Pawn mobility

Pawn Majorities, Pawn Rollers, blockade and restraint

I will give several illlustrative games here - fairly straightforward games from Capablanca, Alekhin, Korchnoi and Karpov showing pawns mobile and dangerous, and the others (e.g. Nimzovitch's) showing them stuck and vulnerable.
"The most important feature of the chess position is the activity of the pieces. This is absolutely fundamental in all phases of the game (opening, middlegame and especially endgame). The primary constraint on a piece's activity is the Pawn structure."
-- Michael STEAN, in Simple Chess.


  1. Pawn majorities
    1. marshall-capablanca, 1909
    2. [white "Alekhin, alexander"][black "marshall, frank"][result "1-0"]
  2. Pawn mobility
    1. [white "korchnoi"][black "szabo"][result "Ø"]
    2. [White "dodd, n."][Black "regis.d"][Result "Ù"]
    3. [karpov-miles]
  3. Immobile pawns
    1. [White "mattison"][Black "nimzovich"][Site "carlsbad"][Date "1929.??.??"][Result "Ù"]
    2. [White "bronstein, David"][Black "najdorf, M."][Result "Ø"]
    3. [White "spassky, b."][Black "fischer, rj"][Result "Ù"]
    4. [white "spassky"][black "tal, mikhail n."][result "Ù"]
    5. [Event "march vs st.neots 'b',1978"][White "pope, m. "][Black "regis, d"]
    6. [johner-nimzovich]

Pawn majorities

If you have a pawn majority - say, three pawns to your opponent's two on one side of the board - you should be able to create a passed pawn. By advancing the pawn, you should be able to create enough pressure to win. Steinitz was the first great exploiter of pawn majorities, particularly on the Quuen's side where they can often advance without fear of exposing the king. Some people regard the Queen's side majority as an advantage in itself, but realistically it depends on where and what the other pieces are. Here's how it's done, by the man whose chess Lasker regarded as the perfect expression of Steinitz' theories. Capablanca makes it all look so smooth:

marshall-capablanca, 1909

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.g3 Be6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.O-O Nf6 9.Bg5 Ne4 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Ne5 Nxd4 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.e3 Nf3+ 14.Nxf3 exf3 15.Qxf3 O-O 16.Rfc1



"He should have advanced his K-side pawns at once to counterbalance the advance of Black on the Q-side. White's inactivity on his stronger wing took away all the chances he had of drawing the game." CAPABLANCA

  16...Rab8 17.Qe4 Qc7 18.Rc3 b5 19.a3 c4 20.Bf3 Rfd8 21.Rd1 Rxd1+ 22.Bxd1 Rd8 23.Bf3 g6 24.Qc6 Qe5 25.Qe4 Qxe4 26.Bxe4 Rd1+ {!} 27.Kg2 a5 28.Rc2 b4 29.axb4 axb4 30.Bf3 Rb1 31.Be2 b3 32.Rd2 Rc1 33.Bd1 c3 34.bxc3 b2 35.Rxb2 Rxd1 36.Rc2 Bf5 37.Rb2 Rc1 38.Rb3 Be4+ 39.Kh3 Rc2 40.f4 h5 41.g4 hxg4+ 42.Kxg4 Rxh2 43.Rb4 f5+ 44.Kg3 Re2 45.Rc4 Rxe3+ 46.Kh4 Kg7 47.Rc7+ Kf6 48.Rd7 Bg2 49.Rd6+ Kg7 0-1


Now, that's not all there is to be said. At risk of putting poor Frank Marshall in the stocks again, here is Alekhin showing how to play when you have a King's side majority, and using it for attack.


[event "?"][site "?"][date "1993.??.??"][round "?"]

[white "Alekhin, alexander"][black "marshall, frank"][result "1-0"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d5 3.cxd5 Nxd5 4.e4 {?!} (hasty)4...Nf6 5.Bd3 e5 {!} 6.dxe5 Ng4 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Bg5 {!} 8...Be7 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Nc3 Ncxe5 11.Nxe5 Qxe5 {?} 12.h3 Nf6 13.Qd2 {!} 13...Bd7 14.Qe3 {!]


(stops 0-0-0) 14...Bc6 15.O-O-O O-O 16.f4 Qe6 17.e5 Rfe8 18.Rhe1 Rad8 {?!] (better ...Nd7) 19.f5 Qe7 20.Qg5 Nd5 21.f6 Qf8 22.Bc4 {!} 22...Nxc3 23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.fxg7 {!} 24...Nxa2+ 25.Kb1 {!} 25...Qe8 26.e6 {!} 26...Be4+ 27.Ka1 f5 28.e7+ Rd5 29.Qf6 Qf7 30.e8=Q+ 1-0

Pawn mobility

A group of pawns that isn't a majority but has the potential to advance is sometime called a qualitative majority, that is, is has the quality if not the substance of a majority. Some games seem to illustrate how the whole pawn front of one side can act as a majority.


[event "pawn mobility?"][site ""][date "1963.??.??"][round "?"]

[white "korchnoi"][black "szabo"][result "1-0"]

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 Bc5 4.Bg2 O-O 5.e3 Re8 6.Nge2 Nc6 7.O-O d6 8.d4 Bb6 9.h3 Bf5 {?} 10.d5 Nb8 11.g4 Bd7 12.Ng3 h6 13.Kh2 a5 14.f4 exf4 15.exf4 Nh7


16.g5 Na6 17.gxh6 Qh4 18.hxg7 Nf6 19.f5 Be3 20.Nce4 {!} 20...Nxe4 21.Nxe4 Bxc1 22.Rxc1 Nc5 23.Qg4 Rxe4 24.Bxe4 Qxg4 25.hxg4 Nxe4 26.Rce1 Nc5 27.f6 Re8 28.Rxe8+ Bxe8 29.Re1 Ba4 30.Re3 (threat Rh3) 1-0

This game made a very powerful impression on me as a young player - for years I never put a piece in front of a pawn, and instead developed as Korchnoi did. Here's a direct parallel to the Szabo debacle:

  [Event "?"][Site "Cambridge"][Date "1981.??.??"][Round "?"]

[White "dodd, n."][Black "regis.d"][Result "0-1"]

1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. a3 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 Bb7 6. Bf4 d6 7. e3 Nd7 8. Nf3 Qe7 9. Be2 Ngf6 10. O-O Ne4 11. Bd3 O-O-O 12. Qc2 f5 13. h3 h6 14. Nd2 Nxd2 15. Qxd2 g5 16. Bg3 h5 17. f3 Rdg8 18. Kf2 g4 19. Bf4 gxh3 20. Rg1 e5 21. Bh2 hxg2 22. Bg3 h4 23. Bh2 e4 24. fxe4 fxe4 25. Be2 h3 26. Ke1 Nf6 27. Kd1 Qd7 28. Kc1 Ba6 29. Kb2 Qa4 30. Bd1 Qxc4 31. Bb3 Qe2! 32. Qxe2 Bxe2 33. Bxg8 Rxg8 34. Bf4 Bf3 35. Rac1 Rh8 36. Bh2 Ng4 0-1

Here's Karpov in the driving seat of a mean set of pawns: this is the classic central pawn roller, often associated with Botvinnik.


1 c4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.d5 e6 4.a3 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bd6 6.Nf3 exd5 7.cxd5 O-O 8.Bg5 Re8 9.e3 Be7 {!?} 10.Bc4 {!} 10...h6 11.Bf4 Nh5 12.Be5 Bf6 13.Bd4 Ba6 14.Bxa6 Nxa6 15.O-O c5 16.Bxf6 Nxf6 17.Qd3 Qc8 18.Nd2 d6 19.Nc4 Rd8 20.e4 Nc7 21.b4 Na6 22.b5 Nc7 23.a4 Qd7 24.f4 Re8 25.Rad1 Rad8 26.h3 Qe7

  The pawn formation is like a Benoni, without a shred of counterplay for Black. In the Benoni Black can usually get the Q-side majority going if there are no tactical chances on the K-side.



27.e5 dxe5 28.d6 Qf8 29.fxe5 Nh7 30.Qf3 Ne6 31.Qb7 Ra8 32.Nd5 g6 33.Ne7+ Kg7 34.Nc6 1-0

Immobile pawns

The Nimzo-Indian is named for its founder, Aaron Nimzovitch. His idea was to play the move ...Bb4, usually following up with ...Bxc3, bxc3 when White has doubled pawns. The front c-pawn may be attacked, and if White cannot generate some activity elsewhere risks having the whole position grind to a halt. Against unsuspecting opposition Nimzovitch made his 'defence' look more like an 'attack'!

[White "mattison"][Black "nimzovich"][Site "carlsbad"][Date "1929.??.??"][Result "0-1"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 d6 6. Qc2 Qe7 7. Ba3 c5 8. g3 b6 9. Bg2 Bb7 10. O-O O-O 11. Nh4 Bxg2 12. Kxg2 Qb7+ 13. Kg1 Qa6 14. Qb3 Nc6 15. Rfd1 Na5


16. Qb5 Qxb5 17. cxb5 The doubled pawn have gone but the weaknesses remain.

  17...Nc4 18. Bc1 a6 19. bxa6 Rxa6 20. dxc5 bxc5 21. Ng2 Nd5 22. Rd3 Rfa8 23. e4 Ne5 0-1

Against more aware opponents you won't find it so easy. While you're busy winning the c-pawn White can create attacking chances with the two bishops on the other side.


[Event "?"][Site "budapest ct"][Date "1950.??.??"][Round "??"]

[White "bronstein, David"][Black "najdorf, M."][Result "1-0"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. a3 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 c5 6. e3 Nc6 7. Bd3 O-O 8.Ne2 d6 9. e4 Ne8 10. O-O b6 11. f4 Ba6


12. f5 e5 13. f6 Kh8 14. d5 Na5 15. Ng3 gxf6 16. Nf5 Bc8 17. Qh5 Bxf5 18. exf5 Rg8 19. Rf3 Rg7 20. Bh6 Rg8 21. Rh3 1-0

Let's see these two plans in opposition, by two opponents who know each what they're doing, and more to the point, what the other is trying to do. Spassky-Fischer illustrates a popular modern line, popularised by Hubner. Black reverts to the original Nimzo formula, refraining from early castling but investing the tempo in ...Bxc3. White then strikes back with an advance of the e- and f-pawns. The game is decided strategically when Black immobilises the K-side pawns, making weak points of his own but in a position where White cannot attack them and can only sit tight. In the event, White blunders on #27.
[Event "?"][Site "rekjavic world ch"][Date "1972.??.??"][Round "?"]

[White "spassky, b."][Black "fischer, rj"][Result "0-1"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 c5 5. e3 Nc6 6. Bd3 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 d6 8. e4 e5 9. d5 Ne7


10. Nh4 h6 11. f4 Ng6 12. Nxg6 fxg6 13. fxe5 dxe5 14. Be3 b6 15. O-O O-O 16. a4 a5


Another Black weakness but the last opportunity for White to develop any activity. 17. Rb1 Bd7 18. Rb2 Rb8 19. Rbf2 Qe7 20. Bc2 g5 21. Bd2 Qe8 22. Be1 Qg6 23. Qd3 Nh5 24. Rxf8+ Rxf8 25. Rxf8+ Kxf8 26. Bd1 Nf4


27. Qc2 Bxa4 0-1

In fact modern GM games often don't feature the classic doubled c-pawns, or White may quickly undouble them. The play in the main lines is rich and subtle - in fact, it is the Queen's-side equivalent of the Ruy Lopez in terms of its depth and variety of plans available to each side. Typical main lines are 1 d4 Nf6, 2 c4 e6, 3 Nc3 Bb4, 4 e3 c5, 5 Bd3 d5, 6 Nf3 O-O, 7 O-O Nc6, 8 a3 Bxc3, 9 bxc3 dxc4, 10 Bxc4 Qc7 when White's pawns are OK but ...e5 and ...Bd7-c6 leaves Black solid, or an even more solid approach 1 d4 Nf6, 2 c4 e6, 3 Nc3 Bb4, 4 e3 b6, 5 Bd3 Bb7, 6 Nf3 O-O, 7 O-O d5, 8 a3 Bd6. Here's a game illustrating modern trends.

  The game shows White using a move order which avoids Nf3 to allow f3/e4, to which Black responds by making a run with the e-pawn to slow up White in the centre. The general tension around the mobility of White's pawns has thus given rise to vigorous plans from both sides. Black grabs the c-pawn, and in successfully defending against White's initiative returns the material with minor disadvantage. Determined play with White increasingly frutsrated brings the game right round for a Black victory in the endgame.

[event "riga ch-su"][site "?"][date "1958.??.??"][round "?"]

[white "spassky"][black "tal, mikhail n."][result "0-1"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. a3 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 c5 6. e3 Nc6 7. Bd3 e5


8. Ne2 e4 9. Bb1 b6 10. Ng3 Ba6 11. f3 Bxc4 12. Nf5 O-O 13. Nd6 Bd3 14. Bxd3 exd3 15. Qxd3 cxd4 16. cxd4 Ne8


17. Nf5 d5 18. a4 Nd6 19. Nxd6 Qxd6 20. Ba3 Nb4 21. Qb3 a5 22. O-O Rfc8 23. Rac1 Qe6 24. Bxb4 axb4 25. Kf2 Qd6 26. h3 Kf8 27. Rc2 Rxc2+ 28. Qxc2 g6 29. Rc1 Qd7 30. Qc6 Qxc6 31. Rxc6 Ra6 32. a5 b3 33. axb6 b2 34. b7 b1=Q 35. Rc8+ Kg7 36. b8=Q Ra2+ 37. Kg3 Qe1+ 38. Kh2 Qxe3 39. Rg8+ Kf6 40. Qd6+ Qe6 41. Qf4+ Qf5 42. Qd6+ Qe6 43. Qg3 Qe3 44. h4 Re2 45. Qd6+ Qe6 46. Qf4+ Qf5 47. Qh6 Ke7 48. Qf8+ Kf6 49. Qg7+ Ke7 50. Ra8 Qd7 51. Qf8+ Kf6 52. Ra6+ Re6 53. Qh8+ Ke7 54. Ra8 Re1 55. Kg3 h5 56. Kf2 Re6 57. Rc8 Rd6 58. Qf8+ Kf6 59. Re8 Re6 60. Qh8+ Kf5 61. Qh6 Kf6 62. Qh8+ Kf5 63. Rd8 Qc6 64. Rc8 Qa6 65. Kg3 Qd6+ 66. Kh3 Re1 67. g3 Rg1 68. f4 Re1 69. Rc2 Qe6 70. Rf2 Rh1+ 71. Kg2 Qe4+ 72. Rf3 Kg4 73. Qc8+ f5 0-1
Last two doubled pawn games: one from me, about a month after reading Nimzo's My System, the second a classic blockading game from that book by the man himself. Once I'd read about doubled pawns and outposts, I could suddenly beat 120+ grade players without doing more than applying the rules in positions that I understood and my opponents didn't.

[Event "march vs st.neots 'b',1978"][White "pope, m. "][Black "regis, d"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. e3 Bb4 4. a3?! Unnecessary, particularly since Black has a good central stake.

  4...Bxc3 5. bxc3 d6 6. d4 Nf6 7. d5? A reflex move, but creates horrid weaknesses.

  7...Nb8 8. f3 Nbd7 9. Bd3 b6 10. Qc2 Nc5 11. Ne2 Nxd3+ 12. Qxd3 Qe7 13. e4 Nd7 14. O-O Nc5 15. Qc2 Ba6 That's about it. Black will win a pawn and White hasn't any counterplay organised in the centre or K-side. In fact, ...f5 looks good for Black. 16. Be3 Bxc4 17. Bxc5 Bxe2 18. Qxe2 dxc5 19. Qb5+? Qd7 20. Qxd7+ Kxd7 21. c4 a6 22. a4 Rad8 23. f4? Another weakness appears on e4. 23...exf4 24. Rxf4 f6 25. Raf1 Rde8 26. h4 Re5 27. Kf2 Rhe8 28. Kf3 c6 {Clocks: 60,15} 29. Rd1 cxd5 30. Rxd5+ Rxd5 31. exd5 Re1 32. Re4 Ra1 33. Re6 Rxa4 34. Rxb6 Rxc4 35. Rxa6 Rxh4 36. Ra7+ Kd6 37. Rxg7 Kxd5 38. g3 Rh1 39. Kg4 c4 40. Rf7 c3 41. Rc7 Kd4 42. Rd7+ Ke3 43. Rc7 Kd2 44. Rd7+ Kc2 45. Rd6 Rd1 46. Rxf6 Rd4+ 47. Kh3 Kc1 48. Ra6 c2 0-1


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.O-O Bxc3 8.bxc3 d6 9.Nd2 b6 10.Nb3 e5 11.f4 e4 12.Be2 Qd7!?



Here's the tricky bit, a mysterious Queen move. White's natural plan is to play g4. White wouldn't dare if there was a Black rook on the h-file. There isn't, but Black moves his Queen(!) to h7, slowing up White's plan until Black takes the initiative on that wing for himself.

  13.h3 Ne7 14.Qe1 h5 15.Bd 2 Qf5 16.Kh2 Qh7!? Told you. 17.a4 Nf5 18.g3 a5 19.Rg1 Nh6 20.Bf1 Bd7 21.Bc1 Rac8 22.d5 Kh8 23.Nd2 Rg8 24.Bg2 g5 25.Nf1 Rg7 26.Ra2 Nf5 27.Bh1 Rcg8


White's #28

  28.Qd1 gxf4 29.exf4 Bc8 30.Qb3 Ba6 31.Re2 Nh4 32.Re3 Bc8 33.Qc2 Bxh3 34.Bxe4 Bf5 35.Bxf5 Nxf5 36.Re2 h4 37.Rgg2 hxg3+ 38.Kg1 Qh3 39.Ne3 Nh4 40.Kf1 Re8 0-1

Three opening themes that are all about pawns

1. Let's look at majorities first. Lasker and Fischer have both employed the apparently tame Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez. 1 e4 e5, 2 Nf3 Nc6, 3 Bb5 a6, 4 Bxc6. Black replies 4...dxc6 so as to be able to answer 5 Nxe5 with 5...Qd5! Instead White goes 5 d4 exd4, 6 Qxd4 Qxd4, 7 Nxd4. White has a clear Q-side pawn majority, but Black has no corresponding way to make a passed pawn on the other side. Black isn't lost in this position - it's not so much an ending as a queenless middle-game, and Black can put the bishop pair to active use. But White's advantages in the position are easy to understand and make use of. There is a comparable line of the Caro-Kann: 1 e4 c6, 2 d4 d5, 3 Nc3 dxe4, 4 Nxe4 Nf6, 5 Nxf6 exf6 (?!), where Black has only a defensive slog to look forward to.

  2. Now let's look at a line where mobility is the theme. Here's a line of the King's Indian in the Four Pawns variation. 1 d4 Nf6, 2 c4 g6, 3 Nc3 Bg7, 4 e4 d6, 5 f4 O-O, 6 Nf3 c5, 7 d5 e6, 8 Be2 exd5, 9 exd5. Now here Spassky devised a plan to rob the White position of its potential. 9...Nh4! 10 O-O Bxc3! 11 bxc3 f5! 12 Ng5 Ng7. Black has effectively restrained White on both sides, at cost of the bishop pair, and a weakness on e6. In this blocked position the bishop pair is of no account and the last move adequately defends e6. Chances are equal.

  3. There are many lines where the key pawn feature is the isolated Queen's pawn (IQP). For example:

  QGA: 1 d4 d5, 2 c4 dxc4, 3 Nf3 Nf6, 4 e3 e6, 5 Bxc4 c5, 6 O-O cxd4 7 exd4 and White has the IQP

  QGD Tarrasch: 1 d4 d5, 2 c4 e6, 3 Nc3 c5, 4 cxd5 exd5, 5 Nf3 Nf6 and a later dxc5, Bxc5 gives Black an IQP

  French Tarrasch: 1 e4 e6, 2 d4 d5, 3 Nd2 c5, 4 exd5 exd5 and a later dxc5, Bxc5 again gives Black an IQP

  Typical manoeuvring against the IQP involves posting a knight on the outpost in front of it; the side with the IQP will usually try to make use of any space or attacking chances rather than defend passively. Two examples, decades apart:


[Event "wch"][Site "USA"][Date "1886.??.??"][Round "9"]

  [White "zukertort"][Black "steinitz (IQP)"][Result "0-1"]

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. e3 c5 6. Bxc4 cxd4 7. exd4 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Qe2 Nbd7 10. Bb3 Nb6 11. Bf4 Nbd5 ...etc., or


[Event "ct final"][Site "moscow "][Date "1974.??.??"][Round "16 (part - IQP)"]

  [White "karpov"][Black "korchnoi "][Result "Q-Q"]

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 exd5 5. Ngf3 Nc6 6. Bb5 Bd6 7. O-O cxd4 8. Nb3 Nge7 9. Nbxd4 O-O 10. c3 Bg4 11. Qa4 Qd7 ...etc. The minority attack (Tough stuff-level K players only).

BCF Certificate of Merit

Class 4 (Advanced)

BCF Certificate of Merit

Class 3 (Higher)

  This, if you like, is the opposite of a majority attack. In positions with no open file separating the two sides of the board (for example after 1 d4, d5; 2 c4, e6; 3 cxd5, exd5), the side with the majority on one side cannot advance the pawns to create a guaranteed passed pawn. The best that can be achieved may be some open files, but the single extra pawn may be left as a backward pawn on a half-open file. Now, if this is true, it may be possible for the side with the minority to advance their pawns with the hope of creating this very weakness, or some other weak point. This is the minority attack. So, in these positions with only half-open files, we often see each side attacking on the side where they are supposed to be weaker - where they have the minority - and remaining passive on the majority side. Let's see this in action: play over the games fairly quickly to get a 'feel' for the flow of the games.


evans - opsahl (CHERNEV) [D51]

  minority attack in the QGD exchange, 1950

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. e3 Be7 6. Qc2 O-O 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Nf3 c6 9. Bd3 Re8 10. O-O Nf8 11. Rab1 Ne4 12. Bxe7 Qxe7



The classic setting for the minority attack. 13. b4 a6 14. a4 Nxc3 15. Qxc3 Bg4 16. Nd2 Qg5 17. Rfc1 Re6



Drumming up some King's-side counterplay. 18. b5 ! 18... axb5 19. axb5 Bh3 20. g3 Rae8 21. bxc6 bxc6 22. Bf1 ! 22... Bxf1 23. Nxf1 Ng6 24. Rb6



A critical moment - if Black has to go back now he is really up against the ropes. 24... Ne7 [24... Nh4 25. Rxc6 The Rook on c6 stops the Black Rook on e6 joining the attack. I think the White King is safe here. 25... Nf3+ 26. Kh1 h5 27. Qb3 [27. Qd3]] 25. Qb4 h5 26. Rb8 Rxb8 27. Qxb8+ Kh7 28. Qf4 ! 28... Qxf4 29. gxf4 <em> [The h-pawn cannot really be attacked, and with Queens off White can use the King] </em> 29... g6 30. Nd2 Rd6 31. Kf1 Kg7 32. Ra1 Rd7 33. Nb3 Rb7 34. Nc5 Rb2 35. Ra7 Kf6 36. Ra6 Rb1+ 37. Kg2 Rb2 38. Ra7 Rb1 39. Rc7 Ra1 40. Nd3 Ke6 41. Nc5+ Kf6 42. Nd7+ Ke6 43. Nf8+ Kf6 44. Nh7+ Ke6 45. Ng5+ Kd6 46. Rb7



46... f6 ? [46... f5] 47. Nh7 Ke6 48. Nf8+ Very neat 48... Kf7 [48... Kd6 49. Rd7#] 49. Nxg6 Kxg6 50. Rxe7 White has a pawn and hopes of collecting more. 50... Kf5 51. Rc7



51... Rc1 52. Rc8 Kg6 53. Kg3 Rc2 54. h4 Kf5 55. Rh8 Kg6 56. f5+ Kxf5 57. Rxh5+ Now White has a passed pawn. 57... Kg6 58. Rh8 Kf5 59. Rg8 Rc1 60. Kg2 Ra1 61. h5 Ra7 62. Rg3 Rh7 63. Rh3 Kg5 64. Kf3 Offering to trade the pawn for a winning King raid. 64... Rh6 65. Rh1 Kf5 66. Kg3 Kg5 67. Rh4 Kf5 68. Rf4+ Kg5



69. Rg4+ ! Again offering the pawn, but again Black dare not accept. 69... Kf5 [69... Kxh5 is rather like the game continuation: 70. Rh4+ Kg5 71. Rxh6 Kxh6 72. Kf4 Kg6 73. f3 Kg7 74. Kf5 Kf7 75. f4 Ke7 76. Kg6 Ke6 77. f5+ Ke7 78. Kg7] 70. Kh4 Rh8 71. Rg7 Ra8 72. h6 Ra1 73. Rg3 Rh1+ 74. Rh3 Rg1 75. Rf3+ Kg6 76. Rg3+

  The winning clearance 76... Rxg3 77. Kxg3 Kxh6 78. Kg4 Kg6 79. Kf4 Kg7 80. Kf5 Kf7 81. f3 1-0

vogt - andersson (STEAN) [B84]

  minority attack in the Sicilian, 1996

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 This is nearly always Black's fourth move in the Sicilian, to force the N on b1 in front of the c-pawn. Left alone, White may play c2-c4, stopping counterplay with d7-d5 or b7-b5, and removing danger on the c-file. 5. Nc3 e6 6. Be2 a6 7. f4 Qc7 8. O-O Be7 9. Kh1 Nc6 10. Be3 Nxd4 11. Qxd4 O-O 12. Rad1 b5 Already making use of the minority. The move b7-b5 is sometimes a way of threatening the e-pawn, but more often keeps the c-pawn backward on an open file. 13. e5 !? 13... dxe5 14. Qxe5 Qb8 ! 15. Qxb8 Rxb8 16. Ba7 Ra8 17. Bb6 Bb7 18. a3 Rfc8



! Chess magazines are full of quick White kills against the Sicilian. Why do players bother with it, then? Because the longer games where the attack founders and Black wins the endgame are too long for magazines. Watch... 19. Ba5 g6 20. h3 ? 20... h5 21. Bf3 Bxf3 22. Rxf3 h4



Now White has a weakness on g2 as well as c2. 23. Rd2 Rc4 24. b3 Rc6 25. a4 b4 26. Ne2 Rac8 27. c4 bxc3 28. Rxc3 The weakness has been replaced by one on b3. 28... Nd5 29. Rxc6 Rxc6 30. Rb2 Bf6 31. Ra2 Rc8 32. Bd2 [32. b4 Rb8] 32... Rb8 33. Nc1 Nb4 34. Bxb4 Rxb4 35. Rf2 The risks of the h2-h3 move is now clear. 35... Be7 36. Rf3



36... Bd6 37. Ne2 Re4 38. Rd3 [38. Rf2 Bc5] 38... Bc5 39. Rc3 Bf2 40. Rc2 Kg7 41. Ng1 Rxf4 ....0-1 vogt-andersson 1978
In both games we saw that the end result of the minority attack was pawn weaknesses. Once these appear, you can carry on as we've already seen in section This may go some way to explaining (a) why such an apparently helpful exchange is so often made by White in the Queen's Gambit, and (b) why the half-open defences such as the Sicilian are so popular.

Chess Quotes

"In order to improve your game, you must study the endgame before everything else, for whereas the the endings can be studied and mastered by themselves, the middle game and the opening must be studied in relation to the endgame."
— Jose Raul Capablanca, World Champion 1921-1927

  [More endgame quotes?]