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This title is a bit of a shortcut, but in King and Pawn endgames, when you have the extra pawn, you have a good shot to win it. And it is absolutely true that having the King in opposition and in front of the pawn is almost always winning !

As we have already seen, reaching a key square with the King ensures the win. But, once you have reached one of those squares, the question becomes how to convert this advantage into a win.
White wins if at least 2 of the following conditions are met:

In this article and the next ones, we will study all the cases arising from this rule.

This article deals with the case where White’s King is in front of the pawn and White has the opposition. We will start with the textbook case, and study more complex cases onward.

Basic case

Pushing The Pawn To The Sixth Rank ?

This fundamental King and pawn endgame position has been explained in detail in the article explaining the difference between Checkmate and Stalemate.

Therefore, we can conclude that White should not have pushed the pawn on the sixth rank.

Conclusion: How To Win King And Pawn Endgames

To sum, here is how to win pawn endgames if White’s King is in front of the pawn and White has the opposition:

  • use the opposition to move the King to the sixth rank
  • then push the pawn
  • but do not push the pawn to the sixth rank unless you have the opposition !

The last condition is important: if you push your pawn too early, you might lose your your edge and give your opponent some chances to draw. In general, be cautious about moving your pawn in such endgames: the pawn cannot come back, so there is no way to fix a wrong pawn push ! And your opponent will be more than happy to defend the King and pawn endgame after this.

There are more subtle ways to use opposition to your advantage and I encourage you to check them. Next we will learn how to win the endgame when your King is on the sixth rank, depending on if you have the opposition or not.

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