Let’s look at more tactics in simple end games, in particular when a only four pieces are left on the board, including a queen on one side and a rook on the other.
Diagram-1 (white to move)
Can white win quickly in the position shown in Diagram-1? The white king has only one move, and that looks like it would accomplish nothing. So look at queen moves. The solution is at the bottom of this post.
Diagram-2 (white to move)
In Diagram-2, white can win quickly, with the right move. There’s actually more than one way to win quickly, but one way is quickest. This kind of queen versus rook end game position is called a corner defense.
Diagram-3 (white to move)
Diagram-3 shows a more difficult position, although there is more than one way for white to win quickly. This is more advanced than what most chess beginners are given in lessons: White to move and mate in three. You get one hint: The way to get checkmate most quickly is to first win the rook. After that rook is captured, checkmate can come quickly.
Solutions to the queen-versus-rook puzzles
Diagram-1: The queen moves to the a5 square, checkmate
Diagram-2: The queen moves to the a8 square, checkmate
Diagram-3: The queen moves to either f4 or g5, pinning the rook and winning it on the next more
Many chess end game positions can be challenging, especially with queen versus rook. But Beginning Chess really is for beginners, so let’s look at easy puzzles with simple tactics.
Whitcomb advocates using simple tactical themes in teaching this kind of end game: “The Philidor position is great to know for advanced chess competitors, but it’s too difficult for the raw beginner to remember all the details.”
The most important key position in most queen-versus-rook end games is the Philidor.
I divide chess beginners into three levels of ability: raw, mid-level, and advanced.