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Converting Pawns into Higher Pieces

At the outset pawns are, at best, blocking and sacrificing pieces in chess. But towards the end of a game, their value increases as they reach the end row. When they touch down at the end row they may be exchanged for higher ranking ally pieces like a queen. This is called pawn conversion in chess.

Pawn conversion is also called by other names, like pawn exchange, graduation, or promotion. They get converted when they hit the last row on the enemy's territory. White pawns should touch down on rank 8 of the chess board coordinates, and black pawns on rank 1. Conversion often takes place towards the end of a game, although sometimes it happens at mid-play. Each time a pawn nears or touches down on the end row its strategy value increases by leaps and bounds.

Conversion may happen to any number of pawnsóeven to all of them, if that were possible. There's no rule setting a limit on the number of pawns that can be converted. No other chess piece can be converted into something else. In the context of a conversion a pawn can be equal to a queen or a rook, but never to a king. This is because pawns can never convert into a king.

Pawn conversion in chess should be taken into serious thought right at the beginning of a game. Out of 8 pawns a player should use about half of that for blocking and sacrificing purposes and the other half preserved for conversion. The tactic is to keep the 4 for conversion intact with some minor pieces in the initial formation and the other 4 sent out to fight. At mid-play when the "smoke" of the battle has somewhat cleared we can then send out our 4 pawns for conversion charging to enemy territory supported by minor pieces like a bishop and a knight.

Out of 4 pieces reserved for conversion only one or two will make it to conversion, especially when the enemy still has clout and realizes we have a potential for conversion. But with enough skill we can direct at least a pawn to success. If we still have our queen and we wish to convert a pawn to another queen, some games allow double queens. Some require the next high ranking piece, which is a rook.

Pawn conversion in chess is a potential defensive and offensive weapon towards a game's end. Hence, we must be smart and conserve pawns by using them wisely.

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