EIGHT SQUARE™ - Working Pawn Finds Tiara: Becomes Queen

If a pawn manages to reach the end of the board, also known as the eighth square, it is promoted to a queen. A pawn can be promoted to a knight, bishop, rook, or queen. Typically, an eighth square pawn transforms to a queen because the queen is the most powerful piece. This special move can be decisive in a game, so an opponent will definitely try to prevent this promotion by erecting obstacles, capturing the advancing pawn, or racing towards a pawn promotion of its own.

White’s move: Can the black pawn promotion be stopped?

Since tiaras are not standard chess material, new queens are represented with extra queens that come in some chess sets or an upside-down rook. Pawns move straight forward, unless attacking or performing the special move en passant. These diagonal moves can be exploited to advance a pawn towards promotion by going around an obstacle or by evading capture. The closer a pawn gets to promotion the more nervous the opponent gets and the more attention the pawn receives. This extra attention usually starts on the sixth rank for white or third rank for black. Yet, just as in life, getting promoted in chess is easier said than done and requires cunning and careful time calculation. It takes a pawn at least five moves to reach the eighth square from its original position. Also, most pawns face off against opposing pawns like bogged down armies in trenches, unable to move forward without exposing positions to attack and taking losses. Determining which pawn or pawns to advance given the pieces on the board is an important first calculation. The key calculation is choosing which strategy to implement: race towards promotion, trade for material gain, or feign a promotion attempt to capture material. While that is the perceived intent of pawn promotion is to obtain a queen, this is not necessarily the case. The true intent may be net material gain. With pawn promotion, net material gain is usually decisive. In fact, many opponents resign just before or after a player achieves a pawn promotion because it breaks their will to continue at such a material disadvantage. Chess Champion Bobby Fischer

©2008 James Jones. All rights reserved.

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said he likes “the moment when I break a man’s ego.” Pawn promotion, even the potential, is one of those moments.

If the d3 pawn advances to d2, would Black’s net material advantage be decisive?

Single or connected rooks on the first or last rank are often the final obstacle to remove before pawn promotion. A cunning way around this obstacle is to trade rooks to obtain a queen. This pawn promotion trade is often forced because the opponent’s king is in check or threatened by check. Additionally, the king itself is often an obstacle to pawn promotion, just by being in the pawn’s path. The secret to successful pawn promotion is getting a king or other obstacles to move.

Where should Black move its rook to advance towards pawn promotion?

©2008 James Jones. All rights reserved.

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