Chess Books on Pawn Play and Structure - for Beginners and Beyond

Chess Books on Pawn Play and Structure - for Beginners and Beyond

RussBell
RussBell
Jan 1, 2017, 5:06 PM |
2

According to the famous quote by Francoise Andre Philidor (1727-1795), considered by most to be the best chess player of his time, "Pawns are the soul of chess".

Accordingly, any books that deal instructively with pawn structure and pawn play can be a valuable resource.  I try to study pawn structures and pawn play as much as possible.  To me this is one of the most important aspects of chess to learn well - especially as pawn structure essentially provides the roadmap for how to plan in the opening and middlegame, and also many times in the early endgame as well.

A good introductory book to begin learning how to use your pawns is

"Weapons of Chess" by Bruce Pandolfini...

http://www.amazon.com/Weapons-Chess-Omnibus-Strategies-Fireside/dp/0671659723/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453515569&sr=1-1&keywords=weapons+of+chess

The book is concerned with the basic elements and techniques of positional chess - in which the pawns typically play the leading role.  A nice thing about "Weapons..." (besides the fact that used copies are relatively cheap) is that you can read the chapters in any order you choose, as the topics inspire you - it is not necessary to read the book linearly, from beginning to end.  But it is important to read everything in the book, as all the concepts discussed are fundamental to developing skillful positional technique.

After reading Pandolfini's "Weapons...." the following classic book by Michael Stean is an excellent introduction to the application of positional-strategic concepts in practice, of which accurate pawn play is an integral part.  By the way, don't let the title fool you - this book is a must-read for every chess player who is serious about improving their chess skills...

"Simple Chess" by Michael Stean...

http://www.amazon.com/Simple-Chess-New-Algebraic-Dover/dp/0486424200/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453515744&sr=1-1&keywords=simple+chess+by+michael+stean

For understanding pawn play in general, the following is highly recommended...

"Pawn Power In Chess" by Hans Kmoch...

https://www.amazon.com/Pawn-Power-Chess-Dover/dp/0486264866/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483316663&sr=1-1&keywords=pawn+power+in+chess+by+hans+kmoch

Kmoch's book is a classic.  In my opinion, this is an immortal masterpiece of the chess literature, and every serious chess player would be well served to study it.   Here is essentially everything you need to know about how to effectively use your pawns - primarily within the context of middlegame strategy.  Although the usage of the older "Descriptive" chess notation, and the somewhat quirky, but apt, terminology used to describe structures and concepts may require getting acclimated to, absorbing the lessons in this book will continue to pay dividends throughout your chess career.

For more commentary on this book, see my blog article....

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/pawn-power-in-chess-by-hans-kmoch

The following would be excellent follow on's to either of Stean's or Kmoch's books, providing instructive examples of pawn play in practice.  They are targeted primarily to the experienced, intermediate and above player...

"The Power of Pawns...." by Jorg Hickl

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Pawns-Structure-Fundamentals-Post-beginners/dp/9056916319/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453513802&sr=1-3&keywords=pawn+structure+chess

"Understanding Pawn Play In Chess" by Drazen Marovic...

https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Pawn-Chess-Drazen-Marovic/dp/1901983315/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1514282657&sr=8-3&keywords=drazen+marovic

"Dynamic Pawn Play In Chess" by Drazen Marovic...

https://www.amazon.com/Dynamic-Pawn-Chess-Drazen-Marovic/dp/1901983439/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1514282657&sr=8-4&keywords=drazen+marovic

Finally, the following deal specifically with the generalized pawn structures arising out of the major opening systems, as well as the plans, strategies and typical play associated with each....

"Pawn Structure Chess" by Andrew Soltis (get the 2013 Batsford edition)...

https://www.amazon.com/Pawn-Structure-Chess-Andrew-Soltis/dp/1849940703/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483316269&sr=1-1&keywords=pawn+structure+chess+soltis

"Chess Structures - A Grandmaster Guide" by Mauricio Flores Rios...

https://www.amazon.com/Chess-Structures-Mauricio-Flores-Rios/dp/1784830003/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483316332&sr=1-1&keywords=mauricio+flores+rios

"Winning Chess Middlegames: An Essential Guide to Pawn Structures" by Ivan Sokolov...

Throughout your chess career, study everythng you can relating to pawn play, pawn structures and positional concepts.  These, along with tactics, opening principles and endgame basics, are the most important fundamental aspects of chess to become skilled in.

Pawn play and pawn structure are fundamental elements of positional chess.  As such, the concepts and techniques comprising these aspects of chess play work together hand-in-glove.  For more on positional play in general see my blog article....

Good Positional Chess, Planning & Strategy Books for Beginners and Beyond...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/introduction-to-positional-chess-planning-strategy