Thursday 4 July 2019

The pawn wall

For some children chess starts of as a bit of a mystery, and often remains that way. One of their early instincts is to simply move pawns forward, setting up a kind of zig zag pattern (a4,b3,c4,d3,e4,f3,g4,h3). Annoying as this is to see as a chess coach, breaking through such a setup is often beyond their opponents. I usually suggest developing pieces and occupying the empty squares, but for a group of kids whose main attacking idea is Bc4+Qh5, the payoff isn't always obvious.
So dipping into the well of  "who really played this?" games, I have found an example that might be useful. Nepomniachtchi and Carlsen go for a similar zig-zag pawn structure on the kingside, and the unprotected squares provide a nice home  for the knights. But instead of sitting on the position, Carlsen eventually tries to open the position with f5. If Nepo had captured with the e pawn it would have been fine for him, but he took with the g pawn, and after g4 he was suddenly lost!

Nepomniachtchi,Ian (2775) - Carlsen,Magnus (2875) [B30]
Croatia GCT 2019 Zagreb CRO (7.1), 03.07.2019

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