79 ( +1 | -1 ) Doubled/Isolated Pawns Good or Bad?Hi everyone, thought it might be a good idea to put this open to debate. If you recall my game against Apastpawn (Wayne) - Caught out by an Expert Sacrifice, I exchanged a bishop for a knight and opened up the b file giving him doubled and isolated pawns. This backfired on me so the doubled/isolated pawns were a Good Thing.
In my last game against Marinvucsic as black which ended in yet another defeat yesterday - I have just annotated this under the heading of Desparado, I exchanged queens and opened up the g file for my rooks. I tried to be more active in this game. I was but at too high a price. So the doubled/isolated pawns in this case turned out to be a Bad Thing.
104 ( +1 | -1 ) ...I used to have the mindset that doubled pawns and isolated pawns were universally bad. It wasn't until I played a set of games against a friend from Texas.
I traded my knight for his bishop, doubling his pawns, and I thought I had made a good move. When I pointed out that his pawns were doubled, he told me that it's only a disadvantage if he doesn't know how to utilize it. The doubled pawn gave a half-open file for his rook and some additional control in the center. The knight I traded was on a post, and the bishop I captured was bad.
I would say that "doubled/isolated pawn" amounts to not enough information. The story of how the pawns got doubled, and which pieces gain/lose mobility is also important. For the endgame, where minor pieces are traded down, they can become somewhat disadvantageous. But in the middle game, they can open up a lot of opportunities.
And really, that's what's so nice about chess. You can't really qualify things generally as "good or bad". It almost always depends on the position.
67 ( +1 | -1 ) As one of the recent Novice Nooks reminds us, piece mobility is king. With that in mind:
Doubled/isolated pawns can't really rely on other pawns to protect them, so your pieces are tied down a bit to defending those weak pawns. On the other hand, they also tend to open up lines, potentially increasing the scope of bishops, rooks, and queens.
So you have to judge the mobility increase or decrease on a position by position basis. Also, the endgame is important. These pawns are weak in the endgame, so for the increase in mobility (if you have it) to be important enough, it has to buy you some advantage in the endgame as compensation. Again, it depends on the position.
36 ( +1 | -1 ) Also, I forgot to add that sometimes, doubling pawns towards the center helps to increase your control of the center. The pawns give you hold of some key squares which increases your mobility there and decreases that of your opponent. So this too can help you gain some compensation before transitioning into the endgame.
50 ( +1 | -1 ) I agree with chessnoviceIt depends on the game. Chess is full of rules but rules are broken sometimes with good results. In our game it opened the b file and allowed me to lift my rook to a very advantageous square. But generally double pawns are a weakness and isolated pawns are also. Heavy on the word Generally. So doubled /isolated pawns should be considered very weak, most of the time.
You just have to know when to break the rules. Usually when your not going to get caught.
57 ( +1 | -1 ) A weakness is not a true weakness unless it can be exploited. If it cannot be exploited, then it really does not matter. At that point, the only thing that does matter is whether the person with the doubled/or isolated pawn can exploit his strength created by open lines. Also, a strength is not a true strength unless it can be exploited. So I agree with all those who stated that it all depends upon the specifics of the given position.
This argument for or against is similar to whether bishops or knights are more powerful. It depends upon the position.
167 ( +1 | -1 ) Some insights from the PetrovOver the past few years, the "hot" line in the Petrov defense has been the so-called Nimzovich Variation, 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7
Instead of all that dancing around with discomfiting black's Ne4, white encourages black to trade it in exchange for damaging white's kingside pawns. Now, when I've been faced with this line I find that my opponents almost always recapture with 6. bxc3, toward the center; however, at the GM level the general strategy is to capture with the d-pawn, castle queenside, and launch an attack against black's castled kingside.
After 7. Be3 Nd7 8. Qd2 Ne5 9. O-O-O (a position from which Gelfand drew twice in the recent World Championship), black is offered another possibility to mess with white's pawn skeleton.
My old Crafty program would jump at the chance to play ...Nxf3 and stick white with doubled, isolated pawns. Gelfand and other top players, however, have shied away from creating such damage for a very good reason: it opens a dangerous attacking file for white's KR. Whether white's k-side attack would be as successful without a mobile pawn front leading the charge is debatable, but it's clear from the opened position that white may possess the lion's share of the winning chances.
42 ( +1 | -1 ) For most openings it usually isnt such a bad penalty having doubled pawns, more often than not a rook will be able to control a half open file when you doubled up. And I usually prefer rapdi development over any endgame pawn structure ambitions.
However I think in an endgame it is more of a liability especially as the doubled pawns themselves are vulnerable to rook attack.
53 ( +1 | -1 ) My 2 cents worthI think I am just rephrasing what others have said in earlier posts.
Doubled isolated pawns are always bad but like everything else in chess if there is sufficient compensation then allowing them may be a good idea. There is a great example of this but sadly all I can remember is that it was a Panov-Botvinnik attack game played by Botvinnik against, I think, Euwe, probably from the 1948 championship tournament. Sorry if that is incorrect, I don't currently have my resources available.
90 ( +1 | -1 ) Spurtus...Congratulations!You perceive way above your rating!You are absolutely correct about doubled pawns in the opening vs.endgames.The half or open file in the opening compensates for the doubled pawns,but is not advised in the mid/end games.In blitz I constantly win when as white I open with...1.Na3 and 2.Nh3 and my opponent opens up their center,shortly thereafter taking my knights with their Bishops,doubling my a and h pawns.This is a big but common mistake on blacks part,as the b and g files have now been weakened on blacks game,and by mid game I crush black.Of course,this is all in partial theory,due to the fact that white has to know exactly how to proceed,not just knowing it is advantageous.Opening my knights on the end files weak?Yes...but the poison "ploy"is to get my pawns doubled,which compensates for the knight weakness as well!The trick?Not to take my knights with your Bishops for a much better chance at a win against me!
114 ( +1 | -1 ) I am playing queens gambit type openings at the moment and I almost welcome doubled pawns on the c-file in the opening as most of my opponents play the predictable ...Bb4 early and usually take my knight at c3 thinking that doubling my pawns gives them some kind of advantage. To me this is a bad idea as they have wasted 2 bishop moves, opened up my b-file and let my b-pawn become a c-pawn, as well as that in almost every game I have played of this type I am able to un-double my pawns shortly after. I have found however that doubled pawns in the center of the board can be strong but it is hard to see that point if you have them because to most chess players if you have doubled pawns it just does not feel right for some reason, but if your opponent has doubled pawns in the center on the d or e files they have control of some very important squares and it makes it extremely hard to exert any pressure on the center yourself. This does however only apply to the middlegame and not the endgame where they will be a large burden.
82 ( +1 | -1 ) yes...hewhomates...and again as spurtus has mentioned,I agree with both of you...doubled pawns can be a +,but only with extremely cautious play.I do not recommend doubled pawns outside the a/b or h/g files and then,only in the early stages of the game.basically I do try to avoid all doubled pawns with players above 2000 rating,but love to experiment with players below,say,1900.In tournament play through the USCF,I would never double my a and h file pawns,unless a game was unrated.As`a USCF Master,I consider trying to get my pawns doubled,playable,but more "risky",so i tend to avoid those lines.But all the same,for the sake of the players that feel doubling is "bad",this of course,is not true except to those opponents who do not know "how" to utilize the doubled pawns to a small but significant advantage.