Final Moves #1: Your Guide to Endgames
"The Square of the Passed Pawn"
Every Wednesday, visit my column to learn a new endgame.
See what happens to players who don't know the secret I'm about to share with you?
Suppose you have a passed pawn that you want to promote. Visualize a square, with one corner on the passed pawn and another corner on its promotion square. Here are some examples so you can see exactly what I mean:
If it's your turn, and the enemy king is outside this square, your pawn can promote and win! Practice visualizing these squares until you can spot them in a couple seconds. This is faster and more accurate than calculating, "I move here, he moves there, then I move here."
If you're very sharp, you noticed that the square for a pawn on the second rank is the same as the square for a pawn on the third rank. That's because a pawn on the second rank can move two squares on its first move.
Of course, the defending king should try to get inside the square and stay there. If the defending king gets into the Square of the Passed Pawn, he can capture the pawn and draw.
The only exceptions are when the pawn is protected, or the defending king's path to the pawn is protected or blocked.
When you're ready, try your hand at the puzzles below to test your knowledge.
Enjoy, and see you next week!