Video Series on Isolated Queen Pawns

  • IM DanielRensch
  • | Dec 22, 2010

In case your 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.


    • 5 years ago


      You're making it easier for everybody to follow the yellow rook road. This approach will be very helpful. Thanks.
    • 5 years ago



    • 6 years ago


    • 6 years ago

      IM DanielRensch

      I get it know, JHB... Yeah, my guess is that is a complete re-organizing of our entire "App" Video system. I will forward your request onto development, and let you know if they say it is possible...



    • 6 years ago



      The iPad interface has 4 buttons, one of which is a button for "Video Lessons".

      Pressings "Video Lessons" brings up a simplified 8-option menu labeled:





      Amazing Games




      There are no other options. Selecting any of the 8 topics displays the videos only in chronological order, and not in topical order. So, if I want to watch all your Queen Pawn videos, I have to select one of the 8 topics and then scroll chronologically through the videos to look for QP #1, then do the same thing for #2. But, if your QP videos aren't all tagged under the same topic, then I can't find them all easily.

      So, for the iPad and maybe the Video Interface here in, it would be useful to have a TOPICAL INDEX like the link I provided that says "Kings Gambit" and under that are all KG videos. Or Queens Gambit, and under that are categorized all QGA/QGD videos. Etc.

      tons of work. bleh. 

    • 6 years ago


    • 6 years ago

      IM DanielRensch

      @jhb -- I don't know enough about which of our videos are available on the IPAD/IPHONE and which aren't... Is there someway I can see that? If I have a clear list of which ones work on the IPAD I will make a list of those for IPAD users.

    • 6 years ago


      Can you edit the Video library to make a master topical list of videos that we can flip to on the iPad or online without having to go through a blog/post? On iPad, you can't link to videos through postings like this, you have to use the long list. Here, I started the list for you!

    • 6 years ago

      IM DanielRensch

      Sorry Dartanyan -- But that's our business Wink... I don't know why you don't have memberships online, but I assure you it is secure!

      However, I think one of my videos is in the Free Library (more than one, but at least one of the IQP series is there I think).

    • 6 years ago


      Thanks, but is there any way to access them while we are ordinary members? Since I do not prefer to have memberships of things online.

    • 6 years ago

      IM DanielRensch

      No, unless parts of them have been pirated :)

    • 6 years ago


      Are these videos available on youtube?

    • 6 years ago


      hmm id like to watch these videos, since i mainly play d4

    • 6 years ago


      This is a very advanced series of videos. It is not designed for novices. As a novice myself, and having watched them all, I can report that they were way over my head. Maybe next year, or more likely the year after that, I'll take another crack at them. 

    • 6 years ago



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