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How to Checkmate with King and Rook vs King

A situation that you may face in the endgame is when you have a rook and your king against your opponent’s king. In such a case, you will be able to force checkmate with the correct king-rook coordination. Read on to learn how!

1. Cut off your opponent’s king into a box

Move your rook so that the opponent's king is restricted to one quadrant of the board. Do not deliver checks yet.

the white king's escape from the botton corner of the board is blocked by the rook

2. Move your king to support your rook

Move your king to help restrict the enemy king and protect your rook. Your king will play a larger role in this checkmate pattern than a king and queen vs king pattern as the opposing king can threaten your rook.

the king can't capture your rook since your king is guarding it

3. Close the box to restrict the king to a single rank/file

When it is safe to do so, your rook should be moved closer to the enemy king. This makes the “box” that you created in step one smaller. The goal is to get the king stuck on the back of the board.

the king can only move along the a file now

4. Use waiting moves to gain king opposition

In order to deliver checkmate, the kings must be facing each other AND it must be your turn. If the opposing king keeps moving out of the way, “waste” a move by sliding your rook one square over (make sure you avoid stalemate). This will force the opposing king to move in front of yours.

after ...Ka2, you can play Rb6. This allows you to manuver your king to force a face-off

5. Deliver checkmate along the edge of the board

Finally, when the opposing king is blocked by your king, deliver checkmate along the back file/rank or by moving your rook onto the back rank/file. (make sure it can’t be captured though)

make sure the rook isn't too close to the enemy king!

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