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RMP-228

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Rook and Pawn versus Bishop

White’s material advantage is so big that the win is only the matter of elementary technique. When, however, Black blocks the square in front of the passed pawn with both pieces, the way to win is extremely difficult, and sometimes even impossible. Relative positions of kings and pawns are often decisive factor here. Accordingly, we will examine these endings divided in two groups: a ) White King near the pawn b ) White King cut-off from the pawn

a ) White King near the pawn

In these endgames, Black does not usually have any counterplay by attacking the pawn, and can only use blockade to make its advance more difficulties. If the pawn had not reached too far, i.e. if it had not stepped on the square of the colour opposite to the bishop’s, the blockade is easily broken through. The simplest case with the central pawn, when White has “everything”, was examined in detail by F. A. Philidor in 1777. The winning plan is completely logical. White will check sideways and drive the opponent all the way to the sixth rank which will be conquered by the king, and only then will he start moving his pawn. In the end, he will threaten with mate and the game will be decided when the bishop is captured.



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