Endgame Laboratory (King + Pawn)

Two of them this time!

Problem #1: This one is not easy. The solution requires one to be alert. Endgames are the hardest of all types of puzzles because much of it is brute calculation and you cannot make any mistakes. I don’t expect Kimani Stancil will be solving this one in five minutes!

White to play and win!

Problem #2: This one is a easier, but still require some endgame understanding. Remember one mistake will make the difference between a win or a draw.

White to play and win!


  1. Can anyone provide the first moves to one or both problems? This is the most important factor since no other moves work.

    You can give variations to support your move, or stick with your first move.

  2. Problem 1
    1 h4 h5, the trick is dont block the line a2g8 or g file with white K , 2 Kf8 g6 if g5 then exchange and crown first. 3 Ke7 and white win.

    How do you see it?

  3. Good! The key concept to problem number one is exactly the way you described it. You cannot block the a2-g8 diagonal with the king because you need to queen the pawn with check!

    Problem #1

    1. h4! (The obvious attack on Black’s Pawns would lead to the following: 1. Kf7 g5 2. Kg7 Kb3 3. Kxh7 Kc4 4. Kg6 g4 5. Kf5 Kd5 6. Kxg4 Ke6 7. Kg5 Kf7 and Black reaches h8 with an automatic draw against the Rook Pawn.)

    1… h5 (If 1… h6 2. h5 Kb3 3. Kf7 wins at once or if 1… Kb3 2. Kf7 Kc4 3. Kxg7 Kd5 4. Kxh7 Ke6 5. Kg6 Ke7 6. Kg7 keeps the King at arm’s length and wins. Now comes the point of the position)

    2. Kf8! This move keeps g8 open so that after 2…g5 3.hxg5 White’s Pawn will Queen with check. The natural continuation 2. Kf7 allows 2… g5 3. hxg5 h4 4. g6 h3 and both sides Queen with a drawn result.)

    2… g6 3. Ke7! Here too if 3. Kf7 or 3. Kg7 the reply 3… g5 4. hxg5 h4 leads to a draw. The move actually made keeps the square g8 open for White’s Pawn to Queen with check.)

    3… g5 (or 3… Kb3 4. Kf6 and White captures both Pawns and wins.)

    4. hxg5 h4 5. g6 h3 6. g7 h2

    7. g8=Q+ Ka3 8. Qg2 1-0 


    Problem #2

    Your first move was correct, but 1…hxg6 is not strongest defense for black. There are a lot of tricks with opposition here.

    (Study by Lolli, 1763)

    1. g6! (THE only way to break through! White threatens 2.gxh7, winning on the spot. White only draws with 1. h6? gxh6 2. gxh6 Kf7 3. f6 Ke8 4. Kd5 Kf7 5. Ke5=)

    1… h6! (1… hxg6 leads to this: 2. hxg6 Kf8 3. Kd6 diagonal opposition 3… Ke8 4. Ke6 Kf8 (4… Kd8 5. Kf7 ends the struggle) 5. Kd7 Kg8 6. Ke7 Kh8 7. f6 gxf6 8. Kf7 f5 9. g7+ and White mates in two.)

    2. Kd5 (Not at once 2. f6+ gxf6+ 3. Kf5 Kf8 4. Kxf6 Kg8 5. g7 Kh7 and Black has a draw.)

    2… Kf6 (2… Kd7 3. f6 is decisive.)

    3. Ke4 Kg5 4. Ke5 Kxh5 5. Ke6 Kg5 6. f6 gxf6 6… Kxg6 7. g7 followed by 8.g8(Q). 1-0


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