A smothered Rook, or buried Rook, is a Rook that is trapped by cannot actually be captured. A smothered rook cannot take part in the game, and it is like having a Rook less. It is a game-winning advantage.
Rooks are sometimes smothered in the corner by their own Kings. This occurs when the King has been checked away from the center and forced along the back rank towards their own Rook. The Rook is often only delayed from escape, as moving some pawns will often allow the King to get out of the way, or the Rook to escape in the other direction. But occasionally these pawn moves may be blocked by enemy pawns, and the Rook is truly smothered.
Diagram: Rook Smothered by Its King
Another way for a Rook to get smothered is, surprisingly, in the middle of the board, in front of its own pawns. If an enemy pawn chain blocks its front, and it cannot go backwards due to its own pawns, a Rook can occasionally be totally immobilised.
Diagram: Rook Smothered by Pawns
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