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Pawn Promotion

It’s a little hard to convince kids that a pawn can get promoted to anything it wants when it reaches the other end. So I have a make up some logic based stories or reasons for everything that happens in chess.

One of the toughest questions I have faced,

Why pawns can move two steps initially?

Well, you cannot disappoint them with a statement like “That’s how the chess rules are”. Rather tell them a reasonable story. Like this one.

Imagine you have a troop of soldiers and you are up to a battle. Initially, soldiers are not tired. They can run and fight, but eventually they get tired. That is why a soldier can move two squares initially but he gets tired after that.

Why does a pawn gets promoted when it reaches the other end?

This is how i tackle this.

Let’s say there is a teacher in your school. He teaches really well and handles classes very well and works hard. He needs a promotion soon right? May be to a Head Teacher, or a principal.

Similarly when a soldier(pawn) fights hard, gets through all the obstacles and reaches the enemy territory with his bravery then it is our duty to give him a promotion. So we reward him with a position where he has the option to choose.

Pawn promotion

When a pawn reaches the enemy territory, you have the option to promote your pawn to anything you want it to be except for King.

You can change it to a Queen, Rook, Bishop or a Knight. Choose the best piece depending on the position. Most of the times choosing a Queen is better as it is the most powerful piece on the board.





Once the pawn reaches the final square, you can change it to a Queen.


This makes every pawn a potential Queen. We say that pawns are the weakest chessmen on the board, but it depends on where your pawn is, it depends on the position to be precise.

For the same reason, you should be very careful about loosing pawns. Nothing can replace them. Keep this mind that in most of the End-Games, the goal is to promote a pawn.

You can play with as much as 9 Queens in a chess game if you get to promote all your pawns to Queens. This is unlikely to happen in a chess game.


In the below example, promoting your pawn to a Knight is a wiser option than to a Queen. Promoting it to a Queen will lose the game whereas a Knight will save the game.






Pawn Promotion general principle:

You must push the Passed Pawn at every available opportunity





Sharath is a full-time chess coach, part-time web designer and a hobby blogger. He posts his chess articles on KidsChessWorld. Contact him for online chess coaching