The pawn is considered as one of the weak chess pieces because of its least moving abilities. But the fact is that pawns play a major role in Sicilian defense. Also, it becomes powerful when it reaches the other end of the chessboard. To know how the pawn gets this power we have to dig into question what happens when a pawn reaches the other side.
What Happens When a Pawn Reaches the Other Side?
When a pawn reaches the opposite end which is also called the eighth rank. It gets the ability to promote itself to any other chess piece of the same color except the pawn itself and the King. It can be promoted into a Rook, Bishop, Knight, or Queen and this entire process is called pawn promotion.
While playing informal games players usually don’t have spare pieces. So in that case, if you do not have any other piece when the pawn reaches the other end you can use any other piece to represent the promotional piece. For example, if a pawn is promoted to Queen and you don’t have any spare Queen available. Then you can use any other piece to represent the second queen. It can be a rook or knight and vice versa. The pawn is promoted in the same move as it reaches the other end of the chessboard.
Queening is a type of Pawn promotion. When a pawn reaches the other end and is replaced with a queen then this process is called Queening. Most players replace their pawn with a Queen when it is promoted because Queen holds more power than any other chess piece. Queen provides maximum moving possibilities in all three directions.
There is no limit to promoting your pawns to queens. You can promote all of your 8 pawns to Queens and at the end, you will have 9 Queens on the chessboard at a time. Although this scenario is not possible in reality as some of your pawns will be captured while trying to reach the other end. But in the rule book, it is entirely legal to do so.
Promoting the pawn one square before reaching the end is an illegal move. In some tournaments, it is reported illegal by arbiters. So both players should know about chess rules to avoid any illegal activity in the game.
This is another type of Pawn promotion. In which Promoted pawn is replaced with a Rook, Knight, or Bishop. Although underpromotion is rarely used but there are scenarios when this makes sense. For example, if you are avoiding stalemate then promoting your pawn to a Rook will be a good idea.
A player’s Queen that is putting the opponent’s king in check may have to defend a newly promoted Pawn from attack by the opponent’s Queen, who could promote to a second Queen. If you don’t keep the king in check, it’ll be a stalemate.
So only use underpromotion when it is necessary or it can benefit you. Otherwise, queening is always a good option to opt for. If you want to learn correct chess board setup then you can read our detailed article on it.
Pawn promotion Strategy:
Pawn promotion is referred to as a winning strategy. In most of the games, the players that promoted their pawn wins the game at the last. The downside of a pawn is that it cannot move backward. That is why pawn promotion is necessary to gain better moves.
Usually at the point of pawn promotion more than half of the chessboard is empty which provides more independence to the promoted pawn.
Suppose the black queen is being threatened by the white queen. She can move back to the king on row c7 with a few moves at most. On white’s third move, Knight to e8 will put the king into “checkmate”.
If the pawn was promoted to a queen in the scenario described above, it would be easier to checkmate the opponent’s king. However, if instead, it becomes a knight after this move, then Black’s king will be under pressure. Promoting a pawn to a bishop also helps with attacking the opponent’s king. which can lead to victory.
Another way to win would be when the rook attacks the opponent’s king along a line from a distance, and their pawn has been promoted to a rook. This forces the player to attack one space away in a single file, leading them to victory. To know more about pawn movement you should have a look on can pawns move backwards?