A common thread for beginners learning chess is to ‘forget’ about their rook. The rook is a difficult piece to develop at the beginning of a game, and its position makes it easy to forget until the later stages of the game. Keeping your rook in mind, and understanding its role will help you utilize this valuable piece from the word go. Let’s talk rook strategy.
Unite Your Rooks For Protection & Power
You may not have noticed, but in the starting position, your rooks are actually the only pieces left unprotected. If left as so, there will come a time when your opponent will see this and take advantage of it, giving them a great position in your back rank.
Two rooks are considered united when they have an open file between them. Each rook protects the other. This means that not only are they harder to take down, but they can also compete for the same file as an opposing rook, leveling out an opponent’s advantage. You may even find your rook has a great path into your opponent’s side of the board, but it lacks protection. Having a united rook behind your attacking rook can give it the protection it needs, acting as a battering ram through your opponent’s defenses. United rooks are happy rooks.
Send Your Rooks To The 7th Rank
A great rook strategy is to have them on your seventh rank (your opponent’s second rank). Your rook has a great home here. It poses a huge threat to your opponent’s undeveloped pawns. At times a well placed rook can gobble up opposing pawns. At the same time you are severely restricting your opponent’s movements, especially their king. By placing the rook one rank before the king, you force the king to remain in the 8th rank while you’re setting up your checkmate. The long threat of the rook can really split an opponent’s defenses in two, limiting movement all around.
Rook Strategy Challenge:
Rooks are powerful pieces when played right, and loads of fun to boot. We challenge you to pay extra attention to uniting your rooks in the next game you play. Try to have them working in unison, and explore how that helps your game. If you need a hand exploring your rook strategy, or anything else in your chess playbook, reach out to us! We have fantastic coaches that host private and group lessons, perfect for all chess levels. Just drop us a note here!