Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. Standard member Eric LeFavour
    The guy
    24 Dec '09 12:08
    Merry Christmas everybody.

    I was wondering about pawn structure. I am realizing in my games, that my endgames are suffering from either being down a minor piece, and/or my pawn structure looking like "stonehenge". Lots of gaps. So in the early middlegame, what are we looking for with our structure? I know we want to get our minor pieces (bishops/knights) active. At what point do we decide, "now I need to move some pawns into great places"? What should I look for? When is arranging your pawns more important than an attack we may see? How do we come to that decision? I realize I have plenty of weaknesses in my games, this one is just what is laying itself in front of me.
    Eric
  2. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    24 Dec '09 13:50
    your opening choices dictate a lot of the details of pawn structure. It's a pretty big topic really but here are a couple general ideas

    mind your pawn islands- in the endgame extra islands are almost always a weakness. This doesn't mean paralyze your middle game to avoid creating an island, but it does tell you if you exchange into an ending how you might stand.

    iso pawns - if you have one, play actively, try to control the square in front of it, and look to advance it with the support of your pieces. If your opponent has it restrain, blockade, destroy!

    in the middle game look to inflict pawn weaknesses on your opponenent.

    a closed pawn structure can very much influence the value of your minor pieces, so be aware of that.


    as for dropping minor pieces, tactics!!!
  3. Standard member orion25
    Art is hard
    24 Dec '09 14:16
    just make shure you don't leave your pieces hanging and the rest will take care of itself
  4. Standard member PBE6
    Bananarama
    24 Dec '09 15:15
    Originally posted by orion25
    just make shure you don't leave your pieces hanging and the rest will take care of itself
    I agree with orion25. I took a brief look at some of your games, and it seems that you're at the stage where you are giving away pieces. Everyone goes through this stage, but you don't want to get stuck there. I recommend practicing with a tactics server like http://chess.emrald.net/ to help you develop your tactical vision. Once you gain more confidence in this area, you can work on pawn structure.

    As far as pawn structure goes, some things you want to keep in mind are doubled pawns, isolated pawns, passed pawns, pawn chains, pawn islands and moving the pawns in front of your castled king. In general, doubled pawns, isolated pawns and moving pawns in front of your castled king have negative positional consequences, but these negative consequences are sometimes more than outweighed by positive positional or dynamic advantages. For instance, doubled pawns are often more easily attacked and require piece-support for defense, but they can increase your influence over the centre, prevent penetration of opposing pieces into your camp or provide good outposts for your pieces. It's up to you to evaluate the possibilities and make a decision as to which aspect (positive or negative) is more important in a given situation.
  5. 24 Dec '09 20:12 / 7 edits
    Originally posted by Eric LeFavour
    Merry Christmas everybody.

    I was wondering about pawn structure. I am realizing in my games, that my endgames are suffering from either being down a minor piece, and/or my pawn structure looking like "stonehenge". Lots of gaps. So in the early middlegame, what are we looking for with our structure? I know we want to get our minor pieces (bisho of weaknesses in my games, this one is just what is laying itself in front of me.
    Eric
    in your profile, you've said you're "Always open for advice". I'd like to share my advice. your rating indicates that there are lots of tactical mistakes in your games. if I were you, I would forget about pawn structure and such concepts and work on my tactics. Actually, I would exclusively work on my tactics for quite a while.

    such positional concepts mean very little if you make piece dropping blunders on a regular basis.

    edit:
    I should've read all the posts, orion25 has said the same thing in a much more elegant way
    since we've begun talking about tactics servers, I would recommend chesstempo.com instead.

    and meeeeeeeerry christmas to you!!!!
  6. Standard member Eric LeFavour
    The guy
    24 Dec '09 21:48
    Thanks all. Points taken. I do practice tactics at chesstempo.com. Often there I think, if I could just get myself into these positions, I could win a few more. LOL My rating is about the same there, so obviously it's something I need to work on. Thanks again everyone. I always appreciate the advice. Happy holidays.
    Eric
  7. Standard member orion25
    Art is hard
    24 Dec '09 22:00
    Originally posted by Eric LeFavour
    Thanks all. Points taken. I do practice tactics at chesstempo.com. Often there I think, if I could just get myself into these positions, I could win a few more. LOL My rating is about the same there, so obviously it's something I need to work on. Thanks again everyone. I always appreciate the advice. Happy holidays.
    Eric
    More than training your tactics, you must assure yourself before sending each move that all your pieces are protected, and if not, make sure your opponent has no possibility to attack them.
  8. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    25 Dec '09 14:09
    This is a very narrow point, but I think it is important to evaluate every exchange in the context of the pawn structure before you make it. It sounds obvious, but I recently finished a game with a relatively strong player who intentionally exchanged down into an ending where he had a knight, I had a bishop, and there were pawns on both sides of the board.

    Right from that exchange, I could work the position out to a zugzwang position and a "dead won" ending, but my opponent actually thought he had given himself a slight plus! I didn't want to embarrass the guy, so I just played until he realized that things were not as he thought, and he resigned. He had a fine game, and it should have been a draw, right up until he just handed it to me.