Isolani strategy: Striving for better Endgame by simplification

Feb 25, 2014, 8:23 AM |

Today I will show a typical Isolani-game, where there is no real compensation for the Isolani. An Isolani is a pawn that is completely on it’s own with no other pawns to help out.

Compensation is key when playing with the Isolani. Otherwise the opponent, as Lasker in the following example, may go for simplification to reach a better endgame because of the weak pawn. So, never become too passive playing with an Isolani!


1. Black went for a better endgame by simplification, White cooperated and missed even drawish 25. Nc5!

Lasker followed the main strategy against the Isolani, he went for simplification and reduced the material to reach a better endgame. Rubinstein played this game strangely tame and passively, he didn't search for real compensation, but instead cooperated with Black's exchange strategy. In doing so he even missed
25. Nc5 (good outpost) with a probable draw in endgame, Rubinstein later said: "I was too fixed on a draw by exchanging pieces!".


2. Active white king versus (extra) outside passer. The passer was too strong. 

Realizing that the second weakness on a3 would be deadly, Rubinstein gave it up and activated his king. Although he also got rid of the Isolani it was not enough compensation, the outside passer became the decisive factor and the reason for the domination of Black pieces.


As you can see playing against the Isolani correctly can help you win in the endgame. Simplify and reduce your opponent's options and threats and you're bound to win more Isolani positions!