Can a Pawn Take a King: If you come for the king with your weakest soldier, will you succeed? Well, it depends on how you work out your strategy. As well as which other pieces take part in the attack. Scroll down to learn the basics.
Most newcomers don’t pay enough attention to pawns when studying chess secrets. They seem useless, with their extremely limited movement and attack patterns. However, they’re numerous. Use them for creating traps, causing threats, and luring more valuable pieces under fire.
This knowledge is already a lot once you fully grasp how important the strategy is! But what will you say when you learn the following? Some situations cause certain pieces to reveal their hidden superpowers! We’ll cover this and other information below.
However, let us comment on a common question from a start. Can a pawn kill a king? A simple and short answer will be no. First of all, no one takes this valuable piece from the board. It always stays there. Technically, the only harm you possibly inflict on it is checkmating. But if you use killing as a synonym, you still can’t do it. Definitely not with only one pawn! It doesn’t have a chance against the monarch: it’ll devour it or retreat. But these humble soldiers are more powerful than you think!
Must-have knowledge: What is a pawn piece in chess
You should learn the basics before jumping into the battle.
Pawn piece in chess: You’ll have 8 such soldiers standing in one row in front of other pieces.
Initially, pawns start from the second or seventh rank.
They’re very slow: they jump 1 square forward at a time. But there is one exception. They go over 1 cell on their first move. For example, you can put your e2-pawn to e4, leaving the e3 square behind.
Attention: it only works on your side of the field.
When can a pawn move diagonally? If your enemy stands to its left or right, it can proceed there. It occupies its new position, taking the opponent’s soldier away from the board. You won’t see pawns move diagonally in ordinary situations. So, the rules are simple: 1 square forward to go, and 1– diagonally to hit.
Can a pawn attack backwards? No, it can’t. If its enemy is behind it, it’s helpless. This is why it’s wise to have a backup near your soldiers.
The superpowers of pawns in chess
You’ll be surprised to know that only pawns are gifted with special abilities. They are activated in certain circumstances. This makes them dormant winning cards that shift the advantage to your side. And help you win when it’s least expected!
Let’s have a brief look at them and how they work.
En Passant Capture
En Passant Capture – it is a rare exception to the attack pattern. It happens only when 2 of the following conditions are met:
- Your piece has just entered the opponent’s side of the field. For example, from d4 to d5 for White. Or from g5 to g4 for Black
- The opposing pawn jumps 2 squares forward and stands to your left or right. Remember, they do this if it’s their first move
If the above happens on the field, you can eat such a piece! Step one cell diagonally and take the opposing soldier away. Let’s have a look at the example to better understand how it works:
You’re playing for White with only a pawn on your side h4. Your opponent has 2 of them g7 and h6. It’s your turn to go, so you send your soldier forward (h5) and get stuck. The h6 piece stands in your way, so you can’t proceed. Your enemy might see it as a chance for its g7-pawn. Sending it to the 1st rank will give the other side a chance for promotion! You’ll learn about it below.
So, Black jumps to g5, dreaming of getting a queen. How shocked it’ll be when you move to g6 and take away its piece! Nothing will stop you from finishing the match with a win on your side. There are 2 reasons people go for a move that will destroy their strategy:
- They don’t know about the maneuver. It’s a common situation when newcomers just haven’t encountered this rule yet. There are so many nuances to master that some players just miss it! But the trick is a game changer. So, be more advanced and use it to get out of difficult traps.
- They’ve forgotten about it. Maybe it has been a tiring match. Or the chance to win has clouded their judgment of the layout. Whatever it is, it’s a mistake. This is why it’s so important to analyze all possible consequences launched by your decisions. Don’t hurry: chess is about thinking.
Promotion – as already hinted above, this ability is connected with transformation. According to the rules, your pawn can be exchanged on the 8th or 1st ranks. You get an extra rook, queen, bishop, or knight. Except for the king (check out the article to learn about the process in detail).
If you don’t yet want to dive into the rule, just watch how it works:
The black commander is doomed: the pawn is about to transform! It goes to the 8th rank and summons a queen to take its place. In this case, it’s a checkmate!
The opposing king moves nowhere. Although it’s under fire, there are no escape cells to retreat from danger. If you don’t threaten the enemy right away, take your queen to the king and do!
Here are some extra things to know about the maneuver:
1. The moment of transformation. As a rule, the pawn reaches the necessary tile moving 1 cell forward. However, it’s not forbidden to get there after the attack. If there is a piece located diagonally from it, it can hit it. Then it takes its place on the 8th or 1st rank and summons a different soldier.
2. The queen is the star. It’s the most popular piece to introduce. One moment it’s on one side of the board, and the next – on the other! It’s extremely flexible in its outreach, covering many tiles per move. It’s often enough to secure a win. Such a choice is called queening. However, in some rare cases, you might need a rook, bishop, or knight. Such a maneuver is called underpromotion. But sometimes, it’s the only way to avoid a stalemate.
Even a threat of you having a promotion situation possibly knocks your enemy off balance! If your intention proves to be effective, you’ll get a too powerful advantage. It will most likely ruin his or her plans of winning. Your opponent may even fall for traps and convenient exchanges.
All in all, it’ll lead to mistakes you can use to your benefit. And don’t worry if you lose your queen candidate. If your pawn dies during the battle, just make sure the sacrifice is worth it. For example, you give your weakest unit but take an opposing knight or rook!
And the last comment about the promotion. Never focus only on your desire to reach the other end. Carefully watch the plotting of the other side. Don’t leave your enemy a chance to get another queen or other powerful pieces. Because if you do, it’s a serious breach in your strategy!
Kill the King: Game Over?
We’ll now be nerds for the sake of truth. Can a pawn take a king? No one can eat, destroy or kill this piece because it’s special. It should always remain on the board.
The only possible actions towards it are the following:
- to check
- to checkmate (a pawn can’t do it alone)
Can a pawn take a bishop? Yes. But the same is not true when said about the king from a technical point of view. Of course, people use such phrasing when playing with friends. But you should understand the difference.
Short Answers about the Main Piece
Let’s have a brief look at what kings can do on the field:
- Can the king move diagonally? Yes, this piece is not limited in the direction it goes. But it doesn’t jump far: only 1 cell at a time. Still, it’s a powerful warrior, not as useless as some may think.
- Can the king capture in chess? Of course, it strikes others! But only if the deed doesn’t endanger its existence. If the move places it under fire, it’s not allowed.
- Can a king take any piece in chess? No rules are saying that one soldier is not capable of attacking another. In certain circumstances, any of your units can challenge any of the enemy’s ones.
- Can a king take a queen? Yes, and even a knight, bishop, or rook. However, 1 commander is useless against another. This is why it’s a draw when the field has only 2 kings left. When all pieces are killed, no one wins.
All You Need To Know About a Pawn-Based Endgame
One of the most common endings in chess is an empty board. 2 kings and 1 pawn on one side. However, it’s not a 100% win for the strong side and a defeat for the other. Whatever color your pieces are, there are many ways for you to screw up your advantage.
But if you follow the already invented patterns, you’ll win a better deal for yourself. We won’t go into this in detail in our article. But, we’ll touch upon fundamental knowledge to prepare you for further studying.
Setting Goals Straight
In such an endgame there are always losing and winning sides. The one that has some supplementary pieces (at least 1 pawn) is considered stronger. All because it still has a chance for checkmating.
But if you have only 1 king left, forget about winning. You won’t threaten the opponent. And there is no way to summon backup.
As a result, it’s a very interesting layout, with sides pursuing completely different agendas. If you’re stronger, you do everything to lead your pawn to the 8th or 1st rank. It allows you to introduce a queen or other soldier to nail the opposing commander.
Your goal is to avoid a stalemate. If it happens, no one wins according to the rules. But considering the advantage you have had, it’s a lost opportunity that feels like a defeat.
But if you are weaker, your goal is to get rid of the enemy’s pawn. You chase it and search for a chance to attack it. This will finish the round without a winner, but it’s still better than plainly losing. Your opponent will do everything to protect its only soldier. This is why the enemy’s king will always be nearby for backup. Unless you find a way to outsmart it!
It’s a simple trick showing whether a pawn is faster than the chasing king or not.
Check out the example:
The left image features a pawn sprinting to the 8th rank. A black main piece is following nearby. It definitely wins if the next move belongs to it.
However, White will 100% make it to their goal if it’s their turn! A pawn will always be 1 step ahead! But the situation to your right is not that advantageous. The king has already crossed the line. It’ll catch up and destroy the opponent’s soldier!
To build such a square, count the cells from the pawn to the eighth rank. And start drawing it in your mind to form the right figure. The rule is this: if the king is inside, it wins. If it’s not, you win.
Chess Endgame Fundamentals: King + Pawn vs. King
Pawns, king, other pieces… Now you have a better understanding of some secrets. However, there is much to learn. Reading the rules on how pawns move in chess is not enough, although very important! Try the book by Jose Capablanca called Chess Fundamentals. Can a king kill a queen in chess? You won’t have such questions after finishing this detailed guide with interesting and practical cases.
This intellectual game is a popular entertainment option both for kids and adults. No wonder it penetrated different spheres of our life. You’ll find mentions in cartoons, films, books, and songs. By the way, do you know a popular line in the song Jars? It was created by the musical group Chevelle. And it goes “we can’t both become the same pawn”. Watch the following clip to see it in context!