The Extension of Doubled Pawn Theory

I can't give enough credit to GM Peter Wells's subtle and extended discussion of doubled pawns in ChessBase Magazine 80 (CBM is a collection of games and articles on CD), in which he brings forth theoretical details that weren't discussed in SOMCS and that haven't been covered in any other book or source that I know of. Remarkably, his many excellent examples were taken from a single issue of the magazine, an indication of how common these ideas are! I will borrow a couple of these first before moving on to my own selection of themes and games.

Rogozenko - Morozevich

Istanbul OL 2000

In this position, Black threatens to continue ...Ag4 and bring his rooks to the central files.

what we are seeing more and more of today. In So White demurs from taking pawns in order to many situations, players no longer view dou- develop. At the cost of a certain weakening of bled pawns as weaknesses to be compensated for but as natural or even positive features of the position. Because doubled pawn play has become so widespread, I will concentrate upon a few illustrative structures and some ideas that weren't discussed in SOMCS.

his kingside, he drives Black's queen to the side of the board and prepares to castle by hand.

11 h4 ®h6 12 jte2 2d8 13 ®c2 £id5 14 Edl ¿Le6 15 a3 2d7 16 £td4

Black is ahead in development and can double on the d-file whereas White will have to use

108 Chess Strategy in Action a tempo to play the weakening g3 in order to bring his king to safety. White's advantage is his better-placed queen, which can operate well in conjunction with the minority attack and c-file. Morozevich enters into a forced sequence that most of us would blanche at.

16...^xc317 ®xc3 &xd418 2xd4 2ad819 2xd7 2xd7 20 ±f3 b6 21 g3 (D)


p vi





Things don't look that bad for White.

The point. Instead of worrying about 'weaknesses' that will never be attacked, Black exchanges off White's best piece. 22 Wxf6 gxf6

23 h5

White has to activate his rook.

The computer, indoctrinated with classical principles, assesses White as better here. Wells more accurately sees this as a clear black advantage. White would normally push his king-side pawns, say, by g4-g5 in order to activate his pieces if nothing else. Now that can't be done. By contrast, Black's queenside majority is strong: not because it is on the queenside (White's king is not far away), but because it is mobile and will eventually produce a passed pawn. It is also very important that White will be tied to defence of dl and d2 and thus rendered relatively immobile.

It's hard to know what to do. 27 Eg4+ &f8 28 2f4 2d6 doesn't help.

27...2d6 28 2e4 &f8 29 2f4 a5 30 2e4 2d8 31 2f4 4>e7 32 2e4+ <£d6 33 ±dl ±e6 34 Jke2 f5

Liquidated at last!

35 gxf5 Axf5 36 2f4 &e5 37 2f3 b5! 38 e4

Yikes! OK, Black was better, but who would have guessed that this could happen?

41 2c2 2d4 42 i.dl b4 43 axb4 axb4 44

Wells: "What I wonder is how many players £e2 &e3 45 2cl 2d2 46 i.xc4 2h2 47 i.fl

Shi 48 2c2 Ah3 0-1

simply would fail even to seriously examine 21...®f6! because taking on such doubled, isolated pawns goes against deeply ingrained instincts. In fact, these pawns easily contain White's majority, while Black obtains total control on the other wing." This is one of Wells's themes: doubled pawns can be excellent restrainers of a majority. After all, when # one pawn is exchanged the other takes its place! Conversely, he makes the (better-known) point that "a doubled pawn on the majority side is in general a far greater burden since it profoundly complicates the task of creating a passed pawn.

As for Wells's question of how many players would consider ...Wf6, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't! On the other hand, it's easy enough to imagine this move from any number of po-sitionally-minded grandmasters (and surely top ones like Kramnik or Karpov), particularly since the taboos against doubled pawns even in simplified positions is disappearing.

Another Wells example is a lesson in fighting against the doubled pawns:

Hracek - Kallio

Istanbul OL 2000

Doubled Pawns In Action 109

Here White seems to have quite reasonable play based upon his active pieces. Black finds an effective continuation, requiring excellent calculation, which turns the game on its head.

Black was threatening ...b4.

19 fixf4 ¿hc6 20 £)d4 is correct, although Black can limit White's bishop and keep the tripled pawns under control by 20...®c7 21 Sbl a6 22 £ixc6 4>xc6.

Most of us know by now that the exchange for a piece and pawn isn't all that much of an advantage, and when you throw in White's weaknesses and Black's outpost on c4, there can be no doubt that this is sound as long as the particular dynamics hold up.

Otherwise Black plays ...a6 and advances his centre pawns at his leisure.

23...f6 is a more natural continuation; e.g., 24 <£e2 (24 Sbl 2b8 and ...Sfed6-c5 is one plan) 24...£ic4 25 2g4 2g8 26 f3 £id6! and ...e5.

This makes it too easy. 24 <^e2 is preferable, intending 24...®c4 25 g4 Sf6 26 ®b3, although Black is still better.

Black has a clear advantage positionally, with the immediate idea of ...&b6 to boot.

Kholmov - Suetin

USSR Ch (Leningrad) 1963

21 4&f3 i.a6 22 ±xa6 2xa6 23 ®xe5 ®c5 24 ^d7!

White has a large advantage (Kholmov). By covering the key central squares (d4, d5, f4, and f5), White's doubled pawns played a key role in protecting his advantage.

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