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GM Davorin Kuljasevic - Pawns are the Soul of Chess - Video 7

Opening: D37: QGD: 4.Nf3

Player(s): Carlsen, Nakamura, So, Naiditsch

Video 7: Pawn center: Strength or weakness?

Ever since we make our first moves on the chessboard, we are taught about the importance of placing our pawns in the center of the chessboard. As the least valuable pieces, pawns present spikes that threaten to capture all other pieces that appear in their diagonal proximity. This is why establishing two or more pawns in a central formation can be a very effective strategy.

Classical chess principles teach us that the two connected pawns in the center (e4, d4 or c4, d4/e4, f4 for White and vice versa for Black) usually provide a positional advantage in that important area of the board. Many games have been won thanks to a powerful pawn center, but is it always a strength?

This chapter will examine cases in which the pawn center can also become a liability. This usually happens when it is not supported well enough or is immobile, becoming an easy target for the opponent. The side that is trying to exploit this kind of weakness has several strategies at its disposal:

  1. Attack and try to destroy the pawn center with the pieces,
  2. Block the pawn center with their own pawns and then undermine it,
  3. Use side attacks (pawn breaks with pawns on the neighboring file) to break up or immobilize the pawn center.

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Teacher's library (46) D37 Carlsen Nakamura So Naiditsch opening midgame

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