The last pawn

by Karsten Müller
12/3/2019 – The endgame K+R+B against K+R is a theoretical draw. Therefore, the better side should take good care of its pawns before this endgame is reached.

Endgames of the World Champions from Fischer to Carlsen Endgames of the World Champions from Fischer to Carlsen

Let endgame expert Dr Karsten Müller show and explain the finesses of the world champions. Although they had different styles each and every one of them played the endgame exceptionally well, so take the opportunity to enjoy and learn from some of the best endgames in the history of chess.


All hands on deck

White must make use of the remaining pawn.


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 192

Analyses by Giri, Anand, Nisipeanu, Huschenbeth, Vidit, Vitiugov, Tomashevsky and many more. Plus videos by King, Shirov and l'Ami, 11 opening articles with new repertoire ideas and training sessions in strategy, tactics and endgame!


Highlights of this issue

  • CBM 191Star analyses
    Annotated games by Anand, Giri, Vidit, Vitiugov, Tomashevsky and many more
  • Benoni forever!
    Tanmay Srinath’s active recipe vs. the Four Pawns Attack
  • The Chinese Dragon
    Igor Stohl proves Black is fine after 10…Rb8!?
  • Who surprises whom first?
    Niclas Huschenbeth dissects his World Cup victory over Naiditsch
  • Attacking ideas vs. the Italian Game
    Mihail Marin shows how White succeeds on the kingside
  • An exciting sideline!
    Imre Hera on 4.Qc2 c5 5.dxc5 Na6 in the Nimzo
  • Greek gift details
    Discover with Oliver Reeh stunning points of the classical sacrifice Bxh7+!
  • Queen sac versus Nakamura
    Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu shows his spectacular success from the FIDE World Cup
  • Carlsen-So 1-0!
    Enjoy Karsten Müller’s analysis of this top-notch endgame (video)
  • Revival in the Petroff
    Erwin l’Ami explains why the “new engines” like White’s position in the line 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 (video)


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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C6355 C6355 12/4/2019 10:08
Just so that we don't discourage folks from studying the KRB-KR endgame, I would be tempted to say that it is often a practical draw, but sometimes a theoretical win. :)

I mean, it is far from trivial to find the winning plan in some of the "won" positions, given how the rook and bishop need to cooperate to force mate. I know this since I had to study this endgame in detail after a frustrating OTB game a while back...

Just like, on lower levels, the endgame with bishop + knight against a lone king is a theoretical win but often a practical draw. :)

Anyhow, the original point holds, don't let go of your remaining pawn!
Karsten Müller Karsten Müller 12/4/2019 04:57
Indeed more precise is, that the endgame is usually a theoretical draw. And most often in practical games it also arises in drawn positions, which would also be the case here. But of course wins do exist and over the board not all drawn positions end as draws. The defender should be prepared and either choose the Cochrane or 2nd rank defence.
With an additional pawn on the other hand R+B+P almost always win against R+B.
C6355 C6355 12/4/2019 04:42
Why do you claim that "K+R+B against K+R is a theoretical draw"? There are plenty of ways to win this in different positions. Wikipedia ( states that 40% of all possible positions are a win for K+R+B.

I do agree, however, that a pawn does increase the chances of winning.