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1. 27 Apr '10 10:32
Consider the following position:

To me, neither side appears to be winning. It seems like a battle. But I've been told that doubled pawns are a liability. This makes sense to me, so taking that into consideration I would guess that black is winning slightly. My question is, how does one take advantage of such an advantage? I can look at the board and say that black is probably winning, but how do you actually convert to a win? What are the ideas in this position?

On a related note, consider this position from game 2 of the world championship match:

Anand (white) plays 15 Qa3. Why would he do this. Things seem fairly equal to me otherwise. Perhaps white has a slight bit more mobility, but otherwise things seem equal. Now after exchanging queens we have the following position:

White elected to mess up his pawn structure. Surely there was a deeper idea here that I don't see, so I guess my question is this: why would white mess up his pawn structure. Why is it a good thing in this case, however white's pawn structure in the first diagram is bad?
2. 27 Apr '10 10:49
The outcome of the game justified the move; that's why he is a GM (and World Champion)!
3. 27 Apr '10 11:00
Originally posted by amolv06

White elected to mess up his pawn structure. Surely there was a deeper idea here that I don't see, so I guess my question is this: why would white mess up his pawn structure. Why is it a good thing in this case, however white's pawn structure in the first diagram is bad?[/b]

To me: White is winning comfortably here. Bishop activity combined with easy piece exchanges and possible pawn structure disruption more than make up for the doubled pawns.

Rid the board of pieces

Now: How do you convert this to a win for black?

Onto the World Championship Game:

Anand (white) plays 15 Qa3.

The first thing that strikes me is: The player has messed up his pawns, what does he gain from this?

Well: Blacks loses a move to develop his bishop.
We are rapidly approaching the end game where, as everyone knows, every MOVE counts and, in fact, moves can sometimes be far more important than material.
The b file on whites queenside is a minefield of pawnly covered squares.
Whites king is very safe.

So, from what I can see, white trades his queenside pawn structure for a move, piece mobility and king safety.
4. 27 Apr '10 11:16
Neither side is winning in your example. Black may have a better structure but this is offset by white's bishop which is better at controlling both flanks. I think this position is easily defendable and just about equal.

Anand's Qa3 was a good psychological decision, the game goes quietly to the endgame and requires a more patient attitude which Topalov does not seem to have. His desire for activity is too great and cost him half a point. In itself the move Qa3 looks very ugly to me and I think he had better moves, but psychologically it was a very nice decision.
5. 27 Apr '10 17:41
Originally posted by amolv06
Consider the following position:

[fen]3r2k1/p4pp1/1p2pn1p/6r1/8/P3PP2/P4P1P/1BR2R1K b - - 0 21[/fen]

To me, neither side appears to be winning. It seems like a battle. But I've been told that doubled pawns are a liability. This makes sense to me, so taking that into consideration I would guess that black is winning slightly. My question is, how doe ...[text shortened]... is it a good thing in this case, however white's pawn structure in the first diagram is bad?
Anand made a bad move that worked out. See Lasker and ask yourself why you don't play like that (hint: you would lose.)

The original position was better for Black and if all the pieces are exchanged Black should win easily (hint: penetrate with the King and threaten both sides of the board, 2 real weaknesses should equal a win.) As long as pieces are on White has chances to avoid a loss (but it will be much harder for Black to lose.) So there's your plan for Black: maneuver to force exchanges and centralize to retain the option of shifting the attack from side to side (that's why you centralize at all most of the time.)
6. 27 Apr '10 22:15 / 1 edit
In the Anand Topolov game the white pawns being doubled gives white activity along the b file.

Black won`t be able to generate a queenside passed pawn on the b file unless he wins one of the white pawns outright which looks impossible to me.

Black`s queen looks like it is more useful than whites.

In the other game black has targets so is doing better.
Black can attack whites pawns in various ways like ...Rd2 ...Ra5 ...Rh5

White can do more or less nothing but try to save his pawns when they are attacked.
7.  Paul Leggett
Chess Librarian
27 Apr '10 23:32
Originally posted by Tiwaking
[b][fen]3r2k1/p4pp1/1p2pn1p/6r1/8/P3PP2/P4P1P/1BR2R1K b - - 0 21[/fen]
To me: White is winning comfortably here. Bishop activity combined with easy piece exchanges and possible pawn structure disruption more than make up for the doubled pawns.
I can appreciate your being comfortable in this position - Bronstein and Larsen both enjoyed playing these kinds of positions from the Caro Kann, so you have good company.

That said, i don't believe the exact position as given can be described as winning comfortably for white at all. Black has multiple targets to attack, and knights usually find more good outposts in front of doubled pawns.

Beyond that, the pure pawn ending is an easy black win, which means white will have to avoid exchanges. That in turn means that black can "bluff" white's pieces to inferior posts by threatening exchanges that white can't accept.

If I were white, I certainly would play on for swindling possibilities, but I would not harbor any illusions that black would be playing for anything other than a win.

Paul
8.  nimzo5
Ronin
28 Apr '10 01:36 / 1 edit
Most likely the the first diagram is equal, although I would rather play Black. The White Bishop with pawns on both sides gives some compensation for a losing pawn structure. The Black Rooks are more active, but I am not convinced that will be a permanent or decisive element.