The endgame is the moment of truth. It is the phase of the game where we will try to reap the seeds of our effort regardless of whether that is the full point of victory or the half point of the draw. The significance of errors increases in the endgame as the opportunities for correcting them are few.
There are five basic principles that must be followed faithfully in rook endings:
- Rook behind the pawn: The placement of the rooks in relation to the pawns is very significant. The rook must be placed behind the pawn whether the pawn is yours or not. With every move the pawn makes the radius of our rook will increase and that of the opponent’s will decrease.
- Active rook: In all rook endings the active handling of the rook is almost always the indicated course of action. The initiative and attacking possibilities must always figure in our plans and moves.
- Active king: As in all endings the active king has the first say as the endgame is its finest hour. This is especially true when the king can cooperate harmoniously with the rook as it can dynamically help us solve the problems posed by the position.
- Planning: Our moves must be part of one or more plans. Active plans must be directed towards the sector of the board where we are superior and, correspondingly, defensive plans must be directed towards the area where we are inferior.
- Combination of all the above: When we can combine the above mentioned elements then we will be able to extract the maximum from our position!