The “hello world” of king-and-pawn vs. king endgames

The path to becoming a good player is shorter and smoother if you learn to play endgames. Most chessplayers resist this strongly, because endgame study is to reading technical manuals with skeletal wireframes as opening study is to reading glossy fashion magazines with beautiful people on every page.

If you don’t have a solid knowledge of king-plus-pawn vs. king, how can you know whether to reduce to that from king-plus-two-pawns vs. king-plus-one? Chessplayers think learning how to play with all 32 pieces on the board will help them more than knowing how to play with two kings and three pawns, but the logic is irrefutable.

Learn to like simple endgames. That’s maybe the best medicine I can give to chessplayers that they don’t want to swallow.

Click or tap on a move in the game text for a popout display board.


The rook pawns — the a- and h-pawns — are exceptional because there’s no space for White to move to the other side.