Good books on pawn play at bottom of page


Studying positional play is not an easy matter and there are few different ways to do so. Studying chess by examining various typical pawn formations is the approach taken by professional chess players while working on particular openings, middlegame positions, or even endgames. They study particular patterns and typical techniques. It is more efficient to study standard or typical situations as they arise in tournament practice. And when we look for the most common positions, we should look for the most typical pawn structures. Why is this so? The answer lies in the nature of pawns. When we play chess, we deal with two different kinds of chessmen, the pieces, which are rather flexible and move around quite a lot and pawns, which are much more static and usually form the skeleton of a position. Probably Philidor had this particular quality of pawns in mind, when he called them "the soul of chess". So, our task is to define standard pawn skeletons and learn where the pieces belong within them, what plans are available for both sides, etc. This should be the main aim of your study in this work

When a player knows well the characteristic features of various typical pawn formations, he is better prepared for the game. Then it will be easier to choose an appropriate plan and to implement it. But before that we should learn quite a lot about typical pawn formations themselves, so we can develop so-called "pattern recognition". When looking at a particular position you compare it with the ones you have seen before and that helps you to come up with a suitable plan.

Of course, there are many different typical pawn structures in chess and one should not try to cover all of them at once. It is better to choose the most popular pawn skeletons and deal with them more intensively. The approach of looking at the making of a plan through the lenses of typical pawn structures is probably most applicable and productive in the delicate area of transition from the opening to the middlegame.

In chess, one side wins not because they just happen to get a "winning" pawn formation by some lucky chance. No, it's done though better planning superior strategy and more precise play. For example, There are many positions where some great players prefer to play on one side, while some other top players are happy to take the opposite side. This is largely a matter of taste, so do not try to seek the the ultimate truth which may not exist, but look to build a superior pawn structure instead.

What does Francoise Philidor tell us about pawns?

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the power of pawns was universally underrated. It took the legendary French player Francois-Andre' Philidor (1726-1795) to demonstrate that correct handling of the pawns could make a major difference in a game. In 1749, he published a chess book that gave detailed instruction on how to play the middle game. His comments "Les pions sont L'ame du jeu"(Pawns are the soul of the game) became one of the most famous chess sayings. Philidor quite rightly believed that ignorance of the correct way to handle pawns was the primary weakness of many chess playing contemporaries. The question "How to win at chess?" is answered by Philidor in three steps: 1. Create pawn majorities 2. Create passed pawns. 3. Win by promoting and queening the passed pawns. A Game by Philidor to demonstrate his theory

The great Polish Grandmaster Saviely Tartakower (1887-1956) wrote, "Never lose a pawn and you will never lose a game."

The great German master Siegbert Tarrasch also said "To win a Pawn in the Opening is usually a very dangerous thing!"

The following are key areas in the correct ways to handles pawns.

Understand when pawns are weak - How square control and pieces influence pawn structures & vice versa -

! How to create a Candidate passed pawn - Creating a Pawn Majority - Capablanca's rule determines which pawn in the majority should move first before the entire majority is activated. The rule is to first advance the candidate passed pawn which has no enemy pawn obstruction in its path.- Understanding about isolated D-pawn strengths - Understanding how to control passed pawns -Advancement of the isolated D-pawn - Backward pawns - Fixed pawns - Passed pawns - Pawn chains - Pawn holes - Protecting passed pawns.

Understanding Steinitz's positional chess accumulation theory of small advantages in pawn control - Controlling center squares with good pawn placement. Understanding pawn island control. Creating pawn weaknesses in your opponents camp - Creating pawn outposts - Understanding the 6 pawn centers is vital to your understanding of positional chess and grand strategy. You must classify the center of every chess position you see. 1.Open center 2.The Closed Center 3.Blocked Center 4.Fixed Center 5.Mobile Center 6.Dynamic Center

Creating pawn ramparts that are embankments of a fortification forming a defensive structure that forms a part of that fortification to protect the king and his fortress. Creating occluded pawn barriers - Creating a outside passed pawn - Understanding pawn structures - Recognizing good, bad pawn pattern structures and their design and characteristics - Recognizing good and bad end game pawn structures. The configuration of the King's pawn covers and their destruction and annihilation - Why doubled pawns and Isolated pawns are bad. - Pros and cons of a pawn wedge - Why one should try to create a pawn nail. The main advantage of the pawn nail is that it provides additional manoeuvring space, supports piece attacks and strongly cramps the opponents's forces.

Lets us look at some pawn skeltons for pattern recognition.

1. Pawn skeleton for White in all openings with 1.e4 e5 Pawn Skeleton 1

2. Pawn Position in the Caro-Kann Defense. White has the better endgame. Pawn Position 15A

3. Pawn Position 15B in the Caro-Kann Defense White has an advantage in both middlegame and endgame. Pawn Position 15B

4. Pawn Position 15C in the Caro-Kann Ddfense The chances are even Pawn Position 15C

5. Pawn Position 15D in the Caro-Kann Defense. Black's Pawn structure is superior. Pawn Position 15D

6. Pawn Position 36A in the Nimzoindian-Queen-Indian Complex Slightly favorable for Black Pawn Position 36A

7. Pawn Position 36B in the Nimzoindian-Queen-Indian Complex Normally favorable for White Pawn Position 36B

8. Pawn Position 36C in the Nimzoindian-Queen-Indian Complex Always farorable for White. Pawn Position 36C

9. Pawn Position 36D in the Nimzoindian-Queen-Indian Complex Somewhat farorable for White. Pawn Position 36D

10. Pawn Position 36E in the Nimzoindian-Queen-Indian Complex Normally slightly favorable for White; initiative is important. Pawn Position 36E

11. Pawn Position 36F in the Nimzoindian-Queen-Indian Complex Normally favorable for Black. Pawn Position 36F

12. Pawn Position 40A in the King's-Indian-Gruenfeld Complex Always favorable for White. Pawn Position 40A

13. Pawn Position 40B in the King's-Indian-Gruenfeld Complex Strong for White. Pawn Position 40B

14.Pawn Position 40C in the King's-Indian-Gruenfeld Complex Normally favorable for Black. Pawn Position 40C

15. Pawn Position 40D in the King's-Indian-Gruenfeld Complex Normally somewhat in Black's favor. Pawn Position 40D

16. Pawn Position 40E in the King's-Indian-Gruenfeld Complex Always favorable for Black. Pawn Position 40E

17. Pawn Position 40F in the King's-Indian-Gruenfeld Complex Always favorable for White. Pawn Position 40F If you would like to do some reading about Pawn Structures and the ideas behind the Pawn Structures, get Reuben Fine's Book, "Ideas Behind The Chess Openings" Now reset in Modern Algebraic Notation 240 Pages, List Price $14.00

Another very excellent books on Pawn Strucures is "Winning Pawn Structures" by Alexander Baburin 256 Pages, List Price $24.95

Two books on Pawn Play by Drazen Marovic are: "Dynamic Pawn Play in Chess" 256 Pages, List Price $21.95 "Understanding Pawn Play in Chess" 208 Pages, List Price $21.95

An excellent book on chess basics and Pawn Basics is by Bruce Pandolfini: "Weapons of Chess" 287 Pages, List Price $12.00 This book will explain in plain language a lot of good information of what you need to know about the basics of the game. A good part of this book is all about basic information of pawns. I highly recommend it. This is a must have book in your chess library and is definitely a best buy for the money. No chess notations, and no need for a chess board, all is explained very well in words. A unique and invaluable resource for the developing intermediate chess player.

"Pawn Power in Chess" by Hans Kmoch 304 Pages, List Price $9.95 This book is a discussion of chess strategy based on details of pawn play.