Topic 9 (Advanced) - Pawns
Bowing to popular demand (Well, I had one person request it) (RogueDragon himself actually), this strategy guide will once again contain strategic advice from RogueDragon
! As before, I will take this opportunity to caution you on taking for granted anything RogueDragon has written. Anything I have written, however, is of incredible value and may be taken for granted without any risk of injury or mental stress (Not that Rogue’s strategy could cause serious
injury or anything - don’t worry too much...).
Anyhow, in this topic we’ll be talking about the most important piece in Kung Fu Chess besides your king: the pawn.
- Weak Pawns vs. Strong Pawns
I’m not going to go into great detail here, mostly because 100% of my knowledge about this comes straight from newgen’s guide, but here’s a quick summary:
- Connecting Pawns = good
Both white’s pawns and black’s pawns are side by side (connected) and thus can support each other. This is strong.
- Isolated Pawns = bad
Now white’s pawns aren’t next to each other and therefore can’t support each other. This is weak.
- Doubled Pawns = even worse
The white pawns are not supporting each other and the first pawn is preventing the second pawn from even moving. This is quite weak.
- Why you need to know this stuff = shown below
In this position, black has just played his pawn to a6. Now that white has reviewed my brief summary, he should be able to figure out that one thing he definitely doesn’t want to do is take that pawn with his b pawn:
By taking the pawn, white creates two isolated pawns. As stated above, this is weak. Look what happens now:
A game-winning 4-move combination.
Capturing the pawn left white’s remaining pawns wide open for a combination by black. It is probably not in your best interest to trade pawns if it leaves you with isolated pawns.
You have a pawn chain when you have pawns connected diagonally:
||A pawn chain
Pawns in a pawn chain are often weak in Kung Fu Chess. In this position (only slightly modified from the one above), white can win the pawn at the head of the chain by attacking further back in the chain with his pawns:
If black takes this pawn, white can win the now undefended pawn on e4:
If he doesn’t take it, white wins it anyways with a simultaneous attack:
- Passed Pawns - by RogueDragon
(Rogue some of the positions you sent me made very little sense so I fixed them up to what I think you meant: if it’s not how you want it just let me know.)
Pawns are an often overlooked, yet key element to Kung Fu Chess. Because of the time-based nature of Kung Fu Chess, in which multiple moves are permissible, pawns are significantly stronger than in regular chess. A rapid pawn advance can be extremely hard to stop, and often requires an expensive sacrifice from your opponent in order to prevent one or more pawns from promoting.
A passed pawn is one that cannot be attacked or blocked by another pawn en route to promotion.
(In this position, white has sacrificed his light-squared bishop to obtain two passed pawns. More on this type of sacrifice may be coming in the next topic.)
White’s pawns on f4 and g5 are passed pawns here, because they cannot be captured or impeded by another pawn en route to queening. Suppose all the remaining pieces are traded off evenly, leaving the following scenario:
White now has a clear advantage, as his pawns practically support themselves, and threaten to promote without acute defending from Black. White can immediately play f5, for example, threatening the Black bishop, which must therefore retreat, whilst the White king can advance to f4 unimpeded. Ideally, Black would like to attack White’s queenside pawns with his bishop, but the threat of the pawns is enough to necessitate the bishop remaining in defense.
At first glance, it seems difficult as to how White can win here, despite his clear advantage. If White tries advancing to g6, this only succeeds in driving back the Bishop to e8, and White must also move his King to g5 in order to make sure Black cannot just blockade with Kf6:
It would take a stroke of luck somewhere for White to win in this kind of position, for the only way he can try and press the attack is f6, after which Bxg6 (pawn advances to dodge) and Kf7 secures at least a draw for Black:
||"It’s a draw!" sayeth RogueDragon.
Note that if White moves to defend his pawn, i.e. through Kf4, Black can play Bh7 and Kxf6.
So thus it can be seen, our rash attempt to force a win with our pawn advantage would not be successful. It is such scenarios you should be analyzing mid-game, for example during the time whilst the White King was advancing to his outpost on f4. Thinking ahead saves games.
What is in fact required in this position is a little subtlety. White should in fact play 1.) e5!, a sacrifice which wins the game:
After dxe5 and Kd6, White can play f6, g6 and Kf5, upon which at least one white pawn must queen, and White will have just enough time to capture the Black queen as he queens on e1, winning the game.
||"Black cannot stop white from promoting a pawn!" quoth RogueDragon.
If Black decides simply to exchange, white can recapture with his king on e5. White then wins by playing g6, forcing the Black bishop to retreat further. White then plays f5, making the black King retreat, after which f6 wins the Bishop, and White can reach Black’s queenside pawns first to support his creation of yet another passed pawn, winning the game.
||"f6 wins the Bishop, and White can reach Black’s queenside pawns first to support the creation of yet another passed pawn, winning the game," declareth RogueDragon.
Not accepting the pawn sacrifice would be even more disastrous, as White can then proceed to play it forward, whereupon he has 3 passed pawns, and victory is assured.
Therefore, through the influence of his passed pawns that White created through the sacrifice of a bishop for two pawns in the opening, he has won the game. Whenever you have the opportunity, always try to create a secure passed pawn, as this can be decisive in winning games. By creating a passed pawn, you are creating a potential queen.
- Special thanks to RogueDragon for writing the minor tidbit about passed pawns!
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