Promoting a Pawn – Part One

pawn can promote in this end game

In the above position, the pawn can be promoted regardless of whose turn it is. This key position has the attacking king in front of its pawn, with only two squares in front of that king. That attacking-king is said to be on the “sixth” rank, regardless of chess notation.

With black to move, after the defending king moves to one side, the attacking king moves diagonally forward, coming in contact with the queening square like as follows:

simple pawn promotion endgameIf the black king had instead moved to f8, white would then have moved Kd7.

In the above position, regardless of where the black king moves, the pawn should advance. It continues advancing to the queening square (e8), for black has not way of stopping it.

What if it’s white’s move?

Look again at the diagram of the key position:

pawn can promote in this end game

With white to move, the attacking king simply moves to the side (staying on the same rank), and the pawn is then advanced.

with white to move, white wins

In the above position, white moved the king to the left and the black king did the same. It is white’s turn to move. The pawn now advances, forcing the defending king to give way:

1) e6  Ke8

2) e7 . . . . with the following position, with black to move:

end of a simple pawn ending in chessBlack has only one legal move, Kf7. White then moves Kd7, supporting the pawn’s final advance to the queening square.


white wins this simple pawn end game

The white king is next to e8, supporting the promotion of that pawn. White wins, for the technique for winning with K+Q versus K is easy.




Simple Rook Endgame

Use the rook to hem in the black king.

Queen Versus Rook – Philidor Endgame

What is the Philidor position? It depends on what kind of endgame you’re talking about. With queen versus rook, it looks something like this:

endgame of Philidor position with Q vs R


About Jonathan D. Whitcomb

Chess instructor
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