﻿ ﻿The Power of Pawn Promotion - How to Win When You’re Ahead - The Complete Chess Course From Beginning To Winning Chess! (2016)

# The Complete Chess Course From Beginning To Winning Chess! (2016)

### The Power of Pawn Promotion

Have you ever stopped to think that the strongest move on the chessboard - aside from actual checkmate - is the successful queening of a pawn?

To obtain a new queen so cheaply is the equivalent of winning your opponent’s queen!

If we think of pawn promotion in this way, we can understand why the advantage of a pawn plays such a big role in the games of the masters, and why it should play just as important a part in our own games.

In the two following diagrams we see how pawn promotion “makes all the difference”: (D)

White to move

At this moment White is “hopelessly” behind in material. Without the possibility of queening, he could safely resign. However, he plays 1.e8Q+. (D)

Black to move

Black is in check from the new queen. He must move his king out of check. When he does so, White remorselessly continues 2.Qxa4, followed by checkmate.

Sometimes, it is true, the newly established queen is immediately captured. But if there is a recapturing force at hand, the pawn promotion still turns out to be highly profitable.

An example of material gain by pawn promotion: (D)

White to move

White plays 1.c8Q. As Black cannot afford to remain a queen down, he plays 1…Rxc8. White of course replies 2.Rxc8+ (D)

Black to move

Black has been able to get rid of the new queen, but he has had to part with his rook in the process. White has won a rook!

The promotion of a pawn is generally of decisive effect. Note, for example, how the newly created queen took an active role in the position of Diagram 15. Diagrams 18 and 19 illustrate the same point. (D)

White to move

White plays 1.Rd8. This is a very common maneuver with a pawn that is already on the seventh (second) rank, and you will find it very effective. The advanced white rook blocks off Black’s forces from the white pawn. (D)

Black to move

Black can resign. If he takes the white rook, the passed pawn recaptures, becoming a queen. If Black refrains from capturing, the pawn advances anyway, becomes a queen, and is safe from recapture.

The All-important Pawn

We saw earlier that a bishop or a knight cannot force checkmate. If you are left with king and knight (or king and bishop) against a lone king, you cannot win.

But if the bishop or knight is assisted by only a single pawn, then that pawn, supported by the other forces, advances to the queening square. (D)

White to move

Without the lone white pawn this position would be a draw. As matters stand, there follows 1.Kg4 Kd4 2.Kxf4 and then 3.Kxg3. The white pawn will then advance to the eighth rank and become a queen.

The examples in this chapter have shown the tremendous power of pawn promotion. However, we must not jump to the conclusion that pawn promotion is easy to carry out or that it is appropriate in all parts of the game.

Pawn promotion is very rare in the opening, as it takes quite a few moves for a pawn to reach the eighth (or first) rank. And, since there are a great many pieces on the board during the opening stage, the chances of the pawn’s reaching the last rank are slim indeed.

In the middlegame the pawn’s promotion chances are somewhat brighter, but here too the game is complicated by various factors, such as attacking play against the king.

It is in the endgame stage, when the queens have generally disappeared and when relatively few pieces are left on the board, that pawn promotion begins to take the center of the stage.

It is in these rather simplified endgame positions, too, that the kings can at last venture out to the center of the board, no longer terrified by the brutal attacking possibilities of the major pieces.

The new mobility of the kings at this simplified stage reminds us that endings with only the kings and pawns on the board are the simplest kind of endings and therefore the logical ones to study first. So we now turn to them.

﻿