Manufacturing Passed Pawns

Manufacturing passed pawns is a vital endgame skill, but there are a few subtleties which tend not to be covered in most textbooks. Take the position below, which comes from the fantastic new book by Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan, “Chess for Life”, which I cannot recommend too highly.

The obvious way to create a passed pawn from Black’s majority is to advance the g- and f-pawns, so as eventually to create a passed pawn on the f-file. But this pawn would not then be supported by another pawn (eg. after Black gets his pawns to f4 and g4, then plays f3, and there is an exchange gzxf3, g4xf3, etc).

Instead, Arkell finds a much stronger and more subtle plan. He advances his h-pawn, intending to knock out the White g-pawn, thus leaving a position where he will have g- an f-pawns against White’s h-pawn. The passed black f-pawn will then have the support of its partner the g-pawn, which will make it a much stronger weapon.

The game continued

Now Black has just what he wanted, a supported passed pawn on the f-file. His pawns eventually reached f3 and g4, and he won easily.

Steve Giddins