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Various authors have used the terms key squares and critical squares differently. In some places Muller & Lamprecht's explanation is only fair. The confusion is that these terms have been used for two concepts. The first is the square the attacking king must occupy to queen his pawn in a K vs K-P endgame. This is well described above. The second concept ...


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In a pawn and king vs king endgame, key squares are those that guarantee a win. If the pawn is on e3 for example, the key squares for white are d5, e5, and f5. Critical squares (I think) are those where the king must get to promote the pawn (e.g., d7 or f7).


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