Everything you need to know about the pawn structures

Everything you need to know about the pawn structures

Everything you need to know about the pawn structures

Structures are very important, especially in the opening, as they shape the chess game. All the strategic elements like King’s safety, development of your pieces and control upon the center are somehow attached to the pawn structure.


Our guest coach GM Suat Atalik has prepared a very instructive video lesson for you. In this lesson, he will discuss the pawn structures in chess.


Ivan Sredojevic (2342) – Suat Atalik (2564) [B33]

7th Open International Championship of V, 20.07.2016

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5
pawn structure

White to play


In the past, people have judged this move as one that creates a bad structure. People call it Lasker’s Hunt, from the famous game between Schlechter and Lasker, 10th World Championship 1910. In this game, White chooses a conservative move – he moves his Knight to b3.


6.Nb3 Bb4 7.Bd3 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5
pawn structureBlack has a perfect position here. We can say that Black has even taken the initiative. That’s why it is called Lasker’s Hunt because he is hunting for the advantage.


Suggestion: you may like to learn about the “Best chess openings and how to pick one for you”.


We can reach this position from different opening systems.


Fischer, Robert James (2760) – Petrosian, Tigran V (2640) [B44]

Candidates Final, Buenos Aires (1), 30.09.1971


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nb5 d6 6.Bf4 e5 7.Be3 Nf6 8.Bg5 Be6 9.N1c3 a6 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Na3
pawn structureFischer spends three tempi with his Bishop in order to get this structure, which he is also happy to play with a tempo down. Petrosian has equal chances in this position, but Fischer manages to beat him in the end.


Suggestion: You may also like to see “Bobby Fischer’s greatest chess game – game of the century”.


White invades Black’s territory with the interesting move d5. Here comes the second name for this opening, “the Pelican”, from the bird.


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Black can try to play e5 immediately without the move Knight to f6. This opening system is called the Kalashnikov.


4…e5 5.Nb5 d6 6.c4
pawn structure

Black to play


Suat believes that this position is complicated because Black has a weakness on d6 and White has one on d4.


Below, Suat analyzes this game from Black’s point of view. I hope you will enjoy watching the game. 🙂

Note: you may download the PGN of all the games mentioned in the lesson here.


Author information
GM Suat Atalik GM Suat Atalik


He was born in Turkey in 1964, represented Turkey in the World Junior Chess Championship in 1983, and was their top board for several Chess Olympiads.


In 2003, he took the first place at Mar del Plata. In 2007 he tied for first with Michael Roiz at the Gorenje Valjevo Tournament. Atalık won the 3rd and 4th Mediterranean Chess Championships in Antalya, Turkey and Cannes, France respectively.


P.S. Did you like this lesson from GM Suat Atalik? Feel free to write your thoughts in the comments below.

Quick success in chess


I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want GM Igor Smirnov to help you get better at chess, watch this Masterclass.

Free Training

Swipe Up to Get Better at Chess!
How Do GMs Find the Best Moves? Improve FASTER at Chess
Watch Now