Small Steps 2 Success

Mastering Passed Pawn Play

Sam Shankland

Reviewer: John Donaldson
Quality Chess
358 pages

Sam Shankland’s Small Steps 2 Success: Mastering Passed Pawn Play is another book that should appeal to a wide audience. The 2018 U.S. Champion’s first book, Small Steps to Giant Improvement, received critical acclaim and his new work, packed with loads of instructional material, helpful tips and exercises, should as well.

Here are a couple of tips the three-time U.S. Olympiad team member offers:

When facing connected passed pawns that cannot be blockaded, the best strategy tends to be to throw everything at another part of the board, be liberal about sacrificing, and do whatever it takes to smash through before the pawns spell your doom.

If you need to keep a passed pawn blockaded, one of the best things you can do is to aim to make piece trades that lessen your opponent’s ability to fight for the blockading square.

A protected passed pawn’s value in the endgame is significantly higher than it is in the middlegame. If you have a protected passer in the middlegame, your best strategy is often to try to simplify towards an ending.

Small Steps 2 Success: Mastering Passed Pawn Play is aimed primarily at players rated 1800 on up.