Monday, 25 February 2013

Key Square : End Game Study

Endgame study will help you to clear your basic concept about endgame as well as sharpen your calculation skills. Capablanca the great end-game player of the century has also suggested learning endgame first in his book chess fundamentals.

What we will do is, first we will introduce concept and on the same concept we will provide three puzzles. The answer will be provided on next endgame column.

King and Pawn Endings

Before staring writing on this, I under stand that you know about the all basic rules of chess like how piece move, capture, castling etc etc. Under king and pawn ending today we will discuss about key square.

Key Square : 
Key Square is the square where if stronger side of the king occupy that square, pawn can be promoted by force to the next stop or next square. Location of the key square depends upon the pawn position which can be categorised in below mentioned ways.

1. Key Squares where pawn has not reached half of the board. (2nd , 3rd and 4th Rank)

A pawn which is in its own half of the board has 3 key squares. Similarly we can see in both diagrams, Key Squares are displayed by dark circle: two ranks ahead of the pawn on its own file and the two neighbour files.

2. Key Squares where pawn has reached half of the board (5th ,6th and 7th rank)

A pawn which is in opponent’s half has six key squares which we can see in diagrams; marked by dark circle. 
For the pawn on 7th rank

For the 7th rank there are 5 key squares as 6th square will be occupied by pawn it self on 7th rank.

3. Key Squares for Rook pawn

As we all know rook pawn is very hard to promote so has less key squares and relatively harder to reach as compare to other pawns. The key squares of the rook pawn are fixed irrespective of their position of the rank. If white king can reach to the squares marked by dark circle pawn can be promoted but if black king can reach to the squares marked by ‘X’ he can defend adequately.

4. An exception

There is an exception to the key square rule with the knight pawn on its sixth rank where you must be alert for stalemate trick as you can see in the diagram where if it is black to move, the game is draw because of stalemate whether white king is on f7 or f8.

Practical implication of the theory :

let's have a look on 2 example where proper knowledge of theory saves the day on the opposite side the result is 'lost of the game.'

Example 1 :

Example 2 :

Test Positions :
Now try to solve below 3 test positions.

Position 1 : White to play

Position 2 : White to play

Position 3 : White to play

Answers will be published on next Endgame Study article. 

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