The crucial d-file

by Karsten Müller
5/14/2019 – Rook endings often have drawish tendencies. But some rook endings that are theoretically drawn are sometimes still very difficult to defend.

Chess Endgames 2 - Rook Endgames Chess Endgames 2 - Rook Endgames

With this second volume of his endgame training series, grandmaster and endgame expert Dr Karsten Mueller continues to lay the solid foundations for the last phase of the game.
Part II is dedicated exclusively to rook endgames: rook versus pawn, rook and pawn versus rook, rook and rook pawn versus rook, rook and two connected pawns versus rook.


Hold it

A challenge for the "Minister of Defence".


Karsten Mueller in ChessBase Magazine

Do you like these lessons? There are plenty more by internationally renowned endgame expert Dr Karsten Müller in ChessBase Magazine, where you will also find openings articles and surveys, tactics, and of course annotations by the world's top grandmasters.

Apart from his regular columns and video lectures in ChessBase Magazine there is a whole series of training DVDs by Karsten Mueller, which are bestsellers in the ChessBase Shop.

Karsten Mueller

Karsten Mueller regularly presents endgame lessons in the ChessBase Video Portal

ChessBase Magazine 189

World Team Ch and Chess Festival Prague with analyses by Vitiugov, Wojtaszek, Vidit, Duda, Adams, Jones, McShane and many more. Lots of videos by Vidit, King, Williams, Marin, Pelletier etc. Plus eleven opening articles, e.g. Italian Game with 6...d5!?


Highlights of this issue

  • CBM 184Najdorf selection
    In video, Yannick Pelletier presents three tricky Sicilians from the Gibraltar Open
  • "I had an idea in the Berlin"
    Prague winner Nikita Vitiugov shows how he beat Pentala Harikrishna
  • "After 36...h5 I was dancing inside!"
    Enjoy Vidit Gujrathi’s video analysis of his win against Boris Gelfand
  • The Torre Surprise
    Savour Simon Williams‘ opening video, featuring a novelty in the Torre Attack!
  • Look forward to five extra videos! Mihail Marin shows a game by the new European champion Vladislav Artemiev. Yannick Pelletier presents his Najdorf selection from the Gibraltar Open. And Robert Ris gives us the slogan: “Everything depends on concrete things!”
    ...and much more!


Karsten Müller, born 1970, has a world-wide reputation as one of the greatest endgame experts. He has, together with Frank Lamprecht, written a book on the subject: “Fundamental Chess Endgames” in addition to other contributions such as his column on the website ChessCafe as well as in ChessBase Magazine. Müller's ChessBase-DVDs about endgames in Fritztrainer-Format are bestsellers. The PhD in mathematics lives in Hamburg, where he has also been hunting down points for the HSK in the Bundesliga for many years.
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Stelling Stelling 5/16/2019 03:33
It is not exactly the d file by itself, but a combination of factors as the location of the white rook, and the black king. Were the white rook on g4 instead of g5 1. ... Rd2 would do no good and black would be loosing, were it on g8 1. ... Rd2 would loose and only 1. ... Rc2 would draw.
Former Prodigy Former Prodigy 5/15/2019 12:59
Re Garland Best: Once White cuts off Black king along the d-file, he can push his king and pawn forward to h8 and h7 respectively and then transfer his rook to g8 to push Black's rook from g1 and liberate his king from h8 as shown in the annotations. On the contrary, with the rook on e-file White is not in time to liberate his king, as Black's king enters f7 before White plays Rg8. That is why Black needs to take control of the d-file.
Garland Best Garland Best 5/14/2019 09:18
Ok, but why 7. Rd2 as opposed to Re2 or Rc2? Why is the d file the critical file?