Knight and Pawn vs King Endings

The N+P vs King ending is a simple ending where one player has a Knight and a Pawn, and the other player has only their King. It is a simple win for the Knight and Pawn. The Pawn becomes a Queen, supported by the King and Knight.

Even a rook pawn is a win. The King can be removed from the squares in front of the pawn, even the Queening square, unlike the drawn endgames of K+RP vs K and “wrong rook pawn”.

The procedure involves supporting the pawn with the King, and then using the Knight to check the defending King out of its pawn, so the pawn can advance.

Beginners may have difficulty with this strategy. The Knight alone cannot queen the pawn. The procedure involves some use of the concept of “The Opposition” and also some Knight checks.

The only tricky part is where the attacker’s King cannot defend its pawn, but the Knight can usually defend the pawn until the King arrives. The trick is to defend the pawn from behind the pawn, rather than from in front of the pawn. The defending King can use a King fork against a Knight that defends from the front.

Diagram: Defending King Wins the Pawn or Knight

If the Knight is behind the pawn, even one square behind it, then the defending King can still do a fork, but actually can never take the Knight. If the Knight is taken then the passed pawn is free to run.

Diagram: King Can Never Take the Knight

Related Chess Tactics

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