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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lesson on Hanging Pawns

In the P-structure below it is obvious that the P’s on c4 and d4 can be targets of attack. Black can place the d-Pawn under attack by moves line …Nc6, …Bf6 and …Rd8. Or he can attack the c-Pawn with moves like …Ba6, …Na5 and …Rc8. On the other hand both P’s have a certain dynamic power.

If you know anything about handling the Isolated d-Pawn you know it has a tendency to advance to d5 given the opportunity. With Hanging Pawns this tendency is much stronger. From the diagram you can see that there is a possibility of creating a passed P by the advance d5. A passed P could also be created by the advance c5, but this is much more rare.
From Black’s perspective the obligation to meet these threats prevents, or at least hinders, the attack on the hanging P’s. Also, the P’s control several center squares (c5, d5 and e5) so they create a strong P-center.

Knowing the possibilities and plans of both sides will allow you to play with or against this type of P-formation with confidence. The plans are:

White:
1. Post pieces so that he threatens to create a strong passed –P by advancing on of them (usually the d-Pawn).

2. Occupy e5 with a N and prepare a K-side attack with the aid of the advance f2-f4-5. In this case, if Black exchanges …exf5 then he has opened up the f-file for White’s attack and gives White a passed d-Pawn. If he allows White to exchange (f5xe6) then Black’s P on e6 has become weak.

3. White can possibly carry out the advance a2-a4-5. In that case if Black exchanges White has a passed c-Pawn and, additionally, has prospects of attacking the P on a7. If Black avoids the exchange White will do so leaving Black with a weak P on b6.

Black:
1. By suitable placing of his pieces (e.g. Bb7, Be7, Nf6) Black can stop the P’s from advancing, ot, if they do, he can prepare a blockade of the resulting passed P. For example after 1.d5 exd5 2.cxd5, Black can play …Ne8-d6.

2. At a suitable moment Black can launch an attack on the hanging P’s and force White to tie his pieces to their defense.

3. In some cases Black can undertake the advance …e5 of …b5. In either case if White exchanges, he has an isolated P. If White pushes his P (d5 or c5) then Black can blockade the resulting passed P and attack the adjacent backward P.

The following game shows successful White strategy in addition to the tactical motifs that occur quite often in these types of positions. Playing over games of this type will pay dividends in that you will know the correct strategy and be familiar with the resulting tactical possibilities that result. This will bolster your confidence in these types of positions.

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