The Truth About Doubled Pawns, Part 5

The Truth About Doubled Pawns, Part 5‎

GM Gserper
13 | Strategy

Concluding our discussion about the positives and negatives of doubled pawns we cannot miss the numerous games played by Botvinnik. He was probably the first world class chess player who loved to have doubled pawns. I could show you literally dozens of his games where he deliberately created such pawns in his camp, but I think once you see a couple of them you'll get the idea.  And the idea is pretty simple: in practically all of the games where Botvinnik had doubled pawns, they increased his influence in the center:

In this early game of Botvinnik's (which was by the way one of Fischer's favorites!), White's doubled pawns control the important central squares d4 and d5.

The isolated c3 and c4 pawns were clearly Botvinnik's favorites.  He used them in many different openings to increase control over the center. He would frequently place one pawn on c4 to cover the d5 square and the second pawn on c3 would protect the d4 square. Here are more examples of this set up:

It is funny that in the last game Botvinnik had two sets of doubled pawns and he used both of them to his advantage!

The following two games are like twins where Botvinnik managed to occupy the key central d5 square thanks to his doubled pawns:

As you can see Botvinnik really loved the c3 and c4 pawns when he played White.  But what about the games where he was Black?  I think you have guessed it already.  Of course he tried to grab the central squares with the help of doubled pawns on f7 and f6:

In his fantastic book "My Great Predecessors" Kasparov correctly points out that Botvinnik loved to grab the center and was not afraid to double his pawns in order to achieve his goal.

I hope our analysis of the positive and negative sides of doubled pawns will make it easier for you to make decisions in your own games. Or at least from now on you'll smile whenever you hear another parrot repeating "doubled pawns are always bad for your position".

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