Pawn Storm and Open Lines

middlegame_openlines_041This idea originated in John Nunn’s analysis of the game Petrosian – Unzicker 1960. Since the animation leaves out the context of the game, you may have a hard time understanding what’s going on at first, but hopefully the key point will become clear.

The key idea here is to consider opening lines before you storm the enemy position with your pawns. We can use pawns as battering rams to open space around the enemy king,  but if the opponent has no counterplay available, why rush? Instead of letting our pawns loose immediately,  it might be wise to open lines for attacking pieces beforehand. This happens here: Instead of playing 1. g4 right away, White plays 1. f4!, freeing the second rank for his rook, enabling it to join the attack faster once it’s rolling. Source: Secrets of Practical Chess by John Nunn.


3 Responses to Pawn Storm and Open Lines

  1. chesstiger says:

    Maybe i am wrong or is this just an example that isn’t the correct one for this post but the seventh rank is also free for use of rook power.

    Maybe taking away to much pieces makes what you want to show less accurate in my eyes.

  2. chunkyrook says:

    Yes, I realise that the position, as it stands, is not a “real” chess position (there’s also no White king, and all the Black pieces are gone, and White makes several moves without Black making a move, etc.). But the point of the animation is not to display an accurate position, but to show the general dynamic of an idea, just as when you look at the board and calculate or think about plans, you don’t necessarily imagine or think about all the pieces all the time, or about the opponent’s moves. Sometimes, you look at the board, look at your rook, and think: “Maybe at some point the rook could go there and then there and then there”, and that gives you a clue as to how to make an actual move. In other words, the animation is about potential moves that blank out the context of the game. A full-blown chess position is too noisy and too overwhelming to present an idea.

  3. chunkyrook says:

    I’m also hesitating to make the positions too accurate because the viewer needs to be aware that in actual OTB games all ideas must be subject to concrete calculation and must be adapted to the concrete position of the board. Playing an idea just for the idea’s sake will weaken rather than improve your game.

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