Monday, January 28, 2013

Random Rook Endings III

Black to play
Schlechter - Rubinstein, San Sebastian 1912

If we're talking practical rook endings - Random Rook Endings II - as opposed to theoretical - Super Things II; Random Rook Endings: Lesson Number One; BORP? XVI - it seems there’s one chesser above all others who’s our go to guy. With all due respect to messers Mednis (Practical Rook Endings, Chess Enterprises 2003), Korchnoi (Practical Rook Endings, Edition Olms 2003) and Muller (Chess Endgames 8: Practical Rook Endings, Chessbase dunno*), conventional wisdom holds that Akiba Rubinstein will always be The Man.

Mihail Marin wrote a highly entertaining chapter on Rubinstein’s Rook endings in Learn from the Legends. He didn't include Ruby’s game against Schlechter from San Sebastian in 1912, though. Perhaps it wasn’t meaty enough to make the cut for his book, but it was, as it happens, the first example of Rubinstein’s rook ending prowess that I ever saw**.

It might not look like Black’s got much of an edge in the position at the head of today's blog. Well, it doesn’t to me anyway. Sure, White’s got a couple of loose pawns and Black’s king is closer to the centre, but it’s not that serious is it?

In fact, the game is all but over. Why? People who understand these things better than I do say it's all about the activity of the rooks.

Rook and pawn Index

* Chessbase seem curiously reticent about publishing the release date of their products
** In the endgames chapter of Master Chess: A course in 21 Lessons (Pergamon Press)


Jonathan B said...

'activity of the rooks' - something I would have done well to remember on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Do keep these coming in 2013, JMGB. One month down, eleven more to go, and this Anon intends to keep reading (but probably not taking it in as well as he should be!).