Sacrificing Pawn Structure for Bishop Power

June 13, 2009

The power of the bishop pair in open games is a well-known fact. Another well-known fact is that the pawn structure determines whether a game is open or closed. Combine these two ideas and you have the idea illustrated in the following gif: If you are defending against a bishop pair, be very careful and considerate when it comes to pawn moves; it’s often wiser to keep your pawns in place and dare the owner of the bishop pair to attack. If you are attacking with the bishop pair, ponder the significance of the opponent’s pawn moves, and do not hesitate to “sacrifice” a solid pawn structure if it helps you to activate your bishop pair.


This setup is lifted from Abramovic vs Nikolic, Yugoslawia 1994 and demonstrates White’s willingness to accept two isolated pawns to unleash the power of his bishops.

Deflection and Fork Promotion

June 3, 2009

endgame_promotionfork_01When your pawn can capture a piece on the eighth rank, but the promoted pawn will be captured in return, think twice about capturing right away. Consider additional tactical options in order to squeeze the maximum out of the fact that your pawn can promote any time. In particular, take a close look at the guards of the promotion square and see if you can find a way to free the square from its protectors. In the above gif, the key idea is the deflection of the promotion square guardian — the king — combined with the power of the fork. The gif below uses the same idea, employing two deflections in a row.


You Shall Not Pass, NOT! (featuring Gandalf the Grey)

June 1, 2009

Blue Devil Knight over at Confessions of a Chess Novice talks about passed pawns, which inspired me to draw up this silly little gif:


If I remember correctly, this is how you create a passer in a 3vs3 pawns scenario in which your pawns are closer to the promotion rank. Unless the pattern is faulty, credit goes to Silman’s Complete Endgame Course for teaching me.

I believe the short & crispy nature of pawn move patterns lends itself well to the Chunky rook approach, so if you’ve got any pawn moves to spare, or if you can point me to literature or online resources discussing pawn dynamics, drop me a hint in the comments — it’d be greatly appreciated!