Key squares

Published on Sunday, February 1, 2015 in |

One way of making it easier to play the endgame is by using the concept of key squares. Key squares are squares that you have to occupy with your King. If you succeed in doing so you will win the game, regardless who’s turn it is to move.
A pawn who has not reached the fifth rank has three key squares that are located two ranks in front of the pawn, as indicated by the diagram below. This rule doesn’t apply for the wing pawn.

Black can also make use of the knowledge of the key squares. If he is able to prevent that the opposing king can reach the key squares the game will result in a draw as long as the pawn is within reach of this King, according to the pawn square rule.

In the diagram above White wins by simply playing Ke4.

The pawn on the 4th rank or below has 3 key squares, but as soon as the fifth rank is reached three key squares are added. Therefor the pawn on the 5th rank or higher has six key squares and in the right diagram below the position is won by White even when it is White’s turn to move. With Black’s turn to move White will even win the game on a rank below.

For a wing pawn (Rook pawn) the key squares are located on b7 and b8 (or g7 and g8 for the h-pawn)

In all the diagrams above the white King is able to reach a key square and win the game. Looking back at the previous lessons of the pawn endgame: the King on the 6th rank, the knight pawn and the rook pawn this kind of endgames are probably easier to play by now. Just look at the key squares.

An overview of all chess lesson can be found at the chess lessons index. The next lesson will be about a trap in the Italian game.

0 reactions:

Latest posts