a lone King, and illustrates really nicely the Rook’s long-range power.  Simply drive the opponent’s King to an edge of the board by cutting-off ranks or files.  Once you have the King on an edge you deliver checkmate.  The final position will look something like this:

Or this:

Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly down on myself I’ll just set up Double-Rook vs. Lone King against the computer on its strongest setting, and mate it repeatedly.  There’s nothing the Poor Computational Beast can do.

What if you have just one Rook + King against the lone King?  The game’s yours to win, of course, but it’s definitely trickier.  Here’s the end-position you’re trying to reach:


The key to these positions is that White’s King is directly facing Black’s King.  When this happens, Black cannot leave its rank (or file).  Moving the Rook to that rank (or file) thus achieves checkmate.

Here’s the mate ‘in motion’ (click on the moves in bold):

Obviously, you might have to maneuver a bit to drive the King to an edge of the board, but this shouldn’t be too difficult once you understand the concept of mating with King and Rook vs. King.


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