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  1. 08 May '08 20:12
    hi, i haven't been playing chess for very long and have come across this term, (minority attack) in chess literature again and again, can anyone please help me to understand what this is as there is some confusion in my mind. my understanding is that a single pawn advantageously placed can inhibit the movement of one or more pawns on that particular side of the board, thus a white pawn placed at b4 for example may inhibit the movement of say the black pawns placed on c6 and b7 respectively, is this the case or am I harbouring some delusions as usual, kind regards in advance - Robert.
  2. Standard member Redmike
    Godless Commie
    08 May '08 20:27 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    hi, i haven't been playing chess for very long and have come across this term, (minority attack) in chess literature again and again, can anyone please help me to understand what this is as there is some confusion in my mind. my understanding is that a single pawn advantageously placed can inhibit the movement of one or more pawns on that particular ...[text shortened]... s this the case or am I harbouring some delusions as usual, kind regards in advance - Robert.
    A minority attack isn't about one pawn holding back other pawns.

    It is a strategy involving the advance of pawns on the wing where you have a minority of pawns. For example, in the Queens Gambit Exchange, after 1. d4 d5; 2. c4 e6; 3. Nc3 Nf6; 4. ed cd, White has a pawn minority on the Queen-side. (a and b pawns versus Black's a, b & c pawns).

    In this structure, White can advance the a and b pawns to a4 and b5. If Black takes on b5 with the c6 pawn, then d5 is isolated and weakened. If they don't, white can play b5xc6, and then Black's c6 pawn is backward and weak.

    Of course, there's a lot more to it than that, but the basic idea is to advance pawns on the wing where you have a pawn minority, with the intention of weakening the opponent's pawns there.
  3. 08 May '08 20:44 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Redmike
    A minority attack isn't about one pawn holding back other pawns.

    It is a strategy involving the advance of pawns on the wing where you have a minority of pawns. For example, in the Queens Gambit Exchange, after 1. d4 d5; 2. c4 e6; 3. Nc3 Nf6; 4. ed cd, White has a pawn minority on the Queen-side. (a and b pawns versus Black's a, b & c pawns).

    In this s here you have a pawn minority, with the intention of weakening the opponent's pawns there.
    wow, this is incredibly helpful, lucid and very well explained, although i assume that its 4.cxd exd which results in whites pawn minority which is understood as the e pawn has not been played to e4 yet- thanks so much - regards robert.
  4. Standard member agentreno
    Addicted
    09 May '08 09:59 / 5 edits
    Also as a side point, what you were originally thinking of for one pawn holding two was slightly incorrect - a white pawn on b4 and black pawns on b7 and c6 is not an example of one pawn holding two since black can play first b6 then c5 and the black pawns can no longer be held back.

    A better example is a white pawn on a5 and black pawns on a6 and b7.

    In this situation black's a pawn is obviously blocked and the b pawn cannot advance to b5 as it will be captured en passant. With piece support obviously b6 can be played but in a situation without pieces such as the king and pawn endgame shown, this structure really does restrain a majority. You might argue that the black a6 pawn will become passed just as much as the white pawn on b6 after (1 ... b5 2. axb6 e.p.) but don't forget Black has had to sacrifice a pawn to achieve this besides which White's pawn is much further advanced and will certainly queen before the Black pawn without king intervention. For this reason, when you have the majority as Black you should not play a6 with white pawn on a5 if you can help it - b6 is much better forcing a passed pawn.

    I hope all of that was clear and to anybody who knows better - please correct me, I'm sure there's holes in my understanding also.
  5. Standard member Redmike
    Godless Commie
    09 May '08 12:41
    Originally posted by agentreno
    Also as a side point, what you were originally thinking of for one pawn holding two was slightly incorrect - a white pawn on b4 and black pawns on b7 and c6 is not an example of one pawn holding two since black can play first b6 then c5 and the black pawns can no longer be held back.

    A better example is a white pawn on a5 and black pawns on a6 and b7.
    ...[text shortened]... body who knows better - please correct me, I'm sure there's holes in my understanding also.
    In this situation, the Black's b7-pawn is known as a backward pawn.

    What you're describing is a static structure - Black pawns on a6, b7 held at bay by a single white pawn on a5.

    A minority attack is a strategy, rather than a structure.
  6. 09 May '08 12:48 / 1 edit
    Here is one of my own games featuring a minority attack on whites queenside.

    Game 3156218
  7. 09 May '08 13:23
  8. Standard member Talisman
    Time traveller.
    09 May '08 13:54 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    hi, i haven't been playing chess for very long and have come across this term, (minority attack) in chess literature again and again, can anyone please help me to understand what this is as there is some confusion in my mind. my understanding is that a single pawn advantageously placed can inhibit the movement of one or more pawns on that particular ...[text shortened]... s this the case or am I harbouring some delusions as usual, kind regards in advance - Robert.
    Yes some interesting comments. I personally think it's easier to think about the minority attack in terms of half open files as is explained in Stean's masterpiece Simple Chess. After all presure on a half open file is essentially what a minority attack is.
    It's interesting to note in the same book, Stean's comments about why the QG was so popular in days of Alekhine and Capa and for the same reason why the Sicillian Defence is so popular today. It's simply the possibility of a minority attack!
    Black has an almost instant half open file in the sicillian after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd 4. Nxd4.
    Now thats magic!
  9. 09 May '08 16:06
    In my own words, a minority attack is when you weaken a larger pawn structure with a single pawn attack, making extra pawns (after the exchange) vulnerable to capture.
  10. 09 May '08 16:22
    awesome people, really awesome, and just two more
    thanks Robbie Carrobie - chess super noob and disciple of R J Fischer. R.I.P
  11. 09 May '08 16:27 / 2 edits
    Game 3156218
    incredibly interesting how those two little black pawns managed , with some assistance to rule the queenside, alas however, against a fellow Scotsman, it was more than i could bare :'(