King and pawn versus king

This is one of the most frequent and important endgames. It is of great benefit to know which positions are drawn and which can be won. hi some cases, the lone king will be so far away .from the pawn that the pawn can romp home and become a queen—an easy win. But what if the lone king can block the pawn's path? You might think that your king should shepherd the pawn home to become a queen in all cases. Sometimes this is so, but not always. The odds on a win and a draw in king and pawn versus king are about >0:50.

Should W hite advance the pawn?

Should W hite advance the pawn?

abcdefgh Let us look at a typical example. The reward for learning the

[>i maple will be to pick up a lot of extra points in marginal • inflames. Attention to detail is essential in both chess and the m.tilial arts—and indeed in business and any walk of life where \ no aim to succeed, excel, and win!

In the previous diagram, it is White's move. White can win, but Ih<- question is how. The obvious way is to advance the pawn and in lo make a queen. However, this is too crude and does not work. I .i -l us see why.

As we can see from the next diagram, the result is a draw by •Jalemate (see pages 102-106}. The black king is not in checkmate but cannot make a legal move,

The way to win is to place your king directly in front of your opponent's king, forcing it to give way. "Gaining the opposition," as this maneuver is called, is the most vital principle for endgames of kings and pawns, and you will win only if you remember it. This is how White should have played the ending:

Draw by stalemate

Draw by stalemate

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a b c d e f g h

It becomes obvious that Black cannot prevent the pawn from queening. There is one equally simple alternative version.

Now the pawn will promote.

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Once again, the pawn will inevitably queen. In all king and pawn versus king endings, the weaker side could draw if it were possible to pass without making a move. Unfortunately for Black, this is illegal.

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