Hello, Dear chess friends!
We continue with the examination of king's role in endgames. You may remember that we previously explained the dynamics of king's movement, with an emphasis on square rule and triangulation. Today, we will deal with somewhat more "static" endgame principles involving the king. Let us begin where we left off last time:
So let us take the h-pawns off the board. In the next example, white faces a critical decision - to push the pawn forward immediately or not? Most beginners make a hasty mistake of pushing the pawn too fast and soon they reach a dead end. Their hastiness can be explained by a lack of strategic thinking, which is quite normal for beginners. When I show such positions to my students, I like to use a football analogy to help them compose the winning plan. I tell them to imagine that black king is a goal-keeper who defends the goal (promotion square f8), while white king represents the opposing team's striker. The passed pawn represents the ball. Now, how does a good striker score in one-on-one situations against the goalkeeper? Sometimes he dribbles around him, other times he finds an angle which the goalkeeper cannot cover and shoots the ball there. However, it is almost never a good idea for the striker to push the ball (analogy: f-pawn) too far ahead of himself, because there is a big risk that the keeper will intercept it or make a save off a poor shot (make a draw). Therefore, the key to scoring in such situations is in the right positioning (controlling the key squares) of the striker (white king) when he will use his speed and skill to score (promote the pawn)
Let us see how we can apply this analogy in the following example:
Now let us see a simple example of how to fight for key squares from a distance. Pay attention to white king's maneuver because it will help you solve a similar exercise in the Exercises section.