Rook pawn

The rook pawn is a pawn on the rook file, on either side of the board. It is often abbreviated as “RP”. In algebraic notation, it is an "a’ pawn or a "h’ pawn.

The rook pawn is important in middlegames, because many attacks begin by pushing the rook pawn. It is strong because it already has a rook behind it. Many kingside pawn storms begin by simply pushing the rook pawn up as far as it will go towards the enemy King.

In endgames, the rook pawn is powerful if it is an “outside passed pawn”. It is by definition the most “outside” possible on the chess board. An outside passed pawn will win in many types of endings.

On the other hand, many simplified endgames are drawn with a Rook pawn. Sometimes it is better to have a different type of pawn. Positions where a Rook pawn is drawish or a “book draw” include:

Some endings where a rook pawn is winnable include:

  • Knight+RP vs King (basic win)
  • Bishop + RP vs King (if it’s the “right rook pawn”)

Related Chess Tactics

Read more about these related chess strategies: