King and Pawn Endings

The following game illustrates (starting in move 49.) how to exploit an extra pawn in a King and pawn endgame with many pawns left on the board. This example comes from James Howell’s excellent book ‘Essential Chess Endings’.

Things to remember:

1. Activate the king.

2. Create a passed pawn to tie down your opponent’s king.

3. Cut out any of your opponent’s counterplay.

4. Once your opponent has run out ouf pawn moves it should be easy to force his king back.

5. Either penetrate with your king and pick off your opponent’s pawns while they are busy dealing with your passed pawn or advance your king and passed pawn to paralyze your opponent’s king and force him to make concessions with his remaining pawns.

[Event “Germany”]
[Site “Germany”]
[Date “1992”]
[White “Glienke, Manfred”]
[Black “Jahn, Constanze”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “A17”]
[Annotator “Howell, James”]
[PlyCount “134”]
[EventDate “1992.??.??”]
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O O-O 7. d3 d5 8. cxd5
Nxd5 9. Bd2 Be7 10. Re1 c5 11. Nxd5 Bxd5 12. Bc3 Nd7 13. Qa4 Qc7 14. Rac1 Qb7
15. e4 Bc6 16. Qc2 Rac8 17. b3 Rfd8 18. Nd2 Bf6 19. Nc4 Bxc3 20. Qxc3 Nf6 21.
h3 Ne8 22. a4 f6 23. h4 Qd7 24. Bh3 Nc7 25. Re3 Qd4 26. Qe1 Rb8 27. Ra1 e5 28.
Ra2 Bd7 29. Bf1 Na6 30. Na3 Nb4 31. Nc2 Nxc2 32. Rxc2 Be6 33. Qc3 Qb4 34. Qxb4
cxb4 35. Rb2 Rbc8 36. Re1 Rc3 37. Reb1 a5 38. Be2 Rdc8 39. f3 Rc1+ 40. Bd1 R8c3
41. Kf2 Rxb1 42. Rxb1 Rxd3 43. Ke2 Rc3 44. Rb2 Kf7 45. Rc2 Bxb3 46. Rxc3 Bxd1+
47. Kxd1 bxc3 48. Kc2 Ke6 49. Kxc3 {Exploiting the extra pawn here is not
completely straightforward as White’s sole queenside pawn appears to be
holding up Black’s a-and b-pawns.} Kd6 50. Kc4 Kc6 {Both players now turn
their attention to the kingside, hoping to run the opponent out of pawn moves.}
51. h5 g6 52. h6 g5 53. g4 {White has the opposition and it looks as though
Black has lost the battle for tempi on the kingside. However, it turns out
that Black does not have to move her king.} b5+ {
It is now Black’s turn to move and he has lost the opposition.} 54. axb5+ Kb6
55. Kd5 Kxb5 56. Ke6 a4 57. Kxf6 a3 58. Kg7 a2 59. Kxh7 a1=Q 60. Kg6 Qa8 61.
Kxg5 Kc5 62. Kg6 Qf8 63. g5 Kd6 64. Kh5 Qxf3+ 65. Kg6 Qxe4+ 66. Kg7 Qb7+ 67.
Kg8 Qc8+ 0-1

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2 thoughts on “King and Pawn Endings

  1. Christian says:

    I recently posted on the topic of zugzwang and a slightly less complicated position at — knowing how to get pawns “stuck” properly seems to be an important topic indeed.

    Apart from the principles you mention, I’d add two further things to remember:

    6. Connected passed pawns are awesome.
    7. Once in the endgame, start thinking about potential piece sacrifices that benefit your pawn storm.

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