Torn

Brainy pawns (2)

A pawn at the other side is usually promoted to a queen, because a queen is by far the strongest piece. Sometimes, however, it is better to choose a piece other than the queen: a rook, a bishop or a knight.

This is called underpromotion or minor promotion. ‘Minor’ is Latin and means ‘less’. Your pawn turns into a piece that is worth less than a queen.

When is underpromoting a smart choice? When it results in a checkmate, for instance. Or when it gains you material.

The best minor promotion is usually promoting to a knight. For the knight moves in a way that the queen cannot: it jumps in a L-shaped manner. (Whereas rooks and bishops move in ways that the queen, too, may do.)

In example 1 White promotes to a knight, checkmating the king! Queening wouldn’t be smart, since Black wants to checkmate. By promoting with check, White stops this plan.

In example 2 White promotes to a knight because it wins him material. Thanks to a double attack on queen and king, White gains a lot of points.

What do you have to do?
Find the best way to promote your pawn.
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