# h3 to avoid pin when castled?

Hi Guys!

I've been trying to avoid asking this and been searching frantically on the internet and seeing if I can work this out but to no avail!

So above is a diagram from the book Logical Chess. It is in the chapter on kingside attacks at the start.

It states than an instinctive move is to move the pawn to h3 to avoid a pin but by doing so you risk a kingside attack.

Now, I understand why it opens you up to a kingside attack, but can anyone please explain what pin h3 is preventing? I guess it prevents the king being boxed in and provides an escape router, so I see that reasoning but can't see where the pin comes in?

With not knowing what other pieces  are supposed to be on the board, and where?  I can only give a general answer.

It usually prevents the queen and knight being pinned.

IMBacon wrote:

With not knowing what other pieces  are supposed to be on the board, and where?  I can only give a general answer.

It usually prevents the queen and knight being pinned.

Hi Mr Bacon, nice to see you again!

Thanks for your reply, I've got a game here which is referenced in the book:

Move 9, it goes to h3 and others have said the same as you, that it prevents that pinned knight, but I'm still not sure why? If it helps to excuse my behavior, I'm feeling a bit ill

IMBacon wrote:

With not knowing what other pieces  are supposed to be on the board, and where?  I can only give a general answer.

It usually prevents the queen and knight being pinned.

OMG Mr Bacon, it's to attack the bishop that wants to pin my knight to the queen, that's right isn't it!!??

alexmh1ham wrote:
IMBacon wrote:

With not knowing what other pieces  are supposed to be on the board, and where?  I can only give a general answer.

It usually prevents the queen and knight being pinned.

Hi Mr Bacon, nice to see you again!

Thanks for your reply, I've got a game here which is referenced in the book:

Move 9, it goes to h3 and others have said the same as you, that it prevents that pinned knight, but I'm still not sure why? If it helps to excuse my behavior, I'm feeling a bit ill

Based on that game position 9.h3 does the following:

Prevents the pin.

Controls the g4 square, keeping the opponents bishop, and knight off of it.

Gains space.

GIves the white king an escape square.

Where white went wrong is with 10.de5.  It opens the center, opens the a7-g1 diagonal, and neglects his development.  Notice how none of whites queenside pieces are developed?  Its generally not a good idea to open up a position, when youre behind in development, and your opponent has 3 pieces staring at your kingside.

alexmh1ham wrote:
IMBacon wrote:

With not knowing what other pieces  are supposed to be on the board, and where?  I can only give a general answer.

It usually prevents the queen and knight being pinned.

OMG Mr Bacon, it's to attack the bishop that wants to pin my knight to the queen, that's right isn't it!!??

Yep!

IMBacon wrote:
alexmh1ham wrote:
IMBacon wrote:

With not knowing what other pieces  are supposed to be on the board, and where?  I can only give a general answer.

It usually prevents the queen and knight being pinned.

Hi Mr Bacon, nice to see you again!

Thanks for your reply, I've got a game here which is referenced in the book:

Move 9, it goes to h3 and others have said the same as you, that it prevents that pinned knight, but I'm still not sure why? If it helps to excuse my behavior, I'm feeling a bit ill

Based on that game position 9.h3 does the following:

Prevents the pin.

Controls the g4 square, keeping the opponents bishop, and knight off of it.

Gains space.

GIves the white king an escape square.

Where white went wrong is with 10.de5.  It opens the center, opens the a7-g1 diagonal, and neglects his development.  Notice how one of whites queenside pieces are developed?  Its generally not a good idea to open up a position, when youre behind in development, and your opponent has 3 pieces staring at your kingside.

Thanks Mr Bacon, brilliant explanation of the subtleties here! But just one point to clarify, the pin you speak of preventing is the the c8 bishop pinning the knight to the queen as the h pawn can capture it right?

alexmh1ham wrote:
IMBacon wrote:
alexmh1ham wrote:
IMBacon wrote:

With not knowing what other pieces  are supposed to be on the board, and where?  I can only give a general answer.

It usually prevents the queen and knight being pinned.

Hi Mr Bacon, nice to see you again!

Thanks for your reply, I've got a game here which is referenced in the book:

Move 9, it goes to h3 and others have said the same as you, that it prevents that pinned knight, but I'm still not sure why? If it helps to excuse my behavior, I'm feeling a bit ill

Based on that game position 9.h3 does the following:

Prevents the pin.

Controls the g4 square, keeping the opponents bishop, and knight off of it.

Gains space.

GIves the white king an escape square.

Where white went wrong is with 10.de5.  It opens the center, opens the a7-g1 diagonal, and neglects his development.  Notice how one of whites queenside pieces are developed?  Its generally not a good idea to open up a position, when youre behind in development, and your opponent has 3 pieces staring at your kingside.

Thanks Mr Bacon, brilliant explanation of the subtleties here! But just one point to clarify, the pin you speak of preventing is the the c8 bishop pinning the knight to the queen as the h pawn can capture it right?

That is correct.

IMBacon wrote:
alexmh1ham wrote:
IMBacon wrote:

With not knowing what other pieces  are supposed to be on the board, and where?  I can only give a general answer.

It usually prevents the queen and knight being pinned.

OMG Mr Bacon, it's to attack the bishop that wants to pin my knight to the queen, that's right isn't it!!??

Yep!

Thanks! Sorry, you can ignore my last comment and proceed to enjoy your weekend without my inane questions, thanks for all your help!

alexmh1ham wrote:
IMBacon wrote:
alexmh1ham wrote:
IMBacon wrote:

With not knowing what other pieces  are supposed to be on the board, and where?  I can only give a general answer.

It usually prevents the queen and knight being pinned.

OMG Mr Bacon, it's to attack the bishop that wants to pin my knight to the queen, that's right isn't it!!??

Yep!

Thanks! Sorry, you can ignore my last comment and proceed to enjoy your weekend without my inane questions, thanks for all your help!

Glad to be of help, and i am enjoying my weekend.  You do the same, and feel free to ask, if you have any questions.  I will do my best to answer them.

IMBacon wrote:
alexmh1ham wrote:
IMBacon wrote:
alexmh1ham wrote:
IMBacon wrote:

With not knowing what other pieces  are supposed to be on the board, and where?  I can only give a general answer.

It usually prevents the queen and knight being pinned.

OMG Mr Bacon, it's to attack the bishop that wants to pin my knight to the queen, that's right isn't it!!??

Yep!

Thanks! Sorry, you can ignore my last comment and proceed to enjoy your weekend without my inane questions, thanks for all your help!

Glad to be of help, and i am enjoying my weekend.  You do the same, and feel free to ask, if you have any questions.  I will do my best to answer them.

Thanks

Sometimes it is correct to play an early h3 to prevent a pin on your knight.

But for players rated under 2000 please note it is USUALLY wrong to do this for several reasons.

Here are two of the reasons it is USUALLY wrong:

1. it often wastes a  tempo in the opening and wasting even one tempo could be fatal.

2. it could make your kingside more vulnerable to attack. [this happens fairly often]

If you're just worried about the pin, then you should ignore it. The pin itself is fairly unimportant.

h3 is usually played when e.g. the opening / early mid game involves a fight over d4 / e5

and/or when black's LSB can't easily be developed / can't easily play an active role.

For example

In the above example it's important to note since the position can't open up soon, white has time for moves like this.

It's a bad book because all situations are relevant to specific tactical possibilities, so give the book away or something. You need one that shows at least enough of a position to see what's happening. h3 can be an excellent move if you can defend the weak squares adequately, especially if your opponent thinks you can't and sacrifices.

Hi everyone!

Thanks for all the help, ponz111, I am most certainly below USCF 2000 so those tips are really helpful!

Preggo_Basashi - Thanks for the diagrams, really good material! Much appreciated. My main query is on the first diagram, if you don't mind? Why is h3 important in playing d4?

Optimissed - Alas, it's an ebook! Do you have any recommendations? I have Chess complete self tutor by Lasker and Back to basics tactics by Heisman?

I would probably recommend joining a chess club and learning there from other players.

If there is a possibility of a pawn storm, or a lot of your opponent's pieces directed at your king, it is usually quite risky...

alexmh1ham wrote:

Preggo_Basashi - Thanks for the diagrams, really good material! Much appreciated. My main query is on the first diagram, if you don't mind? Why is h3 important in playing d4?

The main point I wanted to get across with that example was that the Bg4 pin usually has more to do with influencing some of the four center squares (the most important squares in the early part of the game).

A knight on f3 influences d4 and e5. A bishop pinning a knight on f3 indirectly removes that influence (or directly if black captures).

So in the first diagram why can't white play d4 right away? Good question, he actually can, it's just not the main move. I just used that as an example because it's a prominent opening and fit the theme of the question.

Right, makes sense, thanks very much everyone, good info!

moves like h3 and a3 are often played to avoid the bishop pinning the knight, or if the bishop is already there, to break the tension and try to force the opponent to choose the bishops' fate (trade for knight or retreat)

the risk/downside of such moves, especially when you castle to the side of that rook pawn is that by moving your pawn so early your kingside pawn structure loses flexibility. pawn moves are committal since they cant move back, playing h3 for example, means one less piece attacking g3, and h3 is also now a possible target for a sacrifice by the same bishop you are eyeing. If black where to force another pawn move on your kingside, you create more and more weaknesses the pawns alone cannot handle.

but this is all in the abstract. whether a move like h3 is actually a weakness or not, will depend so much on the actual position. how many pieces you have ready to help defend the kingside, how much space black and white have, and how many attackers your opponent have heavily factor in on whether such pawn moves are weakening only in theory, or if they are serious threats looming.