Isolated pawn


Isolated pawn

Chess diagram|=
tright|
=
| | | | | | | |=
pd| |pd| | | |pd| |=
| | |pd| | | |pd|=
|pl| | |pl| | |pl|=
|pl|pl| | | |pl| |=
| | | | | | | |=
| | | | | | | |=
| | | | | | | |=
White's pawn on the e file and Black's pawn on the a file are isolated.

In chess, an isolated pawn is a pawn for which there is no friendly pawn on an adjacent file. An isolated queen's pawn is often called an isolani.

In the endgame, isolated pawns are a weakness because they cannot be defended by other pawns. In this diagram, the white pawn on the "e5" square and the black pawn on "a7" are isolated. (Also see backward pawn and doubled pawns.)

Isolated pawns are weak for two reasons. First of all, the pieces attacking them usually have more elasticity than those defending them. In other words, the attacking pieces enjoy greater freedom to do other things (threaten to win pieces, checkmate, etc.), while the defending pieces are restricted to the defense of the pawn. This is because a piece that is attacking a pawn can give up the attack to do something else whereas the defending piece must stay rooted to the spot until the attacking piece has moved. The defending piece is thus said to be "tied down" to the pawn.

The second reason is that the square immediately in front of the isolated pawn is weak because it is immune to attack by a pawn (often providing an excellent outpost for a knight). Thus an isolated pawn provides a typical example of what Wilhelm Steinitz called "weak squares".

An isolated queen pawn (IQP), called isolani (it is not clear why this term is used rather than the singular form, 'isolanus', which is ironic considering that the pawn stands alone) is often a special case. An isolated queen pawn is one in the queen's file (d file). Assuming that it is a white pawn on d4, the weakness of such a pawn consists in its having to be defended and the weak square in front of it (i.e. d5 for white) being of particular importance. However the presence of open files in the important king and queen bishop (e and c) files as well as the outposts at e5 and c5 enable the player with the IQP very favourable attacking chances in the middle game. Once the game reaches the endgame the isolated nature of the pawn becomes a greater weakness than these strengths. Therefore the player with the IQP must take advantage of the temporary strength before an endgame is reached. With four minor pieces each, an IQP is an advantage; with three minor pieces each, it is about even; and with two or fewer minor pieces each, it is a disadvantage harvcol|Gallagher|2002|p=140. Sacrifice of the pawn by white and blockade of the pawn by black are common themes.

ee also

*Pawn structure
*Doubled pawns
*Backward pawn
*Connected pawns

References

* citation
surname1 = Gallagher
given1 = Joe
authorlink1 = Joe Gallagher
year = 2002
title = Starting Out: the Caro-Kann
publisher = Everyman Chess
id=ISBN 1-85744-303-9

Further reading

* Aron Nimzowitsch - My System


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pawn (chess) — For other uses, see Pawn (disambiguation). Pawn in the standard Staunton pattern The pawn (♙♟) is the most numerous and (in most circumstances) weakest piece in the game of chess, historically representing infantry, or more particularly armed… …   Wikipedia

  • Pawn structure — In chess, the pawn structure (sometimes known as the pawn skeleton) is the configuration of pawns on the chessboard. Since pawns are the least mobile of the chess pieces, the pawn structure is relatively static and thus largely determines the… …   Wikipedia

  • isolated — adjective a) Placed or standing apart or alone; in isolation. b) Such that no pawn of the same color is in an adjacent file …   Wiktionary

  • Passed pawn — a b c d e f g h …   Wikipedia

  • Backward pawn — Chess diagram|= tright| = | | | | | | | |= | | | | | | | |= | |pd| | | | | |= | | |pd| | | | |= | | |pl| | | | |= | | | | | | | |= | | | | | | | |= | | | | | | | |= Black s c6 pawn is a typical example of a backward pawn.In chess, a backward pawn …   Wikipedia

  • Glossary of chess — See also: Outline of chess and Glossary of chess problems This page explains commonly used terms in chess in alphabetical order. Some of these have their own pages, like fork and pin. For a list of unorthodox chess pieces, see fairy chess… …   Wikipedia

  • List of chess terms — This page explains commonly used terms in chess in alphabetical order. Some of these have their own pages, like fork and pin. For a list of unorthodox chess pieces, see fairy chess piece; for a list of terms specific to chess problems, see chess… …   Wikipedia

  • Nimzo-Indian Defence — a b c d e f …   Wikipedia

  • chess — chess1 /ches/, n. a game played by two persons, each with 16 pieces, on a chessboard. [1150 1200; ME < OF esches, pl. of eschec CHECK1] chess2 /ches/, n., pl. chess, chesses. one of the planks forming the roadway of a floating bridge. [1425 75;… …   Universalium

  • Opposite colored bishops endgame — About half of these positions are drawn. In most other endings, a two pawn advantage is usually an easy win. For example, if the bishops were on the same color, 90 percent of the positions would be wins.There are three general cases, depending on …   Wikipedia