Chess Terms
Connected Passed Pawns

Connected Passed Pawns

Not many things in life are more enjoyable to the endgame aficionado than having a good set of connected passed pawns on their side. Learn everything you need to know about these types of pawns and why they're so dangerous to the defending side:


What Are Connected Passed Pawns

Connected passed pawns are pawns that are on adjacent files to each other and have no enemy pawns in front of them on their own or on adjacent files. 

Connected Passed Pawns in chess
The d4- and e5-pawns are connected passed pawns.

If that definition sounds confusing, let's break it down step-by-step. For pawns to be connected, they need to be adjacent to each other. This means they need to be side by side, with no empty files between them. The c4- and d5-pawns are connected in the diagram below, but the f- and h-pawns aren't.

Connected pawns in chess.
The c4-pawn is on a file directly to the side of the d5-pawn, while there's an empty file between the f- and h-pawns.

For a pawn to be passed, there can't be any pawns in front of it either on the same or on adjacent files. This means that no enemy pawn can occupy files directly in front of the pawn, to the left of it, or to its right. It's important to note that enemy pawns that are behind or right next to a pawn do not affect whether it's passed or not. In the diagram below, the c3- and h6-pawns are passed, but not the a4- or e7-pawns.

 

Passed pawns in chess.
Only the c3- and h6-pawns are passed.

Finally, if two or more pawns are connected and passed, they are connected passed pawns.

Connected Passed Pawns in Chess.
The white b- and c-pawns are connected passed pawns. The black e6-pawn is passed but the f-pawn isn't, so Black doesn't have connected passed pawns.

Why Are Connected Passed Pawns Important

Connected passed pawns are one of the strongest types of passed pawns a player can have, especially in an endgame. They are particularly powerful in endgames where players have nothing but pawns and rooks.

In fact, connected passed pawns can be even stronger than a rook! If a player has a pair of connected passed pawns on the sixth rank and their opponent has nothing but a rook and can't immediately take one of the pawns, the side with the pawns wins! 

Another characteristic of connected passed pawns is that the enemy king cannot defend against it without help. Taking any of the pawns would allow the other player to promote the surviving pawn.

Test

Now, it's time for you to test your connected passed pawn knowledge. Look at the diagram below and try to identify all the connected passed pawns.

Test your connected passed pawn knowledge
Which are the connected passed pawns?

The only connected passed pawns are Black's d4- and e6-pawns and White's g5- and h4-pawns.

There are four connected passed pawns in this position.
There are four connected passed pawns in this position.

Conclusion

You now know what connected passed pawns are, their importance, and how you can use them to win more games. Head over to our Endgames page to learn more about the most important chess endgames and start winning more games!