Pawn Power in Chess, by Hans Kmoch
I have recently begun reading Pawn Power in Chess, by Hans Kmoch - as I slowly work my way thru the book, I'm writing down observations that I should know or thought I knew but forgot as I went along.
First off, this book has a bit of a bad reputation as a tough read - not for the complexity of the material tactically but for it's unusual definitions which one sometimes has to go over two or three times to fully understand - (has ANYONE ever heard of a pawn's lee or luft?) - but as Dan Heisman points out in one of his Novice nooks, the definitions aren't as important as the concepts, which present themselves clearly at the board - you don't have to remember the official terms as long as you can understand what you are seeing on the board and how it relates to your games and the material itself -
Despite the reputation, this book is a classic on pawn play that is nearly a must-ready for the improving player
I recently got to page 40 - which mentioned the following diagram about doubled and isolated pawns - it stated the position below was often useful for black and not that big of a hinderance
Believe me when I say from personal experience, the doubled and isolated pawns are not much of a problem in this instance - in fact, it was almost as much as a liability on me that they were there as if they weren't - I had a very similiar position in one of my Team4545 tourney games - I had always considered and doubled and isolated pawns as a weakness, and didn't hesitate to inflict this structure on my opponent, but as I learned they're not necessarily much of a weakness in the center when their front squares are blocked by my pawns - (and my d5/f5 squares are useless for minor pieces) - the following Team4545 Game I played earlier this year and reviewed with my coach reinforced this - but I came to that conclusion just trying to find good moves during the game
I'm hoping more of this wisdom comes to me as I read - I've read quite a few strategy books, and while they talk about using pawns as tools to help exploit your minor piece development - (creating a weak square to stick a knight for example) - they almost never cover using pawns in the game as a part of strategy -
as for myself I can guarantee a pawn move is almost always the last thing I look for - I'm hoping that some hardcore focus will bring my rating up and add improvements to my game that I haven't thought about yet