The Nerd Club - Pawn Structure
- Basic opening strategy (control the center, develop your pieces, get your king to safety)
- Basic Tactics (pins, double attacks, discovered attacks, the importance of the 'check' ('skak'), intermezzo, etc.)
- Strategy with regards to knights, for example the importance of holes/weak squares, the strength of having a knight near the enemy camp (i.e. 5th or 6th rank) and the weakness of a knights since they have difficulty moving, etc.
- Strategy with regards to bishops, for example the three kinds of bishops (i.e. the active bishop, useful bishop and 'tall-pawn'), importance of not putting all your pawns on the same color as your bishop so that it is trapped by its pawns, etc.
- Strategy with regards to rooks, i.e. the importance of open (or half-open) files for rooks, the possible tactics with rooks on the 7th or 8th ranks, etc.
- Attacking chess, i.e. how to punish an uncastled king, the importance of opening up lines and diagonals for the attack against a castled king, etc.
- Phsychology in chess, i.e. the importance of not believing your opponents threats before you have verified that they are real yourself, fear of playing strong opponents, the importance of dictating the game and having a 'macho' attitude, etc.
I think we should stop for a minute and consider that so far we have actually learned a great deal! And I think that it is quite clear that you have all improved over the last months, so I would like to applaud that - well done!
For today's session I will focus on pawns when they are a weakness more than they are a strength. Sometimes pawns have the opposite effect, but we will have to learn about that in another week.
Jeremy Silman has made a cookbook too for targeting isolated pawns:
- Trade off minor pieces! This will limit enemy counterplay and activity so that you can more easily attack the pawn.
- A queen and a rook is best at targeting an IP. Two rooks+queen give a little more counterplay for the side with the IP. With only one queen or rook for each side, the king can often come in and help the side with the IP (with both rook and queen this is too dangerous).
- Optimally, you place your rook in front of the pawn blocking its advance, with the queen behind so that they have a joint attack. (Having the queen in front is not best since you can then not take the pawn if it is defended by a rook only).
The Backward Pawn:
Many of the same ideas that apply to IP's apply to backward pawns as well. Of course the attacking side should make sure that the pawn remains backward, either by firmly controlling the square in front of it or by planting a piece in front of it, but otherwise much of the same applies. Let us see an example:
So doubled pawns are not always a liability, but if they find themselves on an open file they usually are. Jeremy Silman has a nice example which I will present here:
It is a very typical theme in the Sicilian Defense that the d5-square is of great importance. That is why there is a saying that goes: If Black can succesfully play d5, he will have a good game. So both sides of the Sicilian generally try to fight for the d5 square.