Every pawn dreams of promotion - to a Queen, Rook, Bishop or Knight.

But how can a pawn's dream come true.

Let's find out.

This is one of the most important lessons on the course, so pay very close attention!

OK, here's your first question.

What's happening here?

White's going to get a Queen
Black's going to stop White promoting
Don't know

Ha!! Fooled you there!

The correct answer is that it depends whose move it is.

If you want to avoid losing points, go back and start the lesson again!

OK, let's start again.

It's White's move. What's going on?

White's going to get a Queen
Black's going to stop White promoting

Yes, you're right. If White plays Kd6-e6 it's STALEMATE!! And if he goes anywhere else Black captures the Pawn.

Now tell me what happens with Black to play.

White's going to get a Queen
Black's going to stop White promoting

Yes, you're right again.

Black MUST play Ke8-f7, giving the position on your left. OK tell me this - what should White do here?

Yes, of course White doesn't promote at once.

Instead he brings his King up to control the Queening square.

There's nothing Black can do to stop White getting a Queen next move.

You do remember how to mate with a King and Queen, don't you?

Now there's something strange!!

In most chess positions it's best if it's your move.

But in some positions in the ENDING, like this one, it's best if it's NOT your move.

There's a funny German word for this - ZUGZWANG!!

Now let's move everything back one rank to reach this position.


You've really got to learn and UNDERSTAND what's happening here!

This time it doesn't matter whose move it is - but it's BLACK who has to make the important decision.

Think VERY CAREFULLY before you answer the next question.

It's Black's move. Don't you DARE get this question wrong!

Would you play...

Ke7-d8 Ke7-e8

Ke7-f8 Ke7-f6

OK let's go through the wrong answers VERY SLOWLY so that you'll understand what's happening.

First we'll look at Ke7-f6. What should White play here?

Correct! Now White's King will shepherd his pawn home.

If you don't believe me, play it through for yourself from this position.

Remember - if White's King gets to the side of the pawn, he'll win.

Now, we'll look at Ke8-f8. If you played this move (or Ke8-d8, which amounts to the same thing) watch VERY CAREFULLY.

What would you recommend for White here?

Yes, indeed. Kd5-d6 is the only move to win.

Can you work out what happens now? If you're having trouble visualising it play the moves through on your board.

Black plays Kf8-e8, White plays e6-e7 and we reach our first position with BLACK to move.

If you remember, it's a WIN FOR WHITE - Black has to play Ke8-f7, White goes Ke6-e7 and PROMOTES next move.

A quick look at Ke7-d8.

White plays Kd5-d6 again, Black goes Kd8-e8, White moves e6-e7 and again we get our first posiiton with BLACK to play, so WHITE WINS!! OK - are you starting to understand what's going on yet?

The ONLY way for Black to draw is to play Ke7-e8, giving this position.

An easy way to remember is that you always go back to the QUEENING SQUARE.

But UNDERSTANDING something is much better than just REMEMBERING.

Let's see what happens next.

Let's say White plays, again, Kd5-d6, giving this position. (Yes, he could go back with Kd5-e5 and hope Black gets it wrong next time.)

Now Black has two moves.

Ke8-d8 is the only move to draw
Ke8-f8 is the only move to draw
Both moves draw
Both moves lose

Again taking the wrong move first - in this position White can play Kd6-d7 and get a Queen in two moves time.

You really should know this idea by now!!

But after the right move, Ke8-d8, it should be a draw.

If White plays e6-e7+ Black goes back to e8. We have our first diagram with WHITE TO MOVE so BLACK DRAWS.

Understanding this position is the key to chess. You can't understand the opening until you understand the middle game. You can't understand the middle game until you understand the endgame. And you can't understand the endgame until you understand THIS POSITION.

This time the White King is in front of the Pawn. What's going to happen here?

White's going to get a Queen
Black's going to stop White promoting
Don't know

In fact this position is a win for White no matter whose move it is.

Let's start off with White: play might go:

Ke6-d6 Ke8-d8
e5-e6 Kd8-e8

And we reach our first position with BLACK TO MOVE so WHITE WINS.

Now let's suppose it's Black's move and he plays Ke8-d8.

You should know by now what White should do next.

Now let's move everything back one rank again, giving this position.

What's going on now?

White's going to get a Queen
Black's going to stop White promoting
Don't know

Ha ha!! Fooled you again!!

This time it all depends whose move it is.

Let's start with White to play.

White's going to get a Queen
Black's going to stop White promoting

Let's say White plays Ke5-d5.

In this position Black has ONLY ONE MOVE to draw. Is it...

Ke7-f6 Ke7-f7

Ke7-e8 Ke7-d7

Ke7-f6 loses to Kd5-d6 and White gets round the side.

Ke7-f7 also loses to Kd5-d6 - White either gets round the side or too far in front.

Ke8-e8 loses to either Kd5-d6 or Kd5-e6 and White gets too far in front.

The only way to draw is to move TWO SQUARES AWAY FROM THE KING ON THE SAME FILE.

Suppose Black plays Ke7-d7 and White goes back with Kd5-e5.

What's Black's next move?

Yes, again the ONLY way to draw is to move TWO SQUARES AWAY from the White King.

Get used to this idea - it's REALLY VERY VERY IMPORTANT!!


Going back a move, let's say White advances his pawn instead, giving this position with Black to play.

What now?

Again, Kd7-e7 is the only move to draw.

If White gets in front of the Pawn he'll win - as we've seen before.

Now if White moves his Pawn we get this position, which I think you've seen before.

Black's ONLY MOVE TO DRAW, is, you will recall, Ke7-e8.

So, with White to move, this position is a DRAW.

But with Black to move, WHITE CAN WIN!! Another ZUGZWANG.!!

Let's find out how.

Suppose Black plays Ke7-d7 (going to the other side doesn't help) giving this position, this time with WHITE to play.

He only has one move to win - can you find it?

Well played! Ke5-f6 is indeed the only move to win.

Play might continue:

Kf6-e6 (e4-e5 also wins) Ke8-d8
Ke6-f7 Kd8-d7
and the White Pawn will go through.


You have now completed the PAWN ENDINGS 1 assignment.