King-and-Queen versus King-and-Rook (no Pawns)

Would you like to read a short paragraph that explains how to win with almost any position in a queen-versus-rook end game? That would take a book, not a short paragraph. The following summarizes a few of the key patterns to look for in winning the Q-vs-R pawn-less end game, yet the list is incomplete.

Philidor Position

Philidor position of queen versus rook

Diagram-1 (Black to move)

Probably the best-known winning position in this kind of end game is the Philidor. We assume it’s black’s move, for it’s a zugzwang (and with white to move, the attacker can transfer the move back to black).


The Wishbone

Endgame called "Wishbone"Diagram-2 (White to move)

The above position, a wishbone, also has the defending king on the edge, but here it’s far from a corner. Probably white’s best move here is Qb1+, following by Kc3, a procedure that Derek Grimmell calls “turning the thorn on its side.”


Third Rank Defense

classic third rank defense in this chess end game

Diagram-3 (White to move)

Of all the queen-versus-rook defenses in which the defending king is on the edge of the board, this one is probably the most difficult for the attacker to break down. There is a formula for winning, but it’s precise and it’s non-intuitive.


The Trapezoid

queen-versus-rook Trapezoid position in chess

Diagram-4 (Black to move)

The Trapezoid may have been named by Derek Grimmell, whose youtube videos on Q-vs-R end games are highly enlightening. Black to move has nothing that does not result in a quick checkmate or quick loss of the rook with no stalemate possibility. With white to move, I’d recommend Qb2, with few options for black.



Queen Versus Rook – Philidor type

In the queen-versus-rook Philidor, the defending king has only one legal move, and it results in the queen pinning the rook and capturing it on the next move.

Third-Rank Defense of Queen vs Rook (Grimmell)

Youtube chess video by Derek Grimmell


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