Thursday, December 20, 2007

So far so good

It becomes obvious that with the battle of the pawns I touched the core of positional play. I tried to get the hang of pawnmoves in openings like the French and the Caro Kan. Soon it became clear that this is very complicated matter. This lead me to the conclusion that you can't study a pawn formation without studying the opening. And that is what I intend to do. I decided to take up the Polar Bear with both black and white, since they lead to similar pawn formations. That leaves me with finding a new answer to 1.g4 1.f4 and 1.e4. For that I give The Lion a try. That is a dutch invention with often a somewhat similar pawn formation as the Polar Bear (except for f5)

This means a renewal of my complete opening repertoire! From 90% fast gambits to 100% slow positional openings. I like extremes, that makes it easier to learn from it and to reach definite conclusions. The Polar Bear so far suits me well. Early assaults to my king usually grind to a hold soon. My fear for the initial holes in the position proved to be obsolete. If I'm alert they can't position a piece there. Not for long, in any case. A lot of the Polar Bears I played lead to a (beneficial) ending. Since I want to learn that part of the game too that is an extra motiviation to play the PB. Allthough the opening starts out slow it soon catches up in the middlegame since the pawn formation rules out counterplay usually very well.

I never realized how nerve-racking those gambits that I played for 7 years really are! Life is much easier when you don't start with a pawn behind in a wrecked position. Where every move counts and you always have to flee from the trade of queens.

When you google around with "pawn structure" you will find that most people associate that with structures related to the endgame like doubled pawns, isolated pawns, backward pawns etc.. The battle of the pawns I'm talking about has nothing to do with this, but is purely about the battle for relative piece activity in the opening and the middlegame. About this battle very little is written. Soltis book about pawn structures is a good exception. Pawn formation or pawn skeleton works better when you want to google.


  1. That is a dutch invention with often a somewhat similar pawn formation as the Polar Bear (except for f5)
    François-André Danican Philidor was a French.

    But seriously, I frequently play positions of this sort arising from the "Moron Defense" move order (1. any ... d6) and the Lion pages do look interesting...

  2. I assume that the Lion and the Philidor defense have alot in common? I'm not familiar with the Philidor.

  3. I sometimes am too subtle.

    But yes, the Lion looks like a transposition device. At least one of their three main lines is the Philidor Defense (Hanham variation) arrived at via a different move order. Nothing wrong with that.

    The first move of the Lion is the same as the first of the Moron. I use the Moron as a transpositional device to a KID or Pirc (or sometimes a Philidor). The unique lines of the Moron are few, easy to play and good for black.

    Also, Nigel Davies has a new DVD out on "1 ... d6 The Universal Defense". See Moron

  4. I guess Lion : some old openings =
    Polar Bear : Leningrad Dutch.
    Added a few new moves, a few ideas and a few sly transpositions.
    And yes, subtle humor tends to get lost when crossing the language barrier. I will have a look at the Moron.