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  1. Subscriber C J Horse
    A stable personality
    18 Nov '13 17:31
    Are these pawn moves actually any good early in the game? A lot of my opponents play them and the only purpose seems to be to stop me moving my bishop to a square where I had no intention of going anyway. Wouldn't the pawn move be better played to threaten my bishop once I've put it on the square my opponent doesn't want? Or am I (as a fairly unskilled player) missing something obvious?
  2. 18 Nov '13 17:38 / 4 edits
    The main problem with playing a pawn to h3/h6 and then castling kingside is that it makes it easier for your opponent to attack your king's fortress with a pawn storm as the g-pawn push to g4/g5 will be attacking your pawn on h3/h6.

    The reason that some players like to play h3/h6 before their opponents bishop gets to g4/g5 (usually pinning a knight) is that h3/h6 doesn't break the pin - the bishop can stay on the diagonal with Bh5/Bh4 and then you must decide whether to play g4/g5 to chase the bishop away properly at the cost of severely compromising your kingside.

    Sometimes these moves are played to provide a hiding place for a bishop which is currently on "bishop 4". e.g. in the Barry Opening, White often plays a bishop to f4 and then plays h3 so that he can drop the bishop to h2 if it is attacked.

  3. Standard member ChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
    18 Nov '13 20:08
    Originally posted by C J Horse
    Are these pawn moves actually any good early in the game? A lot of my opponents play them and the only purpose seems to be to stop me moving my bishop to a square where I had no intention of going anyway. Wouldn't the pawn move be better played to threaten my bishop once I've put it on the square my opponent doesn't want? Or am I (as a fairly unskilled player) missing something obvious?
    When an opponent plays such an opening, try to steer into variations where such a pawn advance is a weakness.
  4. 19 Nov '13 12:32 / 1 edit
    I dug out a game I played a few years ago against a youngster who insisted on preventing the bishop pin in the standard "beginners' opening" by moving his h-pawn forward one square (whether he was white or black). Once Black's h-pawn moved to h6 it became a target for a combined bishop + queen attack in which White obtained two pawns for a sacced bishop - a mere pawn down by points and a terrific attack which Black was unable to repulse. Note that Black's f-pawn was pinned for much of this game and Qg6+ was always a move to look out for, though in the end it didn't get played.
  5. 19 Nov '13 17:49 / 4 edits
    Hi C.J

    There can be numerous reasons for such pawn moves.
    I'll restrict reasons to players under 1600

    1) It's part of opening theory. (They have seen it before....somewhere.)

    AttilaTheHorn - amblessador RHP 2011



    2) Worried about a piece going to certain square because in previous
    games that piece going to that square caused loads of self inflicted problems.


    Here:

    .
    You often see players playing 3...h6 to stop Ng5 hitting f7.
    21,460+ times 3...h6 been played on here.

    3) A Bluff.

    Here some Black players....


    play 3...h6 to tempt their opponent to go sac happy or underate them.
    A player called Oldmanwithatwix has played 3...h6 here 119 times (W.45 D9 L65).

    4) Luft for the endgame.
    When I was starting out I often castled and played h3/h6 right away
    so I would not have to worry about my back ran later on.
    A few pawn storms with Bxh3/h6 mating attacks when I bumped into the
    good guys soon cured me of that.

    5) They don't know what to do so push a pawn.
    If you don't know what to do - do not touch a pawn. Move a piece and pass.
    Let your opponent think of something to do - he will be wrong.

    6) To open up a retreat for a piece. (or redeploy it)
    Fat lady gave a bolt hole for a Bishop. But it may also be to redeploy a piece.

    Let's us take the thread up a notch have a look at the good guys.

    Look at this position from game 6 Anand - Carlsen. (Black to play)


    Magnus actually anticipated White playing h3 here and played Nb8. Why?

    The game went:



    6) A waiting move.
    As I said one should not 'pass' with a pawn move however sometimes...

    EricD (1174) - psalmist (1235) RHP 2012

  6. Standard member SwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    19 Nov '13 17:53
    Originally posted by Fat Lady
    I dug out a game I played a few years ago against a youngster who insisted on preventing the bishop pin in the standard "beginners' opening" by moving his h-pawn forward one square (whether he was white or black). Once Black's h-pawn moved to h6 it became a target for a combined bishop + queen attack in which White obtained two pawns for a sacced bishop - a ...[text shortened]... d6 8. Bxh6 gxh6 9. Qxh6 Bg4 10. Ng5 Bh5 11. f4 Qd7
    12. fxe5 dxe5 13. Rxf6 Bxf6 14. Qh7#
    [/pgn]
    If I was coaching the kid, I'd ask him why he feared the pin when he had ...Be7 at the ready.
  7. Standard member ChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
    01 Dec '13 18:55 / 2 edits
    Here is one example where 1. h3, then approach the game as if you were the black side is not a good idea. First the original variation:



    Now with the h3 play black idea...


    Sure it's a bad line for the original black side and an isolated example at best. But I've played this line ad naseum so it has occurred, at least for me, maybe hundreds of times in games.