Chess is a popular and challenging game. The object of the game is to checkmate your opponent’s king, while capturing their pieces along the way. The pawns are the building blocks of chess. They have very simple rules and their only purpose is to take the first step toward invading the opposing king’s territory. Each team gets eight pawns to begin with, and they are most often the first piece used in any game of chess, followed by the knight.
General Strategy and Principles
In general, there are some principles to guide you on how to use pawns in your strategy. Like all Chess Principles, they can be broken and should not always be followed 100% of the time. The answer always depends on what your opponent plays.
Knowing how to use pawns in chess is crucial to overall strategy, especially your endgame strategy. In the endgame, it usually comes down to who has more pawns, and or who has better pawn structure.
How Pawns Move
In a game of chess, the pawns are the only pieces that can’t move backward. They can, however, move one square forward, and two squares forward during their first move from the starting position.
They can also attack diagonally forward, however this is actually the only way that they can attack. One drawback is that they cannot attack forward, which means they can be easily stopped in their path.
1. They are the most abundant piece on the board. With each player getting eight pawns each, they can serve as a great line of defense for both your king, as well as your other vulnerable pieces. Pawns are also resilient to some of the strongest strategies that the chess master has planned against you.
2. Pawns can be promoted into rooks, bishops, knights, and queens. This is a very powerful feature of the game, as you can essentially have eight additional queens to master the board with. To promote a pawn, you need to get your pawn to the opposite side of the board without being taken. This task will require a lot of courage, as you will have to move your pawn forward two squares and then roll the dice to see if you’re safe or not. Pawns usually are used as a defensive tactic, but with this offensive strategy you can significantly change the tide of any game.
3. Pawns can take opposing pawns and pieces. This is another trait that makes the pawn very special, as they can be used to attack your opponent in multiple ways. Pawns can take out other pawns in a sort of war of attrition. You can design an advanced strategies where you may sacrifice a pawn in favor of capturing an enemy’s more important pieces like rooks or bishops.
1. They are the most vulnerable of all of your pieces. You need a lot of luck to have them survive, as they are very easy to be taken. Your pawns can also take other pawns and pieces that may have been left behind from moving forward.
2. Pawns cannot move backward. This is the only piece where you cannot move backwards, which can make strategy a little difficult throughout the course of the game. With all other pieces you can revert backwards to try and defend your king or form a new attack plan, but pawns can only march forward and attack diagonally.
3. Pawns cannot attack forward, so they can be stuck or blocked fairly easily. Pawns also rely on defensive tactics in the sense that they can’t attack forward, which can make them more of a liability.
4. Pawns can obstruct certain moves. Certain pieces in the game cannot be taken if they are adjacent to a pawn, and this can make the move a little dangerous. Because pawns can be stuck if something is blocking them, it can clutter up the battleground and make it difficult for certain moves, which can be very important toward the end of any match as you try to attack the opponent’s king or defend your own king.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a pawn take a King?
Pawns can attack Kings just like they can attack or capture any other enemy piece on the board. Some of the best checkmates you’ll see include a pawn in giving mate.
Can a pawn take a Queen?
A pawn can capture a Queen just like it can capture any other piece. Pawns can capture pieces diagonally one square away. Having a well developed pawn structure make pawns much more powerful for capturing pieces and also defending your other pawns.
Pawns are great for beginners, as they are the most abundant piece on the board. Their strategy is simple, and it’s not very difficult to get used to having this type of role in the game. At first glance, they may seem like a liability since they are only allowed forward moves and can’t attack forward, however this is why their defensive tactics are so powerful. They can slow down your opponent’s offense while they’re trying to do damage to your king or queen.
I hope this guide on how to use Pawns in Chess helped you. If you want to master the use of the other pieces as well, you can read their guides: