Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Passed pawns-using the king part 2

We have seen how the side with a king and pawn can win, see Passed pawns-using the king-Part1 for a reminder.  We talked about how important it was to use the king and looked at the king's judo skills rolling the other king.  Life isn't always that easy, there are many positions where the side with the pawn can't win.

This week we will take a look at the drawing technique and then introduce key squares.  Look at the following position.

This position is a draw it doesn't matter who is to move.  If the defender can get his king in front of the pawn like this its a draw, but be careful.  Let's say its Black to move
1...Kd7 It is important to move straight back, so when White advances his king Black can take the opposition.
2.Ke5 White can not take the opposition because his own pawn is in the way!
2... Ke7 Black now has the opposition

As we can see black has the opposition, so White is faced with a tough choice, move his king or advance his pawn.  Moving the king is pointless, as Black will be able to play Kd6 and we will have returned to the original position.
3. d6+ Kd7, 4.Kd5 otherwise Black would capture the pawn.

As you may have noticed, we have a similar position to the starting position, just one square forward.
4... Kd8 Always remember to move straight back.
5. Ke6 Ke8

Once again Black has the opposition
6.d7 Kd8, 7.Kd6 Stalemate and a draw.

When defending try to get your king in front of the pawn.

When you have the pawn try to advance your king before the pawn.  If your king can get to a key square then you will be able to force a win.  For pawns on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th rank the key squares are two squares forward of the pawn and the square on either side of that.  Diagrams always help.

For the b pawn on the second rank the key squares are a4,b4 and c4.  The g pawn on the third rank the key squares are f5, g5 and h5.  The d pawn on the fourth rank has key squares c6,d6 and e6.  If you can get your king onto one of these squares you can force a win.
When pawns are on the 5th rank the key squares are only one square in front of the pawn.  This is because we are running out of board!
Once again if you can get your king onto one of these squares you will be able to win.

If you advance your pawn to the 6th rank before your king and the black king can defend the queening square it is very difficult to win.  So remember use your king.

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