The Rule of the Square helps determine Pawn Promotion: Part of both the
Beginner's Chess Guide and the Chess Strategies Guide, Section 1

Chess Endgame Guide
Pawn Promotion Can Win A Game
[Rule Of The Square]


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1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Rule of the Square

The Rule of the Square is based on there being a King and a Pawn remaining for one player, and just a lone King for the other.

The side that has the Pawn has a King that cannot reach it in time to help protect it against the enemy King, on its attempt at Promoting.

The situation requires you to determine whether the Pawn will make it to the Promotion square, where it can get a Queen on the board and press for the victory.

Should the Pawn be captured, the game will end in a Draw - also known as "Stalemate" - and is now the best remaining option for the player who is left with just the King.

Take the first example, as a demonstration of this Rule:


Rule of the Square
- Example 1 -

The Rule favours the Player whose turn it is ... In this scenarion, should it be White's turn, the Pawn will be within range of its Promotion square and won't be captured in the process ...

However, should Black have the first move, in the remaining sequence, the King will be able to reach White's Pawn, just as it has Promoted ...

But, as it will be Black's turn, the King can escape "Check" by capturing the Promoted Queen ... and, as Kings cannot strike at each other, the game will end in a Draw ("Stalemate").

The remaining three examples confirm that this Square Rule works, even when there is less distance between the Pawn and enemy King ...


Jump to one of the Examples:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Rule of the Square
- Example 2 -

Here, White's Pawn starts at e5; Black's King starts at a4 ... As long as it's White's turn, the Pawn can safely Promote, get a Queen and "should" win the game, easily.

Unless it's Black's move, in which case, the player's King can move up the diagonal path and snatch a Draw from the jaws of defeat.


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1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Rule of the Square
- Example 3 -

The pieces are much closer together, with White's Pawn starting on d6, while Black's King is a Rank below, on a5.

You're likely familiar with the outcome, now:

  • White to move first = Pawn Promotion = likely Win for White
  • White to move first = King captures Pawn = Draw (Stalemate)

Jump to one of the Examples:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Rule of the Square
- Example 4 -

With the Rule of the Square, the smallest distance between the two pieces is within an area of 9 squares ...

Here, you can clearly see that it's a simple, one step to Promotion, for White's Pawn - should it be the piece to move first.

And you know the outcome, due to the Rule of the Square, should Black's King be first to move.


Jump to one of the Examples:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4


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(Rule of the Square)
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