Many books are DVDs were produced about the minor pieces (the bishops and knights), as they are pieces that are worth more or less the same, but that have many differences. But little attention is given to the rook. The rook only enters the game in the middlegame (sometimes not before the ending arises), and it's not so easy to manipulate.
In the course Beware of the Rook, IM Sopiko Guramishvili demonstrates the hidden power of rooks with some incredible examples from classic games.
In this free preview, Sopiko analyzes the most typical checkmate with rooks, very common in amateur and master games alike. Many teachers advice, with reason, to don't move the pawns in front of your castle, to avoid creating weaknesses around the king. But this leads to different types of back-rank mates.
Let's look at one of the many examples she analyzes in the course:
In this position, the former World Champion Vishy Anand has the black pieces. The pawns in front of the Kg1 are in their initial position, so he is vulnerable to back-rank mates.
The only defender of the first rank is the Rb1, which is only defended by the Bd3. This gave Anand the idea to play 26...Rxc4!! 27.Rxb8 Rc1+ 28.Bf1 Rxb8, when the double threat of Rxa1 and Rbb1 forced White to play 29.Bc3 Rbb1 30.Qd3.
White seems to be holding, but there is one more asset that defines the game to the black player: the passed a4-pawn. Black played 30...a3!, and the pawn is unstoppable! The game only lasted a few more moves: 31.Qxa6 a2 32.g4 Rxf1+! 33.Qxf1 Ne4! (the final touch) 34.Ba1 Nd2!, and White resign.