E-book: Pawn Endgames K+3P vs K+2P


2.6. King and Three Pawns versus King and Two Pawns

Although endings of king and three pawns versus king and two pawns may, due to a wealth of new strategic and tactical ideas, be considered as a penultimate step towards complex pawn endings, they nevertheless deserve an independent place in the theory of endings. The majority of these endings may by a reduction of material transpose into the already familiar endings of king and two pawns against king and one or king and two pawns, which in great measure facilitates their correct treatment and the adoption of the best plan. However, also completely new situations may arise wherein the “rules of behaviour” are yet to be defined in order to bridge successfully the gap between the elementary knowledge and the indispensable technical tools enabling quick and correct decisions in the complicated conditions of tournament play. As a rule of thumb, the more pawns the better are the winning chances of the stronger side due to a widening of the scope of the possible and convenient solutions thanks to a simple reduction of material. But there are also exceptions due to the peculiarities of the pawn structure. That is why we shall divide these endings in two basic groups: with passed pawns without passed pawns.

2.6.1. Passed Pawns

With regard to the logic and strategy of play, the majority of these endings are quite similar to some of the endings of king and two pawns against king and one pawn. Therefore, in a great number of endings with a protected or distant passed pawn well-known principles from simpler endings may be applied. However, due to more material essentially different situations may arise. We shall examine all conceptually new typical cases. In positions with passed pawns controlled by the enemy kings, the stronger side generally will win if its king can halt the enemy pawns. As the king of the weaker side cannot halt three pawns they will reach the promotion square on their own.

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.