Connected pawns

Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 8
7  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 7
6  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 6
5  white pawn  white pawn  black king  black king  white pawn  black king  black king  white pawn 5
4  black king  black king  white pawn  black king  black king  black king  white pawn  black king 4
3  black king  black king  black king  black king  white pawn  black king  black king  black king 3
2  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 2
1  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
White's pawns on the a, b and, c files are connected, and white's g and h pawns are connected.

In chess, connected pawns are two or more pawns of the same color on adjacent files, as distinct from isolated pawns. These pawns are instrumental in creating pawn structure because, when diagonally adjacent, like the two rightmost white pawns, they form a pawn chain, a chain where the one behind protects the one in front. When attacking these chains, the weak spot is the backmost pawn, because it is not protected (Seirawan 2003:186) (Seirawan 2005:92).

Contents


Discussion

Connected pawns that are both passed, i.e., without any enemy pawns in front of them on the same file or adjacent files, are referred to as connected passed pawns. Such pawns can be very strong in the endgame, especially if supported by other pieces. Often the opponent must sacrifice material to prevent one of the pawns from promoting.

Connected passed pawns are usually superior to other passed pawns. An exception is in an opposite-colored bishops endgame with a bishop and two pawns versus a bishop on the opposite color. If the pawns are not beyond their fifth rank the game is a draw whereas widely-separated pawns would win.

Two connected pawns on the same rank without any friendly pawns on adjacent files are called hanging pawns.

References

  • Seirawan, Yasser (2005), Winning Chess Tactics, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-385-3 

See also


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