Efstratios Grivas on Two Rooks vs. Queen

by ChessBase
1/8/2024 – In general, a queen and one pawn equal two rooks – this leads us to nearly always prefer the two rooks. Is this always the case, and when it is, how can we take advantage of it. If you want to learn more about the tactics and strategy involved, it will be well to carefully follow the instructions of a world leading chess trainer and analyst, who uses high-class games to illustrate his points.

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In a situation with an equal number of pawns and no particular structural weaknesses for either side, the side with the rooks usually has the upper hand. In general, it is not an easy job to say when the two rooks are better than a queen; it all depends on the strategical factors of each exact position.

The two rooks might offer a serious advantage and high chances of getting the full point, if they meet their positive assets. The queen should avoid passive positions or if this is not possible, then should avoid this kind of ending at all! The queen has the upper hand when the rooks are disconnected or doomed to passivity because of the need to stop an opponent's passed pawns or to defend their own pawns.

Rooks are powerful when act together. A standard method is doubling the rooks to gain, or at least stop, an enemy's pawn. Rooks can also create mating threats, particularly when the opponent's king is cut off at an edge. The most important factors that usually are in favour of the rooks are:

  1. The rooks have full control of the position.
  2. The king is safe.
  3. The rooks support a passed pawn.
  4. There are fixed pawn structures.
  5. The rooks have safe anchor squares.
  6. The queen has no real targets.
  7. The queen must passively protect weak pawns.

In the recent FIDE Rapid Championship 2023, we came across the following illuminating example (click on the notation or diagrams to get a full replay board):

Another good example in this ending, can be seen in the following top-game:

A quite similar, but more difficult case, we can see in our next example:

As always, the reduced material is not in the favour of the strongest side. A good example is the following top-game:

If you like this article and you feel interested to follow webinars from GM Efstratios Grivas, you can download the schedule and data for his January 20th, 2024 Webinar on tactics:

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