Chess Terms
Protected Passed Pawn

Protected Passed Pawn

If you're a chess player who just got into an endgame with a protected passed pawn, chances are you're delighted with your game. Learn everything you need to know about this vital type of passed pawn, and get ready to win more pawn endgames!


What Is A Protected Passed Pawn?

A protected passed pawn is a passed pawn that is defended by at least one other pawn. In the position below, the e5-pawn is passed and defended by the pawn on d4, making it a protected passed pawn.

A protected passed pawn.
The e5-pawn is a protected passed pawn.

It's important to note that a protected passed pawn, as its name implies, has to be passed. The c5-pawn on the diagram below is not a protected passed pawn because the black pawn on b7 can capture it if White advances it. 

The c5-pawn is not a protected passed pawn
The c5-pawn is not a passed pawn because the pawn on b7 attacks the c6-square.

Why Are Protected Passed Pawns Important?

Protected passed pawns are important because they are among the strongest types of passed pawns a player can have. Having a protected passed pawn in a pawn endgame is a valuable asset that can guarantee a win for the stronger side, provided everything else is equal. 

The strength behind this type of pawn structure is that the defending side can neither capture nor move too far away from these pawns. In the diagram below, White's only job is to infiltrate the position to capture the h5-pawn. Since Black can't go after the h4-pawn (or the king would never be able to capture the g5-pawn), White can maneuver their king to get behind enemy lines and take the pawn on h5.

Test

Now that you know the importance of the protected passed pawn, it's time to test your knowledge. Take a look at the position below and try to name all the protected passed pawns you see:

Identify the protected passed pawns
Which are the protected passed pawns?

In the image below, White has a protected passed pawn on d4 while Black has one on h5. White's b4-pawn is not a passed pawn at all since the a7-pawn stands in its way to the promotion square on b8.

The d4- and h5-pawns are protected passed pawns.
The d4- and h5-pawns are protected passed pawns.

Conclusion

You now know what a protected passed pawn is, its importance, and how you can win games using this kind of structure. Head over to our Endgames page to learn even more about the most important endgames in chess!