Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual- Pawn Endgames

Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual- Pawn Endgames

Jan 10, 2014, 4:36 PM |

KLA Chess Club (Keiller Leadership Academy), is a Title I, K-8 Charter School located in southeast San Diego. Chess class has been implemented as an everyday, in school class for middle school students.

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The following lesson is taken from "Dvoretsky's Endgame  Manual, 2nd ed." by Mark Dvoretsky


*To be able to calculate pawn endgames effectively

* To learn appropriate techniques, not just memorize positions.

* Understand that tempo and speed are critical.

Key squares

Key squares are those that if the King were to occupy them, it would assure a victory.

Example 1: First, let's play this position out with a partner. First, let's say it is black to move. After you're done, set up the same position and it'll be white to move first. We'll compare our results after we finish.

d5, the square that the White King is on, is not a key square. c6, d6 and e6 are however key squares. If it is black's turn, the white King could occupy one of the key squares and advance the pawn to promotion. It were white's turn, the position is drawn, as the white King could not advance any of the key squares.

Example 2:

As before, set-up this position with a partner. White to play and play it out. Careful not to stalemate! Embarassed


In this position, if white were to move first, the key squares are a7, b7, c7 and a6, b6 and c6.

Example 3: Set-up your boards in the following position and give it a try. White to play!


Notice what white's strategy is? He is aiming for the corner opposite of the black King, which makes it harder for black to defend. The King can escore the pawn and turn it into a Queen.

Example 4: Now, let's check out another example. Do not set-up. Just watch and let's see if you can break it down.

What would you have played, white to move. Let's see how White lost it.