Video Series on Isolated Queen Pawns

Video Series on Isolated Queen Pawns

| 13 | Strategy

In case you are wondering, the white pawn to your right is begging for you NOT to attack him... Unfortunately, his future isn't so bright (he doesn't wear shades Wink) as an Isolated Queen Pawn. That said, his teammates don't always mind his isolation -- as it usually leaves them actively pursuing (and eventually executing powerful tactics) along open files and diagonals...

In this video series we tried to accomplish two things:

  1. Teach you how to directly attack, surround, and completely dominate your opponent in an Isolated Queen Pawn structure. You will learn the basics as well as the advanced concepts of how to outplay and IQP. 
  2. Display how to play with an IQP and all other things therein! Tips, ideas and patterns of aggressive intentions for the player possessing the Isolani fly at you in abundance in this video series, so fasten your seatbelt...

Not what you were looking for? Back to video guide.

We begin with three videos from the first player's view: How to play with an Isolated Queen Pawn!

    Part 1 -- The first video illustrates several openings that reveal just how common Isolated Queen Pawn structures are. In this first lesson I introduce several of the most important IQP positions, as well as instruct on the basic principles of controlling or opposing an isolated pawn. (Beginner and Intermediate)

    Part 2 -- The second video moves directly into the critical ideas of how to play with the IQP. The d5-breakthrough is highlighted, along with many other important practical ideas. The principles of how to use the extra space, open files, and stronger diagonals (aka, all the advantages of having an isolated pawn) are displayed! (Beginner and Intermediate)

    Part 3 -- The third video dives deeper into the attacking ideas for the player possessing the IQP. More instructive games full of tactics and forcing combinations are reviewed, with the idea of approaching each position as a calculation puzzle by itself. (Intermediate and Advanced)

    The video series now transitions into the "other side's" perspective: How to play against the Isolani!

    Part 4 -- The fourth video is our first video that discusses the intricate details of how to play against an Isolated Queen Pawn. We start with an intro into the basic psychology and obvious technical ideas of playing these positions, and we then begin reviewing practical examples of how the IQP might meet doom! (Intermediate and Advanced)

    Part 5 -- The fifth video continues with more examples of surrounding the pawn, suppressing counterplay, and ultimately dominating the IQP. The pinciples of creating a second weakness are also brought into the picture. (Intermediate and Advanced)

    Part 6 -- The sixth video follows up the fifth video with very similar, though in some ways taken deeper, principles of simplification. Even the truly complex idiosyncracies of how to play against an IQP should start to become clear after this video. (Intermediate and Advanced)

    Part 7 -- The seventh video brings us the final "classroom style" lesson in this series. Once again, we take the perspective against the Isolani. Here the advanced ideas and patterns of using the major pieces (Queens and Rooks) against the IQP are on display. (Intermediate and Advanced)

    The video series now takes its final turn: We end with three practical games designed to show the principles we learned in action!

    Part 8 -- The eighth video brings us a game from perhaps the most technical and "perfectly disciplined" chess player of all time: World Champion Anatoly Karpov shows everyone how it's done (meaning the art of playing against the IQP) against the young Gata Kamsky in their World Championship match in 1996. (Advanced)

    Part 9 -- The ninth video provides Kamsky's redemption game. See one final display of brilliant tactics and dynamic pressure leading to a devistating d5-breakthrough for the Isolani! (Advanced)

    Part 10 -- The tenth video is a game from my own library in which the IQP was outplayed and essentially beat. However, it also shows just how many different dynmaic chances exist in IQP positions when my opponent swindled his way to a winning position. (Advanced)

    Part 11 -- The "bonus" video provides a few more fun and tricky examples of IQP play. I also introduce the "brother/sister" structure to the Isolani: "Hanging Pawns". (Intermediate and Advanced)


    IM Tania Sachdev

    Botvinnik's IQP Lesson: recaps IM Rensch's earlier IQP videos before expanding on White's ideas when playing with the IQP specifically White's attack on e6 and f7 via a f4->f5 pawn thrust.  (Beginner and Intermediate) 

    This listing will be edited when any further modules are added! A potential "short sequel" to this series on Hanging Pawns is likely on the horizon and will be linked to this article upon completion. Also, please leave feedback about the series here, particularly if you have questions, as we do not check the comments sections of old videos very often.

    IM Daniel Rensch

    Chief Chess Officer, LLC.

    International Master Danny Rensch is best known for his videos and shows - but also writes educational articles, publishes breaking chess news, and organizes the details for's biggest events, like the Grandmaster Blitz Battle Championships, Blitz Death Matches, the National Invitational Championship and more!

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