The Lucena Chess Position

One of the most important and basic things to learn in chess is the Lucena Position. When you have a pawn, a king and a rook, and your opponent has only a king and a rook, it can still be very difficult to win. But if you can get to the Lucena Position you can win from there. Sometimes the trick is getting there. Sometimes your opponent can stop you from getting there, but if you at least know what it is you are trying to achieve, that is, the position from which you can win, then you will win a lot of games you could have drawn. Take a good look at the position you need to get to in the diagram. It’s White to move. First check the king. If the king blocks the file where Black would check if the king were to e7, then it’s a synch! You can queen the pawn next move. But if the black king moves to the “c” file, then you need to build a bridge. You do this buy letting black check you and moving in front of the pawn. Then you move one square diagonal from the pawn and toward the rook. Then when the rook checks you again you move back in front of the pawn, only this time you leave one square between the king and the pawn. Then when the rook checks you again, you block with the rook. That’s called building a bridge. Now there is no way to stop the pawn. This is named after a man named Lucena who lived the late 1400’s in Salamanca, Spain. They don’t know much about him, but they do know that there is a famous Roman bridge in Salamanca. Who knows, maybe that’s where he got the idea.

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