Rook Endgames: Philidor and Luceana Positions


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The Rook and Pawn vs Rook Endgame is one of the most important endgames that every chess player must know. The smallest difference in material, a pawn, between the two sides determines the result of the game – win for the player with the pawn by means of promotion, and draw for the player without the pawn, stopping the prevention of the opponent’s pawn by means of perpetual checks and cutting off the king.

The basic rule (in most cases) is that if the player without the pawn can make his king reach the queening square of the pawn, the result is draw, otherwise the player with the pawn wins the game. Today we are going to learn two of the most important endgame positions in rook vs rook and pawn endgames. They are:

1. The Luceana Position

In the Luceana Position, the player with the pawn can win by either cutting off the opponent’s king along the rank or from the pawn’s file, and wins the game with the Luceana Position by building a bridge (also called as the bridge building); i.e. the player with the pawn shields his king and pawn with his rook, preventing the player without the pawn from checking the king.
luceana position rook endgame

White rook cuts Black king off the f-file

In the above position, after cutting off the Black king, White builds the bridge by playing 1. Rf4. And then he would bring his king to e7 with 2.Ke7. And when Black starts giving checks (there’s nothing else he could do), say 2…Re3+ 3.Kd6 Rd3+ 4.Ke6 Re3+ 5.Kd5 Rd3+ 6.Rd4 the rook guards the king and the pawn, and White wins.

2. The Philidor Position

In the Philidor Position, the player without the pawn fights for a draw with an important strategy. Before explaining that, the following are the characteristics of the Philidor Position:

  • The defending player (without the pawn) has his king on the queening square of the pawn or adjacent to it.
  • The pawn has not yet reached its sixth rank (which is the third rank for the defender)
  • The player with the pawn has his king beyond the defender’s third rank
  • The defender has his rook on the third rank, cutting off the opponent’s king from getting to that rank.

philidor position rook endgame

White rook cutting the Black king off the third rank

White will keep on playing his rook on the third rank until Black pushes his pawn to e3. And when Black does that, White will take his rook to the eighth rank and give checks to the Black king and draw the game.

Summary

Therefore, to sum things up, the Luceana Position is ‘used’ by the player with the pawn to win the game, and the Philidor Position is ‘used’ by the player without the pawn to draw the game. Our guest coach CM Tryfon Gavriel (who is the author of the course “Crushing the King”) has prepared a very instructive video in which he teaches you this beautiful endgame. You can watch it below:
 

 

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P.S. Did you like the video lesson? Please let us know your feedback in the comments below.
 
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