The 5th objective: Keep a strong pawn-structure
Imagine if you would remove all the pieces and leave only the pawns on the board. What you would see is the pawn-structure.
The pawn-structure affects the position in 3 important ways:
- The pawns restricts the movements of the pieces,
- the weak pawns are important targets to the pieces and
- the pawn-structure determines which squares are weak.
Weak squares are squares that cannot be attacked by a pawn. This means it will be much easier for a piece to use that square as an access-point into the opponent’s territory.
The pawn-structure objective can be stated as:
Keep your pawn-structure strong and try to weaken your opponent’s pawn-structure because the pawn-structure affects the development of the pieces and determines which squares are weak.
Now we will study the 3 important ways how the pawn-structure affects the position.
1. Pawns restrict the movement of the pieces
Back in the 18th century, Philidor understood the impact that the pawns have on the rest of the pieces.
Pawns affect the movement and mobility of the pieces in two important ways:
- Pawns act as obstacles that block files and diagonals
- Pawns can control many squares to keep enemy pieces out of their territory
The main purpose of this lesson is to illustrate that the pawn-structure has a significant effect on the movement and roles of the pieces. In other words, the pawn-structure has a big impact on the development, center-control and king-safety objectives.
The position below is a simple example to illustrate how the movement of the pieces can be affected by the pawn-structures. Note how the pawns restrict the movements of the bishops by blocking the diagonals and controlling various squares: