Pawn Play in the Endgame

Pawn Play in the Endgame

Learn pawn endings from a national champion!

Are you ready to train your essential pawn ending skills? Pawns play important roles in all phases of the game, but it's in the ending that it becomes obvious that they are the stars of the show. Former US Champion, IM John Grefe, will show you how to handle king and pawn endgames and score more victories. Improve your king and pawn endgame play today!

Here is what you will learn:

  • Learn how to evaluate pawn endings correctly!
  • Learn how to use the opposition to win!
  • Learn how to defend dangerous endings!
A Cool Rule: "The Square"

A Cool Rule: "The Square"

In the real world, kings rule poets and pop stars, hipsters and squares. Chessic monarchs, however, must toe the line according to the "Rule of the Square". The rule is a quick, easy and reliable shortcut to figuring out whether the King can catch passed pawns dashing for the 8th rank.
3 Challenges
The "Opposition": An "Odd" Proposition

The "Opposition": An "Odd" Proposition

In order to promote a passed pawn that's blockaded by the defending King, it's necessary for the attacking King to win control of the queening square. Knocking the blocking King out of the way is usually accomplished by gaining The Opposition.
9 Challenges
Last-Minute Save

Last-Minute Save

Endgames are often deceptive. Their outward simplicity often conceals a wealth of subtleties which go unnoticed. Thanks to understanding the "opposition" Black finds a hidden save.
11 Challenges
Tricks of the Trade

Tricks of the Trade

The side which is a clear, healthy pawn up should always be alert for opportunities to simplify into more easily won positions. Knowing for certain which basic endings are won, and how to bring the point home, are the keys to achieving more victories.
4 Challenges
Who Queens First?

Who Queens First?

When both sides have passers dashing for home, tactical tricks often decide matters.
4 Challenges
A Stunning Finish Worthy of the X-Files

A Stunning Finish Worthy of the X-Files

Will both sides queen? Does it matter? This puzzle was inspired by the last-round game Karklins-Kavalek, El Paso 1973. It decided first place in the U.S. Invitational Championship, a round-robin contested by the country's top players.
3 Challenges
A Passed Pawn's Best Friend

A Passed Pawn's Best Friend

Passed pawns come in a variety of flavors: Connected, protected, split, or single. They're all good, but which, if any, are best? This example shows how they can protect one another against a marauding King.
4 Challenges
Creating & Preventing Passers

Creating & Preventing Passers

With healthy mobile majorities on opposite wings the first order of business is usually creating passed pawns.
8 Challenges
"Special One-Time Promotion Offer"

"Special One-Time Promotion Offer"

Passers reaching the seventh rank spawn their own brood of unique tactical opportunities.
2 Challenges
Multiple Promotions Equal Fireworks

Multiple Promotions Equal Fireworks

With 2 Queens on the board and a third looming things can get crazy.
3 Challenges
"Our Majority Is Better Than Your Majority"

"Our Majority Is Better Than Your Majority"

Lots of pawns, separate majorities, no passers yet. We explore multiple themes: rule of the square, the breakthrough, good and bad structures, advanced pawns.
4 Challenges
Worst Knightmare

Worst Knightmare

Each piece has its own special characteristics, some good, some bad.
4 Challenges
When Good Bishops Go Wrong

When Good Bishops Go Wrong

An old saying has it that "There's more than one way to skin a cat" I wouldn't know, but I do know a surefire way of foiling an unfriendly friar: Tuck the King into the corner.
4 Challenges
How Many Queens Are Too Many?

How Many Queens Are Too Many?

The philosophy "The more, the merrier" can be a good thing in some ways, bad in others. For instance, on the downside, it can lead to overpopulation. It won't help you here, either.
4 Challenges
How To Develop X-Ray Vision

How To Develop X-Ray Vision

Sorry, guys, the title doesn't refer to the sci-fi type of x-ray vision you might have had in mind. It's concerns some clever ways to force through a passed pawn in Rook endings.
3 Challenges
Reykjavik Rattlers The Culprits?

Reykjavik Rattlers The Culprits?

When minor pieces grab pawns deep in enemy territory, there's always the danger they'll become stranded. World Champion Bobby Fischer learned this when he was still wearing knickers. And yet...
5 Challenges
Thundering Herd

Thundering Herd

Not all passed pawns fit into neat little categories.
5 Challenges
Lassoing A Rook

Lassoing A Rook

With only a few pieces left on the board you wouldn't think a piece as powerful as the Rook could be encircled. Here's an example inspired by a game of Bobby Fischer's from the Piatigorsky Cup, played in Los Angeles in 1966.
3 Challenges
Doing It The Old-Fashioned Way

Doing It The Old-Fashioned Way

Using the rule of the square, the opposition, and so on is all well and good. But sometimes in messy pawn endings you've got to figure out who gets to queen first the old-fashioned way: by counting.
7 Challenges
Lockdown!

Lockdown!

When an enemy piece freezes a mobile pawn by anchoring itself on the square directly in front of it (Yelling, "Police! Freeze!" never works, at least in all the TV cop shows I've ever seen) we have a blockade. However, it's really just the baby brother to the one you're about to witness.
4 Challenges

Lessons

Pawn Play in the Endgame

Endgames
20 Lessons
No Videos
94 Challenges
Released January 11, 2011
7,658 Students