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3.4. Knight and One Pawn versus Knight

A pawn surplus in knight endings usually constitutes huge advantage since it is generally sufficient for the win. Perhaps it may seem paradoxical but is nevertheless true: the one pawn advantage is most easily realized in knight endings, even more easily than in pawn ending proper! There are many won knight endings which would be drawn if the knights were removed since then this slight advantage would not suffice for a win. It is, above all, valid for positions where there are rook’s pawns as well! Although endings featuring knight and a pawn against knight in most cases end in draw since the weaker side can prevent the pawn from queening, there are many positions where conversion of this minimal advantage is possible. The prospects of winning are the better the nearer the pawn is to the promotion square as well as to the rim of the chess-board! The king position plays a decisive role in the successful defence. We shall consider in detail those endings where the king actively helps pawn in its effort to reach the promotion square. With regard to specific strategy employed we may divide them into three basic groups: Pawn on the seventh rank Pawn on the sixth rank Pawn far from the promotion square.

3.4.1. Pawn on Seventh Rank

When the black king is cut off from the pawn, White always wins provided his pawn has reached the seventh rank. The simplest case is with a rook’s pawn since then the knight’s defensive capability is decidedly the weakest. White to play wins outright by bringing Black into zugzwang.



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GM Vlatko Kovacevic

GM Vlatko Kovacevic

Vlado Kovacevic is a chess grandmaster and an endgame expert. He very successfully competed on the national team. From 2000 – 2004, he acted as selector of the Croatian Men’s national team. He is also a well-known chess author.