'Pawns are the soul of chess' said the great French chess player Philidor back in the 18th century. The way in which pawns are deployed often decides the outcome of a game, since pawn structure forms the skeleton around which the body of the game is played. 'Only a pawn' makes no sense in chess. Win more games by studying these examples of powerful pawnplay from the games of the grandmasters. More
To become a very strong chess player you have to know how to play your pawns. In this element of the Chess Strategy Series we watch as two of the greatest Grandmasters demonstrate the strategic thinking behind their pawn play and show how vital it is to place supporting pieces with precision. We then examine a ‘cat and mouse’ game where the winner uses the strategy of switching the focus of the attack - and it’s a master class in exploiting the weakness of doubled pawns. Bobby Fischer shows that losing the exchange to gain a strategic advantage can be enough to win the game and then there are two mighty, one hundred year old clashes between those legends of the game, Frank Marshall and Jose Capablanca. As it’s unlikely that a Grandmaster will have beaten another Grandmaster because the loser fell for a simple tactical trick or suffered from a glaring weakness in his endgame technique or some other aspect of his game, just what is it that separated them? The answer is likely to be that one of them had a better grasp of the strategic requirements of the positions which arose. It's the fine points which make the difference between winning and losing at the highest levels of the game. Frank Marshall loses twice to Jose Capablanca; in the first game because he doesn’t move his pawns and in the second because he does! In this series we're looking over the shoulders of the Masters as they play their games and it's the best way to improve your own game. We highlight the power of 'Doubled rooks on the seventh' and the importance for White of finding a way to maintain the initiative beyond the opening phase of the game, using a unique and amazing game as an example. In short, you'll be examining key strategic concepts which when mastered will enable you to win more of your own games.