Not all rook endings are drawn

by Karsten Müller
1/1/2021 – In the quarterfinal of the Airthings Masters Magnus Carlsen was defeated by Daniil Dubov after losing two spectacular games, in which Carlsen missed good chances. In another game of the match Carlsen had good chances in a rook ending with an extra pawn. But could he have won? Zoran Petronijevic and Karsten Müller took a close look!

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Carlsen was winning

Rook endings have drawish tendencies but not all rook endings are drawn. In the typical rook ending, in which both sides have three pawns on the kingside while White has an extra pawn on the queenside, White has good winning chances if his extra pawn is the c-pawn.

This ending occurred in the match between Magnus Carlsen and Daniil Dubov, and objectively Carlsen was indeed winning. However, finding a win in such an endgame in a rapid game with only seconds on the clock is not easy. But in the analysis after the game Zoran Petronijevic found a win for White:


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Karsten Müller is considered to be one of the greatest endgame experts in the world. His books on the endgame - among them "Fundamentals of Chess Endings", co-authored with Frank Lamprecht, that helped to improve Magnus Carlsen's endgame knowledge - and his endgame columns for the ChessCafe website and the ChessBase Magazine helped to establish and to confirm this reputation. Karsten's Fritztrainer DVDs on the endgame are bestsellers. The mathematician with a PhD lives in Hamburg, and for more than 25 years he has been scoring points for the Hamburger Schachklub (HSK) in the Bundesliga.


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