Rook ending - Philidor position
Rook ending - Philidor position

The Philidor position also called third rank defence usually refers to an important chess endgame which illustrates a drawing technique when the defender has a king and rook versus a king, rook, and a pawn.

So when you have a rook against rook and a pawn this short lesson could be the game saver!

Tehnique consists of three steps:

  • Put your rook on third rank (or 6th when you are black)
  • Put you King on queening square of pawn
  • When opponent moves his pawn to the third rank put your rook to the eighth (or seventh) rank and start giving checks.

We have next example where white is on move and he must take the third rank with his rook immediately.

[FEN "8/7R/8/r7/2pk4/8/8/2K5 w - - 0 1"] [White "Rook ending - Philidor position"] 1. Rh3 {This is the move that secures draw for white!} Ra1+ {If black checks you just move king forward one square.} 2. Kc2 Ra2+ {Now we return our King to the queening square where it belongs.} 3. Kc1 Ra5 {on black random moves we just keep our rook on third rank.} 4. Rg3 Ra2 5. Rh3 c3 {Eventualy black will move this pawn because he doesn't have any other possibilities. And then we execute step 3 (move rook to the eighth rank)} 6. Rh8 Kd3 {Now we start giving checks and that should be draw because balck doesn't have any place to hide.} 7. Rd8+ Kc4 8. Rc8+ Kb4 9. Rb8+ Kc5 10. Rc8+ {Now if black moves towards the white rook he will lose pawn and if he sticks to the pawn he will never hide from checks!}