9- Pawn promotion V3
In the early days of chess, a pawn that had pushed its way through the opponent’s lines and reached the opposite end of the board was promoted to a “mantri” (the Sanskrit word for “counsellor”) a weak piece that moved a single square on the diagonal. In the European version of the game, the mantri would become the queen and see its movement greatly enhanced. And that is how a promotion to the weakest piece had become a promotion to the strongest one.
Once again this is a rule that has varied greatly over the ages. Many players objected earlier on to the king having two queens – some still do – and for a while the pawn could only promote to a piece that had already been captured. At other times, a pawn could only promote to the piece of the file on which it promoted, or on which it started, with the exception of the king’s pawn which was permitted to promote to a queen since one could not (of course...) have two kings.
Under the modern rules of chess, a pawn that reaches the last rank may promote to any piece (other than a king) at the player’s discretion. Known as the “unrestricted promotion rule”, it became popular in the 19th century and was almost universally accepted by the end of it. And since the queen is by far the most powerful piece of the game, it naturally follows that the vast majority of promotions are to a queen, a process that is usually referred to as “queening”.
A consequence of the new promotion rule was to make the material gain of a single pawn a much greater advantage than it initially was. Under the original rule, when a pawn could only promote to a mantri, a single pawn ending was always a draw since a mantri and a king could not force a mate. But with the introduction of the unrestricted promotion rule, a single pawn ending – if the said pawn could safely reach the last rank and promote – would usually translate into an easy win.
The rules of pawn promotion in Chess 99:
The rules of pawn promotion under Chess 99 return to the original philosophy of the game and promotions are now limited to the two minor pieces, bishops and knights, and nothing else! And there are other significant differences. A pawn reaching the last rank on a two-square move will have its promotion delayed until a later play as to preclude any argument over its capture “en passant”. And when such a pawn is eventually promoted, it may not capture an opponent’s piece as part of the same play; otherwise an unpromoted pawn would have the attributes of a paladin!
Basic rules of promotion:
A pawn that has reached the opposite end of the board – the“last rank” – may be promoted to a knight or a bishop at the player’s discretion.
The choice of piece is not limited to knights and bishops that have been previously captured.
A pawn reaching the last rank on a single-square move may be promoted as part of the same play but that is not required. (The promotion may be delayed until a later play.)
A pawn reaching the last rank on a two-square move is not permitted to promote as part of the same play. Its promotion is delayed until a later play.
Rules of promotion for a pawn standing in the last rank:
A pawn in the last rank may be promoted whenever the player has the move.
The promoted piece may then be moved as part of the same play but that is not actually required.(The promoted piece may remain on the square of the pawn.)
If the player elects not to move the promoted piece, no other piece may be moved in its place.
IMPORTANT: A pawn in the last rank that is promoted may not proceed to capture an opponent’s piece as part of the same play. (This restriction only applies to the promotion play.)
Do note the following:
A pawn reaching the last rank on a two-square move may be captured “en passant” like any other.
A player will never have two queens, two paladins, or three rooks.
A player may however have three [or more] knights and bishops.
Since a king and a single knight or bishop cannot force a mate, a single pawn ending should be a draw.
Promotion of a pawn standing in the last rank is the only play where it is permitted not to make a move.
Example of promotion #1:
White has just played the a-pawn to the last rank. No promotion takes place at this time. Black plays Bd6 attacking both the pawn and the knight. White could promote the pawn to a bishop but since it is not permitted to capture a piece on the same play, it would be readily captured by black. White seems bound to lose a piece and this game will be a draw from lack of material.
White promotes the pawn to a knight and plays Nc8. Black finds themselves in check and they must now move the king. White captures the bishop. This has become a two knights endgame. If white plays correctly, they will win this game.
Example of promotion #2:
White has just played Ke4 attacking black’s knight. Black plays Nb4 and attacks white’s bishop. Unfortunately for black, that was a poor move.
White promotes the g-pawn to a bishop and forfeits the move. Black is now in check and must play the king. White captures the knight and this has become a two bishops endgame.
Example of promotion #3:
White has just played Nd6 attacking black’s rook on f5. Black plays Rd5 and attacks white’s knight. If the knight moves away, the pawn is lost.
White promotes the pawn to a bishop and plays Bf7. Black is in check and will lose the rook. (Black could play Rc5 for a double-check but white answers with Kd4 and the rook must fall.) We now have a bishop and knight endgame. (Note: With the bishop on light squares, and the four corners being dark, it will not be possible to force a checkmate; but it is still possible to force a capture. )