Rapport's endgame technique

by Marco Baldauf
9/9/2017 – While watching yesterday's tiebreaks of the World Cup, my attention got caught by an endgame played between Richard Rapport and Wei Yi. With impressive ease, Rapport showed an exciting winning plan in a typical scenario "Rook vs Bishop". I consulted my (admittedly rarely used) copy of Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual and look at this: Rapport's plan was already shown in a game, coincidentally played in Tbilisi, 46 years ago! | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

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Echoes of a Dvoretsky endgame example

Richard Rapport vs Wei Yi  announced itself as one of the most interesting pairings of the 2nd round of the World Cup 2017. Both players are known for their aggressive style and some sharp games were expected. The two youngsters have played a couple of games against each other.  Last december, they played a four-round mini-match in China. It ended with a draw. However, in the decisive Armageddon Blitz, Rapport won the match.

(Right) Richard Rapport | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In Tbilisi, after two draws in the games with regular time control, again the match was decided in the tiebreak. In the first game, Rapport showed great endgame technique. With just some minutes on the clock, the young Hungarian proved that he is capable of more than crazy games.


It is said, that every ambitious chess player should at least once read Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual. That may be true. However, a much easier way to become acquainted with such theoretical positions is to watch the DVD by the endgame expert Karsten Mueller. In his series, he dedicates a whole DVD on the topic "Rook vs Bishop".

Chess Endgames 11 - Rook against Bishop

The more reduced the material, the more important it is to correctly assess the potential of your own and the enemy pieces. This is particularly true in endgames with unbalanced material. This DVD begins with a discussion of asymmetrical material balances, including
rook against bishop, rook and knight against two bishops, two rooks against rook and bishop, queen and rook against queen and bishop, rook and knight against bishop and knight, rook against two bishops.
Video running time: 8 hours 26 min.


The second game of the tiebreak was drawn. Therefore Rapport qualified for the 3rd round, whrere he plays against another Chinese player, Li Chao.


Marco Baldauf, born 1990, has been playing since he was eight. In 2000 and 2002 he became German Junior Champion, in 2014 he became International Master. He plays for SF Berlin in the Bundesliga.
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jflores33 jflores33 9/10/2017 01:54
My criticism aside, a wonderful game and I love how Rapport converted so efficiently from 2 Rs's vs R +B to the well-known winning endgame of R plus 3 pawns vs B plus 3 pawns. Thank you.
jflores33 jflores33 9/10/2017 01:51
Dvoretsky, Dvoretsky. Sorry, he did not think up this winning line. I knew of it without having read Dvoretsky. I believe Botvinnik played this over the board. And it was featured in a number of endgame books before Dvoretsky. Give credit where credit is due, please.
RayLopez RayLopez 9/10/2017 01:29
I wonder who this article was written for? A grandmaster will know the final position is a win, and not even gain anything from reading the article. A weaker player like myself will look at the final position, consider that the pawns might get exchanged, and then know that "https://www.chess.com/blog/likesforests/the-endgame-tactician-rook-vs-bishop" it's a theoretical draw if no pawns and the black king can go to the side of the board that's the opposite color of the bishop. So either way, both groups of people are not satisfied reading this article. But, let's end on a cheery note, and say "nice article" anyways. ;-)
genem genem 9/9/2017 09:20