The Endgame Tactician: Queen & Pawn vs Queen

Q+P vs Q is more common than Q vs P, but it receives less coverage. That's probably because it is complex, and in fact humans knew little about this ending until the advent of tablebases revolutionized its study.

Rook and Knight pawns usually draw if:

  • the defending king reaches the promotion corner.
  • the defending king reaches the corner opposite the promotion corner.
Bishop and Central pawns usually win unless:
  • the defending king gets in front of or very near the pawn
The weaker side should get their king to a drawing zone, perpetually check the attacker, avoid queen exchanges, and avoid pawn advances.

The stronger side should prevent the defending king from reaching a drawing zone, move their king to the same rank or file as the attacking king to threaten a queen exchange, centralize their queen, and advance their pawn.

In the above diagram, both kings are on the same rank, so Black must be careful to avoid queen exchanges. 1...Kc3?? 2.Qe5+! Qxe5+ 3.Kxe5 +-

And that's what you need to know in a nutshell.   :)

Further Resources:


  • 9 years ago


    I received a question: "the defending king reaches the corner opposite the promotion corner... What is the drawing trick after this?"


    Just keep checking the opponent's king, so he doesn't have time to advance his pawn, and if you can't do that then pin the pawn to the attacking king.


    The defending king wants to be far from the action (the drawing zone) so he can avoid a queen exchange. If the defending king is too close, the attacker can often meet a check with a counter-check (a king-queen fork), which forces a queen trade.


    The last diagram is an example of a king-queen fork forcing a queen exchange, after which the stronger side wins easily.

    [See lessons explaining queen forks, pins and skewers if those concepts are new.]
  • 9 years ago


    great , i saw ur blog for rook pawn endings...,,

    good work altogether,,,

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