Saturday, 21 May 2011

Junior Club: Passed pawns - using the king - Part 1

We have already discussed passed pawns and the square rule see Passed Pawns and the square rule .

What happens when the enemy king is inside the square?  The answer is easy, use your king.  Well actually using your king can be extremely complicated.  There are many positions that win and many that draw.  Over the next few weeks we will discuss this subject further.  In all these discussions I will limit the positions to a king and pawn for White against king only for Black.

But first of all we need to introduce the opposition
When the two kings face each other as seen in the above example [note both kings one square apart on the same colour square] the kings are in opposition.  But one side has it and the other doesn't.  From the diagram the side to move does NOT have the opposition.
If we say it's Black's turn to move in the diagram White has the opposition and Black does not.

So what?  Well it means that Black's king can not move forward and can only move backwards or sideways.
Lets look at a similar position with that pawn we talked about earlier.
Black to move
  The pawn needs to march forward and promote to a queen.  If the Black king can stay on the same file as the pawn then White will fail to promote his pawn.

In the opening and middle game the king has to cower in corners fearful for its safety, but as the board clears the king can enter the battle and demonstrate its own fighting king.  The king is well schooled in judo and can "roll" the enemy king out of the way.

Its Black to move he can either retreat or move sideways, lets look at both
1...Kd7, 2.Kd5
White keeps the opposition and is again faced with the same problem.  This time Black moves
2...Kc7 (Ke7 is exactly the same).  Now the White king remembers his judo training and performs
The roll
3.Ke6 Kc6
Hi Ya!!  Black belt judo
White has managed to remove the black king from the d-file, so the pawn can march forward with no obstruction.  Play continues 4.d4 Kc7 5.d5 Kc8?? [Black has a tougher defense with 5...Kd8, can you see why?] 6.Ke7

White's king now covers d6, d7 and the queening square d8.  Black will resign as there is no way to stop the pawn.  If Black had chosen 5...Kd8 White would have needed to roll the king again with 6.Kd6)

TIP - If you need to use the king in these kind of endings advance the king before the pawn.  Always make sure the pawn can not be captured though!

Next week we will further explore these positions, as there are many pitfalls to avoid.

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