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Piece Positioning: Rooks

Why do we want to link up the rooks?

Pay special attention to the rooks in the diagram to the left. White just finished developing all its pieces and got the last rook out by castling kingside. In this position, the rooks provide active support for other pieces from the back rank and defend one another from potential threats.

Why do we want to place rooks on open files and ranks?

Rooks are extremely powerful when they are placed on open ranks and files. While it takes some time for the board to free up space, rooks are great assets when they have this positional advantage because they have fantastic mobility. Take a look at the diagram to the left and observe the rooks range of movement on the file. This piece can access eight different squares on the e-file alone. In its next move, the white rook could utilize this mobility to checkmate with Re8#.

The Rook is Powerful on the 7th Rank:

Usually, the rook stays in the back during the opening and middle game. However, later in the game, chess players should mobilize this powerful piece to attack the enemy’s weak points. On the board to the left, you might notice that many of black’s pawns are lined up nice and neat. Since the white rook is positioned on the 7th rank, it is free to capture these pieces in the next few moves. Free points for white and a bad position for black.