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Chess Fundamentals by José Raúl Capablanca

2. Pawn Promotion

The gain of a Pawn is the smallest material advantage that can be obtained in a game; and it often is sufficient to win, even when the Pawn is the only remaining unit, apart from the Kings. It is essential, speaking generally, that the King should be in front of his Pawn, with at least one intervening square.

If the opposing King is directly in front of the Pawn, then the game cannot be won. This can best be explained by the following examples.

Example 5.


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The whole mode of procedure is very important and the student should become thoroughly conversant with its details; for it involves principles to be taken up later on, and because many a beginner has lost identical positions from lack of proper knowledge. At this stage of the book I cannot lay too much stress on its importance.

In this position of the next example White wins, as the King is in front of his Pawn and there is one intervening square.

The method to follow is to advance the King as far as is compatible with the safety of the Pawn and never to advance the Pawn until it is essential to its own safety.

Example 6.


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This ending is like the previous one, and for the same reasons should be thoroughly understood before proceeding any further.