Chess Tactics in Middle Game: Give up Queens to get Passed Pawns!

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If you suspect that the title is a mix up putting Queens and Passed Pawns the wrong way around, then rest assured that it was not so. Giving up Passed Pawns for Queens can be an excellent chess tactics for mere mortals like us, but the reverse makes for chess immortals like Alekhine! His play with Black pieces amply demonstrates the power of passed pawns, some examples of which as a chess tactics you have already seen.

The interesting point is that Alekhine gives this ‘brutal’ lesson on the power of a passed pawn to his opponent Bogoljubov who was a Grandmaster of fair standing with a style of play considered ‘brutal’ and who never accepted that Alekhine was a better player!

The other amazing fact is that Black not only gives up his original Queen, but also two more Queens promoted from Pawns during the course of the game! Only when he sets the way for getting a fourth Queen that White decided he had had enough of Black Queens!

The position after 28 moves is shown below.

queens for passed pawns for queens

The game proceeded:

1. Rxa5 b4   The first passed pawn on the move!
2. Rxa8 bxc3  
3. Rxe8 c2   Black’s first Queen falls and more pieces are on the guillotine, but he does not care. This move by Black is a contender for a place among best chess moves in history!
4. Rxf8+ Kh7  
5. Nf2 c1=Q+   Black gets is second Queen!
6. Nf1 Ne1  
7. Rh2 Qxc4  
8. Rb8 Bb5   The Bishop move blocks the Rook from joining other White forces on the base rank, while threatening 9. … Qxf1#. Other lines like 9. Bg2 Nxg2 10. Nd2 Qc1+ or 9. Nd2 Qc1 to be followed by 10. … Nf3++ do not help White
9. Rxb5 Qxb5  
10. g4 Nf3+  
11. Bxf3 exf3  
12. gxf5 Qe2  
13. d5 Kg8   White was in a kind of zugzwang. 13. Ng4 (or Nh3) Ng4 14. Rxe2 fxe2 and Black gets his third Queen on the next move! Others like 13. Rh1 (or Rh3) Ng4 14. Nxg4 Qg2#
14. h5 Kh7   Black’s King moves to force White’s hand in taking a move he wanted to avoid!
15. e4 Nxe4  
16. Nxe4 Qxe4  
17. d6 cxd6  
18. f6 gxf6   White made those pawn moves as he was still constrained and in the process, had to allow another passed pawn to Black
19. Rd2 Qe2   Black offers the second Queen also!
20. Rxe2 fxe2  
21. Kf2 exf1=Q   Black gets his third Queen just to give it up immediately! Through all these queening processes, he decimated White’s pawns and pieces to ultimately emerge with one extra pawn but a passed one at that!
22. Kxf1 Kg7  
23. Ke2 Kf7  
24. Ke3 Ke6  
25. Ke4 d5+  
26. Resigns   White King has to retreat and with other White and Black pawns blocking each other, the endgame reduces to King and Pawn vs King with Black getting the opposition. You know from your knowledge of endgame tactics [ ] that it is a won position for Black with the certainty of getting a fourth Queen!



  1. Matt says:

    It’s just you and your opponent at the board and you’re trying to prove something, so please be careful

  2. ChessMaster says:


    All we tried to prove was the value that a passed pawn may command in some situations. The example chosen may be an extreme one, but a player like Alekhine played it. I’m not advising anybody to repeat it, as will be clear from what we said in the very first paragraph!


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