SC Week 3/6: Opening choices (Weak Pawns)

 "The pros and cons of doubled pawns may be thought of in terms of a military line along which forces are evenly distributed. One can reinforce a certain part of the line only at the cost of weakening another."

Michael Stean

Stean mentioned that Bent Larsen liked to play this line of the Vienna. Today's game, not included in Simple Chess comes from his Best Games collection published by New in Chess a couple of years back. This supposedly harmless system was what Bent relied on to take him to 1st= in the 1964 Interzonal and on to the Candidates’ matches for the first time.

At various places in chapter three of Simple Chess, Stean quotes four different opening lines that lead directly to a situation where one side he gives or takes on specific pawn weaknesses.

Do you what to create an opening repertoire that gives you the best chance of specialising  in terms of pawn structure? You could play the Nimzo-Indian against 1 d4 (1 … Nf6, 2 c4 e6, 3 Nc3 Bb4) and the Winawer against 1 e4 (1 … e6, 2 d4 d5, 3 Nc3 Bb4) for instance. Play the Trompowsky as White (1 d4 Nf6, 2 Bg5). All of these openings give you a good chance of giving your opponent doubled pawns early on.

Or do you believe it would be better to play both sides of such positions? Become a more rounded player? Play positions with pawn weaknesses as they come up rather than force them?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. For club players personal taste should always be the deciding factor in such choices and not some theoretical notion of what is "best".


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