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, 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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