How to Destroy Weak Pawns

How to Destroy Weak Pawns

Illingworth
GM Illingworth
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5

How do you turn the opponent’s weak pawns into won pawns?


What is the key to converting a better pawn structure into a win on the board?


I recently recorded the following video, to help you with this important technical aspect of chess:

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As I ask in the video: What did you learn from this game? And what is a technique that you can apply in your next games?


If you aren't sure how to answer this question, then I will share with you a simple process:


Step 1: Create/provoke a weakness in the opponent's position.


True, sometimes the opponent will make a weakening move of their own accord, that leaves one or more of their pawns weak. But if they don't do this, it's up to us to take the initiative, and make threats that prompt concessions from the opponent. 


Step 2: Fix the weakness in place.


This is the main lesson I learned from the above game, which I think you will agree is an absolute masterpiece by Botvinnik! 


Naturally, it is much harder to hit a moving target, than a still or fixed target. That is true in archery, in life, and also in chess. 


Also, by fixing the opponent's weak pawn, they can't advance it and potentially turn that weakness into a strength later!


Step 3: Destroy the weakness.


We saw Botvinnik masterfully execute Black's weak pawns in the game. Here, the key lies in calculating the short lines accurately, and balancing the win of material with keeping control over the position.


For instance, we saw a couple of moments in the game, where Botvinnik could have gone after a pawn immediately, but it would have allowed too much (unnecessary) counterplay from Alekhine. 


Thank you for reading this post! Do you have a game you played where either you or the opponent did a great job of attacking and winning the opponent's weak pawn/pawns? If so, please share it below, so that we can all learn from one another's experiences