A King on the Edge

Getting the defending king to the edge of the board does not always mean a win is then easy for the side with the queen. Consider the following:

After Qe6+ and Kh4-response

Diagram-1  White to move

White’s obvious move is probably best: Kf4.

White has formed a cage

Diagram-2  after White’s Kf4 (Black to move)

In Diagram-2 we see what Derek Grimmell calls a cage, for g4 is not available to the rook. What can Black do? Any rook move leads to immediate disaster, so that leaves Kh5.

queen vs rook endgame position

Diagram-3  White to move

Now for the combination that wins the game:


Diagram-4  after Qf7+

Black has three legal moves. Both Rg6 and Kh4 quickly lose the rook from the queen pinning that piece, a simple tactic, for White’s responses would be Kf5 or Qf6 respectively. That leaves only one reasonable move for Black: Kh6.

White now wins with Qf6+

Diagram-5  after Black’s Kh6

How can White win quickly here? Look at how the white king is touching the rook. That cries out for the attacker to use the queen to threaten that piece. Look for that in queen-versus-rook end games.


White moved Qf6+

Diagram-6  after Qf6+

White’s Qf6+ forces Black to choose: Give up the rook or fall to a mate in one. Saving the rook through Rg6 is obvious. Not quite so obvious is what Grimmell calls a microwave mate. White would get checkmate, after Rg6, with Qh8#.

In diagrams #4 and #6, White moved the queen to a square on the same file as the white king. In general, this could invite a simple stalemate combination by the defender, but succeeding in chess comes more from playing precisely than from following general principles. The above moves were from precise calculations by White.



Films With Chess

Countless movies and television shows have contained some element of chess, even if only a brief shot that includes a chess set. But a few films put the royal game onto center stage.

Queen Versus Rook – Absolute Seventh

When the defending king is on an edge of the board, in the queen versus rook end game, one defense is using the rook to cut off the attacking king. [although a third-rank defense is much better than a second-rank defense]

Chess Book for an Early Beginner

How does one become a chess master? Not from learning the rules of the game and then just sitting back in an easy chair to read chess books. [It takes practice.]


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