Learning Basic Pawn Structures
Pawns are the soul of chess.

Learning Basic Pawn Structures

| 77 | Strategy

What is pawn structure?

From my online glossary, I define it as "the positioning of the whole pawn mass. Also referred to as the pawn skeleton. This positioning of the pawns is what usually dictates the types of plans available in a given position due to open files, space, pawn weaknesses, etc."

It’s normal to develop pieces, put a rook on an open file and make threats. Normal stuff, but not very exciting. Others get a few pieces out and go for an attack. That’s probably more fun, but many of these “piece-only” attacks just fail.

chess knight

In this article, for players from 1000 to 1600 (my next article will be for 1600 to 2000), we will look at the creation of useful pawn structures.

The study of pawn structures is extremely important, but many fear changing the placement of the pawns. Other players push pawns forward though there is no reason to (in fact doing that might weaken your pawns), and others have openings that give them the basics for where pawns should be, but they don’t really understand what that pawn structure is really about.

Many of my readers have heard the word “patterns.” In pawn structures, well-known patterns show a logical, easy-to-understand situation that you’ll remember and use often.

I am giving you seven examples of using your pawns. Three of them are puzzles. As always, the puzzles have lots of notes and various lines, so make sure you look at them.

RULE: Develop your pieces AND look for opportunities to improve your pawns. Usually, both should be used for the same goal.


It's all about 6...f6!


Is this a dull position?


Is 10.c4 good, bad or okay?


Pawn dynamics.


A little pawn creates panic.



A well-known pattern.


Grabbing space.

This is just a small inkling about these pawn structures, but just imagine if you are familiar with them (and many more!). If that’s the case, you would know what’s going on in a blink, while uninformed opponents would drown without a clue.

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