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Savielly Tartakower vs Miguel Najdorf
"The Ending Justifies the Means" (game of the day Oct-17-2007)
Bled (1950), rd 12, Oct-??
Queen Pawn Game: Torre Attack (D03)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-17-07  think: I have never studied Q vs R endgames. What is the basic strategy to win in the end position?
Oct-17-07  Judah: Well...basically, the idea is to slowly restrict White's movement until he has nowhere safe to go. If the Rook ventures too far from his King, the Black Queen can soon pick him off with a fork. So for the most part, White will try to keep his King and Rook together, but Black simply forces him toward the edge of the board, checking with the Queen and advancing with the King. (The Rook can't block it all.) Eventually, White runs out of moves.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: This is one of the more fascinating quiet games I've seen. There are a lot of fine points in the play.

First, 13.a3? is a serious lemon (b3 or cxd5 look required). But it seems so natural! White's position seems so solid! But Najdorf spots the weakness and forces Tartakower to give up castling or lose the c4 pawn.

17.Bg3 is a nice idea, pinning the pawn to the Queen, and Black has an even nicer idea for getting out of it.

Finally, I was surprised by 20...e4, because it looks so tempting to isolate the Queen pawn, esp. with the Bishop stuck on the same color as the Pd4. but maybe that explains why Najdorf was a contender for the world championship and I never came close.

Oct-17-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <think: I have never studied Q vs R endgames. What is the basic strategy to win in the end position?>

See "CKT 037: How does a Queen beat a Rook?" on

Oct-17-07  MostlyAverageJoe: The final chase after g1=Q includes plenty of inaccuracies committed by both sides. Just review the game using this website: and you'll find that after 69.Rf6? white could mate in 17, while 5 moves later, the final position is mate in 20.

The biggest inaccuracy is 69.Rf6? instead of 69.Rf4+ (which results in mate in 31). Strange move, Rf6, when Rf4+ looks so obvious.

Incidentally, the aforementioned website is another good place to learn the R vs Q endgame.

Oct-17-07  venk98: this game, i think is a pure draw..... y did tartakower resign?? i hav played millions of games like this i.e. r v q endgame(WITH SENIOR PLAYERS) and it always used to end up in a draw..... can anyone explain how black will win?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: <venk98>
This endgame is a win for black (e.g. Capablanca explains the win in a Q vs R endgame very good in his <Chess Fundamentals>) and if you had read <MostlyAverageJoe>'s post (the one right above yours) and clicked on his link you wouldn't have needed to ask for the solution anyway.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <think: I have never studied Q vs R endgames. What is the basic strategy to win in the end position?>

There is a good analysis of this ending in “Chess Fundamentals” by José Capablanca, (Algebraic edition revised by Nick de Firmian), Random House, Inc. ©2006, at pages 54-56.

The more important single thing to know is how to handle the position below as White on move. It involves an interesting use of triangulation (more commonly encountered in pawn endings):

click for larger view

Here is Capablanca’s explanation: “Above is one of the standard positions that Black can often bring about. It is now White’s turn to move. If it were Black’s turn matters would be simple as the rook would have to move away from the king <[Comment: If, with Black to move in the above position, 1. …♔c8, then 2. ♕a6 pins the rook and wins it next move. -- Peligroso Patzer]>, when it would be comparatively easy to win. We deduce from the above that the main object is to force the black rook away from the defending king, and that in order to compel black to do so we must bring about the position in the diagram with BLACK to move. Once we know what is required, the way to proceed becomes easier to find. Thus:

“1. ♕e5+ (Not 1. ♕a6 because [1. …] ♖c7+ 2. ♔b6 ♖c6+ 3. ♔xc6 stalemate. (The beginner will invariably fall into this trap.)

“1. … ♔a8 (or a7) 2. ♕a1+ ♔b8 3. ♕a5

“In a few moves we have accomplished our object. The first part is concluded. Now we come to the second part. The rook can only go to a white square, otherwise the first check with the white Queen will win it. Therefore

“3. … ♖b3 4. ♕e5+ ♔a8 (best) 5. ♕h8+ ♔a7 6.♕g7+ ♔a8 7. ♕g8+ ♖b8 8. ♕a2#.”

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Capablanca further explains: “ … if Black had instead defended with 3. … ♖b1 4. ♕e5+ ♔a7 (see diagram below), how should White win?

click for larger view

“The student is left to find this out by himself. The points to bear in mind are that the rook must be prevented from interposing at b8 because of an immediate mate, and in the same way the king must be prevented from going to either a6 or c8.

“There are positions of queen vs. rook where the winning procedure is very difficult, but then the most stubborn defense is even more difficult to find. Note that in this ending the key to the winning maneuvers is often the checks at long range along the diagonals. Also, the king and queen are usually kept on different lines. The student should carefully go over these positions and consider the possibilities not given in the text.”

From “Chess Fundamentals”, pages 55-56

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: <There is a good analysis of this ending in “Chess Fundamentals” by José Capablanca, (Algebraic edition revised by Nick de Firmian), Random House, Inc. ©2006, at pages 54-56.>

Much better is the real <Chess Fundamentals> and not de Firmian's "butchery" (as Edward Winter calls it ).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Karpova: <There is a good analysis of this ending in “Chess Fundamentals” by José Capablanca, (Algebraic edition revised by Nick de Firmian), Random House, Inc. ©2006, at pages 54-56.>

Much better is the real <Chess Fundamentals> and not de Firmian's "butchery" (as Edward Winter calls it>

Regardless of the overall merits of the several algebraic re-issues of "Chess Fundamentals", I do think that the passage excerpted in this thread, supra, presents a good summary of the way that the side with the queen combines mating threats with threats of a rook-winning fork to garner the full point in this ending.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: <Peligrioso Patzer> Sure, that's why I didn't comment on the excerpts you gave but the source. Very nice of de Formian to keep this passage of the original book.

Btw, that's what Capablanca had to say about it:

<He has done nothing of the kind, and Capablanca would obviously be devastated. In the 1934 Preface to the US version he wrote:

‘... Chess Fundamentals is as good now as it was 13 years ago. It will be as good a hundred years from now; as long in fact as the laws and rules of the game remain what they are at present. The reader may therefore go over the contents of the book with the assurance that there is in it everything he needs, and that there is nothing to be added and nothing to be changed. Chess Fundamentals was the one standard work of its kind 13 years ago and the author firmly believes that it is the one standard work of its kind now.’>

Changing the notation, style of the diagrams and (sure) translation to keep it readable for people all over the world are acceptable only. Not changing the content like de Firmian did.

Oct-17-07  xrt999: <englishman Finally, I was surprised by 20...e4, because it looks so tempting to isolate the Queen pawn, esp. with the Bishop stuck on the same color as the Pd4.>

I like 20...e4. The pawn cant be attacked and sits there like a bone in white's throat for the next 8 moves. White finally deals with the pawn on move 28. By then Black has built up an attack while white's play is restricted.

What other move were you looking at for blacks 20th?

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Without the kings present,twp pawns on the sixth will defeat a rook. The queen vs rook ending should be on the list of "elementary endings". Surely this will be seen much more frequently than ♗+♗ or ♗+♘ endings.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <kevin86> -- <Surely this will be seen much more frequently than B+B or B+N endings.>

Yes, but only because nobody bothers to play these out if all the pawns are gone: they're too easy. QvR, in contrast, is difficult and highly uncertain in practice: I've seen a crucial last-round championship game hinge on QvR, with the Rook holding a draw.

This game is a classic example of practical play: for much of it, both players are trying to win, and it's full of twists and turns. Errors too, but also profound moves like that 20...e4. A real battle between real Grandmasters.

Premium Chessgames Member
  CapablancaFan: As others have mentioned, Capablanca's book "Chess Fundamentals" explains in great detail how to deal with these type of endgames. Najdorf obviously familiar with these endgame themes.
Oct-17-07  baseballplayer: Why does Tartakower allow the passed a-pawn with 45. Bc5+ Nxe5 46. dxc5 bxa3? I belive he should take the b-pawn with 45. axb4
Premium Chessgames Member
  jperr75108: Tartakower is in check after 44... b4.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: I just checked the final position with the tablebases ( ).

The final position is a win in 20 moves. For any one who wants to see an example of accurate play in this ending, here is one line with best play for both sides (most moves holding out until mate for White's moves; fewest moves to force mate for Black - Note: in many instances through the course of the line given below, there are multiple moves that are "equal best"): 74.♔g7 ♕d6 75.♖f6 ♕d7+ 76.♖f7 ♕d8 77.♖f1 ♕d4+ 78.♔h6 ♕e3+ 79.♔g7 ♔g5 80.♔f7 ♕d3 81.♖g1+ ♔f5 82.♖g7 ♕d8 83.♖h7 ♕d5+ 84.♔g7 ♔g5 85.♖h2 ♕e5+ 86.♔f7 ♕xh2 87.♔e6 ♕d2 88.♔e5 ♕d3 89.♔e6 ♕d4 90.♔e7 ♕d5 91.♔f8 ♕d7 92.♔g8 ♔g6 93.♔f8 ♕d8#.

Oct-18-07  baseballplayer: I can't belive I overlooked that!
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <xrt999>, I agree that 20...e4 was the best move. My thinking was to create an isolated pawn on d5 with 20...exd4. Note how weak White's light squares become, and not just the pawn d4. But even if my idea is good, Najdorf's is better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Here is a link to a Wikipedia article on Queen vs. Rook:

Premium Chessgames Member
  piever: <An Englishman>: Hello. After 20...exd4 21 exd4 the d pawn is isolated and can be blockaded with Nd5, but if white moves his king (e.g. 21 Ke2), he can recapture the pawn with the rook next move, gaining a tempo (later he might also take the black knight away from d5 pushing his pawn to e4). I hope this answer is helpful (though perhaps i'm a bit late, but I happened to watch this game today and I was surprised by najdorf's 20th move..)
Jun-07-09  WhiteRook48: outstanding game!
Apr-14-17  Toribio3: This is one of the most difficult endgame I observed. This is one of Najdorf's masterpiece.
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