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LCB, Issue #007 -- Ambush the Enemy with Tactical Bombs
December 01, 2011

Tactical Bombs

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #007 -- Ambush the Enemy with Tactical Bombs

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Last month we took a close look at promotion plays for rook pawns with a minor piece supporting it. We moved on to the central plank of rook and pawn endgames. Following a detailed examination of the must know Lucena Position, we also examined how to prevent such a thing, should we need to, by executing the Philidor Position. Finally we took in a demonstration of how a queen must defend against a pawn, firstly on the sixth rank, secondly on the seventh rank.

This month our attention will be focused on Tactical Bombs in King and Pawn Endgames. Specifically a King and two safe Pawns up against a lone King. This will lead us into tactical bombs you can drop on your opponent in general King and Pawn endgames. You will leave this discussion armed with a nice little bag of tricks you can use to turn things your way much to your opponent's chagrin.

Tactical Bombs With Two Safe Pawns

Two Connected Pawns vs Lone King

In this endgame it often doesn't matter if the stronger king is miles away from the battle. Two pawns usually do a great job of offering each other mutual protection against a lone king. We're going to consider each of the following scenarios with the stronger king on the other side of the board or at least too far away to offer the pawns any protection.

Let's say you have two connected pawns with an enemy king loitering. What's to stop this lone king from swooping in to gobble up the two pawns if their king is nowhere to be seen?

All you need to do is play one pawn a single rank ahead of the other. The king cannot take the leading pawn as it is defended by it's comrade. He must not take the rear pawn as this will allow the leading pawn a free run to promotion. The two pawns are safe and can wait patiently for their wandering king to saunter over to escort them to promotion. Two CPvsK Endgame.

Two Safe Pawns One File Apart vs Lone King

When there is an empty file between the two pawns they can still defend each other quite well. Again their king is away from the action and the enemy king is in the immediate vicinity with the expressed intention of polishing off both pawns.

So how do these two watch each other's backs without their own king there to protect them? They do it with a combination of controlling the empty file lying between them and threatening a breakaway should the king help himself to the rear pawn.

As soon as the king makes a frontal attack on one of the pawns, the other simply moves on one rank. The king can't take that pawn as that would leave the remaining pawn free to march to promotion. He can't attack the leading pawn from the side as the critical squares of the in-between file are now controlled by both pawns.

If the king crosses the middle file behind the advanced pawn he simply allows that pawn to race away to promotion. If he crosses in front of the pawn he will have retreated so much that the rear pawn can advance to the same rank as it's comrade and the pair will have made territory.

All he can do is retreat straight backwards, sit in and wait for the other king to slowly join the proceedings. The stronger king will be able to support a decisive march to the final rank. 2Ps 1FA vs K Endgame.

Two Safe Pawns Two Files Apart vs Lone King

If the two pawns are two files apart and their king is far away then the defending lone king may be able to draw. The critical factor is the rank that the pawns are standing on.

If they are on the 4th rank or less then the lone king can capture them and secure the draw. Although the distance the king must cover is now even greater, the pawns do not control all of the critical squares where the king must cross. This means he can pick up the first pawn and remain within the square of the other pawn. He can scramble back to the other pawn to stop it promoting. 4th Rank Pawns 2FA vs LK Endgame.

If the pawns have reached the fifth rank or better then the distance between them will ensure that one of them can make it to the final rank. If the king takes one of the pawns the advanced pawn will be close enough to the final rank to skate home. If the king tries to hold both pawns, they can simply edge forward slowly but surely. Two safe pawns, three files apart will always succeed against a lone king just by edging forward. The distance between them is too great. The defending king would have needed to be able to capture one immediately to survive. 5th Rank Pawns 2FA vs LK Endgame.

More Clever Tactics

We know how the Deep Freeze and the Fox in the Chicken Coup routines work. The Deep Freeze is when one pawn can stop two or even three pawns. The Chicken Coup is when we force the enemy king to lose time eliminating an outside passed pawn while our king moves in on the enemy pawns and takes them out.

There are certain circumstances where these usually good plans can be foiled. It's usually when the enemy pawns are closer to promotion than ours. It's important to recognize these threats to our carefully laid plans so that we can head them off or use them ourselves when we need to. These procedures are straight-forward and easy to learn as you can see.
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