How the Passed Pawn Can Improve Your Skills in Chess

Today I have decided to write about a strategy that I use extremely often and it can significantly increase your winning ratio. The goal of this article is to show you how to use the passed pawn in a way that you will easily understand. Many times in games of chess you will get into positions that advancing a pawn in your opponent’s side of the board creates a lot of problems to them. It’s definitely a bald move but if you want to play optimally you have to make it.  So, in my opinion, it is very important for you to study the content of this article especially if you haven’t heard about the passed pawn before. You can find articles like this about strategies in chess and reviews about nice chess sets in this website

Basics About The Passed Pawn

A passed pawn is a pawn that its way in the eighth rank (for White, the first rank for Black) is not obstructed by any piece of the opponent. You can see in the chessboard above that the passed pawns in the green d5 and b3 squares are able to advance. Hence, a passed pawn is like a fast runner; ‘let it run fast’. Keep in mind that it must be protected by another piece of yours. So, if your opponent decides to capture it, you will capture the attacking piece. Also known as a passer, a passed pawn can affect the outcome of a game because it provides valuable advantages.

Important Advantages

  • When you reach the sixth or seventh rank (having the white pieces) you are close to promoting the pawn into a Queen.
  • In the middlegame, the passed pawn plays a very important role, as it does pressing on the opponent’s pieces and ruins their cooperation.
  • The importance of your pawn is more than you think since some of the opponent’s pieces will be probably sacrificed to prevent the promoting of your pawn into a Queen.

Defending Against a Passed Pawn

On the other hand, when we want to block a dangerous pawn of the opponent, we should have a good blocker. Usually, it is a Knight or a Bishop to block the pawn’s way. Blocking with the Rook or the Queen should be avoided because those are the most powerful pieces you have and the role of a blocker puts them in danger. According to the jest of the great Nimzowitsch, ‘the passed pawn is a criminal and should be arrested as soon as possible, in case we want to defend properly’. On the following example, you can notice that the Knight is blocking the way of the white pawn and the Bishop is stopping black pawn’s promotion.

Games on Which a Passed Pawn Made the Difference

My philosophy is not only to write about the passed pawn but to show you how you use it like in all articles about strategies that I have written. It’s a good fortune that I have found games played by Grand Masters who demonstrate in a beautiful way how to use this strategy. Also, I have written comments that will help you get the most out of this article.

Gruenfeld, Modern Exchange Variation

Queen’s Indian, Old Main Line

Ruy Lopez, Archangelsk (Counterthrust) Variation

King’s Indian: Saemisch, Orthodox Variation

QGD, Tarrasch Defence

Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad, Main Line

Recommended Books and Courses

Using the passed pawn the right way can make a huge in the outcome of the game. It’s one of the key parameters that are related to the endgame. So, I have done some research and I have selected some books that will help you to use the passed in a better way. You will realize that those books are amazing if you take a look inside.

  1. Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual
  2. Silman’s Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master

Final Thoughts

I hope that I have helped you understand how to use the passed pawn. Keep practicing and you will master this strategy. Please check my other articles about chess strategies like the Fianchetto, the role of the Bad Bishop in chess, Slav Defense and French Defense. Make sure to take a look at my recommendations about chess products. Feel free to share this article with friends and comment your opinion about this article. Enjoy chess.

3 thoughts on “How the Passed Pawn Can Improve Your Skills in Chess”

    • If a pawn is not previously moved, it may be moved by 1 or 2 squares. If you have already moved your pawn, you are not able to move it by 2 squares. Thanks for your comment!

  1. Very instructive article. I’ve just discovered this website and I will keep an eye on it. Hope to get more and more chess knowledge here. Congratulations to the whole team.


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