Pawns are the least valuable pieces on the chess board. So, are pawns important? Yes! Every pawn could turn into a queen. When you capture one of the opponent’s pawns, you never have to worry about that pawn becoming a queen.
When the opponent captures one of your pawns, you have one less chance of promoting to a queen. Watch out for your pawns early in the game, and your pawns will watch out for you later in the game.
Before you can promote a pawn to a queen, you must make a passed pawn. A passed pawn is a pawn that cannot be stopped from queening by pawns. It cannot be blocked or captured by any of the opponent’s pawns. It is free to march forward and promote to a queen.
It is not always easy, though, to promote a passed pawn. The opponent will try to stop your passed pawn. He will look for ways to capture your passed pawn or blockade it so it cannot advance. He will try to remove your defenders and control the squares in front of your passed pawn. Likewise, you will look for ways to protect your passed pawn. You will try to remove the opponent’s defenders and control the squares in front of your passed pawn so you can push it forward. Passed pawns must be pushed. They must be pushed safely, though, with support from your pieces, or you may lose them. Usually, the more advanced a passed pawn is, the more valuable it becomes.
When a pawn reaches the last rank, it is usually best to promote to a queen, but not always. Sometimes, it may be better to underpromote to a different piece. A different piece may help you get checkmate, or use a tactic, or it may prevent the opponent from getting checkmate or using a tactic, or it may avoid putting the opponent in stalemate. It is not always best to promote to a queen. Think before you move!
From the book, “TOTAL CHESS: Learn, Teach and Play the Easy 1-2-3 Way,” by John Herron
TOTAL CHESS is your complete guide to chess. It covers everything: rules, strategies, tactics and checkmates.
Everything in chess comes in threes. Three simple strategies are presented for the opening, midgame, endgame, etc. Each lesson is brief and covers one concept in simple language that everyone can read and understand.