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   Now you get to learn all about the lowly foot-soldiers of the game. But ... they can also be the most powerful!   .....    Philidor called them, "The soul of the game."   Why?  ....   read on and find out.       (ajs_bcc-banner.jpg, 19 KB)


"The Pawn(s)" In Chess

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 The Soul of the Game 

(Or, 'Life in the Infantry'.)


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Click  HERE  to go to another site where the basics of chess are covered.

Click  HERE  to go to another site where the basics of how the pieces move are covered. 


The  Pawn  is the  "Ground-Pounder"  of the chess-board.  

He is the most basic unit.  His movement and capturing power can be traced directly to the lowest ranked soldiers of the armies of the 15th and 16th centuries. 

He is the unit of lowest-value, and normally the most expendable. 

His worth increases as he travels up the board, because a pawn that reaches the other side of the chessboard gets to promote!

In the middlegame, or during "The Big Brawl,"  the pawns often just get in the way of the other pieces. 

In the endgame, sometimes having just one extra pawn can make all the difference. 

Grand-Master's (The highest, and most exalted class of chess-players.); know that how you stage and array your pawns {i.e. Pawn Structure} is very critical to the game. Masters will generally win by taking a pawn from you in the early stages of the game, then beating you with that one point difference!!


(Take a close look at the picture/diagram below.)

The pawn is the lowest-valued man on the board. But he can also be the highest!     [The pawn inches forward one square...)

(In the diagram above, The Pawn on e2 may advance one square to the e3-square. This possibility is shown above.)

 

The pawn is the simple foot - soldier of the chessboard. The pawn moves straight ahead his whole life, mostly moving one square at a time. A pawn NEVER moves backward. 

 

(The fact that the Pawn cannot move backwards makes it unlike any of the other pieces in Chess. The King, Queen, Rook, Knight, or Bishop can all move forward, backwards or sideways; as long as they conform to the correct movement-pattern for that piece.)

 

The pawn begins his life on your second row, and you will always have eight Pawns on your second row when you begin the game. You may move a pawn/ any  pawn that you wish on your first move. 
(You may also move one of your Knights to any one of the open squares which are available to them.)

 

It is a very unique and strange thing, but the pawn is the ... 
ONLY PIECE 
that moves one way, and then captures another!!  
This is very 
important to remember, and you must bear this in mind at all times!

 

Pawns capture one square ahead, to the right or left; in the same general direction as their movement. --->  I.e., a pawn on e4 could capture any piece on d5 or f5.


(First Move Option.)

 

1. P-K4 ("Pawn to King's Four) was Bobby Fischer's favorite first move!

(The above diagram shows that White has the choice of 
moving his pawn on e2 to the e4-square.)

 

The Pawn also has the option of moving forward  TWO  squares, on the first move only! This is an OPTION. This means you do NOT have to make this move, unless you want to!

 

A Pawn, any pawn, may move forward  ...  TWO SQUARES on its FIRST MOVE  ONLY!!  
After
a pawn has moved on its first move, it then moves one square at a time, (Moving straight ahead, or capturing one square to the right or left.); for THE REST OF THE GAME!


(Movement and capturing with a Pawn.)

 

The Pawn has the choice (OPTION) of advancing one or two squares on the first move.  ----->   "Look out world, here I come!"

 

The above picture shows the possible movement of the e2-Pawn on its first move. It may move to e3, or to e4. Once it arrives on e4, it could capture any enemy piece that landed on the d5 or f5 squares.

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  (Capture squares [for a pawn on e4] marked by the large, bold, black X's.)  


Additionally, if the e2-pawn is not moved on your first move, it could capture any piece that happened to land on the d3 or f3 squares.  

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(Potential movement of the e-pawn, is designated by the blue arrows.)

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[Or if the pawn on e2 moved to e3, it then could capture any piece that then was moved to the d4 or f4 squares.

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  These (potential capture) squares of the e-pawn (on e2, e3 or e4) ... 
are marked by the large, black dots.
]

 

One other thing to remember about the Pawn is that if it makes its way  all the way  to the other side of the board, then it may be PROMOTED to any piece of your choosing. (Except a King.) That is it may [must] be instantly (!)  replaced by a Queen, Rook, Knight, or Bishop. This is a  permanent  solution. 

Once the Pawn reaches the Promotion Square, it then assumes the movement power of that piece and NO LONGER moves like a Pawn!

 

This about does it for the discussion of the Pawn. There is one special move, (Pawn X Pawn, en passant.); and this will be covered in a separate section on Special Moves.


  Properties of the Pawn  

Having said a little about the Pawn, we should probably outline some 
of the basic properties of this particular unit of the chess-board.

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# 1.)  Since Pawns  CANNOT  move backwards, you should be very, very sure you want to push a Pawn before advancing it. Think twice before moving a Pawn!

# 2.) The way the Pawns are arranged on the board is essential. Great care and thought should be given to the way you are going to use your Pawns. The 'holes' or gaps in the Pawn structure will determine how much activity your pieces have. Look for these  open lines  for your pieces to occupy. 
 --->  Open files are critical for RooksOpen diagonals are critical for the Bishops.

# 3.) The further Pawns move up the board, the stronger they become! This is a very simple axiom that is often over-looked even by the most experienced chess-player. A pawn that is only a few moves from reaching its "promotion square" should be constantly watched.  Combinations involving this motif are especially tricky!   

# 4.) A weakness in the  Pawn Structure  can often bring about the loss of the game. Learn what a 'doubled' pawn is, what an 'isolated' pawn is, what a 'backward' pawn is. 

  ---> Make it second nature to avoid these weaknesses at all costs.  


That's it! Now you know almost everything about the pawn. 
NOT all that bad, yes?  

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   Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I;  1975-2014;  A.J. Goldsby, 2015. 

  (Page last updated: Monday;  May 31st, 2004.  Last edit or save on: 02/12/2015 13:22 .)  

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2015. All rights reserved.  


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  "The King"   in Chess.