GM Ron W. Henley is an American Grandmaster best known for his role as second, analyst and trainer for former World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov in several matches in the 1990s! As Ron puts it: “Rooks are the last pieces to come out and develop, so it's easy to see why more than 50% of the endings in a chess game are rook endings. Rook endings should be mastered by any chess player who wants to improve their game and their results”. In this elegantly crafted video series, you will be guided on a journey to Rook endgame excellence. The video series is divided into 14 videos.
Videos 1 and 2 cover the essential tactics and themes that arise in Rook endgames. These include: Blocking, Deflecting, Rank Cut, Bridge Building, Zugzwang, Triangulation, Boxing-in, Desperado and Fortress. Ron gracefully explains each concept with clear cut written definitions for each tactic, and then proceeds to give real examples of each and how they apply to rook endgames.
Videos 3, 4, 5 and 6 cover the essential strategic themes of Rook Endings. These include: Active King, Delayed Gratification, Active Rook, and Three Rook placements: in front of the pawn, side of the pawn, behind the pawn (Tarrasch’s rule), Exceptions to the rule.
Videos 7 and 8 cover Endgame Transition: when to liquidate your pieces into an advantageous rook ending. But not only that, when to transition into a rook endgame to save your game! Next, GM Henley covers the next step in transition: that is, when in a rook ending should you liquidate into a winning pawn ending.
Video 9 covers pawn structure. Here, the key concepts covered are how pawn structure affects how you should play Rook endings. Concepts include passed pawns, weak pawns and pawns for counter play.
Video 10 covers pawn sacrifices. Ron explains the main reasons you’d want to sacrifice pawns, either to activate your rook for offense when you have a superior position or for defensive reasons, to gain counter play. In total Ron offers 7 rules for when to sacrifice a pawn. A must view!
Video 11 continues to cover pawn sacrifices in rook endgames, but now with the goal of creating a mating net or mating attack.
Videos 12, 13 and 14 cover piece coordination, converting a material advantage. As well as Probing; the strategic concept of attacking enemy pawns to create weaknesses in the opponent’s position. Finally, Ron covers how to convert a material advantage into a win.
In all the videos, Ron takes the utmost care in bringing up and using the most instructive rook endgames ever played. Historical games by the likes of Capablanca, Rubenstein, Botvinnik and Fischer. Modern masterpieces by Kramnik, Polgar, Magnus and simpler games from his own students played on the ICC.