Sunday, September 03, 2006

Pawn Structure Chess

I just started reading "Pawn Structure Chess" by GM Andrew Soltis.
What an eye opener! Just the first couple of chapters have exposed me to a whole new way of viewing the openings and shown some insight into how higher ranked players utilize positional schemes as much as they rely on tactics.
Playing through the example games made me realize that some of these were won long before the vanquished side even realized he was lost. They reminded me a lot of those nature shows where the game warden tranquilizes the rogue animal for future transportation to a safe habitat. The animal has been drugged and is slowly going down it just doesn’t realize what is happening.
What appears as a completely balanced game in regards to development, material, and space holds hidden weaknesses because of one side or the others inability to either execute or prevent a timely pawn break due to earlier minor piece exchanges or lack of sufficient control of a key square or squares.
I have a new found respect for positional play, when it is executed properly it is just as beautiful as a spectacular tactical finish.
Some of these examples show how players shifted gears once they had achieved their strategic goals and unleashed devastating kingside assaults because their opponents were overextended and couldn't answer the multiple threats.

This book will have a profound effect as I continue to solidify my openings. Now resultant pawn structures will weigh heavily into the equation as well.
Understanding how to play the formations is one of those required toolbox fundamentals I now see as a must have and something that require a lot of work.