The Pawn Chain

« I. General remarks and definitions. The base of the pawn chain. The conception of the two distinct theatres of war.

After l.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5, a Black and a White pawn chain have been formed. The pawns at d4. e5, d5. and e6 are the links in the chain. The d4 pawn is the base of the White chain, while the e6 pawn is the Base of the Black one. Accordingly we call the bottommost link of the chain, on which all the other links depend, the base.

Every Black and White pawn chain divides the board diagonally into two halves. For convenience we shall call such a Black and White pawn chain simply the pawn chain. (See Diagrams 102a and 102b)

flC2aandf102b Pawn chains

Before the student tackles what now follows, he should make perfectly sure that ' he has grasped the principles of the open file and the blockade of the passed pawn. " he has not, he should read through Chapters 2 and 4 again, for they are indispensable to a proper understanding of what we have now to consider.

The situation is this: After 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5, as long as White's pawn remains at 64, ne can if he wishes, open the e-file with exd5, in order to start permanent operations on the file, by perhaps planting an outpost Knight at e5. By playing 3.e5 be renounces this chance, and in addition he relieves the tension in the center and this for no visible reason. Why then does he do it? I do not believe that the attacking energy latent in White's position before the move e5 can suddenly disappear as a consequence of 3.e5. It must be present as before, though in a modified form, for 3.e5 above all things checks the movement of the Black pawns, and therefore implies a blockade. We know already that pawns, especially those in the center are consumed by an enormous desire for expansion to press forward, and we have consequently inflicted on the enemy not inconsiderable pain. Moreover, thanks to 3.e5 there are now two theatres of war on the board, the center and Slack's Kingside.

On the Kingside.

See Diagram 103. The pawn on e5 may here be described as a detachment which has been pushed forward to form a wedge in enemy territory, and to act as a demobilizing force. This pawn robs a Black Knight of the square f6, and thus allows an easy approach of the White storm troops (Qg4). Black's Kingside which is cramped by the same pawn is also a target for bombardment by other pieces (the Bd3, Nf3, and Bc1). If Black seeks to defend himself by opening communications in his 2nd rank, by a timely advance ...f5, and eventually posting a Rook on a7, our e5 pawn will prove himself an excellent wedge driver. We mean by this that when White attacks the point g7, Black will play ...f5 in order to use his second rank for the defense of the threatened point This otherwise excellent defensive idea would', however, fail because the e5 pawn would pretest violently. The reply to ...f5 would be exf6 e.p. and White, after the recapture. ..Rxf6 would use the e-file, including tt\e point e5, for bringing pressure on the now backward pawn on e6. In the first case (Kingside as theatre of war) a White pawn at f4 would be a hindrance to White, since its negative effect (as an obstruction to the dark-squared Bishop and to any other of his pieces wishing to use the square) would overshadow any positive advantage it might have.

In the center.

Beside that of cramping the enemy Kingside, the White e5 pawn pursues other and quite different ends. White, in fact, intends by the move e5 to fix the Black e6 pawn at his post in order later to open fire on him with f4-f5, for ...exf5 would then imply the surrender of the base of Black's pawn chain. Should Black abstain from this move. White can either form a wedge by f6 or play fxe6 and after ...fxe6 build a piece attack against the now weak Black e-pawn.

#103 The Kingside as a theater d war. The pieces engaged are Queen, Bishop, and Knight The Rook is held in reserve ready lor the counter _J5, when White wDi play exf6ej>. ..Rxf6. The Rook wit then go to the e-lile lo attack the Black e-pawn

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