The strength of compact mass of pawns is given by its mobility
Phalanx formed by pawns “a, b and c” (flank phalanx)
by Bogdan Girmacea
In initial position both sides dispose of a compact mass of eight pawns. The strength of this compact mass of pawns is given by its mobility. For every chess player that understands pawns power, the fight for creating a “center of pawns” is extremely important. This concept created by Steinitz is an element of first importance, Grandmasters try to use it in every of their games.
Most characteristic case of flank phalanxes is made by pawn formation “a, b and c” against formation “a and b” or “a and c”. There is a lot of theory about these pawn structures and usually its considered to be an advantage to have 3 pawns versus 2 on queenside. But things are not so simple. Just having a flank phalanx doesn’t mean we won the game. Everything depends on concrete aspects of the position like open files, mobility of pieces and in endings activity of kings. And since these positions can appear very often in practice from many openings, I will show you how to make correct plans in order to obtain advantage. As example I will present you a game between Marshall and Capablanca from 1909.
I hope this game will help any of you to improve your chess understanding about this kind of positions and how they should be treated. For the serious chess players who want to improve I recommend study of following games:
Karpov-Stein, Leningrad, 1971
Karpov-Hubner, Leningrad, 1973
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